Netsquared Profile: Michalis Bletsas

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is the Chief Connectivity Officer for , a non-profit association. One Laptop per Child has the goal of creating a $100 human-powered laptop to be distributed to children in the developing world. Michalis speaks a bit about the rationale and challenges for the $100 Laptop.

This video is part of NetSquared's video profile series. You can subscribe to with your favorite video catcher, such as , or .

My Net-Net on the NetSquared Conference

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I've been back for a day from the NetSquared Conference, and have had a little time to reflect on it. Several people have asked me what my take on it was. The short version is superb logistics and people, but so-so sessions, except for the excellent skill share. However, I am sure that the organizers will learn from this year and I will happily go again next year, if I get the chance (and can afford it if it isn't local). 

Basics first. Compumentor and their helpers did a superb job with the logistics. There was power at every table, and the wireless was better than at any of the many O'Reilly conferences that I have been to (it probably helped that the conference was held at the headquarters of one of the world's largest manufacturers of routers and wireless devices). The food wasn't gourmet, but it was reasonable, on site and on time. The conference hotel was nearby and was modestly priced (for Silicon Valley). Most people probably won't mention these things, but I have seen what happens when these things aren't true -- a lot of people spent half of this year's (ETECH 2006) in San Diego complaining for good reason about the wireless (bad), the space (very bad), and the prices (outrageous). The only logistical flaws for this conference were the , and the badges. Everybody's badge was labeled with their role, i.e. volunteer, sponsor, speaker, including one called "scholar", which looked to me like the "poor scholarship kid" label at a fancy private school. While some of this is common at business conferences, I wonder what purpose it served at a conference like this to visibly segregate people that way. Aside from those two issues, the Compumentor crew managed to pull everything together in time, and have my thanks and admiration for doing so. 

As always, one of the best parts of the conference was talking with the fellow attendees. I got to meet a number of people whom I had previously only known from their online writings, I got to catch up with a lot of people that I admire but only see once every six months or so at events like this, and I got to meet all kinds of interesting new people that I never would have had a chance to meet otherwise. I also learned about lots of compelling sites/organizations like . So Compumentor definitely succeed in bringing an interesting and exiting group of people together for NetSquared. 

Calling all Tagvocates!

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At our "Making it Happen" table, we discussed how we could use tagging to help make social change, not just organize our own work.  We decided that we should come up with a few tags for the nonprofit sector and start getting them out there by recruiting "Tagvocates" who vow to: 

  1. Use the tags all over the place
  2. Recruit other tagvocates for their tag(s)

The plan is to get a set of tags out there, the aggregate the content (maybe with Suprglu?), and then foster a discussion about how we can use the content that we're tagging for social change.  For example - can a legal services organization use a set of tags to help aggregate content about Seattle area housing for their clients and agreggate it on their site?  Can an enviro group use a tag to aggregate info about a local developer to expose ant-environmental practices?

All the chat transcripts are now available online

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Transcripts from our remote conference sessions and hallway chats are now online. You can find transcripts on the remote conference page or on the hallway page -- or just follow the links below. 

You can subscribe to RSS feeds of the chat transcripts by pointing to or That will give you the last 200 messages in the chat room; or if you subscribe to the feed from an aggregator, you'll get ongoing transcripts. (If you're new to RSS, see the on Net2Learn.)

Thanks to the Net2 Crew

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I just want to say thanks again to the CumpuMentor people who made the NetSquared Conference a big success. Thanks to my special buddies: Marnie, Britt, Laura, Gina, Michelle, Billy, and, uh...everybody else. Something good with great potential was started there, and I'm confident you'll keep in moving forward.

 And thanks to the sponsors.  Cisco, HP, the American Cancer Society (heh, heh) and the rest.

Different Learning Styles at the NetSquared Conference

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Still a bit zonked after the conference, but wanted to share a couple pics from the Tips and Tricks workshops during the Making It Happen section of the Net2 Conference.  It was great to see all the people sharing knowledge around all kinds of topics.  As someone who worked in education for a while, it occurred to me that one of the strengths of the Net2 Conference was how it addressed different learning styles.  The big sessions were really just for listening, the smaller breakout sessions allowed for more discussion and the Making It Happen sessions were hands-on.

Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

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First published at (cross-blogging) Learning about the Make Trade Fair campaign of Oxfam was an epochal event for me where I received enlightenment regarding the difference between aid and trade, the latter being a more effective approach on eradicating poverty. The implications are tremendous, knowing that trade is a concept that should entail the cooperation of governments, and for me this sounds too remote if not too utopic. I am looking for something a little bit more on a close proximity, which individuals and organizations can embrace to spin economic development and social transformation, in their own small way.


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