The 'Centre for The Magic Arts' in London is probably better known as the home and museum of The Magic Circle. On Friday this intimate venue will play host to the London sessions of the first day of <HEAD>, the global virtual web conference.
Over the weekend speakers from across the world will broadcast their sessions over the web and attendees can view them from anywhere through their web browser. In addition to the obvious green benefits this innovative use of web technologies has allowed conference organiser Aral Balkan to assemble a stellar list of international web experts and luminaries.
Over the summer I worked with Aral to overcome some of the temporal hurdles of organising a global event that spans all timezones and just for fun spans the European DST changeover as well. Definitely check out his schedule map app if you haven't already. It's a great piece of mashup work that solves the local timing issues by connecting Google Maps API for Flash, Yahoo! Flickr API, Yahoo! GeoPlanet API and the Olson database via pytz. Nice work.
Preserving the all-important social aspect of conference going has been cleverly solved by assembling local conference hubs in London (UK), Brighton (UK), Manchester (UK), Fribourg (Germany), and San Francisco (USA). Speakers and attendees can meet and mix in each of the locations.
I'll be attending the London hub on Friday and there are still places left at the Magic Circle is you want to go to. You'll need to get yourself a ticket then register to attend the hub. I'm looking forward to the London sessions from Tim O'Reilly, my friends Seb and Carlos, and I'm intrigued by Jeremy Keith's session on 'The Long Web'. This sounds like it may be applying some Long Now thinking to the ephemeral subject of data preservation. On Saturday I will be in London again for the second annual Greenwich Time Symposium. If you are attending either event please drop me a line.