Category Archives: Events

U of Michigan to announce “historic event” at Michigan Stadium

The working assumption is that this is the long-rumored summer soccer game between Manchester United and Real Madrid in August. From Crain’s Detroit:

Global soccer powerhouses Manchester United — wearing its new Chevrolet-sponsored jerseys — and Real Madrid will square off at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor at 4 p.m. Aug. 2, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Crain’s this week.
The University of Michigan has scheduled a press conference for noon Friday to announce the game.

UPDATE: Confirmed.

April 2014 Web Analytics Wednesday at Enlighten, a meeting non-summary

We had 11 in attendance for the April 2014 edition of the Ann Arbor Web Analytics Wednesday group, which meets roughly monthly at Enlighten on the west side of Ann Arbor. This month’s meeting was sponsored by Tealium, a tag management vendor. Thanks to Chris Grant for being my co-organizer for the event.

I won’t try to summarize what was said by whom in what order, because discussion went around and around the table a few times. What I will try to capture is some of the topics we talked about, or talked about wanting to talk about more at future meetings. This includes (in alphabetical order)

If any of these terms resonate with you, please consider coming to a future Ann Arbor Web Analytics Wednesday! We organize with a Meetup group, or you can go to the Web Analytics Wednesday main page and find future dates.

One-Day Tech Class: Saturday, May 3, 2014 9a-3p at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

From Dan Romanchik KB6NU cwgeek@kb6nu.com – lightly edited:

Dan Romanchik, KB6NU will be conducting the next One-Day Tech Class will be held on Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 9am to 3pm at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E. Ann St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Immediately after the class, the Technician Class license exam will be administered.

Pre-registration is required, and there is a $10 fee to take the class. We often fill the class and have to put people on the waiting list. So, if you’d like to take this class, you should send a check or money order sooner rather than later to reserve their spot. Dan’s address is 1325 Orkney Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. People can also pay via PayPal by sending $10 to cwgeek@kb6nu.com.

There is also a $15 fee to take the test. This fee is payable to the volunteer examiners just before they take the test. DO NOT send me the $15 exam fee.

Prospective students can download the study guide from www.kb6nu.com/tech-manual. Read through it a couple of times and take some online practice tests (URLs for practice test websites can be found in the study guide) before taking the test. They greatly increase the chances that you will pass the test if you do some studying beforehand.

If you have any questions, please send an email to cwgeek@kb6nu.com or phone Dan at 734-930-6564.

73!

Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire, May 10, 2014, Washtenaw Community College

AnnArbor_MMF_logos_Wordpress

Please share this Save the Date with your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues across the area.

Now in its sixth year, the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire features dozens of makers from across the region and draws over three thousand members of the community for the day’s free events. Metalworkers, inventors, papermakers, artists, students, robot designers, enthusiasts and professional alike teach the public how they make their work.

Many participants come away with more than just inspiration, but new skills they can use to fuel their own creations and lasting connections to other makers and resources in the region.

May 10, 2014 marks the second time the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire will be hosted by Washtenaw Community College. This free, all-ages event features community members of all types who come together to display their ideas, projects, and inventions.

We will be seeking applications from people and groups with engaging, inspiring, and just plain cool projects. Projects should have a focus on the process of creating, designing, and making – not just displaying a final product. Makers of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to submit applications. We will begin seeking applications for makers in the next few weeks.

More Info

Check out our website (http://www.a2makerfaire.com) or our Facebook page for more information, applications, and dates.

Organized by members of the Ann Arbor tech and arts communities such as a2geeks (http://www.a2geeks.com) and GO-Tech (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/notbago/), the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire is a small, local version of the huge Bay-area Maker Faire, and is one of many faires across the country that happen year around.

If you have any questions about participating in or attending the Mini Maker Faire, please visit http://www.a2makerfaire.com.

(Needs point of contact for questions via email)

April 3, 2014: Finn Brunton on Cryptocurrencies, North Quad Space 2435, 4:00 p.m.

This wide-ranging talk uses the current state of cryptocurrencies (most notably Bitcoin) and their underlying technologies to consider contemporary digital culture and its future. Professor Finn Brunton will discuss peer-to-peer networks, public key cryptography, proof-of-work systems, and the blockchain, illuminating their underlying social, political, and theoretical models and concepts. We will travel from sixth century Chang’an, seventeenth century Switzerland, and the vault of the New York Federal Reserve to IRC channels, software development communities, and closely guarded facilities in Iceland and Hong Kong to understand a system with fascinating implications for identity, ownership, authorship and trust online.

Good pre-meeting reading is Finn Brunton, More Problems More Money, Artforum, February 2014. (Free registration required.)

Cryptocurrency Digital

More Finn Brunton at finnb.net.

Notes from a 2013 talk by Finn Brunton on The Accidental Archive.


Notes from the talk follow here. I kept a running log with Twitter, and I’m writing this from my Pinboard bitcoin bookmarks; these links are to the bookmarks for ease of linking for the most park. I’m not trying to reconstruct the talk, just to give context for my bookmarks!

The talk started off with a discussion of the Audrey Hepburn film Charade, in which the mystery of what happened to the wealth of a family is only resolved when it’s realized that rather than searching for lost money that they should be trying to make sense of the tail of rare stamps. This was the kickoff to an extended and wide-ranging discussion of the various roles and purposes of money throughout history and how very odd things that don’t look like currency at all still functioned as stores of value, units of account, or mediums of exchange.

Bitcoin has peculiar mathematical properties that make it unusually suited for use as a store of value. Bitcoins are mined through a process that’s NP-hard, which means for practical purposes that it’s difficult to create them but easy to prove that they are real. Bitcoin is a “proof of work”; someone did something hard, consuming scarce computing power and copious amounts of energy, in order to accomplish a task that’s easy to confirm.

Finn talked about other coin systems (usually lumped under the term “altcoin”) that are based on Bitcoin but that are run separately and have their own twists. There’s Allahcoin, which donates a percentage of each transaction to the Muslim Brotherhood; Aphroditecoin, which is doing an “air drop” to give citizens of Cyprus their own money; Mazacoin, from the Oglala Lakota Nation; Freicoin, which depreciates through “demurrage” if you don’t spend it; and most notably Dogecoin, a joke of a currency that nevertheless raised enough money through the Dogesled fundraiser to help send the Jamaican bobsled team to the Olympics.

Dogecoin was noted as an exemplary virtual currency, in part because unlike Bitcoin it’s not worth very much and in part because the Dogecoin community is willing to spend it rather than hoard it. So people give Dogecoin tips readily – a few Dogecoin for posting a funny picture of a dog – and are generous in sharing.

Bitcoin is not even the first of the efforts to create alternative currencies on the internet. I worked at First Virtual Holdings in the 90s, which is one of the payment mechanisms discussed in a Jeff Mackie-Mason paper on digital payments. Not all of these enterprises ended up well, e.g the E-Gold system which saw its owner convicted of a conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

Finn talked about some of the crazy things you can do with Dogecoin, and described the first Dogecoin meetup in New York City where he noted that kombucha was for sale – payable only in Dogecoin. The conclusion I draw is that cryptocurrencies are equal parts community and technology, and that you get radically different social results when you keep the technology basically the same but change the initial conditions of community formation.

This over-simplifies and leaves out some really good and funny bits, but should give you some flavor for the talk.

For yet another year, I’m not at SXSW

SXSW is “spring break for geeks”. Every year the nerd bird flies hundreds of people from San Francisco to Austin (and to be fair other airplanes fly other people from other places to Austin). There’s a good solid week of product demos, parties, music, film, etc.

It sounds like fun, and I’ve never gone. I’m wondering what my alternate history would have been if I would have been a regular there – who would I know that I don’t know now, what connections I’d make, etc.

There are people who seem to exist solely to go to conferences. I’m not one of them. My peak conference-going era was that of Usenix annual conferences and occasional NSF workshops around the NSFnet. It’s fun, but exhausting, and it’s hard to square up being out and about with the simple requirements of taking care of family at home.

So enjoy SXSW 2014! Twitter all about it! Tell us what interesting new companies are going to have a breakout moment (or not), and save a seat for me next year (which I probably won’t go to). I’m reminded that I didn’t go in 2012 either.

Related articles

The Effects of SXSW on Austin Bar Tabs
We’ll Be At SXSW 2014 Bringing You the Latest Coverage
10 Art Events to Check Out at SXSW 2014
SXSW Day 1: Gary Vaynerchuk Tells You How To ‘Crush’ SXSW
Where to Find Startups at SXSW 2014
NSFNET notepad in Cornell Notes style

Meetup.com DDOS attack continues, March 3, 2014

Meetup.com has had a series of bad days. Their site has been under a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack for a number of days. To mitigate the problem, they are using the CloudFlare service, but even that has not been working great.

The net effect is that sometimes the Meetup.com site is unavailable, making it hard to sign up or schedule or reschedule events. The Meetup periodic announcements about the problem emphasize how hard they are working to fix it and how user credit cards are not at risk.

I’ve been happily using Meetup to organize the A2B3 weekly Thursday lunch series that I run, as well as a monthly Ann Arbor civic technology meetup and a monthly Web Analtyics Wednesday meetup. Of the three, only the a2civictech group doesn’t really have any other infrastructure; the other two have existing web sites or mailing lists to carry on even if meetup is down.

I wish Meetup well and look forward to them sorting out the problems they are having. The Meetup blog is a source of news, as is the Meetup twitter account.