2020: Everything Is Virtual

It’s like the dystopian future arrived out of the blue. From one year to the next we went from holing up in overly air-conditioned hotel ballrooms and actually meeting our fellow meatbags in the flesh, to huddling in our pods and staring at the screens. I’m looking for the taps to hook me in to the Matrix at this point.

But if you haven’t yet received your flying car or your daily Soma ration, you can still take comfort in one thing: all of the hacker conferences are streaming live, as if it were some fantastic cyber-future! In fact, as we type this, someone is telling you how to print your way to free drinks on USAir flights as part of HOPE’s offering, but the talks will continue for the next few days. (Go straight to live stream one.)

If retrocomputing is more your thing, Saturday marks the start of the virtual Vintage Computer Festival West of which Hackaday is a proud sponsor. (Here’s the schedule.)

And next weekend is DEF CON in Safe Mode with Networking. While we can totally imagine how the talks and demo sessions will work, the Villages, informal talks and hack-togethers based on a common theme, will be a real test of distributed conferencing.

OK, I’ll admit it: I really miss getting together with folks and having the truly random conversations that pre-scripted teleconferences just don’t seem to facilitate. Lobbycon suffers in lockdown. But if you’ve never been to any of these events, and you just want a taste of the talks and presentations at least, now’s your chance to get in for free. And if you like what you see, and if the virus lets us, we’ll see you in person next summer!

6 thoughts on “2020: Everything Is Virtual

  1. “OK, I’ll admit it: I really miss getting together with folks and having the truly random conversations that pre-scripted teleconferences just don’t seem to facilitate. Lobbycon suffers in lockdown.”

    Just pretend you’re in an updated version of Second Life™ with VR.

  2. Agree with the last paragraph. I hate it and it’s super alienating / depressing.

    A “virtual conference” is like watching a series of TED talks or participating in a Twitch chatroom. I feel bad for the organizers, but I’d rather they canceled things and distributed slides instead of pretending that they were still putting on an event. The prospect of paying for one is insulting.

    If I remember right, The Matrix wasn’t an aspirational film; most of its human characters wanted to do away with a world of constant telepresence and dehumanization.

    Plus, attending a hastily-assembled online DEFCON? That just doesn’t sound safe.

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