How An Anonymous Person Helped Me to Attend The iCommons Summit in Croatia
Credit: Rebecca Kahn
This map shows the number of countries from where representatives attended the recently concluded iCommons Summit in Croatia. 58 countries, to be precise. That’s an amazing worldwide distribution. Click here to see a bigger map.
Now, that number would probably have been half had it not been for some really generous sponsors. In addition to big organizations, there are individuals who helped out. An anonymous person donated $100,000 specifically to help iCommoners worldwide who otherwise couldn’t have made it to the summit on their own.
I was one of the beneficiaries. My entire trip costed around Rs.1.5 lakhs. I don’t think I could have afforded that on my own. My trip and accomodation was paid for. But I don’t even know the name of the person who helped me out.
Its amazing that at a time when people crave for publicity and aim to get the ‘bang for the buck’, here is a person who refuses to take in credit.
Here is a lovely thank you note by Steve Foerster, an American who was my room mate at Dubrovnik.
Another amazing fact is that this huge conference was organized by a small team of about 10 members. Most of them are located in Johannesburg and Berlin but they pulled off the event brilliantly in distant Croatia.
The Boat Trip Around the Islands
On the last day of the conference, we headed out on a 4 hour cruise around a few of the islands around Dubrovnik. Croatia has over 1100 islands out of which only 76 are inhabited.
We docked up at one of the remote islands and spent about an hour playing sea volleyball.
Here are photos from the trip.
The one thing that really caught my attention was that fantastic blue color of the sea. I have never seen the sea in such a rich shade of blue.
The view of the old town from the ocean. This is the same wall that protected the city from the Venetian attack about 500 years ago and partly defended the Serbian attack 16 years ago.
We saw a great replica of one of the traditional boats used centuries ago. These replica boats are very popular with the tourists and are quite expensive to hire.
Got Questions for the Second Life Founder?
I’m going to be interviewing the creator of Second Life, Cory Andrejka. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Do leave your name and I will mention in the podcast.
Also, lined up today are interviews with Larry Lessig, the father of Creative Commons, Stefan Magdalinkski, the CTO of Moo Cards, SJ, a key guy behind One Laptop Per Child program.
Update: Finished the interview with Cory. Got him earlier than expected. Will link up the interview once its up. If you have questions on Creative Commons, Moo Cards or OLPC, shoot them in.
(photo: Joi Ito)
Video of Bombing of Dubrovnik city by Serbians
I did a walking tour of the old town at Dubrovnik and its fabulous. People say that the old city retains the grandeur of yesteryear. It’s remarkable that this very same city was bombed pretty badly by the Serbians in 1991. The Serbians sieged the city for more than a month and the residents lived inside without running water and power. The entire city is within massive walls which are 10 feet thick.
I’m writing this from a building that got hit by the missiles. Take a look at this video to see the atrocious bombings of the Dubrovnik old city.
Here is how the city looks now.
The Croatians did a fabulous work in restoring it back. Its so good that if not for the video or the pictures of the bombing, its difficult to believe that it ever got attacked.
The Global Alcohol Remix
At the iCommons Summit, there are 300 participants coming in from over 50 countries. There was this cool initiative from the organizing folks who asked each participant to bring along a couple of bottles of local alcohol from their country. This was used on the ‘Welcome Drinks Get-together’ organized on day zero. Awesome idea. So, there was a rich mix of alcohol. It’s a shame that I didn’t catch a snap of the bottles. But here’s a photo of the get-together on the top of Revelin, a castle like building dating back to many centuries. (That’s me in the yellow tshirt talking with Yevgeny Morosov from Brussels Belarus.)
Photo: Hans Polsdoja
Skinny Dipping in the Sea at 2:00 AM
This one would rank in one of the crazier things that I’ve done. We return back to our hotel after finishing a music concert and a really late dinner at Dubrovnic. Me and a few friends, are pretty inebriated from the good Croatian beer. One of the guy said he is going to take a dip and the alcohol in us also made us join in.
So, off we go to the sea. At 2:00 am,the weather is cold and I’m sure the water is even colder. I was mentally prepared to brave the cold.
But I wasn’t prepared to what happened next. The three guys with me stripped down completely and dove in. And here I’m in my undies, suddenly feeling overdressed. The guys were from Europe and it seemed like a normal thing to do for them.
I thought for an awkward second and stripped down too and got into the water. Never in my life have I swam naked along with a bunch of guys. I’ll remember this for a long time.
And oh, there’s something brilliant about the sea. When you put your hand into the water and shake it hard, you’ll notice sparks of light in the water. It’s pitch dark and these sparks of light stand out brilliantly. Apparently, the algae in the water, when disturbed, let out chemicals which glow. Interesting. Also, the sea is very calm. There’s practically no waves at all. Just tiny ones like the ones we have in lakes in India.