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AFTERBURN REPORT 2002

Technology

The Burning Man Technology Team continued to grow and evolve in its typically organic fashion throughout 2002. Just as the Burning Man event had to rapidly improve and develop infrastructure to accommodate the tremendous growth of the population of Black Rock City, the Tech Team has had to rapidly improve and develop systems to accommodate the growth of that infrastructure. The many departments within our organization have different but overlapping needs for information technology. Trying to meet all of these needs, minimize the duplication of effort, and maintain as much interoperability and intergroup communication as possible, proves to be no simple task.

This team has proven up to the challenge, with significant accomplishments in many arenas, as a visit to the specific reports of the Web Team, the Database Team, the SysAdmin Team, and the Extranet Team will show. To address the ever-increasing scope and complexity of the organization's systems, we recently launched an Engineering Team, within which members of the Database, Extranet, and Web Teams can coordinate their ideas and their efforts. Look for a report from the Engineering team in 2003.

Another development of the past year is our deepening understanding of the role that technology will play in the future of Burning Man , both the annual event and the year-round participant community. Burner communities continue to spring up around the country and the world, as is evidenced by the swelling numbers of our Regional Contacts. They rely on the internet as a primary tool for communication and connection. The Burning Man organization recognizes this, and has made an increased commitment to the establishment of community-related resources. 2003 promises to see a tremendous amount of activity toward this end, as we move beyond the event and into the world.

On a more immediate level, the Technology Team made a recent attempt to strengthen our own social connectivity in the form of a good old-fashioned party. Timed to coincide with the San Francisco Decompression event, we held our first soon-to-be annual Geek-Out-Freak-Out at the Burning Man office. The event served as a thank you to the folks who had been helping throughout the year, and as an opportunity for new people to come and meet the team, to learn about the projects that are underway, and, well, okay, to have a little fun, too. It was, by all accounts, a big success, with upwards of 50 attendees throughout the afternoon enjoying beer, food, live music, and each other. Starting our "Burning Man year" in this manner has helped strengthen the personal connections among the members of the team, which has translated into an improved sense of collaboration and cohesion within and between the various projects that are underway.

Submitted by,

Rob Miller
Technology Dept Lead

Click here to read the 2001 Technology report.