Category Archives: conferences

Impressions from FITC Amsterdam 2014

This week I had a pleasure of attending Future, Innovation, Technology and Creativity (FITC) 2014 Conference in Amsterdam. I wanted to update myself on what the creative industries are doing as I was mostly visiting developer and security oriented events.

In general, quality of talks and presenters greatly exceeded my expectations and I feel myself lucky that I managed to visit the event. While I’ll try to make a few more blog posts from specific presentations, here are a few of general observations.

More about “Generating Utopia” project.

Open Source DIY technologies are not for geeks anymore

It seems that there are certain waves of technologies that are first picked up by open source hackers and the world doesn’t fully understand at the time. Most of the projects included things that are casually talked at CCC events and hackerspaces: 3D printers and 3D scanners using Kinect, Arduino based DIY controllers, low tech prototypes with LED’s and smartphones or just OpenStreetMap with commons Mashup API’s and Processing.

I think what these platforms have in common is that they’re much more easily available to creative people and huge amount of information that’s available online makes it incredibly easy to use. With that experiments often grow into high quality commercial grade works. This gets noticed by commercial clients and suddenly your next project is produced by using the same material and techniques.

Amount of required knowledge and insight is insane ..

Keeping in mind things from the previous paragraph, it seems that today it’s not enough to just know how to do art composition you’re also required to know enough coding to do processing mockups, generative audio with help of OpenFrameworks and final touch in form of Final cut and interactive web applications.

You don’t have to be an expert in all of these things but you actually have to have basic knowledge in order to actually know how to ask for help for all the tools that you’re suddenly using.

.. and it’s expanding

Quite a few presenters were already showing experiments and initial thoughts that were done using Oculus Rift, massive crowdsourcing apps, new Xbox One Kinect and voice driven interfaces.

Things that would be unavailable to most artists 10 years ago are now accessible in form of easy to use kits for 100 USD or less and it’s even cheaper with development environments.

Opportunities are everywhere

For generation of developers and tinkerers, that grew up with trying to get Linux to work on random unsupported hardware, this presents so many great opportunities. At this point everyone is thinking about open hardware and software, proprietary solutions and services can’t compete with Github development model anymore and because of Kickstarter and global economies of scale – you just have to pay for the production costs.

I think 2014 is really a year of open everything and if you’re working in environment that spreads these kinds of ideas and tools, you don’t have to do much to get people to listen to you. You just have to show up and present and teach a workshop. It’s that easy :)

PSI Directive (Directive on the re-use of public sector information)

Today I had a chance to visit LAPSI 2.0 project conference (The European Thematic Network on Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information). Wikipedia has a good definition of the directive:

Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information, otherwise known as the PSI Directive[2][3] is an EU directive that encourages EU member states to make as much public sector information available for re-use as possible.

Speakers dealt mostly with EU level policy discussion either on specifics of the directive or issues in this area in member states specifically. What follows is a few of my notes that I hope will help me remember things from the event in 2 years time. I haven’t read the directive yet and since I’m not a lawyer my conclusions are probably wrong.

Getting the data

Historically speaking, Slovenia has had one of the most progressive Freedom of Information Act’s, coupled with very proactive Office of Information Commissioner. This meant that filing an FOIA request to PSB (public sector body) was often the most efficient way to get access to data that they gather or produce.

While this works fairly well for some parts, it still has its own limits. PSI solves that by further encouraging PSB’s to make data and information openly available. It further makes it harder to charge and limit access by requiring institutions to explain why access is limited, together with business and cost calculations.

I can’t find the source in published texts, but part of the discussion also revolved about this applying to Libraries and Cultural Works. This will present both a challenge for existing archives as well as opportunities for new ways to disseminate this content.

What’s the point?

Economy. There is a huge body of work and case studies that show that once you open up this data to greater public it provides exponential return on investment through new services and uses for it. The less limits, the more potential can be realised.

For me, it’s often hard to see use for a lot of the data that we find online or it would require distortional development investment to make it useful. On the other hand, most of this data and content was already paid using public money, so EU is betting that just opening everything will have huge economic impact.

When?

“Soon”. The way I understood is that we’ll see implementations into local EU member states sometime in 2015. But because of the direction and the work going in this area it should be possible to already use arguments and approaches within existing laws and individual agreements with institutions.

Additional Resources

 

 

WebCampLjubljana Autumn 2011

Last weekend we finished latest addition to WebCampLjubljana series with another sold out event and with 160+ in attendance. We’ve had more than 20 talks and finished the day with a short series of lightning talks.

For this event I tried not enforcing any specific language of the talks, which in the end meant that we had most of the talks in Slovenian and Croatian and a few in English.

We’ve also switched to all digital cameras this time around and so we could release a nice archive of videos in just a week after the event: http://video.webcamp.si. There’s a surprising amount of work required to get such archive online.

Finishing off with a few pictures from Peter’s gallery and I hope to see you at the future events.

Rebooting the community

This year Kiberpipa will be 10+ years old and its’ event lineup is incredible. Over 350 events a year involving various talks, meetups, screening and everything. During this time a bunch of new technologies showed and demand for jobs as well as our interest shifted and I/we stared creating bigger and more exclusive events (as in: you can only attend if you speak).

Django Meet Ljubljana, 6. julij 2011

It mostly worked, with limited success. What happens is that while the core members Kiberpipa and related communities are used to speaking and working out in the open, not everyone is. And we didn’t give new members of community a chance to slowly build up their involvement.

With this in mind, I’m hoping that we can get a few more meetups and events going where minimum level of involvement is a 15-min talk instead of a full 45-min lecture with all eyes on you.