Tag Archives: Trento

Festival of Economics (May 29 – June 2, 2008) in Trento

The program is very interesting! One more chance to plan some days to visit Trento!
The topic of the third edition (from 29 May to 2 June) is “Market and Democracy”. Check the program.

From festivaleconomia.it:
Paul Krugman, Lecturer in Economics and International Relations at the University of Princeton and the London School of Economics, leader writer for the “New York Times”, will reflect on how ideologies can condition the functioning of the markets; Paul Collier, Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford, will explain to us why African countries with a low income are failing to jump on the development bandwagon; Benjamin Friedman, Lecturer in Political Economics at the University of Harvard, will challenge the long tradition of thinking which suggests that economic wellbeing leads to serious moral consequences: from individualism to exploitation of the work of others and the disintegration of traditional social bonds; Luisa Diogo, currently Prime Minister of Mozambique, will illustrate her experience of government, whose efficacy has excited the interest of observers from all over the world; Egor Gaidar, Prime Minister of Russia in 1992 under Boris Yeltsin’s government and one of the first to lead Russia towards the free market, will explain the difficulties in the passage from the Soviet to the capitalist system; John Lloyd, journalist and leader writer for the “Financial Times”, will analyse the information scenario, in the face of a growing concentration of ownership of newspapers and television stations, both in Europe and in the USA.
These and many others will be joined by important figures in the Italian public debate, including among others Mario Monti, Guido Rossi, Francesco Giavazzi, Luciano Gallino, Sergio Marchionne and Piercamillo Davigo.

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Free course about GNU Linux in Trento

I helped Engineering With Borders to organized the course “Linux per tutti, tutti per GNU/Linux” (“Linux for all, and all for GNU/Linux”) (see page on TrentoWiki).
The available places were 25 (we were reserving place for students of non-scientific faculties) but we receive more requests so there will probably be another course in October.
Today there is first meeting which is open to everyone: at 18:30 Alberto Gistri of Golem Empoli will speak about “Software Libero” – Conoscere il Software Libero e le sue potenzialita’ sociali, culturali, economiche e tecniche.”.
Join in!


Italian Free Software Conference this weekend in Trento

Trento, 16-17-18 May 2008.
Check the program (in Italian) at confsl.org.
There will be an Invited talk by David Hakken of Indiana University “Free Software as Virtual Organization”, other very interesting talks and many local experiences by enterprises, school and public administration. And there will also be an OpenStreetMap mapping party in Trento.
I can only attend on Friday because on Saturday I’ll be in Milan for Sci.bzaar.net. See you there in one of the two occasions!

TrentoWiki.it, a wiki for the city of Trento

UPDATE: now also with videos of Trento and bloggers of Trento.
TrentoWiki logoSome time ago I started TrentoWiki.it. I opened TrentoWiki because I needed a place to store information about the places, the events, the many opportunities that this small charming city and its surroundings offer. Up to now it didn’t attract thousands of contributors but it is anyway a useful service at least for myself.

So, who can be interested in a Wiki about Trento?
(1) People who are going to come to Trento (because of a conference, such as the upcoming conference about Free Software (May 16, 2008), or BlogFest in Riva del Garda, or for working in a research centre or just for tourism) and might be able to find information in the wiki, and in fact one of the most accessed pages in “Cercare casa a Trento” (find house in Trento) and Photos of Trento), and
(2) people who lives in Trento and possibly don’t know about all the interesting stuff happening and available in the city.
So please share your local knowledge and insights and, please, be bold in editing TrentoWiki!

TrentoWiki is Mediawiki powered, just like Wikipedia.
The license is Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 which means that the knowledge created on the wiki can be reused legally elsewhere as long as attribution is given and the license remains the same; this means that even if I decide to close the wiki or anything else, all the content can be moved by anyone elsewhere.
TrentoWiki is opened to anonymous editing but you are certainly welcome to create an identity on the wiki.
For me running a wiki is also a very useful experiment, for example for experimenting with the challenge to be multilingual (there is a Category:English) which will be an issue also for the project of getting a wiki internal to my research institute adopted. And it is also an experiment because I’m curious to see if a wiki targeted to a small community can work even by reaching a critical mass of few users. We’ll see, and in the meantime, please do join TrentoWiki.it

BlogFest in Riva del Garda, 12-14 September 2008

Blogfest Wow, there will be a great blogfest in Riva del Garda on 12, 13, 14 September 2008!
Since it is very close to Trento, I’ll be able to attend all of it, great!
The Web site is at Blogfest.it and I really suggest you to come to Riva del Garda (a gorgeous small city!) and keep an eye on the blogfest. There will also be also 3 simultaneous Barcamps! I’ll post more details when the date is a little bit closer.
See you in Riva in September!

Report from the Information Architecture summit (day 1)

During the past weekend near Trento there were many interesting events: a conference about new media and communication “Creativita’ in video” in Rovereto, the South Tyrol Free Software conference 2007 with speakers from Google, Gnome, Samba, MIT, OpenOffice, in Merano and the second Italian summit on Information Architecture in Trento.
I decided to attend the latest and I was satisfied with the choice.

On Saturday we were more than 200 people, some of the speakers were from abroad and the summit was really worth, I really enjoyed it.

What follows is a short summary of the talks I found more interesting and, at the end, about the summit overall.

The summit was opened by Gianluca Salvatori, local minister for Research and Innovation of the Autonomous Province of Trento. I asked some people how they found his talk and many were surprised by it (“Wow, it was not the typical talk of a politician!”). In fact Salvadori knows a lot about innovation and research trend and research management (I suggest you to follow his very interesting blog, in Italian). Actually I was a bit disappointed, I think he could have been much more insightful and provocative but maybe he didn’t want to.

The opening keynote was given by Eric Reiss and was titled “Invention, Innovation, and the Future of IA”. It wanted to be a show and it largely was. I didn’t get entirely its points (is X innovation or invention?) but I got some laughs and this is already something.

“Confusi e felici: il Web 2.0 e le nuove sfide cognitive di Internet” by Cristina Lavazza – Andrea Fiacchi reported a small experiment (only 10 people) about how young and not-young people browse and find Web2.0 sites. The results were somehow as expected but the talk was very well given.

I liked a lot the talk by Luca Mascaro “UI per applicazioni Web 2.0: FaceTag”. He spoke about a small, but real case of participative redesign. The main interesting point is that he really did something and shared the process with us. Coming from academy, I’m really more willing to listen to people who did things and share their experience instead of people who instructs on how things should be done!

After the first part of the first day, I was asking myself: “what is the worst feature of Trentino research? Well, it is too much top-down. Maybe it would be much better to just finance lots of very small groups of young people like the ones we have seen presenting, without asking 200 pages of possible project in order to decide if it is worth financing it. Being more bottom-up and more fast in assigning (small amounts of) funds to many different small groups. Maybe this is another possible path, trying to reproduce the venture capital dynamism of Silicon Valley with public funds, I don’t know, it is not an easy task.

The afternoon was opened by Alessandra Cornero and her talk “Architettare per trovare: la documentazione della Pubblica Amministrazione in Rete” about how to make accessible documents created by the public sector. The current situation is too fragmented, every administration builds from scratch and independently its information portals and architectures, sometimes well, sometimes not that well. People often resort to search engines but they cannot be used for reliable information (“is this the last applicable law?”). She was suggesting that investing in human-edited catalogs should not be seen as a cost but as an investment, because they let citizens save time and find “reliable” information. I asked her “what about one of the mantra of Web2.0, participation, in this case involving citizens in the loop? Are you thinking about this? For example public sector sites could display on every page a widget by which citizens could “report as inaccurate” a certain information. Or on the other extreme the public sector could reverse all its (already electronic) documents on a wiki, with a big disclaimer on top such as “this information is not necessarily accurate”, and let citizens integrate it, comment on it, build on it…” Well, the answer told me that there is still a lot of work to do. And this of course is an opportunity.

Jess McMullin, with “The Business of Experience”, gave as another fancy presentation. By fancy I mean “lots of cool full screen images and lots of single word slides and black background”. I don’t have much experience with this kind of presentations. I’m more used to see boring, very textual, white background, academic presentation. I’m not sure I get a lot from these fancy presentations, at the end I’m often left wondering “wow, that was cool, but what I remember of his points?”. I’m also a bit curious about how you learn creating presentations like these. Just by viewing a lot of similar presentations? And how long does it take to create such a presentation (more or less than boring, textual ones)?

Alberto Mucignat, one of the organizer, tried a fancy presentation about “SEO & IA”. I didn’t follow it too much but he got an applause when suggesting we should move, after Web2.0 and Web3.0, to Web5.0, as an homage to Fibonacci. This is the picture that opens this post in fact.

Franco Carcillo and Vincenzo Mania presented “Tag per i cittadini: il caso TaggaTO”. TaggaTO is a very very interesting service provided by the city of Torino, which is really become an hub of innovation in Italy, see for example TorinoValley and the fact Sterling moved to Torino for 6 or 8 months). The service TaggaTO is a service of social bookmarking by which Torino citizens can tag resources provided by the local administration, in a way very similar to del.icio.us. Some of the questions they raised were: can classification of public services be an object of sharing? Is there a conflict between burocratic/law terms and popular jargon for tags? Which kind of monitoring is needed on tags? Also very interesting the fact they didn’t ask to Torino already web2.0 savvy citizens to switch over TaggaTO but they let them use their social bookmarking services (such as del.icio.us) and just tag resources there with “for:taggato” so that TaggaTO can fetch the tagged resources. I wonder if they were already the target of some tag spam attack.
The talk was very interesting, but not fancy style, which I actually preferred because there were a lot of interesting content in it.

Peter Van Dijck gave us the concluding talk for the first day “Global IA: How to Organize Global Websites”. It was very interesting and very fancy, but I was too tired. Some concepts I might want to search on his blog later on were: in Craiglist Dubai (women seeking women?!?), Google Korea and animations, Dewey vs the Maori, …

And then there was the summit dinner which is something people always look for when they come to conferences in Italy. It was good. ;-)

Festival of Economics in Trento, be welcome!

From 30 May to 3 June, Trento will host the 2nd Festival of Economics. This time the topic is “Human capital, social capital”. Thirty thousand people are expected. So if you want to come to Trento, be welcome! Contact me via CouchSurfing and I’ll be delighted to host you, but please read the campaign for a more open CouchSurfing and sign the petition.
The festival will be open by a talk of Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge about “Social capital as an economic institution” and will be closed by the Nobel prize-winner Gary Becker. Have a look at the entire Festival of Economy program, there are many big names. I have to say I’m not satisfied at all with the program. It is very boring and institutional, while the topic of social capital and relationship-based economy is so interesting, exciting and intellectually challenging. And there are a lot of ministers (6, with the Prime Minister Romano Prodi) and a lot of ex-ministers (5, plus many more politicians). It seems much more the festival of the politics than the festival of the economics.
Anyway, at least there will be the Minister of University and Research Fabio Mussi, the Minister for Public Administration Reform and Innovation, Luigi Nicolais and the Chairman of Microsoft Italia and Vice Chairman of the Microsoft Corporation Umberto Paolucci. So that we will be able to ask them about the monstrous deal between Microsoft and Italy (signed by the 2 previously mentioned ministers). More information about the still-secret deal are available thanks to Associazione per il Software Libero: Spunti di riflessione sulle politiche d’innovazione nel settore ICT and Uno studio approfondito sui recenti accordi tra Governo e Microsoft.

Cool Trashware Video

Incredibly cool video about what “Free Geek” is doing. Free Geek is a Non-profit community organization providing free computers and education to those in need through the reuse and recycling of old computers.
This is what we are trying to do here in Trento as well with the “ComputeRinati” association (in general this activity in Italy is called Trashware), but hey we are nowhere near what Free Geek is accomplishing.

Link to “Free Geek” Video
And since I’m there, Microsoft just shipped Vista, the long-awaited operating system that does nothing that was not already possible with MacOSX since some years (and actually also with GNU/Linux with just some extra tweaking). But Vista requires a lot of RAM and resources actually forcing a lot of people to buy a new computer and dump the old one (for example there is a report claiming that “the system’s full range of tools would be available to less than 5 per cent of Britain’s PC market”). Don’t you think Microsoft should be taken responsible for the quantity of e-waste it is causing with the release of this deadly operating system?
Follow my suggestion: take the chance to switch to GNU/Linux, Ubuntu for example. Feel free to ask me suggestions on how to do it, there is surely a Linux User Group close to you willing to help and to share knowledge.
[via an email of Paolo Palmerini in the Trashware mailing list]