Death by PowerPoint night!

9 Mar, '07

Most of us arrived late, including yours truly. The traffic was a killer, and getting out of Budaiya at 6.45 does NOT guarantee you arriving in Adliya at 7! So I arrived at about 7.20, the others followed a little after that. There were 3 people at Al-Bareh Café on-time, to shame us! So I apologise for the inconvenience, and next time I promise to leave at least half an hour earlier.

Mohammed Al-Kabour presenting

So we arrived, and Sadeq brought his little dinky projector; except that the bloody thing did not like my Mac! That pissed me off. I spent quite some time sexing up my presentations with really nice animated transitions and the like, only to succumb in the end to export them into PowerPoint which screwed up the animations and formatting a bit as I had to use Sadeq’s PC (Ugh!) to do my presentations.

It was a good turnout in the end. We had 11 bloggers in there and a good amount of interest in the presentations. The “featured presentation” was to a visiting friend from Ireland – Mohammed Al-Kabour – who talked to us about his experiences in activism and lobbying and showed how we might adapt and adopt some of the tried and tested methods in our own endeavours.

Both Mohammed Al-Maskati and Sadeq Al-Shehabi did excellently in their presentations; the first with a report on the bloggers’ advocacy, the first such thing of many – I hope – that we will get ourselves involved in, where he summarised the first day of the BYSHR’s workshop; while Sadeq shared with us some research he did in blogging platforms and hosting plans.

My presentations were about the state of the Bahraini blogosphere and sharing with the group a technical tip on how to optimise WordPress as well as how to turn on the MySQL query cache based on Jeremy Zawodny’s article in Linux Magazine.

Bloggers’ Gathering at Al-Bareh Café

We ended the session by my floating the idea to form a Bloggers’ Society and register it with the Ministry of Social Affairs, an idea originally suggested by a Butterfly and which received an almost universal support from those present. Please do let us know if you support/oppose this idea. We would love to hear from you your thoughts on how we can go forward. The basic premise is that we would like to have an infrastructure that legally can support a blogger should s/he fall in trouble because of court cases brought against them and indeed to provide a legal entity that can organise various activities normally not possible outside of that realm.

If you would like to download Mohammed Maskati’s and my presentations, you could do so from here. I’ll get the other two presentations from Shehabi soon and will put those up here as well for you to download and update this post with a link to them when they are ready.

Sadeq also brought his video camera with him and shot some of the proceedings. He will give me the tape which I will edit and upload when ready.

I asked for some feedback about this new format from those present, and they almost universally said that we packed in far too many presentations! Which, in hindsight, is true. We had five presentations! So next time I promise that I will ask for just one single presentation to be made, maybe two as a maximum and keep both to not take more than 15 minutes of the time, then we can enjoy just chillin’ and chattin’ and eatin’! I would like to thank everyone present this time for their patience. We’re learnin’ and listenin’ too.

We need more people to attend, so please do consider attending next time. As always, we meet on the first Thursday of the month from 7pm to 9pm at Al-Bareh Café in Adliya.

note: the link has been fixed and the archive updated with all the five presentations. thanks for the heads up.

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Comments (18)

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  1. BuZain says:

    I’d like to thank you Mahmood for organizing such a wonderful gathering. I really enjoyed the time I spent listening to the presenters and involving in the discussions followed. Quite sensational for a first-timer 🙂

    I believe reducing the number of the presentations would be a good move. I personally prefer spending the majority of the time engaging in structured discussions with the attendees. This drives me to suggest that we enrich the experience by having a discussion theme for each gathering in addition to the presentations. Mind you, I just love structured gatherings and believe that the outcomes are much more beneficial.

    Thanks again to you and the rest of the presenters for your highly appreciated efforts.

  2. amal says:

    It was a lovely gathering. I found it very educational and interesting. Al-Kabour’s presentation was fantastic!
    Thanks for organizing it, Mahmood.

  3. moodz says:

    hats off to you mahmood! Thank you Thank you Thank you for taking the efforts and time to putting such a wonderful thing up together..

    Keep it up!

  4. Rancher says:

    So you organized this, I’m impressed. I’m sorry I can’t visit everyday so forgive me if I missed something but why is your gag on again? Also, if you might educate me a little are there ways to get a blog out of countries that are doing everything in their power to stop it?

  5. BinShehab says:

    Thank’s for all attendees and presenters, I wish to see more in the future, as discussed in the gathering it’s a learning curve for us to know the needed subject that we need to address during the gathering, Bloging and technology is very wide subject to speak about, unless there is a focus on a specific topic it can some time waste the time and the efforts.
    IMOHO Structure gathering is more efficient and productive.
    We need to have a poll on the next topic for the next gathering so we can preparer our self to delver a short to the point presentation.
    We discussed allot of things and allot of idea was generated; I think we need to come with the points so we don’t forget about them,

    Mahmood,
    Can you come with an action plan for the next gathering please?
    Can you create a poll on the subject?
    I was disappointed that the iMac can’t talk to the projector? Why is that, can you dig in to it? I was thinking of switching to iMac but knowing what happen last night I am begging to change my mind.
    I sent the PPT by email; you can post them at your convince.
    Thank you for organizing everything.

  6. Palforce says:

    Salam all,

    Great work people. I’m planning for a meeting in Jordan for Jordanian Bloggers and thank you for all the tips you presented.

    I could not download the presentation from the link you posted!

    Salam,

    Khaled

  7. can we talk says:

    We ended the session by my floating the idea to form a Bloggers’ Society and register it with the Ministry of Social Affairs

    none of my business really, but i have a few questions.. something for you to ponder..

    wouldn’t that make you more controllable?

    and wouldn’t it conflict with blogging anonymously? (because the ministry will want to know your membership)

    wouldn’t the society be held responsible for the actions (and spoken opinions) of its members? (would you want to be, given that some will have extremely radical opinions?) whereas a newspaper has control over the content of its writers columns and is therefore responsible, the society would have no control over the blogs of its members

    wouldn’t that give them more leeway into controlling the content of your blogs?

    and on the other hand, what would be the advantages to to you members over what you have now?

    again i apologize for butting in.. but Pandora’s box comes to mind….

  8. Bahrainiac says:

    I just saw you on “Special Report with Brit Hume” on FoxNews!! Just Bahraini just got worldwide publicity!

    Well Done!

  9. mahmood says:

    Thanks all. And kudos to you all who made the gathering happen. This is the first of many in the future and suggestions are appreciated to make the gathering even more successful.

    Rancher: you can start here to find out why the gag is still on.

    binShehab: if you use cheap rubbish, don’t expect that to automatically run when connected to top of the line equipment. Things break at the weakest link in the chain. The MacBook identified and listed all the resolutions your projector is supposed to have reported to the computer through the cable, but it refused to display the signal it did get. So fix your crap before the next meeting!

    Noted on the other points.

    CWT: those were some of the very concerns raised. The intention; however, with over 700 Bahrain-based blogs (see presentation) there will always be that little schmuck who will be made example of, and no national nor international press will come to his rescue. The idea to have a society is that we would have a legal entity which will legally take up the issues and defend its members if need be. We – as bloggers – generally cannot be accepted as bona fide journalists, hence will be excluded from their trade organisations. We can certainly be taken under their wings and offered “honourary memberships” if the case demands it, but that will not happen to each and every one of us.

    Still, the points you raise and those that have been discussed last night are very real concerns that we need to discuss in depth.

    The “deal killer” for this whole thing is that none of us expressed an interest in (1) register our sites with the MoI, (2) declare our membership’s real names should there be members who would want to maintain their anonymity.

    What we ultimately decided is that we need to consult a lawyer to know the pros and cons and find any loopholes which we might take advantage of.

    Early days yet, and it’s only an idea.

    Bahrainiac: thanks for letting me know. I’ll see if I can get that footage and put it up here… Was the segment good?

  10. Bahrainiac says:

    The segment was well put togeather albeit short (2 minutes I believe) and followed the “GrapeVine” segment. Reporter Amy Kellogg was addressing the sectarian strife in the region and how it could affect Bahrain due to it’s Sunni Monarchy and Shia Majority. It did lean more towards the democratic movement and Shia marginalization. I’m trying to see if it will broadcast again today but no luck on their website. I thought it was a very good report, and her interview with you went very well and pushed the “Just Bahraini” theme quite a bit.

  11. mahmood says:

    Excellent! Thanks Amy!

  12. Abu Arron says:

    Greetings oh wise one. Please note the link to the presentations (gathering26.zip) is coughing up a 404!! :blush:

  13. Thanks for organising it, Mahmood. I would agree that there were too many presentations – we need to include some structured discussion as well as a bit of time for just chatting. And we must try to do some proper introductions – not just of names but blogs too! Anyway, thanks again.

  14. mahmood says:

    Abu Arron, the file is actually there to download now, I mistakenly put it in the wrong directory!

    BB, yes I agree and noted.

  15. Hisham says:

    I wanted to attend, but I got tickets to last night’s Spring Festival event (the Sengalese singer–was really good.)

    Thanks for the wrap up of the meet though, mahmood, very informative.

  16. Count me in man 😉

    Cheers!

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