The first-ever virtual MileHiCon52 (MHC52) successfully debuted this past weekend!
I’ve heard from my wife and others about how poorly other virtual “gatherings” have gone off this year, but as I mentioned to others, MHC52 is packed with technological experts and they were eminently skilled in what they do. As one said in a post-conference “Orchids and Onions” session, to regroup and take stock, they were all overachievers.
And they were!
There were minor issues, and I don’t know all of them, but the major issue was the MHC52 site’s server crashing Friday. That, however, was not a MHC52 issue…it was the server company’s issue. For some reason, the server crashed, and those I listened in on didn’t seem to know or pass on why it did. But it did and was down all day.
Every one of the tech folks involved in this humongous project were called upon to work their magic to keep things going, and they ALL performed stellarly. I was supremely impressed with everything, and the more I found out about what was going on in the background, the more impressed I became! All of the MHC staff (all volunteers) went above and beyond.
But it’s just not the staff, but all the attendees (those who came to have fun at the con) and participants (those who participated in the con’s panels and events for the attendees…but who also came to have fun) were terrific as well. As far as I know, no one made any stinks and all rolled with the punches. It was quite heartwarming to see that no one seemed to break down and “fly off at the handle.” Everyone wanted this to be successful, and when there were questions or concerns or issues, they all calmly contacted the MHC52 staff, and the staff quickly and calmly responded to their queries.
It felt so damned good to see people actually working TOGETHER.
THANK YOU to all of the MHC52 staff and attendees and participants! You were all impressive! I can’t say enough good about you all.
But one I really have to single out is Meg Ward, the MHC52 Programming Director. And I’m only singling her out because I had to directly interact with her early on, pummeling her with tons of questions. Unlike many of you, I was not previously familiar with Zoom prior to MHC52. I retired just as the Zoom use spiked. I’ve used other telecon systems, but not Zoom, so yeah, I…had issues. But I also had issues in other areas getting registered and even got confused as to what website was actually being used (there were two versions).
But in any event she was extremely patient and pointed me in the right direction for each of my concerns. Thank you—again!—Meg!
The con itself was a blast…insofar as one can have fun in a virtual environment (i.e., staring at a compute screen all day) and not have that human contact. And, yes, it was brought up time and again how much the human contact was missed, everyone from attendees on up the MHC52 staff food chain brought it up. Virtual hugs had to do.
As I previously mentioned I was only in two sessions, a pre-recorded reading from ERO, Sunday premiere at 10 MT, and an Versions of Afterlife panel, Sunday, 2:30 – 3:30 MT. According to Meg, there were about 60 watching (some 47 – 57 or so viewers attended the virtual sessions) in on the five of us as we discussed our thoughts on an afterlife. That’s a pretty danged-good crowd! Our panel ran in degrees from one who [seemingly] didn’t believe in an afterlife to…well, me. Who does—and incorporates it heavily in my novels. Otherwise, I attended as many virtual sessions as possible, including a Kaffeeclatsch with John Stith, Sunday at 11:30 – 12:30 MT.
I caught the following virtual sessions:
- Hour with Steve Resnic Tem
- “Ethics and Art”
- “Real Combat: Fantasy v. Real Fighting”
- “Mars Exploration Update”
- “Artistic References”
- “Amazon/KDU, and Other Publishing Platforms”
- “Was in “Aliens, But Make Them Believable” for a little while, then went to…
- “SFF&H in Theater”
- “My Favorite Writing Tools”
- John Stith’s Kaffeeklatsch
- “Editing For Yourself and Others”
- “Ed Bryant, Jr. Memorial Panel”—only for about 20 minutes, since my “Versions of Afterlife” Panel was coming up at 2:30
- “Computers, AI, and (Deserved?) Paranoia”
- “Orchids and Onions” Sessions with MHC Convention Committee
There is lots to say about each of the above panels, but it’d just be too long a post. We were told most of the panels will all be posted in a YouTube account soon. Here is the YouTube link for MHC52. The MHC staff might be done uploading all the content by the 28th or so.
But of note, I liked the concern about ethics in art…and how artists are trying to be ethical in how they create their art (release forms, being up front, honest, etc., in using people as subjects)…and how users of their art really need to understand that they should all not be “swiping” art off the Internet for free for their own use or blog posts if it’s not specifically stated as free-for-public use; that they can be prosecuted.
How would you like it if you created something, like a book or movie, and it was pirated and you were not compensated for your efforts, while criminals did make money of your efforts or others used your work without at least proper attribution? Well, even if you don’t care, it’s not right. Not ethical. Illegal, even.
Some of us are bothered by this, and there are laws about it. I also mentioned that people still have to be careful even if art is stated to be free, because last I read online, two or three years ago, thieves sometimes steal art, tag it as their own (of course using fake names), then sell it on legit sites and elsewhere! Then the end user acts in good faith, getting it, paying for it, but they can still be prosecuted, no matter if they claim ignorance.
Another panel I liked was the Mars update. It was neat seeing images taken the day before the panel! I tell ya, the Mars terrain looks a LOT like Earth in many places!
I’m also looking forward to the complete compendium to Ed Bryant’s work. I knew Ed, was in a critique group with him and John Stith. He was such a terrific guy. Very down-to-Earth. Intelligent. Funny. Excellent writer. We always spent some time chatting with each other when we ran into each other at cons.
Overall, MHC52 was an incredible success! It had been well executed, well managed, and well attended (over 400 folks were on the MHC52 site, if I heard correctly, which is about 1/3 of the norm, in-person attendance).
As to next year’s MHC53, no decision has yet been made if it’ll be virtual or in-person. It’s just too soon to know. But there is definitely consideration being given to a hybrid version (partly virtual), at the very least.
Previous MileHiCon Posts
- MileHiCon51 Tomorrow!
- Going To MILEHICON51
- MileHiCon50 – An After-Action Report
- Follow My MileHiCon50 Instagram!
- Heading up To MileHiCon50!
- My MileHiCon50 Itinerary
- I’m Heading to MileHiCon50!
- MileHiCon47, a Knot, and a Head
- MileHiCon 46…or This Blog is Really All About Aaron Michael Ritchey