The Fahrplan (schedule) for 22C3 (the Chaos Computer Club's Chaos Communication Congress) is now online, along with the blog, Flickr pool, wiki, and podcast. So I started to browse and collect lectures I'd like to see, and then realized that like last year I have a scheduling problem...
I'm still trying to find out how I can use the iCal calendar file for things beyond looking at dates in iCal. Apparently the data is imported read-only, which means I can't annotate; and it would be great to find ways where iCal can help you schedule your congress experience. There of course is iCalendar for Ruby, but the gem version only throws exceptions when I try to load the data.
Recommended Talks at 22C3
Here are some of my personal recommendations for 22C3 -- there are a lot of lectures I want to attend, but these are among the ones I don't want to miss, and which I'll recommend to people who don't know where to go.
» The Keynote Speech by Joi Ito
Joi is involved in many crucial projects and organizations, and his insights on political, sociological and technical topics are usually interesting. This will probably be a rather high-level talk, so it should be attractive to a variety of people -- and you can expect a variety of anecdotes from his life as part of the world's technology elite.
See also: Joi Ito - State of Emergent Democracy at 21C3.
» The grey commons, by Palle Torsson and Rasmus Fleischer of piratbyran.org and The Pirate Bay
There aren't too many details out yet about the content of this talk, but it should be interesting because of the people involved. The Priate Bay for a long time now has held a unique position among the world's firesharing sites because of Sweden's liberal copyright law (though I believe this has changed by now), and I always liked their attitude towards legal threads. You can expect anecdotes from the forefront of intellectual property activism and the filesharing community, insights into the changing legal environment, and maybe some technical information about their infrastructure.
See also: Volker Grassmuck, Rasmus Fleischer - Fight for your Right to Fileshare at 21C3.
I only have vague ideas of what to expect of this, but both speakers seem well-suited for a talk where the synergy of arts and modern technology is shown in a sociological context. Although I'm usually skeptical when someone tries to explain the impact art has on a society, with this lecture I'm confident that we can at least expect a hands-on, non-pretentious view on some interesting art projects. And if all fails you can still delight yourselves in Régine's cute Franco-Belgian accent...
See also: Régine Débatty - People doing strange things with technology at Reboot7 (host currently down).
This is easily the highlight of all the sessions. Jacob will share his experiences in Iraq and post-Katrina New Orleans, where he worked as a photographer and technologist to reestablish technological infrastructure. Expect stories of technology in the field, about living in a destroyed civilization, making friends in unexpected places, about being a new media journalist, and the utter frustration about the political system's incompetence. We should ask him to teach us how to make fake press credentials!
See also: Jacob Appelbaum at Webzine 2005
There were some sessions at 21C3 that mentioned this topic, and obviously there was the excellent Chaosradio episode 106 about Germany's new electronic passport -- but now it's finally here. This session will describe the technology involved in more detail, but most crucially will give some early insights into the many flawed aspects of the system. This obviously is an important topic, and I hope it's well-attended by "old media" journalists. (Note that the session will be held in German.)
See also: starbug - Biometrie in Ausweisdokumenten at 21C32.
It's great to see that the congress is starting to attract people outside the usual networking security clique, and the talks mentioned above are only the highlights -- there will be quite a number of sessions related to privacy issues, intellectual property, and other topics on the fringe of technology.
I hope that the 22C3 team learned from last year's problems though; at 21C3 there were too many situations where things visibly went wrong or were held up because of small and silly reasons, which was unfortunate for a conference of this size. E.g. it seemed that a large number of speakers weren't briefed on how to properly use the microphones provided, or didn't have a goto-guy during presentations when they had technical issues. It would probably also help if people would test their presentations -- there were quite a number of situations were video equipment was failing, or a movie couldn't be shown, and the presenter in mid-talk lost minutes trying to find a solution. Technology is prone to failure, especially in situations like these, so it's good practice to prepare as good as you can.
Because of these kinds of flaws watching some of the videos of 21C3 can be a little frustrating. But that's only a minor point, after all the congress is a non-commercial event driven by volunteer work -- so don't get me wrong, this is not a flame. If someone involved in the planning of the event would like more detailed feedback, please contact me and I'll try my best.
And if you are presenting at 22C3 and are not experienced with speaking in public, using a microphone, and presentation techniques: take some time to look at last year's videos. Looking at other people's presentations is an excellent way to learn about presentation techniques, and you learn even more from bad presentations than from good ones. I thought of including a list of last year's bad presentations, but found that I don't want to publicly embarrass inexperienced speakers. Instead I encourage you to contact me for some pointers to last year's bad presentations...
I'm really looking forward to this year's congress -- 21C3 was insanely great, and I'm sure it will be just as cool this year. And Tim Pritlove has a very good explanation for the increased prices, so no complaints here...
Coming up next: some recommendations of last year's 21C3 videos to give you another taste of what's to come at 22C3.