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May GeekDinner

It is with great pleasure and a rather muzzy head that I say that last night's GeekDinner was a really great success. People rocked up, the restaurant was ready, the equipment worked, the wine was delivered, the talks were interesting, the food was enjoyable, and everything ran smoothly. I think everybody who was there enjoyed it, and the atmosphere was very relaxed and social. It was also nice to see a wide range of people, from the completely nerdy to the completely not. This brings me to one of the points I want to make:

The talks that were given were, in my opinion, of just exactly the right mix for what we want GeekDinner to be. The way I see it (and others may disagree), GeekDinner should not aim to have technical topics and high-level computery stuff. We have CLUG talks and CTPUG meetings and the like for the pure technical topics. I know some people are scared away by the idea that we're going to sit down and talk about code and stuff. Now, I am by no means saying that we must avoid being the geeks we are - there are other places for the non-geeky side of things. Rather, I think, we should take general topics, of wide interest, and present them from the technical viewpoint that we are bound to have, as the geeks that we are. Alternatively, we should take the technical topics we know so well, and present them from a non-technical point of view, for a fresh perspective. The five-minute-talk format is perfect for this: take a topic, and present a view on it. And this is exactly what we got last night. Neil has already summed up the dinner fairly well, so I won't go into details. (Update: Aslam has a nice detailed breakdown of the talks that I think covers things fairly well.) But Bryn's PHP/Python talk was a nice overhead view of a fairly technical debate, and Antoine's laptop talk was an absolutely inspired perspective on WHY the OLPC project is, instead of WHAT it is.

A final point, related to my comments on the last GeekDinner: I think that the whole networking side of things went much better this time. We started off outside, milling around, introducing old friends to new ones, and generally being social, and then when the dinner actually started, we had tables of about ten or twelve people, which is generally larger than your average clique, which meant that people sat with people they might not have interacted with otherwise. I think this is a good formula to stick to in future, if possible.

All in all, it was a great evening. Photos are up.