Drumbeat Boston

Editor’s note: I wasn’t about to let school start this fall without posting some photos and a writeup from Drumbeat Boston — I had a fantastic time throwing the event, and wheels are already in motion for a potential round II with the lovely guys and gals in NYC.

Drumbeat Boston was fantastic! Thanks to everyone who came, and for those who didn’t, here is a short summary to incentivise you to attend other Drumbeat events.

We were fortunate to have the Venture Café host the event, with the help of Carrie Stalder, Elizabeth Peyton and many members of the CIC team. They have a nice recap of the event on their blog. We also worked with Rudi Seitz, and used Whimwords to facilitate conversation among strangers and friends alike.

The event itself was a collaboration between the Center for Future Civic Media, the Awesome Foundation, and of course Mozilla’s new open web initiative, Drumbeat.

The evening opened with a classic Drumbeat exercise, the spectrogram. No, not a graph (well at least not a traditional one), a social exercise involving standing along a line of tape so that our “end users” could publicly proclaim a point of view and thus we could precipitate conversation. Users stood to one end to “agree” and another to “disagree,” left with lots of space for movement and agreement percentages in between.

Some hits were “I feel remorse when I use Facebook,” “I know what Mozilla Drumbeat is,” and “the web is totally open.”

The evening continued with the announcement of the Awesome Foundation’s July Fellow, Paul Gardner-Stephen, a post-doctoral fellow at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia and founder of the Serval Project. He received funding for a decentralized P2P phone networks using Android handsets and the VillageTelco’s “Mesh Potato,” a lightweight, cheap building block for mesh networks. The project aims to aide in disaster relief situations, especially in rural areas without many cell phone towers.

The announcement was preceded by a short talk by Jonathan Zittrain on the principles of “awesome” and the benefits of openness.

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The Erhardt Graeff from the Awesome Foundation presents their “signature” giant check to Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen, developer of The Serval Project, their July fellow.

All photos by Reed Sturtevant and are CC-sa 2.0. For more photos check out this album by E Derek Smith, and the rest of Reed’s photos here.

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