July 26, 2009
Harry Potter Fandom in Action
If you set foot in the Parc55 Hotel last week looking for a bunch of geeks participating in a mobile event, you would have been surprised to see a lobby full of young women and girls and hundreds of others dressed to the nines in whatever Harry Potter character they most resonated with.
The Harry Potter annual gathering, know as the AZKATRAZ convention drew people in from New Zealand, Canada, Germany, England and our Orlando, Washington, New York and Dallas.
The woman I first started talking to was interrupted when a woman in full garb came rushing over and said to her, "you look familiar." She asked for her Harry Potter handle and then there was immediate recognition followed by a hug. And then, a lot of chatter as if they were long lost cousins who had not seen each other since a childhood family reunion.
I was so drawn in that I couldn't leave and the attendees didn't want me to. Do you know the difference between an Anapneo and Animagus? Do you know enough to be the smartest quizzard in Hogwarts?
There was a quiz later night for the die hards, hosted by Wes Kauble from Ten Dollar Trivia, the most original gameshow on YouTube.com
Also promoted to Harry Potter fans was ArtInsights new "Witches and Wizards of Harry Potter" limited edition sets with specially selected images of actors featured in the movie series.
The schedule is intense I learn from several sources. In addition to more serious sessions on issues that come up in everyday life, they held at Merlin's Circle Reception, had a pajama party, and a Prison Break Ball.
Other notable sessions included how to podcast; roleplaying games; the Art of Azkaban; Making and modifying patterns for costuming; Queers in the Wizarding World and...; Harry Potter in communities of color; Making money through fandom; Feminism & Romance; Fighting the Slytherin Stereotype (the Slytherins stood on one side of the lobby socializing while the others stood on the opposite end and there was a notable separation); Harry Potter and social justice; Harry & Tarot; A Wrock Opera and the Phenomenon of Wizard Rock.
I shot some video which you should definitely tune into for more insight into the way Potter fans think. It's a whole new world, I found myself thinking again and again. Below are some shots I took of fandom in action at AZKATRAZ 2009.
July 10, 2009
Cambridge's Nokia Labs Key Research Areas
I'm at Nokia Labs in Cambridge England looking at their latest innovations under the hood. Four Key research areas for them include: rich context modeling, new user interfaces, high performance mobile platforms and cognitive radio.
We looked at smart surface materials that externally control color change as well as nano sensing in future mobile devices.
Consider the mobile opportunities with over 3 billion mobile subscribers today. The Labs folks tout an outstanding statistic: up to 90% of the 6 billion people on earth will have mobile coverage by 2010. Note the adjective coverage, not mobile phones.
We also covered physical and digital worlds from personal to global sensor information.
Below Nokia's head of social media worldwide: Mark Squires in Cambridge.