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Time to geek out a bit
2 min read

Time to geek out a bit

I’m looking forward to this weekend.  I have a few non-programming/techie (but sufficiently geeky) projects to work on.

First, I have to furiously prepare for the panel session on Tue.  I think I have enough substantial raw material to talk about, but I need to organize, filter, and focus my talking points to purely logistical concerns (i.e. my job will be to impart some practical advice and list of next steps for individuals from non-profits who might want to start an OS development project).

I want to have some materials up on a site somewhere for people to download later on… things like a copy of the functional specs and prototypes, list of links, relevant papers and articles, etc.

(that implies that I need to get a lot of my material presentation worthy this weekend)

Second, I’m working on a graphic Cliff Notes of Lessig’s Future of Ideas. in preperation for Adina’s copyright meeting Tue night.  This project is going to be a lower priority than prepping for the panel session, but important to me, nonetheless.

Doing visual summaries of books I read was a thought festering in my ideas notebook.  I read a lot of books (granted, not as many as some people I know, but probably more than my fair share).   My problem lies in retention: I read very, very quickly mostly because I don’t take the time to digest what I see on the page.  If I’m feeling ambitious I’ll take notes as I’m reading, but that’s often just copying or hilighting text I think represents the key points (and, of course, because I’m not reading as actively as I should, I think EVERYTHING is a key point)).  The idea to represent a summary of what i read in a visual form forces me to truly digest and distill.  Furthermore, since I’m a visual learner, it would increase retention.

More importantly, in my capacity with EFF-A I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make these very complicated subjects that these people are talking about accessible to us mortals- I think that being a liason between the ubergeeks and the rest of humanity might be the strongest skill I’ll bring to EFF-A.  So the idea is for a person with little background knowledge on a particular subject to have a diagram and picture of key topics that they can quickly browse (not as a replacement for the source material, mind you, but as an emergency tool to obtain the basic standard of vocabulary (so as not to be as intimidated, etc))

Lessig’s book lends itself naturally to a graphic digest (the “layers of the Internet”, in particular), so I can spend a few hours this weekend skimming the and summarizing, sketching some ideas, and then crystallizing them in Illustrator.  Naturally, I’ll need people in EFF-A smarter than I to validate my summary, but then we could claim it as an EFF-A publication: which would turn into a very blog-happy meme, which would do some good PR for us, etc. etc.

Finally, I desperately need to order some robot guts before the Holidays so I have enough materials to work with for all my time off.