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Given Enough Eyeballs On The Schedule, All Bugs Are Shallow

by Matt Arnold last modified 2006-09-10 19:42

You can view the Penguicon 2007 schedule as it develops on the web, at

Google has a web service that lets you create or import spreadsheets, and you can assign viewing rights and editing rights to whoever you wish. I made one for the Penguicon event schedule, and have been dropping events into it whenever I think of an idea for a potential new one.

This version of the schedule isn't even a Beta release. It's an early developer's Alpha release of Penguicon 5.0's "source code". (By the way, that's not true of the Google Spreadsheets software, which so far has been completely bug-free for me.) There is a notice at the top, reading "ATTENTION: THIS SPREADSHEET IS A VERY EARLY DRAFT. MANY EVENTS ARE PLACED WHERE THEY ARE FOR LITTLE OR NO REASON, WHILE WE AWAIT DIFFERENT EVENTS TO FIT AROUND. COMMENTS WELCOME!" Anything appearing on this schedule is not necessarily a definite confirmation yet. But as I have said many times, it's my goal to get this set in wet plaster by the end of the year. In other words, by then it should be a functional but slightly buggy "Penguicon 5.0 Beta Release".

Viewing access is open to the world. Currently editing access is granted to the programming team, each of whom knows something about one of the topic tracks or guests of honor. If that describes you (and it's broad enough that if you're reading this, it probably does), please ask me to put you on the programming team!

Not only do I not go in for secrecy, I don't like bottlenecks of top-down permission either. If you want to do something at Penguicon, unless you're asking for money, the answer is probably "yes." (If it involves the budget, the head of programming can't just rubber-stamp it. Talk to the Conchair.) We've got a huge culture of volunteerism from both the computer and SF fandom sides, with people clamoring to be given permission to bring their own cool ideas to reality. I may not have all the web-based bells and whistles that I originally wanted for user-generated content, but other than to be a referree with distributing the rare spaces and times and peak hours, my job is still to get out of your way and let you shine.

One of the nice things about showing this to you is that you can let me know where you see conflicts between the events that you would most like to see. Of course it will be impossible to honor all requests, but we aim to please.

Sorry for the relative dearth of tech programming right now, but we still have more than seven months left. Never fear, our Head of Tech Programming, last year's Conchair Aaron Thul, is on the job. Once again ArsTechnica will be filling a room almost around the clock. UHACC told me at the last Penguicon they'll want to give presentations this year, too. In past years, at a certain point, the whole tech track would sort of spontaneously self-assemble out of dozens of independent volunteers. It could have been a little more organized. Now that tech-geek and extroverted people-person extraordinaire Aaron Thul is Head of Tech Programming, it will be a much more organized process to ensure we don't have too much of one tech topic, and make sure we have enough practical and not too much theoretical.

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