BarCampLondon – overview from others

So moving forward from my last post which I didn't quite finish. I've been keeping a close eye on what people have been saying in blog posts and I've seen hardly any negativity to the event.

Aral Balkan has a nice review of all the presentations he attended. He ends with

BarCampLondon was a blast! Over the course of a weekend, I got to meet some amazing people, catch up with friends, learn some great stuff (including a new game called Werewolf) and get inspired.

No thank you Aral, I'm still not a fan of Flash, but I agree my view point of Flash exist in the Flash 4 and 5 era. I look forward to seeing if Adobe will take the biggest step and open source the Flash Player. I still think its not going to happen but we shall see.

During my time at BarCampLondon and the geekdinner the night before, I rubbed sholders with quite a few people but Nicole Simon sticks in my mind. She blogged and read a lot too. Her last post on BarCampLondon has a list of things which shes picked up on.

Looking over the reports of the last days of Barcamp, I notice some things popping up more than usual

  • the usual topic of lack of women on such events
  • the amount of user interface designers and flashers
  • I am not a werewolf or I want to jot down a list of things to actually read out at the beginning of such events to have a consistent knowledge of the rules
  • and last but not least: marketers are not evil and programmers are not gods

Good points but it doesn't stop there.

Developper focus is something which was – for my taste – a bit too much. For example driven by Ben Metcalfe who “disturbed” the talking crowd to force them to do mash pits – when most of the people just where waiting to play Werewolf. /images/emoticons/wink.gif

It may be a good idea to call it DevBarcamp if you really want this to be programmer centric but if you don't say so, people will show up for more than just the programmer centric topics.

In this regard I would like to ask if those flash people actually counted for programming or not? *gd&r*

To be fair, it was on the schedule and yes we did kind of force mashup-pit on everyone but we felt if we didn't people might just hang around and get boarded till the dinner came. Then we might have people asking why we were not doing something about it. I think the point I'm getting at, is that we were not trying to force mashpit upon people, just suggesting things people could do. Werewolf was on the list too.
Nicole moves on the lack of women.

Again, of course, there were only few women although I found there where quite a lot. Until I started counting from memory – naa, not that many. We had a longer discussion about this and especially Ian was very keen how to make this work for women.

Without falling for the “let's get women in here just for the sake of it”. To which I agree totally. We can start passing on those messages to our networks and it may even be a cool idea to add to such a Barcamp description a bit more information for example about the camping part. (This Barcamp started out with having a boys / girls room but ended up with having a snorrer / non snorring separation.)

But in general I think we someday have to draw the line. I refuse to run after women all the time just to get them to such meetings if they dont also at least voice their opinions on why they did not come or where not feeling like coming. You cant complain about the cake but eat it too.

Yep I decided it was best to have the snorrers like myself in the main room away from everyone else. Nicole is right, I'm very keen to have more women involved in BarCampLondon, and maybe next time I will work a lot harder on making the event a lot more accessable to women, but not at the expense of others. BarCamp requires a certain amount of get up and go, a certain amount of passion. I know there are a lot of women with this passion but might have been put off by the over geekness of the event in past? And I think thats the point which Nicole quotes from Sarah Blow. Women don't want to be treated as special cases, just show them what there missing. Which is why flickr pictures really help in this case.

James Aylett covers a quite a few sessions including the missing presentation which I recorded but gave up to Paul Hammond.

Paul Hammond's half-presentation, half-discussion called Foo, Bar, Baz, on where future London unconferences and similar events might go, based in part on the strengths of FOOcamp that BarCamp might not be able to mimic easily. I didn't come away with a clear idea of what the future might hold, but I'm convinced that the UK has more than enough smart people to be exciting, even if most of us aren't going to make millions out of start-ups; we'll leave that to Silicon Valley. (And hey, their million is smaller than ours, so we'd have to try harder.)

Well put and I'm looking forward to putting that footage up online so others like Sarah Blow can get an insight into what was said and talked about in that 30mins. James also goes into depth on Sofia Kallin's (Ben Metcalfe's wife) rant about the differences between geek culture and mentality. This is a session I recorded and put up on, but I can't seem to find it right now.

Then Sofia Kallin challenged a bunch of people to persuade her that social networking software is a good thing.

The main thought that I came away from this session with was that there's a huge (and probably growing gap) between the top technologists, who are inventing and building all the sites which (to us) seem really cool; and the people who make up 99% of the world, and really don't care that we've used microformats, or that we have a table-free design, and who just want it to work.

There's a element of truth to this but catering to the masses is not always the best idea if you want to think outside the box. I won't go into the alpha geeks, cool merchants, early adopters stuff but there's got to be somewhere for the niche markets.

Other good blogs worth mentioning include the ones here and…

Like I've said many times now, thanks to everyone who helped out in little and big ways. Good luck to my partner in crime Ben Metcalfe whos now state side. Thanks to Murray, whos a true party animal, has world domination plans and a awesome team to back him up. And finally Sarah (my wife) for backing me up and letting me go off for a whole weekend to camp out with my peers and friends. Not many wives would give up there husband for a weekend.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

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.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

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

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

BarCampLondon is on, 2nd – 3rd September 2006


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

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

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]