Whew. Back from Webstock, and I’m both exhausted and inspired!

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It was my first Webstock, but I loved the genial atmosphere and excellent organisation. Mike and Tash, ably assisted by their fabulous special agents, have something very special going on. And hey, it included free coffee and ice-cream! Ah, life is greatly enhanced by affogatos made with Peoples Coffee and Kapiti Vanilla Bean ice-cream…

There were some sessions I missed due to running the Webstock Trading Card Game, but the highlights of what I saw were:

  • A blistering, wide-ranging harangue/rant/critique/sermon/call-to-action from one of my Scifi heroes, Bruce Sterling. Simultaneously insightful and magniloquent, you fell out the end of his tsunami of ideas and rhetoric needing a good, stiff drink- fabulous!
  • The delightful performance of Ze Frank as he recounted the quest to find the humanity in his work. I’ve been a fan for a while, so I was familiar with a fair amount of it, but seeing the man present it live was something else again. Wow.
  • Jasmina Tesanovic’s session about her blogging of the Kosovo War and the ongoing war criminal trials were both horrific and inspiring. I can’t imagine how anyone finds such fortitude and bravery in the face of such attrocities. It was also a reminder that sure, the internet’s a kludge of brain-dead YouTube comments, spam and porn, but it’s also an astonishing outlet for the dissemination of truths that would be quashed by traditional media propaganda.
  • Michael Lopp’s definition of what is it to be a geek or a nerd (and hopefully not a dork!) that had everyone groaning and laughing at the same time.

But the crowning moment for me was the final session by Damian Conway. It was a comedic tour-de-force that at the same time provided a framework for guiding web design to purer heights. A perfect blend of humour and insight, of cheap shots and science-nerd brain-teasers. I highly commend his Hippocratic Oath of Web Design to you- as soon as the videos of the sessions are on the Webstock site, check it out!

As you can probably gather, Webstock was a blast. I’ll be back next year- hope to see you there!