Chicago Blogger Dinner

I was certainly out way past my bed time. I do have a handful of pictures to add to AKMA’s inventive approach to the visual record. More than anything else, they confirm why Charlotte is the one in charge of recording events for posterity in our family.

Earlier in the day Buzz and I spent a good part of the afternoon talking about knowledge work and knowledge management. Next company I start, I’m putting him in charge of business development and sales (no offense to Rick)

After a quick trip to Buzz’s hotel we headed off to Ben Pao to find Rick Klau and Eric Heels already at the bar. I’m pretty sure that expression on Rick’s face is my limited skills as a photographer, not an indication of how long he’d been at the bar.

Here’s Ernie in a classic dueling digicams shot during dinner.

And finally we have Eric, Barry Bayer, and Rick. Based on their expressions, I’m guessing Buzz was in the middle of one of his pitchs of ActiveWords vs. sliced bread 🙂 Or, AKMA was expounding on why the Da Vinci code isn’t his first choice for sound theological education.

Night Out.

I figured that everyone else would have filled megabytes of bandwidth with jolly pictures of boisterous, enthusiastic bloggers at Ben Pao yesterday evening. I figured that by the time I got around to blogging about it, everyone would already know. That s what It thought; but I was wrong again. Sure, John mentions it, but no full account of the conversational free-for-all has yet appeared.

So I was wrong about everyone else, and I m not the guy to supply what is lacking. I did arrive early, in time to spend fifteen minutes or so at the bar with Rick, Buzz, Jim, Erik, Barry Bayer, and John. Then at dinner, I sat in the same corner of the table almost the whole dinner, in between Jenny and Jim (with Jack on the yonder side of Jim).

I had a very helpful conversation with Jenny about my upcoming keynote at the Theology and Pedagogy in Cyberspace conference. I m working on an argument that the changing information environment leaves most theological teachers persistently losing ground to circumstances that obstruct or deflect their attempts to engage new technologies productively. (That reminds me that I owe my mother-in-law a post about why even small rural churches should have websites, and what they should do, but I won t get to that tonight. Sorry, Pat! I ll try tomorrow.)

Case in point: almost all scholars who now conduct theological research online learned the craft of research in a physical environment. I describe some of the research strategies I used as a seminarian, some of the cues I looked for when seeking reliable information. Very few of those strategies transfer effectively to online research. But now many of my students conduct a great proportion of their research online; how shall we help shape their research initiatives, and how shall we learn from them how we might better teach (and conduct our own research)?

I mentioned to Jenny my seeded-search idea (middle of the linked post), and she suggested some helpful follow-ups, and put RSS into my mind as another tool I might invoke in the discussion.

Then Buzz came over and cleared Jim McGee out of his chair, and we talked a long time about David, Doc, PopTech, ActiveWords, Central Florida, and Pentecostal theology. Then he cleared me out so he could talk with Jenny; I fell into conversations with Jack and Rick, mostly, the rest of the way. Rick wants me to read the new Greg Iles book, and I agreed to add it to my list (but I didn t tell Rick how long the list was).

Before Jim took Jack and me home, I had a chance to talk with Ernie, and even begin a polite argument about pseudonymity, before Jim dragged me home.

People were taking pictures and comparing Treos all through dinner; I m surprised that no photos have showed up online yet. I did manage to get copies of several shots that Jenny attempted with her (flash-less) Treo:

That s me, on the right, taking a bite of the delicious garlic tofu in that lower picture.

[AKMA s Random Thoughts]