Daily Story Digest #2

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“All part of the story”

I was so pleased when Heather Taylor confirmed she’d be coming on this trip.?? I developed a huge artist’s crush on her soon after she came to Tuttle – she is always *doing* stuff, making beautiful things?? – she had to rush off because she was screening her latest documentary, no she couldn’t be here next week because she was reading?? her poetry to an excited audience in Serbia.

You can hear Heather talking a week or so before the trip on this audioboo

Heather decided early on that her contribution to Tuttle2Texas would include making a documentary film of the trip.?? Now the planning instinct of the film-maker can clash with the free and easy social artist’s spirit of improvisation.?? “Ooh look at this shiny thing!” – “Yes, but could we just walk over here again to get a long shot?”

The compromise was “It’s all part of the story” – whenever something happened that wasn’t in the original plan (the plan that I didn’t write down you understand, the made-up plan that I kept rattling around in my head) it became “part of the story” and whenever I had a teenage strop because we needed to wait for like a whole minute and a half for Michelle to catch up with the camera gear, I restored my sanity by reminding myself that it was “all part of the story”

And for those who are wondering when, exactly this whole story is going to get going… be patient, this is all important stuff.??

“Terminal 5 is pretty”

Though clearly not pretty enough for me to take a picture when I arrived at LHR on the morning of 2nd March.?? I was more interested at the time in getting to take my ukulele onto the plane as a second piece of carry-on luggage.?? The lady at check-in seemed doubtful and worried me further by telling me there was an added security screening for flights into the US.?? I had visions of Darrin (that’s the name of my smaller, black Les Paul-ish uke) being dismantled or simply smashed to pieces by over-zealous guardians of the nation’s safety.?? She urged me to get in as quickly as possible.

Well I needn’t have worried.?? The?? ukulele has magical charming properties which combine well with my new-found “bearded charisma”.???? Photographers might be easily mistaken for terrorists, but honestly, who’s going to suspect a ukulele player with facial hair??? Nonetheless I passed the time in the queue trying to remember the chords to “Down among the sheltering palms” in case I was challenged to actually play.

So I made it to the gate much earlier than I expected and had time to soak up what a pleasant air-side experience it is.?? I tweeted the same and had an almost instant response from the Heathrow twitter team saying they liked it too.?? I was early, but there was no sight of Heather and Michelle.?? I reflected (quietly, to myself) that this was the first time I’d ever travelled with women before who’d been comfortable turning up at the airport later than me.?? Then the flight was called and I still couldn’t see them.?? What if we’d done all that preparation and then I ended up going on my own?

(photo credit: James Cridland)

“Somewhere over Nova Scotia”

The picture above is from the day before we left when I was packing away all the goodies that Nokia and Canon had provided me with to help document the trip.?? I had a Nokia N900 (with which the photo was taken) a 3G Notebook and a set of noise cancelling earphones.?? From Canon I had a 500D, though unfortunately I had no lens for it until the next day when Mike lent me his.?? (It’s still sitting on my desk by the way Mike… I haven’t forgotten, really!)

So the first few hours of the flight, I spent picking over this kit, trying to work out how I was going to use it all, wondering how easy it was going to be to get a US sim card for the notebook and the phone and whether it would all work.?? Also cursing the multitude of power adapters I needed.?? You can see from the photo that one of the Nokia devices came with a European plug on it, so I would need a Euro -> US adapter when I arrived.?? I’ve since seen those lovely multi-adapters that you can stick anything into anything with, but that’s for next time.?? Also in the photo, if you squint hard, up at the top you can catch a glimpse of my bottom bookshelf.?? Yes, that really is a book on LOGO next to “The C Programming Language” next to something on PHP & MySQL and then along a bit a nice one on CP/M Assembly Language.

About an hour and a half before landing at the most boring part of the flight, after I’d tried everything out thoroughly and failed to have a nap, I made my first queued upload Audioboo containing the phrase “I’m really excited” delivered in possibly the most deadpan way ever.

PS Oh yeah, of course Heather and Michelle made the flight, what on earth were you worried about? 🙂

“Hello Boston!”

Some short shenanigans before we get out into the city.?? Immigration is weird going into the states.?? Why??? Because the guys on the desk speak Engl-ish and you get to have a chat with them.?? This is not like popping across the channel when you just get a cursory, bored glance from the French border guard type and anyway I know I have a right to wander within the EU.?? Here they could really say “No, sorry, you can’t come in.”?? I know it’s not likely, and the ukulele and bearded charisma do help enormously, but y’know, it would be a pain in the bum to have to fly all the way back at this stage.

Plus I knew Dana was waiting for me on the other side.?? And that was going to be weird – we’d been “seeing each other” in a bizarre long-distance internet-enabled way since December, but this was first time face to face, same time-zone and everything..?? And it was weird.?? She ran away from me.?? Then I ran away from her. We slowly worked our way next to each other and exchanged some tentative touches.?? There may have been a kiss.?? It’s all a bit blurry.

It gets blurrier when we’re outside trying to talk to Kera from TSP via twitter. She’s coming to pick us up in an SUV apparently, but none of us can quite agree on what one of those looks like.?? Finally we find the poor girl and we let her drive us away from Logan Airport and around Boston’s baffling traffic system (Ooh! Charles River. Aah! Fenway Park!) me sitting quietly with four women who all really do like to talk, a lot, to our home for the next couple of days. ??

“Dr Weinberger, I presume(?)”

I hate jetlag.?? Who doesn’t??? In particular, though it undermines my predeliction for flying by the seat of my pants.?? I can’t.?? I don’t have all my faculties.?? I make mistakes that I would normally see coming and cut off at the pass.

I first heard of David Weinberger when Euan Semple introduced me to blogging in 2002.?? David was one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto which Euan was blabbing on about and the fact that these guys were writing on the internet, like nearly every day, just posting what they thought and were doing with nobody else involved in deciding whether it should be published.?? It’s what saved me from a life of managing corporate intranets.

So, a year ago, when I saw that he was writing a new book on the changes in our attitudes to expertise and knowledge in a highly networked world, I sent him details of the Tuttle Consulting gig we did as an example of how I think we’re making use of networked knowledge in a new way.?? I then followed this up with a suggestion that we meet while we were in Boston to see whether we could help any further.

We sat in the TSP DigiLounge and chatted for about an hour.?? Well, actually what happened was I rambled on through my jetlag about Tuttle for an hour and David typed copious notes.?? Then, after Heather had interviewed him, we had a little “learning experience” by asking a Berkman fellow to sign a non-creative-commons release form.?? We further trod on his toes (at the other end of the privacy spectrum)?? by releasing an audioboo of our conversation instantly.?? Ouch!?? Many apologies ensued, but it was a timely reminder that we weren’t at home among those who know and already trust us.?? And it helped us to quickly clarify our approach to content licensing and checking permissions *before* capture.?? Just what you need when your body *knows* it’s mid-afternoon, but everyone around you is still having breakfast.

On a good note, David was pleased to find that our meeting was taking place in an Apple repair shop, so we left him talking about some problem with his macbook while we went out into the snow to cross the river to Cambridge.