I had great fun arranging Cory Doctorow‘s visit to Oslo together with Eirik Newth. Aside from an excellent talk and a lively discussion (about 100 people came to the meeting), I got to have dinner with Cory before his talk and lunch the day after – with a number of Norwegian digerati (Jon Bing, Gisle Hannemyr, HŚkon Wium Lie, Jon Lech Johansen, Eirik Chambe-Eng, Jorunn Danielsen Newth and Thomas Gramstad) in addition to the board of the Norwegian Polytechnic Society’s IT Group. (Incidentally, PF is 150 years old and the world’s oldest society of its kind, dedicated to non-partisan debate around matters technological and societal.)
Others have blogged about the talk and their impressions:
- Herman Robak did video: The whole thing, the following debate and a snippet of the highly entertaining debate after the debate
- Eirik Newth (Norwegian)
- BÝrge (Norwegian)
- Gisle Hannemyr (English)
- Alf KŚre Lefdal (Norwegian)
- Brilliant days (English)
- Jon Lech Johansen (English)
- HŚkon Styri (Norwegian)
- …and Jorunn Danielsen Newth, from whom I nicked most of the links.
My impressions were more personal: I was impressed with Jon Lech Johansen not being a quiet and difficult geek as portrayed by the newspapers, he is fluent and articulate in several languages and has broad interests (I wonder what the Norwegian police were thinking when they brought the case against him.) I thought Petter Merok of Microsoft Norway quite the hero for standing up for his company with articulated and knowledgeable arguments – which took some doing in that crowd. I thought Jon Bing was rather tough for showing up when he had been wilified for arguing for the new copyright law in a report his law company did for the Norwegian Record Industry Association – but he enjoyed himself and participated in the lively debate.
I found Cory himself incredibly easy to host as a speaker and as a visitor – all he wanted was a fast Internet connection at his hotel room and some time to do email and BoingBoing a bit. Moreover, he managed to suss out Oslo’s best bookstore within two hours of arrival, and showed a keen interest in Norwegian governance, history, geography and culture that had me doubling as a not very professional guide around town. He is welcome back anytime he wants to.
And what a blast it was to participate in a long and lively dinner where the arguments were flying thick and fast about technology, the Internet, literature – and theory about all three – with nobody bothering with or needing to explain the acronyms and references….