What are the chances of losing your Wi-Fi Internet connection at a GeekFest? That is exactly what happened, in good "un-organized" fashion on Thursday night (October 21) at The Shelter. It took a lot of anxious faces and running around to get it back up and running. But precious time was lost in hooking up with the occupied West Bank town of Nablus and talking to blogger Sara.
The sixth GeekFest to be held in Dubai opened its heart and wallets to help save seven-year-old Ola Abu-Jamous. Little Ola, from the occupied West Bank town of Tulkarem, needs urgent brain surgery that can only be carried out in Florence. GeekFest "un-organizer" Alexander McNabb put it this way: on his blog Fake Plastic Souks: "Little Ola will die unless she gets the operation she needs." He also announced that $1,000 will be donated from the GeekFest Chest. Funds can be donated directly through the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund website.
|Gerald Donavan and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque image being auctioned|
But what is GeekFest? I was wondering just that, exactly a year ago to the day, when planning to attend my first GeekFest with trepidation. I was on
But now, excitement and anticipation mount weeks before a GeekFest is held every two months. It peaks once Alexander (@AlexanderMcnabb) publishes the list of proposed talks on his blog Fake Plastic Souks. I even managed to fly to Beirut last February to attend the first GeekFest held in the Lebanese capital and was mentioned in absentia at the second one in May.
Although I'll get rapped on the knuckles by Alex for saying this, GeekFest is the biggest, most interesting and fun tweetup. It’s where you meet virtual friends and catch up with many you don’t see in the two months in between. It’s where the virtual world joins
It is difficult to explain what GeekFest is to someone who is not on a Social Media platform (see, I’m already into "geek speak"!!!). The first time I mentioned it in front of friends, they said, "Oh, but that's for boring people, the nerds..."
The GeekTalks, which are an important part of the evening, started as four 15-minute presentations. But they always overrun, because of the interesting subjects they tackle and the Q&A sessions that follow. Last night, there would have been five had we been able to link up with Sara (@sarsour).
Gerald Donavan (@gerald_d) kicked off the GeekTalks by explaining how his 44,876,017,865 pixels landscape of Dubai broke the world record for the largest digital photograph; that his Dubai Fountains video on YouTube has had over two million views; and how every 5.4 seconds, someone clicks play on one of his videos about Dubai. Oh, and he's only been taking photographs for the past year! Speak of going viral -- on which he also gave tips.
|Samer Karam talks Entrepreneurship|
Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, a foremost figure in web development through his company Flip Media, was the last speaker. His GeekTalk on the fundamental
|Alex and Liliane|
Beirut-based visual artist Naeema Zarif is always with us at GeekFest, although not yet in person. Naeema has been designing the posters for GeekFests since February and never disappoints. I have been collecting them since. (Naeema, I got you some too.)
|Mohammad AlHuraiz and Nick R|
|@Lhjunkie showing off the hand that shook Joi Ito's at GITEX|
It's getting late. I, as many others, look forward to a second year of GeekFests. I leave you with some of the pictures from earlier tonight...