Mar 102011

It seems that the north­ern hemi­sphere spring is the reg­u­lar sea­son for sub­mit­ting papers for two of my favour­ite con­fer­ences. So I guess that means it’s the reg­u­lar sea­son for remind­ing y’all, and being reminded of the dif­fer­ent styles of con­fer­ence.

First up, because the dead­line for abstracts is Monday March 14, is North­ern Voice, Vancouver’s per­son­al, non-work, con­fer­ence aimed at help­ing people find their voice online, wheth­er that be through blog­ging, twit­ter, face­book updates, or pho­tos. I’ve been on the organ­ising com­mit­tee since the begin­ning of North­ern Voice, and have been con­sist­ent in want­ing a con­fer­ence that isn’t cor­por­ate, doesn’t give spon­sors key­note slots, isn’t ori­ented towards busi­ness and mak­ing money. What North­ern Voice is ori­ented towards is what people find import­ant for their per­son­al lives, wheth­er that be the per­en­ni­al ques­tion of blog­ging under a real or an assumed name, or giv­ing advice on how to cope with too many emails (ok, that one could also be use­ful in busi­ness). More details at the web site.

In con­trast there’s Bal­is­age, which is not at all about how to get good pho­tos of your cat, but rather a ven­ue for deeply tech­nic­al talks about markup in all its forms. It still isn’t cor­por­ate in the sense of selling key­note slots to big spon­sors (you notice a trend here?) and its audi­ence is lim­ited to those who do enjoy intense dis­cus­sions of how best to struc­ture their inform­a­tion, and for whom the finer details of the XML spe­cific­a­tions are not insig­ni­fic­ant. For this con­fer­ence abstracts aren’t enough, you need to write the full paper, in XML, and sub­mit by April 8th. I review papers most years, and look for­ward to see­ing what’s hap­pen­ing in the bleed­ing edges of XML-related tech­no­lo­gies.

Hmmm, it’s prob­ably not a coin­cid­ence that both of these con­fer­ences are small, and run by people who care pas­sion­ately about the con­fer­ence and the respect­ive com­munit­ies that they serve.

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