Monthly Archives: May 2009

More on Gatherings and the social aspects of them.

I wonder if anyone actually reads these blogs?
A couple of week-ends ago and it was Glasgow down to Bury St. Edmunds for Tom’s musical Gathering. (Commented on that below.) This week-end just passed involved going down with a friend to London and the Thibils YouTube Gathering. A bit of a diversion occurred when on the train down (Friday afternoon) my phone rang and it was Tom Milsom wanting to know if I wanted to go to the MCM (movie comic media) Expo at the Excel centre. This was happening on Saturday morning, so go to this first then move on to the Gathering in the afternoon. Sounded good to me. If I’m going to spend the time and money travelling half way across the country, I might as well get my money’s worth of events.
So myself (and Brian) met up with Tom and Jacob on Saturday morning and headed off to the East End. Ummm…. Docklands Light Railway!!! Ummm….. Services not running, little information, unhelpful staff, a replacement bus service that involved waiting 45 minutes for a bus… what a load of crap! If London thinks it’s going to make a success of the Olympics an a few years time, it had better get it’s finger out of its arse and get things sorted.
The comic expo was great fun, so glad Tom alerted me to it. Then on to the Gathering. No apologies for saying what I have said before – Gatherings are great places for meeting people and forming friendships. No need to worry about never having been to one before, you very quickly muddle in with the rest of the crowd. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and met quite a few people who up till then I had only ever electronically talked to. It’s really nice to be able to put an actual 3-D face to these relatively remote contacts.
There’s also a slightly more serious side to it. I’m not your stereo-typical young, cute looking, probably musically talented, school / student type YouTuber, but middle-aged adult doing a 9 till 5 job who should have better things to do than to spend time on YouTube and watching BlogTV. But I don’t, so I do spend time watching videos, and occasionally uploading them myself, and I do spend time chatting to some of these ‘stereo-typical young, cute looking, probably musically talented, school / student type’ users. One thing that has amazed me is the way above average level of intelligence most of these people have. I have learnt more off them over the last year of being around YouTube than in any number of ‘real-life’ years being around (dull boring, though still intelligent) adults!
So it’s important to me that these people who I talk to or message can see and meet me, and see exactly who or what I am. They can talk to me, or talk to others who in turn know me, and can then make up their own minds.
Thinking of YouTube, or even Skype, this whole system of easy (not just across national border, but across continents) group social communication thing could have huge repercussions in about ten years time. This is when the current late teenage or those in their early 20s users, who are used to this sort of border-free and cross-cultural system, come into jobs and positions of influence and importance. Their ideas of both social and national boundaries will be very different to that of their parents. Will be interesting to see how things develop.
Anyway, roll on the next Gathering.
See you there 🙂

Friends and the Internet.

Had a bit of fun last week-end. Friday morning and hire a car here in Glasgow and then head across to Edinburgh airport to pick up a friend flying across from America. I guess I’d better be careful on the use of the word ‘friend’. This was someone I’d never physically met before, but had got to know recently through things like YouTube – one of those ‘internet friends’ that so many uninformed adults seem so paranoid over.
Back to Glasgow to pick up another friend (someone who I now regularly share a coffee with, but first noticed through BlogTV – internet contact again). Then head off down to Bury St. Edmunds to meet Tom and Ed. These are two brilliant musicians I know, and no prizes for guessing that my first contact with them was internet related (YouTube; Tom – Hexachordal, Ed – Eddplant). Down there they were performing some of their music to a small crowd of others, most of whom I know and had also initially met through things like YouTube.

Drive back up on Sunday, then Monday around Glasgow meeting up with one or two others. Again, one way or another, these others were first met because of the internet. Tuesday, and it’s time for Americans to head back to America.
I now have more ‘Real Life Friends’ who mean something to me and that I meet and socialise with on a regular basis but who I first discovered through the internet, than ‘Real Life Friends’ who were just met in ‘real life’. The same goes for my contact list on my mobile phone – dominated by internet related contacts.
Social networking through the internet is rapidly becoming a very physical-social situation. Social networking sites are no longer just made up of individuals, but of interacting social groups. People know people, groups know groups. New individuals making contact can be quickly checked out and if anything suspicious found, then others can be alerted.

I now feel *far safer* when first meeting someone if I have already made some sort of contact with them through the internet compared to meeting some stranger in the pub or any ‘real’ location where I just don’t know who this person is.

Moving on.

This whole thing of people ‘moving on’ has got me thinking a bit. Everyone has their own reasons for actually signing up to things like YouTube or BlogTV (rather than just viewing anonymously) and then starting to put up their own videos.

In turn people have their own reasons for stopping.

For those who don’t stay long, perhaps boredom, or it wasn’t what they expected. Perhaps they expected too much and thought that as soon as they put up a video they’d get hundreds of views? It does happen, but *not* very often!
On the other hand, for those who have been around for some time, maybe their reason for originally starting was to be able to express themselves, and now that desire has been fulfilled. Perhaps it was to develop friendships, and they now want to maintain those friends through more direct means of contact. Maybe they’re just getting tired of it and it’s becoming a chore.

If you’ve been busy doing videos and have reached a peak and you can’t see your next objective or peak to aim for, then the only way ‘forward’ is down, and once you start going down you’re in the shit. Reversing a downward trend is almost impossible. Far better to stop while you’re ahead, take a break and have some chill-out time. Some time to recharge and take on fresh ideas. Some time to ‘grow up’ and see the whole thing from the perspective of someone that bit older. Maybe time to think of a change of style.

Also so much of this YouTube stuff can involve helping others, sometimes directly in your videos, chat, and responses. Sometimes indirectly by providing moral support in putting up your videos. Just the fact that you’ve put a video up and it’s available for others to watch and comment on can be of benefit to those who are not so good at directly socialising or interacting with others.

However you can’t help others and you definitely can’t help yourself if you are tired and fed up.

So if it’s time to move on, then it’s time to move on. There will be others in the wings ready to fill any gap, doing things in their own style and ways. Then once you’re ready to return, great, return. You’ll be that bit older and that bit wiser, and probably tackle things in a more mature way.

Don’t let things get boring and stale. Standing still gets you nowhere. Shift your butt and move!

Windows 7 & Vista.

Last year I bought a new lap-top. An H-P, 2 gig of RAM, dual-core processor… nothing special, though a reasonably well specified machine. However it did come with Vista as its operating system.
What a disappointment.
Even though I did various tweaks and adjustments to the system, it was just so nasty to use. O.K., it worked, it was stable, it recognised my other USB hardware devices etc, but it was sluggish and unresponsive and generally not very nice. Not helped by the machine being relatively heavy and having a poor battery run-time. It became a rather expensive door-stop! Much preferred using a baby netbook which I had access to.
However after a while I thought I’d try putting XP onto it. The install went without any problems, however getting all the required drivers gave me grief and became a pain I could not be bothered with, so I re-installed Vista from the manufacturer’s disks. Doing this install did actually improve the Vista performance which surprised me, but just raised it to a slightly different level of crapness! It was used mainly because I’d spent the money so *I will use it* rather than for its performance or functionality.
Then recently I noticed on a Microsoft bulletin that Window 7 (Beta) was available for download, so I thought I’d give that a try. Downloaded it, burnt to DVD, then installed straight over the top of the existing Vista.
Wow. What a transformation. No problems on the install, picked up all the lap-top drivers from Vista, ran smoothly, reliably, and so much faster – even faster than a well looked after XP machine I use. The only things that didn’t work properly was a webcam program I sometimes use for its built-in camera, and I lost the functionality of using the keyboard short-cuts for changing the screen brightness. Well, if that’s all I can complain about for a beta release of an operating system, I’m impressed.
However the beta is time-locked to expire in a few months time, so when I heard that Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) was available from Microsoft I quickly got hold of a copy. Thought I’d do a virgin install so went ahead and trashed the hard-drive and installed. No problems, though it gave me limited graphics, wanting the proper lap-top graphics drivers. Downloaded the latest drivers from H-P, but when I tried to install them it failed; they would only install onto Vista. So rather than muck around I just started again by first re-installing the manufacturers Vista (with all the drivers), then RC1 on top. This install failed as RC1 wanted to see Vista + Service Pack 1. Didn’t take long to download and install the service pack, and RC1 then went effortlessly on top.
Again, very impressed. Everything works quickly and smoothly. The two things that did not work before now happily run.
Using Windows 7 on this lap-top has transformed it from being a waste of space (and money!) to being my preferred machine, even to the extent of using in rather than my XP desk-top. (Even the battery life is noticeably longer as I found out when I’d forgotten to plug it in.) I’m sure as time goes by I’ll find bugs and problems, but then that goes for any bit of software.
The Linux community may have been able to sit back and snigger (and yes, I do occasionally play with Linux – though I much prefer FreeBSD), and they may have gained quite a few converts through the Vista embarrassment, but if the final version of Windows 7 turns out to be as good as what I’ve seen so far…. well, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.