BarCampLondon – an incredable weekend for everyone involved…

Playing Werewolf

I have been reading tons of blogs talking about BarCampLondon. I don't know what else to say about BarCampLondon which hasn't been said. So I'll do my best to comment back on everyones blogs and round up the best parts in this blog post. So onwards and upwards…

So first up, Sarah Blow from the Girl geekdinners, decided to have an exclusive girl geekdinner in the middle of BarCampLondon. It was great stuff and I think we had a really good conversation about women and technology. Sarah with her brand new Toshiba Tablet PC (2 generations ahead of mine) recorded the whole session and we would have carried on if not for the Pizza delivery (thanks Yahoo for that). I didn't attend the mystery session but thats also up and online. Good work Sarah, I look forward to listening to both of them.

Sarah Blow

Simon Wilson introduced everyone to Werewolf while the Mashpit started in the main room. Mashpit started off with a range of topics but slowly filtered down to a very small amount of people. Rob, Sheila, Tom and myself were around one switch talking interchangable about XSL, Ruby on Rails, pipelines, etc. I think while me and Rob argued about frameworks, Sheila and Tom had settled into a session on learning XSL. Now Tom's well into XSL.

Simon explains WerewolfMashpit or Werewolf

Sheila also taught me how to use XSLT. It's so unbelievably cool!

Sheila and Tom

Me and Ben had not planned to be attending many of the sessions because we thought we'd be too busy cleaning up and directing people to the right place (or something). This was certainly not true, specially on Sunday. But to be honest, it was all to do with the helpers we had. People just helped out and for example at 4:45pm on Sunday the place was pretty much cleaned in 15mins flat. Yep 5 meeting rooms and a reception just needed a hover and a polish here and there. It was truely awesome and ended the conference perfectly. Unfortually I made the mistake of recommending a pub which was actually closed down, so people did carry on but it was over for me. It was a shame because I should have phoned Sarah Blow or someone. Damm it! *smile* Don't worry guys I'll make up for it all at d.construct this Friday.

After BarCamp drink

Nicole and others make a really good point about the lack of post-conference support. I hoped that the wiki would be used more but we're still having the lock problem with PB wiki so now people are using Ben's Wiki. Ideally we would have something like the Backnetwork, but you have to remember its a unconference so nothing can be planned beforehand. However it would have been great to have all the presentations online so I could revisit the ones I missed.

Don't worry folks there's lots more to come…. once I finish writing up the rest.

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Who’s game for Werewolf hunting on Friday night?

Me pointing the finger

While I delay my rather large post rounding up BarCampLondon, I've been thinking about Werewolf the game. I'm thinking about doing a game at the next geekdinner, as I think it could go down really well. Check out the Videos I posted from BarCampLondon and one from FooCamp by Tara Hunt 5 days earlier. Honestly the game is as adictive as Poker but can be played with more people and has that key thing I love about poker. Reading people…

So who's up for it after d.construct on Friday?

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I live for weekends like this! BarCampLondon

BarCampLondon starting session

I'm almost in tears writing this, why? I don't know its really stupid but while driving back from BarCampLondon a few minutes ago and it hit me, we just had a near perfect BarCamp. Its hit me hard and I'm just overjoyed and tears are slowly running down my face now. Sheila asked me afterwards if I had a good time? And I answered with a kind yes but now I'm thinking fuck me, we just pulled off the first British BarCamp, it was an amazing event and everyone loved it. I don't know one person who complained about anything this weekend. Everyone was glowing with praise about the event and now I'm getting it.

Thanks to everyone who attended and made this one of the best weekends I've ever had. So much was learned but I'll get around to the sessions in another blog post. Till then please do check out Blog posts on Technorati, Pictures on Flickr, Bookmarks on Delicious and Videos on Blip.TV

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BarCampLondon is on, 2nd – 3rd September 2006

BarCampLondon

Its what many of you have been waiting for… The first british BarCamp is happening in September, BarCampLondon 2006 is go.

What is BarCampLondon? Think of it as a way to get the tech/geek community together in London at the end of the summer. What will happen during the event? Only one thing is certain: It's up to you to decide. The most important thing you should take away from the event? Relationships with other geeks! (You can find out more about the BarCamp movement and the rules and principles of being an attendee on the RulesOfBarCamp page. Please make sure you understand what a BarCamp is before you sign up!)

When's it happening?
Saturday morning, September 2nd to Sunday early evening, September 3rd 2006. Exact hours to be confirmed. There will also be an accompanying GeekDinner on Friday 1st September, although you will have to find your own accommodation between Friday evening and Saturday morning.

Where will it happen?
Yahoo! Europe's London office. We would like to thank Yahoo! for making this happen by offering us a venue.

Yahoo! UK Ltd
125 Shaftesbury Avenue
London
WC2H 8AD

Maps
Yahoo! MapGoogle MapMultimapStreetmap

Getting there?
The best way to get to the event is via public transport.

Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road underground stations are nearby. Covent Garden is also close by, however it gets very busy and often exit-only at weekends (thus best avoided!). Bus numbers 24, 29 and 176 stop close by (map).

You can also use the TfL Journey Planner to obtain specific travel advice from your location (use destination postcode WC2H 8AD).

Please Note: There are no car parking spaces available at the venue. If you are coming by car we would suggest either parking outside of London and traveling in by Tube or using one of the pricey NCP-type car parks nearby (P icons on map)

Who's organising this all?

How do I sign up?
We have a separate page for attendees: BarCampLondonAttendees. Please sign up there!

Sponsors and Sponsorship opptunties
BarCamps are free events, organised by volunteers. With this in mind, there are some associated costs with running such an event – and it is customary for local BarCamp organisers to find sponsorship for these costs.

BarCamps offer sponsors a unique and cost-effective way of increasing their exposure to the London geek scene. Most sponsorship packages are £350.

BarCamp attendees are usually either industry professionals or IT students.

If you think you might be able to sponsor this event, please visit the BarCampLondonSponsorship page.

We would like to thank the following companies who have already kindly agreed to sponsor BarCampLondon:

Yahoo! UK, who are providing us with a venue and connectivity

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Pledges and a Geekcamp update

Gnu/Linux

My pledge's have failed. Actually they failed on the first of March but I've been so busy moving server to actually blog it. So I did really badly on one Pledge and the other one not so bad.


I will setup and run a geekdinner on new years 2006/07 but only if 100 other self described geeks will help out and/or commit to going to the geekdinner.

11 People signed up, 89 more people were needed.

So yeah this one is certainly not a goer. I might give it a another try in October or September when people might be thinking a lot more about christmas and new years. I only need about a few months to find a venue and get together a good group of geeks and special guests. Yes its much harder on the run up to Christmas but not impossible. So anyhow, keep an eye open for a new pledge after summer.


I will setup and help run a geekcamp somewhere in Europe but only if 30 other self described geeks will join me and/or help out.

13 People signed up, 17 more people were needed.

This pledge was much more interesting. There was tons of comments from people about geekcamp. Some came in comments on the pledge others through comments to me personally or emails. Someone told me, they frankly wouldn't ever go to a geekcamp unless it was in London. While Matt Biddulph wrote Sounds intriguing. Location is important – somewhere interesting and inspiring to take people out of context. Not England! The best geekcamp event I've been to was CCC (http://www.ccc.de/camp/), which was in tents in a huge horse-paddock by a lake just outside East Berlin in 2003. My feeling was that it would be somewhere like Devon or Cornwall but I would have prefered somewhere tucked away in Spain or Holland. Someone suggested Brighton Beach as it has Wireless and would be mind blowing if we could get power somehow. This wasn't actually a bad idea and started thinking this could be done if we got a generator. But I don't think we will get the permission to do such a thing easily. Saying all that, on Bournemouth beach last year it was easy enough to have a full on beach party without too problem. But honestly I don't think sea and computers go together really well. But hey its maybe something we should at least try once.

Another issue came out of the comments, time. See in the UK we get about 5 weeks off a year and people don't like to take time off without there partners. So the idea of Geekcamp is maybe very difficult to justify to others. My first thought was to keep it down to a weekend but that limits how far the camp is. For example if it was in Spain, would you take a plane to go for 2 days? Cost a side, its still too short. Even Devon and Cornwall can take sometime if your going by Train or Coach. But then Sarah (my wife) suggested a long weekend might be better. So you go on the Saturday and it all starts on the night. Then it finishes on Monday morning which gives people time to get back before work on Tuesday.

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Sunshine, wireless and holiday geeks camps

A long long time ago I went on a geeky holiday in Ibiza. It was my second time on the island and its was just after I finished my Interactive design BA at Ravensbourne, so I was in need for a break away after the years of stress. The holiday was simply a very last minute cheap package holiday costing 40 pounds a person for 2 weeks which included flights and 3 star hotel. Because I could not get someone else to come with me on such short notice (next day), I had to pay a single suppliment fee of 30 pounds. But 70 pounds for 2 weeks away in the hills of Ibiza wasnt bad at all.

Anyway, I took my laptop with me and spent most of the holiday working on cubicgarden.com (should have just setup a blog all that time ago) and learning more XML technologies like Xlink. And although it was very geeky, it was kinda of nice because some of the people in the same hotel were from the IT field and didnt really think of it being super strange me sitting at the outside hotel bar with my laptop drinking and messing with CSS.

I had thought about running a couple of holidays along this same type of idea, geek holidays or something. But never found the time. Well I'm starting to think its a idea maybe worth revisiting with all the BarCamp, FooCamp, etc Camp's going on. Yes I know most people go away to get away from it all but theres a small but long tail of people which dont see it holidays like that, me included. Geek Dinners is another one of those things which should not make much sense on paper but it does in reality. The key thing in all these things is getting like socially minded people in to a venue and providing aspects of the tradional experience and there lifestyle. So in the camps you still got tents, fields and nature. But you've also got electricity, wireless and computers.

This isnt that new however, there's a camp event which has been running for years which I keep wanting to go to but keep forgetting (need to actually add it to my calendar or todo list one day). Its called What the Hack? and involves people coming together for a hacker event in the middle of a grassy field. I always thought about what the hack, as the Burning man for geeks and hackers. I can imagine something just like what the hack? but for bloggers, geeks, techies, etc?

The question remains if I can convince Sarah to come to such a holiday? I mean she loves camping but I think this would not count as “real camping” for her. Our friends in Sweden already offered us a relaxing holiday in a place they have in Gotland? They said theres no electricity and no internet access at all. I thought they were winding me up, but no they were serious. Now I know some of you will say it sounds so nice, walks in the forest, no electricity, candle lights etc. And I would agree for a couple of days at most, but a week plus? It sounds as scary as going to Sarah's grandparents house in the middle of no where illinois and having no mobile phone signal of any kind.

A lot of you maybe shaking your heads, but I know a few of you are thinking this is a little consistant with what you see in a holiday too. Hey and don't forget theres already holidays and camps for clubbers, trekies, blues fans, etc. A geek one strikes me as a really good idea.

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