Column: A Small Slice of ArbCamp 2008

The best quotes in life are fake

On Thursday evening, the second floor of Cottage Inn Pizza on William Street in downtown Ann Arbor was cram-packed with geeks and non-geeks alike. But it seemed like mostly geeks – propeller heads, techies, code-freaks, whatever term of endearment you prefer. They were there for ArbCamp 2008, a gathering meant to stimulate discussions around topics mutually agreed upon, on the fly at the event, and to promote connections in the tech community that might prove constructive. If the breaking news of the day – UM’s purchase of the old Pfizer site to establish a medical research hub – represents a big box approach to economic development, then ArbCamp 2008 is a grass-roots approach.

ArbCamp 2008 had initially been conceived by its organizers as an open-meeting type event focused around a general theme of publishing to be held in October. But when it became apparent to them that a variety of external work and family obligations would make their intended October event date hard to pull off, they elected to postpone to the spring. Dug Song figured it could be worth holding a similar event anyway. Brian Kerr, who’d had a hand in organizing the previous year’s ArbCamp 2007 as well as ArbCamp 2008, gave Song the green light to use the logo and name, and Song ran the idea up the digital flagpole to see if anyone would salute. Standing at attention on the registration list were quickly more than 100 people, the maximum that SPARK Central could accommodate. SPARK, which had offered their space initially, then arranged to secure the second floor of Cottage Inn, so that the wait-listed registrants could attend.

My event coverage represents a fairly narrow slice of the whole happening. It takes the form of photos with fake quotes as captions. Enjoy.

Fake Quote: "So anyway, I use my claw, pay attention now, I use my claw of death to just reach into the screen to the user, will you please look at what I'm showing you ... "

Fake Quote: "I'm not going to that session on SEO, in fact, I'd rather jab a needle in my eye, just like this."

Fake Quote: "No, see, a digital handshake is super-fast, watch I'll show you."

Fake Quote: "We're not stealin' it, we're just transferin' it for a little while, heh. Get it?"

Fake Quote: "Shouldn'ta spray-painted all those vines on the brick, dude. With Ann Arbor's new anti-graffiti ordinance, somebody's gonna have to clean that up."


Fake Quote: "Oh that is too weird, I can feel your hand grabbing the top part of my brain."

Fake Thought: "Maybe I'll just see if I can stare them down. Yep. It's working."


  1. By Nancy Shore
    December 19, 2008 at 11:01 am | permalink

    Oh my gosh. This is so funny!! Thanks for the laugh, Dave.

  2. December 19, 2008 at 11:34 am | permalink

    See also Mark Maynard’s (real) coverage of this event:

  3. December 19, 2008 at 11:40 am | permalink

    It was a great time! Sorry I only got to see you briefly, Dave!
    Those quotes are great, btw!!
    PS: Nice seeing you, too, Nancy :)

  4. By Linda Diane Feldt
    December 19, 2008 at 12:59 pm | permalink

    Now that’s original reporting. Thanks for the laugh.

  5. December 19, 2008 at 4:10 pm | permalink

    What the Internets are saying:

    Other ArbCamp 08 photos (in need of fake quotes):

  6. December 19, 2008 at 4:17 pm | permalink

    Other folks on twitter used a slightly different twitter hashtag (which @arbcamp asked us to use in the first place), so see also:

  7. By Dave Askins
    December 19, 2008 at 6:07 pm | permalink

    Question for Dug Song or anyone else who know ins and outs of Flickr: Even when I am logged in to a Flickr account the photos to which Dug has linked don’t seem to offer opportunity to comment. Why is that?

  8. December 20, 2008 at 2:37 am | permalink

    All of the photos posted by Dug have been restricted (by him) to disallow comments. The one photo having the “arbcamp08″ tag — as of this writing — that allows comments is the first item, by Ed Vielmetti.

    In other words: the no-comment restriction has nothing to do with the tag, but rather with the person who has posted the majority of the items therein.

  9. By Dave Askins
    December 20, 2008 at 12:04 pm | permalink

    “The one photo having the “arbcamp08″ tag — as of this writing — that allows comments is the first item, by Ed Vielmetti”

    Okay, well, could be an oversight. I was giddy as a schoolgirl based on the implied invitation to supply fake quotes to an entire Flickr set, but when it wasn’t clear to me how to do that, I quickly became distracted. Now, without even checking first, I think I’ll try one for Ed’s picture: “No, dude, the lyric goes, hop on the bus, Gus, not get on The Ride, Clyde.”

  10. December 20, 2008 at 10:13 pm | permalink

    Sorry about that, guys – bad Flickr defaults (or good, depending on how you feel about comment spam ;-). Feel free to comment / add notes now to your heart’s content.

    To round out multimedia coverage of the event, be sure to check out David Buchanan’s ArbCamp 08 videos as well:

    Next up: keep an eye (or your RSS reader) on :-)

  11. By Dave Askins
    December 20, 2008 at 10:38 pm | permalink

    Thanks for switching on commenting for those photos, Dug. They’re now properly littered with fake quotes.