Podcamp Toronto 2011 – Saturday Morning #pcto2011


One of the things I keep intending to do is start podcasting, though I’ve dabbled in it a couple of times never have taken it as a regular thing. But I keep wanting to do it, and so I keep coming to Podcamp Toronto to share experiences and learn from those already doing it.

So, this morning instead of my usual 2:00 pm wake up time I raised up at the break of dawn and made my way down to Ryerson University.

The sessions have been pretty good this morning. I attended first the “Hello World” Podcast, mostly to know about the process of making a podcast quickly. One of the things that stops me from making a regular podcast is the time in production and all that. I’m not fancy, I prefer to make something quick and just throw it out there. And this session was really good for that. Paul took us quickly through a script, shared his hardware and software tools used for the occasion and had us record a quick minute audio and sent it to a self-hosted WordPress blog. Good for a start.

For the second session I chose a talk on Podcasting as the “new” media tool, Karim Kanji, host of the Social Media Show, and a last minute fill-in (sorry I didn’t get your name). It was an interesting and lively conversation between presenters and participants, talking about recording equipment, coming up with content, and putting it out there. Good stuff. And @marcopolis was there as well.

The session on podcasting as the 'new' media tool

To end the morning I headed up (it was on the third floor) to listen to Ryan Wiseman speak about videocasting, or podcasting video, or whatever the kids call it. It was very nice to see how he’s done it and also how some of the big players do it as well. It’s amazing how much one can do these days with relatively little equipment.

It’s been great and I’m really looking forward to the afternoon sessions.

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Roberto Baca

Escribo cosas de vez en cuando

On the futility of trying to catch bots


Meanwhile, back in DuoPixel, Mark argues on the futility of using captchas as a method to distinguish bots from humans, and that they should be used only after other methods have been tried, because they’re annoying and people, unlike bots, get pissed.

However, he still misses the point on captchas and why use them at all: that the fact that the comments are written by a human or a machine is irrelevant, what’s important is the content and what it adds to the conversation.

It’s easy and cheap to get humans to do the dirty jobs that bots are unable to do just yet, but as Watson recently showed in Jeopardy, it’s just a matter of time before bots can get through any kind of practical test you can implement in your blog or website to keep them out.

And besides, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to keep empty, spammy content out, and that’s easier to recognize by looking at keywords and phrases. After all, for humans to respond it has to be worded a certain way.

Bots can do more than just leave spammy content. They can read your blog post, tell what it’s about and produce a relevant and helpful comment. Sure, it may link back to some site trying to sell you something, but that’s what we humans do and it’s an accepted practice that as long as the comment is relevant and valuable in itself it can link back.

And if you have a bot of your own watching over the comments and producing smart answers of their own, you can have a conversation. Who said the net was only for humans?

Anyway, captchas are useless not because they can be beat, but because they focus on something irrelevant.

In the words of Ken Jennings: I for one welcome our new computer overlords.

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I like snow



I like it much better than rain at any rate. Specially cold rain.

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WordCamp Toronto 2010


So, here I am at the beggining of WordCamp Toronto 2010, hoping that the blogging by email feature on my site still works (it did!)

The attendance is great. The room is full and still expecting more people. My panel is at 1:00. Should try to find an organizer before then…

First up is blogging and social media with Jeremy Wriight in about 10 mins.

Jeremy’s presentation about angry camels is done and it was great! He’s actually a very good and funny speaker. He’s pretty much spot on about why social media efforts fail. Taking questions now.

Success story number 1 is about Mary and her blog, LunchwthMary. She thought it would be a good idea to have lunch with interesting people and learn stuff from there, then blog about it.

Richard Mitchell’s experience’s both in Georgetown University and the non-profit are very similar to what we went through at Maytree with our website before WordPress. Except for the money part (we didn’t have a CMS, expensive or cheap) the issues with time, flexibility, etc. were pretty much the same.

The talk on using social media and WodPress to win an election was more focused on tools you can use to promote your campaign, not so much on campaign strategies per se. It would have been interesting to have more about listening to the voters, polling, getting proposals, etc.

Up next, lunch. And later George sharing a little about how GM Canada started with the social media thing and Emma’s story of success through challenging someone else to a blogging contest.

Now it’s time for WordPress for n00bs, I mean, newbies.

That was interesting! I thought I still had time to go to the washroom and prepare for my short presentation, but I had to step up as soon as the previous one was over and for longer that I was expecting. I hope I didn’t do too badly and that people are not just saying I did will out of politeness! Thank you all!

Now, Mark’s presentation on how to manage multiple blogs, for strategies to come up with ideas, tools and inspiration to write many posts. He has very good tips, unfortunately I forgot to record it.

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Facebook should consider to add “On notice” and “Dead to me” in relationship status


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