Tags: barcamplondon



BarCamp ends

We’re down to the last couple of talks at BarCamp London 3. I’m feeling remarkably awake considering how late I was playing Werewolf—it must be the presentations that are keeping me on my toes.

After a fun geek quiz in the style of QI, I participated in mass critique of the forthcoming BBC homepage redesign. The good news: all the functionality provided by JavaScript is still available using traditional full page refreshes. The bad news: it’s still fixed width—the number of pixels is different but the design decision is the same. It was very, very brave to show a redesign to this tough crowd but the ensuing discussion was enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Right now, Ian is giving a talk on data portability and that’s provoking even more discussion and debate.

It’s been fun but it’s time for me to make the long journey back to Brighton. I’ve had a great time. It was, like all the other BarCamps I’ve attended, very inspiring. Many thanks to BBC Backstage and to all the Google people who opened up their workplace to us and shared their facilities as well as their delicious and plentiful food.

BarCamp continues

When the talks wrapped up on the first day of BarCamp London 3, the evening events began. Our hosts, Google, sure know how to grease the gears of geek socialising; we were served a wide variety of good beer and wine, we were fed a thanksgiving turkey dinner, we were happy, happy geeks.

It wasn’t long before the happiness was replaced with fear, suspicion and paranoia. Yes, I mean Werewolf. I played in two games and moderated another two. Werewolf moderation brings out the asshole in me, but it usually makes for a good game experience.

The mauling was interrupted at midnight to enjoy extra treats from Google: waffles, crépes and a chocolate fountain. I thought the food at BarCamp Brighton couldn’t be topped but BarCamp London 3 has really raised the bar. This morning, after a good night’s sleep (I was glad I brought an inflatable mattress), breakfast included omelettes cooked to order and freshly squeezed orange juice.

As well as the culinary goodness, there are plenty of toys to keep us amused: guitar hero, Wii and a Segway. With our entertainment needs satisfied, we know return to the matrix of presentations with renewed vigour.

BarCamp begins

BarCamp London 3 is in full swing. I’ve put together a schedule of the talks. It’s marked up in hCalendar so everyone here can subscribe to it, stick it on their laptops, phones, iPods, or whatever, and then get updates as and when I edit the HTML.

The Google offices have been taken over for a grab-bag of great presentations. I sat in on Norm!’s Law, an introduction to storytelling, an overview of OpenSocial from a very jetlagged David Recorden and a treatise on website psychology from Gavin Bell. Then it was my turn.

I enjoyed talking about The Transmission of Tradition. I didn’t use many slides and they were just reminders for myself. I mostly just nattered on and punctuated my tale with the occasional tune or two. I really enjoyed it and the people who were gracious enough to listen to me seemed to enjoy it too.

And now I should get back to listening to and participating in the other talks. I ought to be heckling Norm! right now.

Return to London town

No sooner am I back from one London geekfest than I find myself getting ready to head back up for another. is about to kick off, hosted by Google this time. If it’s even remotely as good as the previous two London BarCamps, it’s going to be great.

A BarCamp offers a nice opportunity to for me to break out of my usual subject matter. Instead of talking about Ajax, web standards, or microformats, I’m planning to take some of the material from my talk at the local £5 App event and condense it down into a study of how technology has altered the transmission of Irish traditional music. I’m hoping that this could be a good starting point for a discussion of ideas such as the public domain, copyright and the emergence of a reputation economy. Failing that, I’ll probably bring my bouzouki with me so I could just play some tunes.

Mostly I’m excited to see what other people have got in store. I’m constantly amazed by the quality of presentations I’ve seen at BarCamps. I feel kind of guilty that this will be my third London BarCamp—after all, it shouldn’t be the same faces every time—but, oh, I do love them so! I can always earn my keep by moderating a game of Werewolf or ten.

Wrapping up BarCamp London 2

After many hours of Werewolf and a bit of late-night semantic geekery, I grabbed an hour or two of fitful sleep in the BT Centre in London.

This morning the BarCamp shenanigans kicked off with Simon doing some cheerleading for OpenID. I don’t think many people needed convincing; there’s a real momentum behind OpenID right now and it shows no sign of slowing.

Simon’s talk was followed by a session on Embeddable RDF and microformats. I was roped into fighting the microformats corner along with Brian. Much mutual good-natured ribbing ensued.

Round two of the match was fought after lunch. I moderated a microformats panel discussion with Brian Suda, Ben Ward and Chris Messina. We spread the good word on microformats and threw in a few demos for ilustrative purposes. It was fun.

Before long, it was all over except for the clean-up. Many geeks make light work, it seems.

All in all, it’s been a great BarCamp. I’ve had a wonderful time meeting a heck of a lot of really smart and talented developers. I managed to make it back down to Brighton which is where I am now recuperating.

Roll on the next geek gathering… as soon as I’ve had some sleep.

Night of the werewolf

It’s been a good day at BarCamp. I’ve seen some great presentations.

Gavin Bell gave a great presentation called History, Time and the Internet. He packed in a ton of ideas and I’d love to follow some of them up some time. Marvelous stuff!

Jim Purbrick from Linden Lab gave a good in-depth look at some of the neat things you can do in Second Life with a bit of code. There’s definitely some cool stuff to be done using Web Services to tie items in Second Life to things in the real world.

Oh, and Jim announced the official location of the next Linden Lab office: Brighton.

Tom compressed his talk from The Future of Web Apps in San Francisco into a whirlwind of ideas around social software.

I left Tom’s talk to hear Aral talk about how he’s hacked together some extensions to the API for Twitter. Of course I twittered that I was going to the presentation and that notification appeared on-screen so it was all very meta.

There was a whole bunch of other good stuff including a well-prepared presentation from Andy. But eventually the talks had to stop and the pizza and beer had to begin.

Right now the BT Centre has become Werewolf Central. There are two or three concurrent games running at any one time. It’s three in the morning now and the games show no sign of stopping.

I must go now. A game is starting.

I am not a werewolf.

BarCamp London 2: The Schedule

Here’s the schedule for BarCamp in yummy hCalendar format.

Download the schedule in iCal and you can sync it up with your mobile phone, iPod, whatever.

Day one

    1. 13:0013:30 : How To Scale , Informal 2
    2. 13:0013:30 : Do we want to change the world? , The Level 1
    3. 13:0013:30 : Blackhat SEO , The Basement
    4. 13:0013:30 : The Next Web: Pipelines , Auditorium
    5. 13:0013:00 : Paid Learning , The Bridge
    1. 13:3014:00 : GeoRSS can save you from giant holes in the ground , Informal 1
    2. 13:0014:00 : Sex and the investor , Informal 2
    3. 13:3014:00 : Where the hell did the day go? , The Basement
    4. 13:0014:00 : RDF, Sematic Web and microformats , Auditorium
    5. 13:0014:00 : Arduino , The Bridge
    6. 14:0014:30 : Open Source, Incremental Backup in Windows, yes it is possible! , Informal 1
    7. 14:0014:30 : Socially Oriented Multipedia projects based on 3media , Informal 2
    8. 14:0014:30 : A Jabber Wonderland , The Basement
    9. 14:0014:30 : Neighbourhood Fix-it , Auditorium
    1. 14:4015:10 : Curiosity Collective Techno Art , Informal 2
    2. 14:4015:10 : Making Rails elastic , The Level 1
    3. 14:4015:10 : Multi-disciplinary teams and agile , The Level 2
    4. 14:4015:10 : Live travel information , The Basement
    5. 14:4015:10 : Project management basics for busy geeks , Auditorium
    6. 14:4015:10 : Interactive LEDs , The Bridge
    1. 15:1015:40 : Design consequences , Informal 1
    2. 15:1015:40 : Destroying walled gardens , Informal 2
    3. 15:1015:40 : Usergroup 101 , The Level 1
    4. 15:1015:40 : Profit maximisation , The Basement
    5. 15:1015:40 : Ask us anything , Auditorium
    1. 16:0016:30 : Virtual care team , Informal 1
    2. 16:0016:30 : Flirting with APIs , Informal 2
    3. 16:0016:30 : Phishing: conning the unwary , The Level 1
    4. 16:0016:30 : Education 2.0 , The Level 2
    5. 16:0016:30 : History, time and the internet , The Basement
    6. 16:0016:30 : Over-engineering is fun , The Bridge
    1. 16:3017:00 : Make web apps work offline , Informal 1
    2. 16:3017:00 : Being understood , Informal 2
    3. 16:3017:00 : Web application framework , The Level 1
    4. 16:3017:00 : Livebus.org: screen-scraping and the dirty API , The Level 2
    5. 16:3017:00 : Offshore outsourcing and the value of test-driven development , The Basement
    6. 16:3017:00 : Improving online experiences , Auditorium
    1. 17:1017:40 : Digital comics , Informal 1
    2. 17:1017:40 : MyPages: Social BT , Informal 2
    3. 17:1017:40 : Need for speed! , The Level 2
    4. 17:1017:40 : Improvisation 101 workshop , The Basement
    5. 17:1017:40 : Corporate communication and new media , Auditorium
    1. 17:4018:00 : Always-on brainstorming , Informal 1
    2. 17:4018:00 : Don’t be scared (of code reviews) , Informal 2
    3. 17:4018:10 : Enhancing accessibility with JavaScript , The Basement
    4. 17:4018:10 : Prototyping the future with Second Life , Auditorium
    5. 17:4018:10 : Learning and teaching , The Bridge
    1. 18:3019:00 : Taking better pictures , Informal 1
    2. 18:3019:00 : Papervision 3D , Informal 2
    3. 18:3019:00 : In ur DVDz catalogin ur moviz , The Level 2
    4. 18:3019:00 : The perfect Ruby on Rails development with cheese , The Basement
    5. 18:3019:00 : Lightning talks , Auditorium
    6. 18:3019:00 : XSLT and ANT blogging , The Bridge
    1. 19:0019:30 : Free schmee API , Informal 1
    2. 19:0019:30 : Cool data visualisations I have found , Informal 2
    3. 19:0019:30 : Extending the Twitter API , The Level 1
    4. 19:0019:30 : Software development as a service , The Level 2
    5. 19:0019:30 : Lightning demos , Auditorium
    1. 20:3021:00 : Enterprise engineering communities , Informal 1
    2. 20:3021:00 : Geeks on a train , The Level 2
    3. 20:3021:00 : State of accessibility , The Basement
    4. 20:3021:00 : Sauce for the goose: design for people who code , Auditorium

Day two

    1. 11:0011:30 : Open ID explained , Informal 1
    2. 11:0011:30 : JavaScript framework deathmatch , Informal 2
    3. 11:0011:30 : P2P 4 Middle East , The Level 1
    4. 11:0011:30 : Multipart forms in Django , The Level 2
    5. 11:0011:30 : Skillcard: recruitment 2.0 and the death of the CV , The Basement
    6. 11:0011:30 : E-voting: world domination is ours! , Auditorium
    7. 11:0011:30 : Web hosting , The Bridge
    1. 11:3012:00 : Good design through mocking , Informal 1
    2. 11:3012:00 : Future of music , Informal 2
    3. 11:3012:00 : Nothing to 1st client + angel + funding , The Level 1
    4. 11:3012:00 : Optimise the everday , The Level 2
    5. 11:3012:00 : Metaprogramming JavaScript , The Basement
    6. 11:3012:00 : ORG: The British EFF , Auditorium
    7. 11:3012:00 : Flashr: Flash + Flickr , The Bridge
    1. 13:3014:00 : How do we deliver web standards in the classroom? , Informal 1
    2. 13:3014:00 : Web apps for photographers , Informal 2
    3. 13:3014:00 : More than copyright , The Level 2
    4. 13:3014:00 : Integrating mobile messaging with your web app , The Basement
    5. 13:3014:00 : Microformats panel , Auditorium
    6. 13:3014:00 : Talk is cheap (with Python) , The Bridge
    1. 14:0014:30 : Cake PHP , Informal 1
    2. 14:0014:30 : Beef it up: scaling your app , Informal 2
    3. 14:0014:30 : Just plain DOM: assorted parsing oddities in IE , The Level 1
    4. 14:0014:30 : Django panel , The Level 2
    5. 14:0014:30 : ASP.NET Active Standards Pages , The Basement
    6. 14:0014:30 : AI: Syntax of emotion , Auditorium
    1. 14:4015:15 : End talk , Auditorium


I’m in the BT Centre for the second ever BarCamp in London. The last BarCamp was superb so if this one is anything like that, it’s going to be a fun weekend.

Ian opened up proceedings this morning and everyone introduced themselves. There’s quite a diverse and surprisingly international crowd of geeks here.

The presentation line-up seems to have self-organised nicely. If all goes to plan, I’ll be doing two talks today. I haven’t prepared much. Well, to be honest, I haven’t prepared anything but that won’t stop me blabbing on and on (it’s never stopped me before).

The talks are about to get started so I’d better go and decide what I want to check out. I’m looking forward to a good day of geekery followed by a long night of Werewolf.

Oh, microformateers: we’ve scheduled a panel for 17:10 local time (update: rescheduled to tommorrow at 13:30 so that Chris can make it) so pop into the IRC channel if you want to participate remotely.

Werewolves of London

BarCamp London is over. I had a really good time, for which I would like to thank Ian, Ben, and Murray ‘Gizzajob’ Rowan. I’m excited and energised by the stuff I saw over the weekend.

Niqui led a great discussion on Flash and accessibility… not an oxymoron. This discussion will continue long after BarCamp, I’m sure. Both Aral and Niqui are doing great work from within the Flash community and it’s important that the accessibility community can reach out to liaise with them.

I never did get ‘round to doing any more podcasting on the Sunday. I was too busy enjoying the presentations and talking to the other attendees. In the course of talking to people, I found some new APIs and saw some great mashups. By far the most fun mashup of the weekend was a hybrid of Pecha Kucha and del.icio.us.

is a presentation format that forces presenters to show twenty slides with twenty seconds per slide. Each presentation is exactly six minutes and forty seconds long. I first saw it in action at Reboot 8.

There was a Pecha Kucha session on the first day of BarCamp. On the second day, there was a session of Del.icio.us Pecha Kucha. This involved taking the last twenty links from someone’s del.icio.us account and displaying each one on the screen for twenty seconds while the account owner frantically tries to explain why they bookmarked it. Oh, and you’re not allowed to peruse back through your links beforehand.

I couldn’t resist so I just had to bear my online soul to the room. It was loads of fun. Watching other people run their links was equally fun. This was by far the most enjoyable Pecha Kucha experience I’ve had yet.

Still, my overriding memory of BarCamp will probably be of mob justice lynchings and murder in the night. Simon returned from FooCamp wildly excited about a social (or possibly anti-social) game called Werewolf. I won’t go into all the rules here but suffice to say it involves paranoia, psychology, lying, and treachery. What a great way to get to know people. We played from nine in the evening to five in the morning. So much for having a mini mashpit.

Microformats triple bill

The excellence at BarCamp London continues. For a self-organised unconference, there’s some great planning in the schedule. I attended three microformats presentations back to back.

Frances Berriman got things started with a succinct introduction and explanation, followed by some discussion. I feel bad because I think I hogged the conversation… I tend to get very excited about microformats.

Glenn was up next with the practical examples. He showed and explained the d.Construct backnetwork. Then he followed that up with his experiences of using microformats. It was fascinating, and once again, the discussion afterwards was great.

By the time Drew was up, the level of complexity had been gradually increased. He talked about parsing microformats and did an excellent job of explaining some fairly technical stuff.

It was very inspiring. But then, I’m biased: microformats remind me why I fell in love with the Web in the first place.

Virtual trainspotting

The second day of BarCamp London is going great — I’m amazed a the energy and enthusiasm after a night of very little sleep for everyone. The lack of sleep can be attributed to Simon and his damn Werewolf game.

I’ve just seen the most wonderful presentation from the excellent Matthew Somerville. He works on They Work For You… and I just found out that he’s the guy who did the renegade accessible Odeon site!

He’s built a fantastic mashup of maps and train times. Maybe I shouldn’t be drawing attention to it because he’s getting the data by screen-scraping — because there is no National Rail API — but damn, this is sweet! You can find out when they’re due to arrive at a station. You can see the trains moving along the map. Click the checkbox to speed up the movement by ten.

See how Brighton is in the drop-down list of stations? Matthew added that in the middle of the presentation in response to my request. After all, I need to get back down to Brighton later today.

Live from Barcamp London

I’m at Barcamp London. It’s been a great day so far with lots of disparate talks nicely punctuated with plenty of food and drink.

For my part, I cheated and recycled my Hijax talk from XTech (I figured most people wouldn’t have seen it). It was fun.

I spent half of my time grabbing people for quick interviews for the d.Construct podcast. I’ve just published the episode so download the MP3 and get a taste of that Barcamp magic.

The mini-Mashupcamp is next on the agenda. After that, the sleeping bags come out.

I plan to do some more field recordings for the podcast tomorrow. And I really must take more pictures and post them to Flickr.

BarCamp London

will take place on September 2nd and 3rd. It’s a happening, maaaaan!

This should be a lot of fun. If you want to come along, put your name down and read the rules.

And Lo! The halls of Yahoo! doth resound with with the gnashing of hacking and wailing of geekery.

BarCampLondon Sep 2-3