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Vancouver's Natty U-Party! (Part 5)

This is part of an ongoing series about Ubuntu Vancouver's U-Party "A Celebration of Ubuntu and Unity", held on June 17th 2011. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)

No U-Party (Ubuntu party) is complete without Ubuntu's famous cocktail, the Ubuntini.

We feature Ubuntinis at our parties and we offer them both in "native" form and modified form (without alcohol). To keep things simple for our bartender and to keep the party flowing, Ubuntu Vancouver's U-Party Whal Crew opted to pre-mix to the exact specifications called for by the original recipe:

We were delighted that most party-goers tasted this magical Ubuntu elixir, and we hope that they'll tell others about the experience, especially their local bartender. That is, if they remember it ;)

Get your official Ubuntini here. We hope you'll raise a glass for Ubuntu at your next party!

I will be sharing some more highlights of our U-Party in upcoming posts. Thanks for reading.

Photos courtesy of Mark Cariaga and rrnwexec. CC-BY-SA.

Vancouver's Natty U-Party! (Part 4)

This is part of an ongoing series about Ubuntu Vancouver's U-Party "A Celebration of Ubuntu and Unity", held on June 17th 2011. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

Ubuntu Vancouver aims to create events that get noticed by people that have never heard of Ubuntu. True to the ethos of Ubuntu we desire to reach outward and embrace our fellow humans. Successful parties help us cross the chasm.

So, how does one create an event that is both celebrating inward and advertising outward at the same time? We have a few strategies, and I'll share some photos to illustrate.

First, we partied at a central location, in this case (and preferably) store-front space with lots of foot traffic. We've not always partied this way. We used to party in hacker labs and warehouse districts in the city. Though the spaces were functional, we were constantly battling obscurity. People didn't stumble upon parties there, and some people felt uncomfortable in some of the lesser-traveled parts of town and in spaces that looked like computer labs. Instant party killer.

Second, we wrapped the outside of the venue with Ubuntu Vancouver's Megabanner. Here's a photo of Whal Crew members Roscoe and Mark carefully taping it to the window, in preparation for a more "permanent" installation.

While we partied, hundreds of vehicles and pedestrians passed by wondering "What is that all about?" "What is this Ubuntu thing?" and, "Why wasn't I invited?" Megabanner is always pretty hard to miss.

We also hung a translucent screen against the window and projected interesting Narwhal and Ubuntu-themed videos. This created visual appeal inside the party and also added to the mystery on the street.

The video loop that we projected onto the screen during the party contained images that were designed to help people find us. Here's an example: a QR code that pointed to our website (projected backwards) for all who would pass by with "smart" phones.

We also projected some *not so* subliminal messages about Ubuntu, just for fun... What would you project onto the street if you were us?

I will be sharing some more highlights of our U-Party in upcoming posts. Thanks for reading.

Screen photos courtesy of Mark Cariaga. Banner photos courtesy of Charlene Tessier. CC-BY-SA.

Vancouver's Natty U-Party! (Part 3)

This is part of an ongoing series about Ubuntu Vancouver's U-Party "A Celebration of Ubuntu and Unity", held on June 17th 2011. (Part 1) (Part 2)

Some interesting feedback came in regarding our computer ban at U-Parties. I'll digress into a bit of philosophy and background before I continue with today's installment.

Ubuntu Vancouver aims to create events that everyone can enjoy, true to the ethos of Ubuntu, and true to the theme of Unity. So, while there is a very strict (and posted) computer ban at parties and purely social events, we do have many many other events where computers are present, welcomed, embraced, hugged, and sometimes even rescued. And we find that strategy works very well. Parties are lively and social as a result and our other events stay focused.

We also find that parties without computers are less intimidating for the people (that other 99%) that don't use Ubuntu. They join us and discover how friendly our community is, without having to wade through "an introduction to GNU, open source, free software, kernel-speak, whether Gnome is better than Plasma, and why wifi didn't work in Dapper Drake alpha 2." Frankly, they don't care. Read that last sentence three times please.

With computers safely left at home, what's the next step to making a U-Party an inviting and exciting place? The first thing I'd like to talk about is atmosphere. A party space should have a feeling of magic, almost "other-worldly." One can achieve that in many ways, though in Vancouver we use a combination of simple lighting and visuals.

Here is the view that party goers saw as they entered the venue:

Purple, orange, black: The colours of Ubuntu. Balloons and lights. These are very easy ways to achieve mood. We asked crew members to donate lights and projectors. We wrapped parts of the venue with purple and orange plastic cloth. We printed Ubuntu Vancouver signage

and we spread our 11.04 CD's (thanks Canonical!) around the venue. We kept the lights dim.

It was a shoe-string budget (isn't it always?) but I think the result exceeded the means.

One thing that worked quite well was the projection of our UVLC party logo on the wall. We'll have to include even more projectors next time ;)

I will be sharing some more highlights of our U-Party in upcoming posts. Thanks for reading.

Photos courtesy of Mark Cariaga. CC-BY-SA. Please give attribution to Mark who is an awesome supporter of Ubuntu and an all around great guy!

Vancouver's Natty U-Party! (Part 2)

This is part of an ongoing series about Ubuntu Vancouver's U-Party "A Celebration of Ubuntu and Unity", held on June 17th 2011. (Part 1)

We call our parties "U-Party" to appeal to everyone, not just Ubuntu users (1). We do something else unique too. We forbid computers.

Have you ever been to a party that's humming along, lots of interesting conversation, great times, then someone turns on a TV? If you have, you'll appreciate why we party without our computers. Nine out of ten narwhals agree that there is no more effective way to kill a party than by introducing computer mediation.

Computer-mediated partying harms the oceans.

Help prevent a U-Party near you from going sideways. Steal our idea. Steal our sign. (2)

I will be sharing some more highlights of our U-Party in upcoming posts. Thanks for reading.

(1) 99% of the world's humans do not run Ubuntu, but many of them like parties.
(2) Sign CC-BY-SA. Please give attribution to UVLC, whale by Kirby.WA.

Ubuntu is...

It's summer time, and that can mean but one thing in Vancouver Canada: street festivals! As Ubuntu Vancouver travels from festival to festival this summer we will talk to thousands of people. Over 90% of them have never heard of Ubuntu. I consider this to be Bug #1 in my city (and maybe even yours). We aim to fix that, starting at home.

So, what do you tell someone about Ubuntu when all you have is 10 seconds or less of their scarce attention? What is the most startling, compelling, truthful, and interesting way to complete this sentence?

"Ubuntu is ______________________ ."

The goal is to make them want to become part of Ubuntu's diverse and lively community.

We have some ideas, but we'd love to hear yours and tap the wisdom of crowds. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Google is unhelpful in this regard. Try googling "Ubuntu is" and see what I mean.

Vancouver's Natty U-Party!

Last Friday evening, Vancouver (the city in Canada that really gets Ubuntu) threw a party in celebration of Ubuntu and Unity. We call our parties "U-Party" to appeal to everyone(1), not just Ubuntu users.

Over the course of the next few days I will be sharing some of the highlights (at least the ones that I'm allowed to share). I will also share some of the ideas that helped make this party special.

Here's a start. This was the party logo we projected for the world to see! The logo was animated to spin during the party, which actually was an even more interesting thing after an Ubuntini or two :) I am told that the logo looks like this... http://ubuntuone.com/p/10iV/

(1) Remember, 99% of the world uses other OS'es (that don't respect freedom), and we want to bring fun into their lives too! We are all human.

The World Needs To Hear You

Ubuntu Community Week is your chance to learn about how Ubuntu communities and LoCo teams work. It's also your chance to showcase the great work your Ubuntu group is doing to help people find Ubuntu, to grow your community, and to make events even more awesome!

We have a few slots lefts for presenters, but not many! So, if you have a good Ubuntu story to tell please head on over to the UCW wiki page and nominate yourself to spread your wisdom.

The world needs to hear you!

Do You Watch Ubuntu?

There is a very *very* interesting set of data over at DistroWatch that pertains to Ubuntu, the world's most popular free operating system, and the project with "an ethos worth spreading."

I highly recommend that you head over right now and check it out.

I won't spoil the surprise, but you might be entertained by knowing that our favourite platform has a commanding market lead. I hope you'll share your thoughts...

Ubuntu: Install Community First

A new Ubuntu user lives in your city, your community. He's decided to install and use Ubuntu. He's writing about it.

Meet Tony Bradley, columnist for PC World's Business Center, fellow Human. Tony is conducting a "30 Days With Ubuntu"1 experiment. Tony has decided to try Ubuntu and to report on the ease-of-use and ease-of-switch from his perspective as "an avid, loyal Windows user since Windows 3.0." Tony is clearly amongst the ~93% of the market that is on the other side of the chasm.

Tony is struggling. I must admit that as I read his daily articles (now on Day 6), I shudder. My favourite operating system is apparently letting him down. Why, oh why?

Put yourself in Tony's shoes. You've decided to take a trip to a new city called "Ubuntu". You've just arrived here, and you're looking for guide posts and directions. You're lost.

Luckily, others have arrived before you, and they've produced a map to help you find what you need. Tragically, you don't know these people exist.

We have a saying in Vancouver Canada (home of my favourite LoCo): "Install Community First". This comes from a realization that no user transplanted from another system (or city) can possibly grasp Ubuntu and all of its nuances without a helpful human guide or two. There's too much noise (and not enough signal) out there.

I don't know Tony. But I do know why he's struggling so much. He forgot to install community. In fact he never knew it existed in the first place. How would he have known, since it doesn't exist in the proprietary world that he's used to? Frankly, this is our bug to fix, one city at a time, block-by-block.

"Houston, we have a problem." Can you help us on the ground?

1. The original series title includes the "L" word. I've dropped it for the sake of amplifying the signal.

Ubuntu Community Week: It's New!

Did you know that we have several great online learning opportunities happening during this (Oneiric Ocelot) cycle?

One that I'm particularly jazzed about is Ubuntu Community Week.

Do you use Ubuntu? Do you know at least 30 other people in your town/city that do? Can you find them? Can you connect and share tips & tricks and collaborate with them? How do you get started?

Or, are you already a part of an active community or established team? Is it growing? Are there Ubuntu events that you can join nearby? Do you want to help your community team be even bigger, stronger, faster?

We have designed this brand new event to help you:

  • Find your community,
  • Participate in your community,
  • Create your community,
  • Energize your community, and
  • Elevate your community to new heights!

This event is scheduled to take place from Mon 18 July - Fri 22 July, 2011 on Lernid (your free online learning tool).

Help shape the event, or stay abreast of our plans by checking out the Ubuntu Community Week wiki page, and let's get Ubuntu community growing together!

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