#okcon (first) thoughts (blog, hack)+ in Geneva Public Library

My blogging comes in fits and start. I sometimes used to feel upset if I didn’t blog each day. But now I two major imperatives – to blog and to hack Liberation Software. And for the last few weeks the software has been on top.
Also I have had technical problems. I have been using Word to author blogs since (a) I didn’t like WordPress interface (b) I can only use it online (unless you tell me different) and (c) I spent some time experimenting with Word’s voice recognition software (d) it was more convenient to use Word to create compound documents with included images. (c) no longer holds. (d) started to fail badly and doesn’t seem to have a cure. Word/Wordpress gave useless error messages, failed to upload, created multiple posts with same title, etc.
So I am coming back to using WordPress. I think it’s clunky but I have no alternative. It means I can only blog at certain times of the day and have to spend extra time uploading the images. But I have to do it.

Wow! I can copy. Maybe it’s not so bad. (BTW this is Chuff, the OKF okapi).  Animals are not allowed in libraries so he/she/it is sleeping in the hotel. I love public libraries – they have a sense of calm, quiet but also centuries of history of the struggle for freedom. See http://switzerland-geneva.com/attractions/library.html . They have free wifi. And there’s a student cafe in the next building.
My mind has been blown at #okcon. I need to blog on at least the following:

  • Mat Todd’s fantastic, world changing, session yesterday on Open Source Drug Discovery. The world has a crisis in dscovering new pharmaceuticals and, IMO, Open Knowledge and collaboration is a critical part. Without it we shall not defeat Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) or antibiotic resistance. We have to change the way we work.
  • Jay Naidoo’s completely inspirational talk yesterday. He is a colleagues of Mandela and brought the same massive message. (“South Africa was the political/democratic miracle of the twentieth century”). Jay brought me one word – JUSTICE – which is transforming the way I now see Open Knowledge. That is what we are about.
  • OKF itself. We are now a major resource for bettering the world. Some years ago I started telling people “Wikipedia is the digital triumph of the 2000’s. OKFN will be the triumph of the 2010s.” (I don’t think I ever wrote this). I now believe it.
  • Chuff. Down! Your time will come. In Berlin 2014. (This shows I can do strikethroughs).

But I also need to hack. Content-mining will be massive and I am making a contribution through PDF-hacking (#ami2). I’m now very close to nearly faultless conversion of BioMedCentral PDFs to semantic XML. Ross Mounce, Matt Wills and I will be starting on this in earnest next month for phylogenetic trees. It’s been desperately hard work and it’s really only because I don’t have a day-job I can give it the obsessiveness it needs. But #ami2 can do simple tables (nobody can do complex tables because there are no semantics describing them). #ami2 can do diagrams if the EPS strokes and characters are still there. I’ve done a complex phylo tree and am pleased with progress. (I’ll blog all this later).
So I’m going into blog-hack-blog-hack mode… (blog, hack)+ in regex-speak. The hacking takes precedence.
So maybe WordPress is now easier to use than it used to be – we’ll see. I might even try SVG later.

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One Response to #okcon (first) thoughts (blog, hack)+ in Geneva Public Library

  1. Phil Lord says:

    I use asciidoc to do my blogging. It’s not for everyone, but it’s good if you are used to hacking away at text files. I use that and a make file to keep everything up to date.
    The process is documented at:

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