Werewolf in BarCampManchesterUK

So I went to BarCampManchesterUK yesterday, it was good but very different from what I'd had expected. The venue (Manchester evening news?) was good except the cooling systems were broken so each room became hotter and hotter during the day. On the last session, I stuck in Werewolf because it was obvious we weren't going to play it otherwise and we found another space to play in just above reception because I knew the rooms were far too uncomfitable to play in. In total there were 4 actual rooms and a couple of spaces to sit and chat. This was good because, people started milling around and chatting later in the day, and there was a clear distance from the rooms.

The sessions were quite web developer/design led through-out the day, I started the day off at a talk about voice on the web which I wasn't totally sure of, my thoughts were confirmed when the presenters mac died twice while trying to make a call home using a google gadget. He did in the end get it working but even then it didn't work as expected. The next session I did about Data Portability which I was really suprised very few people had heard about (yep more work needed to spread the word it would seem). I used pretty much the same slides as Thursday. What was suprising was the talk after mine which was about the same subject but from a different persepective. The guy was trying to hack into facebook and social networking sites his own content from his own server. We had quite a discussion about the fact he was doing something in between the truly decentralised social networks and the data portability group aims of getting the main players to play nicely with users data. I might have come across quite negative that session but I did say he should maybe put his efforts into one or the other. Anyway we had a chat afterwards and everythings cool. The other noteworthy session was the northpack session. They seem to be a a group of three guys who are all about promoting the north of england. They had built a web application to pull in rss feeds and upcoming events and display them for all to see (I guess Feedjack or Planet could do the same). It was good and something we in London have been talking about for years but never actually done. So anyway I started asking them if they had thought about allowing the rest of the country to use their web application? But i think that got turned into a debate about the south north divide.

Northpack guys

Anyway, I thought we got everything sorted till at the after party at this great place called Ra!n (very apt because its been raining since I got to Manchester) when a woman called Jennifer slightly drunk, tells me exactly what she thinks of the south and the BBCs move to Manchester. Unfortueally, I never got a real chance to respond because she slipped and fell (not my doing) and we called her a cab to go home.

So BarCampManchester was good and I met lots of good people and if the rooms were not so hot, it was run over 2 days and wifi actually worked it would have be great. I was however a little ruffled about the real strong tension about the south.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and