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Barcamp Bournemouth 2

Over the weekend of 10th/11th April the second Barcamp to be held in Bournemouth took place at Bournemouth University with over 70 participants in attendance. The sponsors of this year’s event were: Red Web, G3 Show, BCS, C4L, Fibreband and Squizzleapp.

Digital Economy Debate

Sessions I went to on Saturday

Usability vs Accessibility – Phil Heywood and Luke Guppy

In this session Phil and Luke gave the pros and cons of Usability vs Accessibility and how they should be carefully considered in web projects as one may conflict with the other. They gave examples of the downsides of JQuery and what we can do to improve the accessibility if people have Javascript turned off in the browser.

Smashing Mag sucks or how to blag it as a webdesigner – Rich Quick

In this talk, Rich gave examples of application websites that were obvious rip-offs of each other in terms of design and content. He also questioned who is to blame for designs looking the same, the designer or online articles and tutorials.

Creativity – top 10 tips for better brainstorming – David Burton

In David’s presentation he gave the understanding of creativity, how it works and how we can get the most out of brainstorming. He went through the fives types of creative behaviour including Fact Finding, (Re) organising, Improvising, Meaning and Maverick and how people can sometimes shift between them. He also went through how we can come up with freshness and new ideas.

Rolling a turd in glitter, 10 steps to design awesomeness – Damian Proctor

In this talk Damian examined various websites and different design techniques in each site and how they are used effectively. The 10 steps that Damian talked about were: Power of 3, Leading the eye, Creating emotions with elements, Contrast, Hierarchy of type, Whitespace, Unity, Depth, Grids and Colours.

Chat roulette – Dom Hodgson
You know the score.

The rest of Saturday night was spent generally hanging about and playing a few games of Werewolf including probably the best game I’ve played which had Cristiano as the moderator and no werewolfs were involved. Lets just say it made for a very interesting game.

Cristiano bowls

Sessions I went to on Sunday

XSS with JQuery – Kevin Prince

In this presentation, Kevin showed how we can use widgets across sites using JQuery and JSON and how XSS isn’t always evil.

Get Inspiration for Photography – Martin Cunningham

In this session I gave examples of how we can get inspiration for photography when you aren’t really inspired to get out with the camera.

Version control with Git – Abizer

In this session Abizer talked about version control with Git and commands that can be used to make life easier when dealing with version control.

Lightning talks – Various Speakers

A session including various 5 minute presentations given by a number of speakers.

As always for these types of events a big thank you to the Organisers, Sponsors and the Attendees. Oh and also Dom and Heather for the cups of tea in Leeds.

Barcamp North East 3

The weekend of 20th and 21st March saw the arrival of the 3rd Barcamp North East to come to Newcastle which also marked the end of Newcastle Science Fest, a ten day event which aims to increase the North East’s enthusiasm for science and to encourage the younger generation to consider a career in the science field.

Barcamp North East 3 was held in the Center of Life, Newcastle. A contemporary science and learning center just round the corner from Newcastle Central Station.


Sessions I attended on Saturday were (not in any particular order):

Paypal Hacking – Tim Nash
Tim Nash gave a talk on the PayPal API and how it can be used in your own projects.

Finding Creativity – James Rutherford
A discussion on how designers, developers and other creative types find creativity in the everyday world.

Scaling :: Scaling
A presentation on how could be upscaled for higher performance on the web.

Real Time Web or having a socket in the browser – Alex Kavanagh
Alex gave a talk about real-time updates on the web using Django, COMET, STOMP and Morbid Q and the issues that he has faced.

Alex Kavanagh talks about The Real Time Web

80s Video Games Anonymous – James Rutherford
A round circle discussion and quiz about 80s video games

The Modern Day Interview – Martin Cunningham
After being on the job hunt for 3 months now, I decided to give a session on the modern day interview and the ups and downs of job hunting. The main point of the presentation was to say that we need things like standard ways of doing things such as job application forms as one is never the same as the other and how interviews need to be brought down a notch and not be so formal.

How to impress the ladies with JQuery – Rich Quick
Rich quick gave a session about the basics of JQuery and where beginners can find resources to help them out. Rich’s slides for this presentation can be found over at

Pulling women with Jquery - Rich Quick

Dr Horrible’s Singalong – Everyone
A singalong to Dr Horrible’s Singalong blog which was created exclusivly for Internet distribution.

Powerpoint Karaoke – Dom Hodgson
A favourite session of mine as it is always so funny and yet so random. After volunteers have been chosen, they each must present an impromptu random presentation which they know nothing about. A very parody based session as it presents the absurdity that many business presentations are.

Usual Barcamp games such as Werewolf
A question I will never let down after this Barcamp: “Martin, are you the seer?”


Sessions I attended on Sunday were (not in any particular order):

Breakfast at Spoons
A few people including Dom, Tim, Leeky, Cristiano, Melinda, Carolyn, Heather and myself went for a breakfast to start the day in Wetherspoons not too far for the venue.

Stop taking photos – Chris Neale
Chris gave a talk on why cameras and laptops should be left back at home when attending conferences and events. The argument was that when you take technology to a conference it takes you away from the event and not as much enjoyment is to be had. Also the other side of the story was do the photos taken of an event really portray the day to other people.

Get off your arses, no exercise required – Tim Nash
In this talk, Tim explained some of the projects that he had worked on and how you can make money out of niche ideas.

Chat Roulette – Dom Hodgson
Dom held another round of chat roulette on Sunday afternoon. Following from what Dom had previously said to me on the Saturday, I had to go along to this session to see what it was all about!

Chatroullette with the Dinosaur

Daily Dragon, the upstart friend of Mr Duck – Caz Mockett
Following on from the Duck365 project that Alistair has worked on, Caz has decided to do a Dragon365 with a little purple dragon called Dai and it’s lion friend Leo. This talk was an introduction to the project and a show and tell of the pictures that the dragon is currently up to.

On the Sunday afternoon I hung around for a few drinks, then Caz, Alistair, Carolyn, Tim and I went for a Japanese meal, this was then followed my Tim, Carolyn and I heading back to the Head of Steam for a few more drinks before they travelled back down to Leeds with Dom and Heather.

Barcamp North East 3 was yet another awesome weekend. A big thank you should go to the people who helped out such as Yahoo Developer Network, Microsoft, Center of Life, Newcastle Science Fest, SuperMondays and of course Alistair who organised the whole thing.

A big shout out should also go to the attendees: Alex Kavanagh, Alistair McDonald, Brian Degger, Sarah Degger, Ian Simmons (Center of Life), Stewart (Center of Life), Carolyn Jones, Caz Mockett, Chris Neale, Cristiano Betta, Danni Matzk, David Batty, Dom Hodgson, Heather Burke, Eric Nelson, Harry Palmer, Ian Puncey, James Rutherford, Robert Lee Cann, Mick Cunningham, Melinda Seckington, Neil Crosby, Mr Duck, Dai the Dragon, Peter Bull, Rebecca Parker, Rich Quick, Richard Hyatt, and Tim Nash for making it such as great weekend.

UK Maker Faire 2010 and Soul Technique release the ST EP!

A couple of weeks ago, I spent Saturday along at the 2nd Makerfaire to be be held in the UK as part of Newcastle Science Fest, a ten day event which aims to increase the North East’s enthusiasm for science and to encourage the younger generation to consider a career in the science field. Makerfaires have been going for quite a while now in America and have only just came over to the UK in the last couple of years, much to the surprise of me being held in Newcastle. Makerfaires celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science and the DIY attitude.

UK Makerfaire 2010

I went to the 1st Makerfaire to come to the UK last year, again held in Newcastle and thoroughly enjoyed myself, the visit also incorporated a photo walk with some of the usual’s from the Newcastle Photo Walk group on Flickr and when I saw the event organized again and coming back to the North East I just had to go along. This year you had to pay an entrance fee to get into the Center Of Life where the event was held (Last year it was held in Times Square), still it was quite reasonable at around £4 which also included access to the other exhibitions in the building. This year the event was also a lot bigger both with the amount of attendees and the amount of makers and stalls available to look around.

UK Makerfaire 2010

Here is a run down of some of the makers which I found most interesting.

Sugru – Make things more user friendly by hacking themOut of all the stalls I saw at this years Makerfaire this was the most useful product. A product called Sugru which allows further hacking of an everyday product to make it easier to use. It is a putty/rubber like substance which then sets and can be used on basically anything.

The 3 Drunks
Three robots which act drunk and who interact with passers by.

ZomeTool and Polydron
Exploring the ideas of symmetry in 2D and 3D by building mathematical sculptures.

A fascinating project which I first noticed at last years Makerfaire which print objects in a variety of 3D shapes using various different materials.

Twinkly, Sparkly cocktail bar
Demonstrated by Oli Wood, this is a cocktail bar made with LEDs and recycled products.

Web Cycle
A project created by Tom Scott and Matt, the Web Cycle uses open source Arduino technology and open source Ubuntu software. By cycling faster, the internet connection speeds up allowing you to browse pages faster.

Compukit UK 101
A project that is 30 years old, built from scratch and demonstrated at last years Makerfaire.

Percussion Kit II
Alistair McDonald’s scaled up version of the original Percussion kit which he built at a hack day last year in London. Very interesting to see how the younger people interacted it.

Power Tool Drag Racing
Racing power tools such as modified Angle Grinders, Dremels and Saws down a 30ft track.

Complete a Rubicks cube in under 30 seconds
A robot which detects the rubicks cube, computes the possibilities and solves the problem in under 20 seconds.

UK Makerfaire 2010

UK Makerfaire 2010

UK Makerfaire 2010

Soul Technique release the ST EP!

Following the Makerfaire on Saturday night we headed over to the World Headquarters as Soul Technique, a Newcastle band I’ve followed for a while now were releasing their EP which had been in the pipeline for a few months.

The gig was down to start at 8pm but as with any event like this, the unwritten rule is is that it will start at least 30mins later. We turned up for 7:50pm, the doors were closed. Odd I thought, but then a woman came to the door and told us that we had to stay outside (Event asking if we could use the toilet, she pointed to the bar across the street). 15 minutes later we were allowed in, and even then the girl taking the money on the front counter wasn’t ready. I found this very bad customer service and World Headquarters nearly lost two customers by doing this.

After paying the money to get in (and getting a free EP CD), I caught up with Ruth, the lead singer and had a bit of a chat. The night started with a set from Skrufz a rap group for the North East. I quite liked some of their stuff, but wouldn’t have minded seeing them again as I’m sure they would have grown on me.

The second set of the night was given by the main group of the night. A brilliant set including a lot of their older tracks and some new ones. I’ve found with a lot of Soul Technique gigs and their style of music that when people get a couple of drinks down them and the audience gets into the spirit of things, they can bring the building to the ground with their mix of soul, pop, bass and grungy music and the EP release was no exception!

Some of the tracks played on the night included: “Move with me”, “Ugly”, “I’ve been here before”, “Golden Era”, “Freakshow” and “Slow Down”.

Even with the troubles we had when we first arrived this was a truly fantastic evening. Soul Technique regularly play in Newcastle, so get yourselves along to the next gig!

Soul Technique can be found here:

Mobile Android Development and Using PHP with Web Services

SuperMondays returned to Newcastle on the evening of 22nd February with an attendance of over 100 people. The attendees came to see 2 speakers, Alex Reid and Lorna Mitchell.

Android Development with Alex Reid
In this session, Alex gave an overview of Mobile Apps, How to write a mobile app, Differences from the web, Mobile device constraints and benefits and Android itself. Alex demonstrated 2 applications which he has already developed for Android including “Ask the Hoff” and “Next Metro”, an application which allows you to see which Metro will arrive next and if it is on time. He explained that to write a mobile application yo have to decide which device(s) to target, get to know an SDK, testing and publishing the app. Later in the session, Alex explained the differences of Mobile to the Web and how efficiency is the key when developing mobile apps.

PHP and Web Services and why they are the perfect partners with Lorna Mitchell
Lorna Mitchell is a big name in the PHP world and community and so needs no introductions. Lorna came to SuperMondays to discuss PHP and Web Services and why they are the perfect partners. During her talk she explained how PHP is solving the web problem, how the problem evolves and how PHP evolves to solve the problem. Lorna showed the architecture of Web Services and how different data formats can be used to communicate with Web Services including JSON and XML. She also discussed different services types which are normally associated with Web Services including *-RPC, SOAP and REST.

NE Bytes is born

Andrew Westgarth and Jo Noble have brought a new Microsoft Technology user group to the North East with the launch of NE Bytes. The launch event was held on Wednesday 20th January and I went along to the event to see what it was all about.

NE Bytes revolves around both IT Developers and IT Professionals in the North East who use Microsoft Technologies in their day-to-day work and it also showcases up and coming software in the Microsoft suite of products.

For a launch event, it was great to see the number of people who attended. Over 90 people and the 3 speakers (Steve Smith, Mike Taulty and James O’ Neill) were present.

Highlights and features of Microsoft Office SharePoint 2010
The first session of the evening was given by Steve Smith, a SharePoint MVP and Director of Combined Knowledge (A specialist SharePoint training consultancy). Steve talked about some of the new features in the up and coming release of SharePoint. He covered topics such as Metadata management model, Records management, Records routing, The Ribbon, Office integration, Migration options, Architecture and the new layout of the software.

Silverlight – 2 Years, 4 versions and where are we now?
Mike Taulty
who currently works in the Developer and Platform Group at Microsoft UK gave the second session of the evening. Mike talked about Microsoft’s UX technology for RIAs and covered what is available in Silverlight such as various User Interface components; he also demonstrated what is available in the new Silverlight release, Silverlight 4 which is currently in Beta.

Hyper-V with James O’Neill
The third session of the evening was given by James O’ Neill who works on the Evangelist Team. He covered the Hyper-V virtualisation technology which is bundled with Server 2008, including the improvements which were released in Server 2008 R2. He also demonstrated System Center Virtual machine Manager and managing virtualised systems using Windows PowerShell.

VBUG Newcastle – A tour of SysInternals

Richard Diver, Microsoft Premier Field Engineer, returned to Newcastle on the evening of 25th November 2009 to give a tour of some of the SysInternals tools which are available for IT Professionals.

Process Explorer


Process Explorer can be used as a replacement for Task Manager.

Hide when minimized to always have it available.

CPU History can be viewed by opening the System Information graph.

Allows sorting of Parent/Child processes.

Enough data available to choke a whale.

The target icon can be used to find the process attached to a certain window/application.

Highlighting of processes can be found under Options -> Configure Highlighting.

Process Monitor


Process monitor is a real time file, registry and process thread monitor.

When in doubt, use Process Monitor.

Enhancements over Filemon/Regmon include:

  • More advanced filtering
  • Operation call stacks
  • Boot-time logging
  • Data mining views
  • Process tree to see short lived processes

ProcMon can see associated files or registry settings.

If using ProcMon on another machine, you need to capture data first over a period of time, then bring it back to analyse.


MsConfig.exe == Bad, don’t use.

Autoruns.exe, is better than MsConfig, due the facet of having a lot more options to remove disable start-up process in a number of places.

Boot execute should be empty.


Barcamp Bradford

Bradford’s first ever Barcamp event was held on 14th November 2009 at the WOW Academy and the National Media Museum in the heart of the city.

I thought this was a very interesting Barcamp, due to two main things in particular. First point was the amount of first timers, people who had never been to Barcamps before, around 80% of the attendees which meant a lot of new content and ideas were discussed making it very refreshing.

Barcamp Bradford

Second point, this Barcamp was held over two different venues, which split the day up nicely. The morning was held in the WOW academy and after lunch it was moved over to the National Media Museum about 10 minutes walk from the starting point.

Sessions I attended during the day were:

Rethinking the Presentation (Stop the killing):
This talk was given by Ian Smith. Ian talked about how to stop death by Powerpoint, and how we should think and plan presentations through using mind maps etc. before even reaching for the computer. He also gave some top tips on how to present and use presentations without boring people, and why we shouldn’t use Powerpoint for everything which we present on. Ian’s slide deck for this talk can be found on here.

Barcamp Bradford

Visual trends in web design since 1996:
Monica Tailor gave this presentation showing various different design trends which we have seen throughout the years in web design and how we sometimes still use them. Monica showed examples of Frames, Drop Shadows, Tiled background images, Tables Of Contents, Flash intros, Tabbed navigation, Candy buttons and Blog designs. She then talked about current trends such as Transparency, Font replacement, Hand drawn fonts, large fonts and that we have to accept the users of Internet Explorer 6 will have to expect something slightly different with it being an older browser with older technologies.

Barcamp Bradford

Google’s Hidden Gems:
John Mclear, gave a run down of Google projects including Google Android, Analytics, Webmaster tools, Adwords and Adsense etc. and the hidden gems we can find within them.

Photography is not a crime – Know your rights as a UK photographer:
I presented this session following on from the response I received at Barcamp London 7, and I was interested to get a general concensus of views within Bradford around this topic. I talked about what rights you have as a photographer in the UK. I also showed a short video which was filmed in London, again about photographers rights, but it also brought up some important points about photography in public, security cameras and the Big Brother state. An open discussion was held at the end of the session and some important points/subjects/ideas were raised by the attendees.

The ultimate to do list – 101 goals in 1001 days:
Alex Wolf gave a very interesting presentation on a project she is working on called ‘101 of a Wolf’ which involves completing 101 goals in 1001 days. More information about her project can be found over at the blog.

Free Software:
This was a round circle discussion led by John Leach regarding the ins and outs of free software and how people can use it and contribute to free software projects.

Barcamp Bradford

Barcamp Bradford are hoping to hold another event around May 2010 next year, however I may have to visit earlier than that due to the fact that I didn’t have a walk round the National Media Museum whilst I was there which looked amazing.

A big thank you should go to Ian Green for organising the event and to the following sponsers: Screen Yorkshire, Yorkshire Forward, National Media Museum, Panoetic, Frogtrade, Shipley College, BMedia, GREEN Communications, University of Bradford and Challenge CLC.

Dorkbot Newcastle

The ever popular Dorkbot event returned to Newcastle on the evening of 17th November at the Centre of Life.

Demonstrations and presentations were given regarding TouchScape, Humaniquarium and Chipdisco.


A very hands on presentation showing what this new start company from Newcastle has been working on based around multi-touch technologies. The TouchScape team includes Cassim Ladha, Karim Ladha and Wayne Smith.


A presentation given my Robyn Taylor, Guy Schofield and John Shearer. The Humaniquarium is a way to entice viewers to interact with the humans inside. Hand movements on the window relays information directly to the people inside changing the output of the mood or music at the time.


This session was presented by Brendan Ratliffe. I’ve seen him play one of his sets earlier this year at the after party of the first UK Makers Faire held in Newcastle. This presentation went into how he produces his music by using ‘Tracking’ and a demonstration of some of the software which he is currently working on.

Barcamp London 7

Barcamp London 7

Over the weekend of 24th/25th October 2009 I attended Barcamp London 7 at IBM South Bank, London. This is a write-up of the weekend.

Originally I wasn’t going to sign up for this event due to the very high demand for tickets, again going within seconds of the release time, but this time the Barcamp London planning team had tried a few different ways of releasing the tickets.

The first round of tickets were given away through a game of Hide and Seek in the city, which involved the team giving out various clues and coordinates of their whereabouts. The second round of tickets were released through a lottery style draw and the third round of tickets were released using the usual release and everyone rushing for them, however this time there was more emphasis on new attendees who had signed up.

Now considering I wasn’t going to sign up at first, I thought this event would be far too good to miss, so I thought just for a laugh I’ll put my name into the lottery draw and see what happens, If my name didn’t get picked then so what there will be more in the future….

It was to my surprise that I received an email the following Saturday informing me that I had won a ticket, I sat there and thought “Now what?” as I wasn’t expecting to get a ticket at all. I confirmed as I thought it’ll be rude not to go down and booked a return train ticket (£80) for the weekend.

Saturday 24th October

Saturday morning started far too early for my liking as it involved getting to Durham train station for the 4:45 train to London Kings Cross.

3 hours later I had arrived in London, the next challenge was to get from LGX to IBM Southbank with no knowledge whatsoever of London, The Underground or any streets for that matter. I worked out the Tube map and headed over to Waterloo Station using Victoria Line, then Bakerloo. As a first timer in London I was very impressed with the Tube and how quick it can be for getting over London in a short space of time.

I arrived at IBM (after asking 2 helpful PCSOs where it was, they then pointed out it was the building in front of me) around 8:50 which was far too early as the registration didn’t open till 9:30, so I decided to play tourist for half hour and headed down to the London Eye.

Returning to IBM around 9:20 people had started to gather, for the doors opening. Doors opened at 9:30 and after checking past IBM security and handing my ticket over I had finally arrived at Barcamp London 7. The morning had been a complete blur till this point!

Barcamp London 7

I caught up with a few people who I knew and started talking to few people I’d never met whilst grabbing a couple of coffees (sponsored by Starbucks). Once everyone had been signed in we then headed around to the large seating area for the opening talk given by Cristiano, Kevin and Melinda.

Following the opening talk people were placed into different rooms for a team building challenge: To build bridges…out of Lego, I think this worked really well as to go round a room of 200 people to get names and interests would have taken too long, but by doing it this way in small groups it was easier to remember names etc.

After the ice breaking session, the rush was then on to put sessions on the grid. 9 rooms were provided over the 2 days which allowed for an immense amount of sessions to be held. I didn’t have a session prepared, but I had thought of a one during the train journey down which involved photographers rights in the UK. I thought it would be a good session to bring up at a London event as I had read previously that police officers and security guards etc had been hassling photographers in the city for looking “suspicious”. I placed this on the Sunday grid as it would give me the Saturday evening and Sunday morning to put something together.

Barcamp London 7

Sessions started around 12 noon, which included a session aimed at Barcamp newcommers to give them the low down on what the events are all about and how to get involved.

I decided to skip the first set of sessions as I was still getting myself sorted out and just chatting to other attendees.

Sessions I attended through the day:

#themineproject – “asocial” software. Use social software to interpret private sharing

The talk from Alec Muffet gave a demonstration of the project and how people can use and share information both privately and publicly using online data and relationship logistics. More information about the project can be found here: The mine Project.

Duck 365 – A year in the life of Mr Duck… Or a photography project gone very very wrong (Mr Duck and Alistair) by Mr Duck and Alistair:

I’ve been following Alistair’s Duck 365 project since it started now and it was good to see a talk given on the project, how it has evolved, the relationship between Mr Duck and the “Hippy” and where it all began. However this talk started a small theme for the weekend…Ducks (More on that later).

SEERS – Standardised Bug Reporting:

Anthony Kennedy gave a talk on how we should use a set of rules and abide by them if we want standardised Bug Reporting for websites and applications, and how companies should embrace these if they want to increase Bug fixing productivity.

Stuff you shouldn’t tweet that I have:

Dominic Hodgson talked abit about himself and some of his blog posts which he has published. He also demonstrated some of the things you really shouldn’t tweet about!

Barcamp London 7

Google Wave WTF!:

I’ve heard a lot of stuff about Google Wave and I just wanted to know what all of the fuss was about. The session revolved around people trying Google Wave live in the room, how we could make things better and how we could use it for the likes of Barcamp communities by using APIs etc.

Presenting time on the web (time, urls, linked data):

Jonathan Tweed from the BBC talked about how we can present date and time in a variety of different ways and how we can use dates/times in URLs and with linked data.

Release London’s Data – Feedback from #londonsdata:

Unfortunately I didn’t really understand much of the talk as I think it revolved more around people living in the city rather than people living outside of it.

Balsamiq Mockups (Got some free licenses to hand out!):

I have been looking into Wireframing tools recently and unfortunately not found many free ones out there. You have to pay for Balsamiq, but it is relatively cheap and it looked a decent product. Cristiano gave a brief talk and demonstration about the basics of the software and how designers and developers can liase with one another and the clients.

Barcamp London 7

Sex and other things we don’t talk about:

Ian Forrester from BBC Backstage held an open discussion about why we don’t talk about sex and other such things in day to day life. Some interesting questions were brought up in this session including “If you asked to produce a website of adult nature by a client, would you turn it down?”. The discussion also included the recent happenings with Yahoo and the Open Hack day in Taiwan.

Why I give web clients no control over their project (and why they love it):

Alex gave a talk about why he doesn’t let his clients have any control over their project. All content for websites are written by himself and websites are normally of small size, but give a lot of important information over a few pages. He also talked about how well he is doing and how the companies are doing by taking this no control over the project approach.

During the evening a number of games were held in the communal area, these included Werewolf, Munchkin, Carcassone, and a LAN game organised by Dom. It was nice just to sit back and chill out after the day full of sessions. Most of the night I just hung around and talked to Alistair, and Caz also taking a few photos in-between. Pic & Mix was provided and Pizzas were ordered in around 1am.

Barcamp London 7

One thing which turned out a bit of a coincidence at this event was the changing of the clocks. At Barcamp London 6 earlier in the year, the clocks went forward an hour. At this Barcamp they went back an hour.

Theme – Ducks

By the end of the weekend, a theme was running through the Barcamp and that was ducks. Earlier in the day, Alistair had presented a session about his Duck365 project and after this ducks just took over the IBM building. Plastic ducks were turning up everywhere, in the plants, around the lego and even in the toilets. Alistair got rather freaked out by all of this and everywhere he looked there seemed to be a duck!

I finally dragged myself to a floor for some sleep around 2:30am as I was on my last legs after being up so early on Saturday morning back at home.

Sunday 26th October

I managed to get a good couple of hours sleep on the carpeted floor (A lot more comfortable than Barcamp Brighton) and woke up around 5:30. I grabbed a coffee, got changed and set about putting my presentation together for later in the day.

Whilst having breakfast later in the morning, I processed and uploaded the photos from Saturday to Flickr whilst waiting for the Sunday sessions to start.

Sessions I attended through the day:

Mono: Running .NET on Linux/Apple/*NIX:

This talk revolved around what Mono is and how we can use it to run .Net on Linux /Apple and *nix platforms.

Barcamp London 7

Polishing a turd:

This talk, given by Adrian Long gave ideas and what we can do when inheriting a monstrosity of a web project which you arn’t allowed to start over. Tips were given for not just when you get bad code, but bad Information Architecture, bad UI, and bad ideas.

Barcamp London 7

Growing the Developer Community: How can we get more people, more events, more conversations – and less confusion?

Dylan Beattie had paired up with Sebastien Lambla for this talk. They talked about LonDev an Information source for software developer community events in London. They also talked about the likes of AltNetBeers and other ways and means of getting the geek community involved.

Barcamp London 7

Developer Happiness:

This was an open discussion by David Flanders about what makes developers happy either at home or in the work environment.

Photography is not a crime (Know your rights as a photographer in the UK):

I did a small presentation bringing up important rights which photographers have in the UK. I also showed a short video which was filmed in London, again about photographers rights, but it also brought up some important points about photography in public, security cameras and the Big Brother state. An open discussion was held at the end of the session and some important points/subjects/ideas were raised by the attendees.

Lightning Talks:

A number of 5 minute sessions including Dabbr, Travel Expense Calculator, Retro Hacking, Mobile Wikipedia without the Internet and MyFi via IPhone.

Teach Me How To Run A New BarCamp – Cultures, Languages (BSL):

A very interesting session about running a Barcamp for the deaf community. What is needed and the best way to go about things.

Devs vs Ops – Good vs Evil:

A role play of Operations teams getting in the way of Developers and Developers getting in the way of the Operations teams in companies.

Barcamp London 7

Tom and Dom’s Big Quiz – with ultimately disappointing prizes!:

Tom and Dom’s quiz spectacular with no spectacle guaranteed! Very funny and would suggest anyone to turn up to this at future Barcamp events.

Barcamp London 7

After the quiz had finished, the closing speech was then held, Cristiano thanked everyone for such a great event, he also thanked the organisers and the sponsors.

A massive thank you and a big shout out should go to the following people and sponsors for such a great weekend of fun.

Cristiano Betta , Paul Brannigan, Mary Rose Cook, Tobias Kunisch, Robert Lee-Cann, Caz Mockett, Tom Morris, Kevin Prince, Melinda Seckington, Dan W, Zoe Slattery from IBM, Security staff, and of course the ATTENDEES. (I know I’ve probably missed a load of people off)

IBM, Nestoria, TechSmith, The Team, Be Broadband, The Proactive Accountant, lastminutelabs, Nudge Social Media, Vodafone Group,, JISC, Nexus Globalnet, Starbucks VIA, PayPal, Guardian Open Platform, myMuesli and Nokia.

Some people have already blogged about this event, and you can find them here:

Photos of the event have also been uploaded to the London Barcamp Flickr Group.

Barcamp Blackpool 2009

Barcamp Blackpool

On Saturday 17th October 2009 Blackpool hosted its first ever Barcamp event organised by Gemma Cameron at the Paradise Rooms in Pleasure Beach.

This was only a one day event, so I decided to drive down early on the Saturday morning. I arrived at the venue around 9:15, signed in and started helping getting things ready for the day.

Once people finished arriving, Gemma gave her opening speech and welcomed everyone to the event, in typical Barcamp style everyone then went rushing to the session grid to secure a session slot and work out which sessions they wanted to attend. People were hesitant to take up the first session slot, Kian Ryan was asked if he wanted to take one of the first slots, his response was “No because I haven’t yet written the source code for my session yet!”, I think this is one thing that attracts me to Barcamps, the whole “rough around the edges” atmosphere to them and thinking of things on the spot.

The schwag was impressive for this event, mugs from the Guardian, a few things from Yahoo, but the best of all was the Barcamp Rock (…and yes it did have “Barcamp” through the middle of it).

Three rooms were setup for the day named “Donkeys”, “Tower” and “Rock”. The sessions I attended during the day were:

  • Co Working, Collaboration, Virtual Boards and Masterminds
  • “Hello World” with Amazon EC2, PHP and Mono.
  • Review of the W3c website redesign (Which turned ou to be very ironic)
  • Accessibility, Content and Cognition
  • JQuery and why it’s your new best friend
  • How to make Barcamp Blackpool better
  • Building and releasing an Android App.

I also presented a session myself called “Your photo is currently unavailable, Flickr Censorship”. More frequently Flickr are now censoring user accounts, groups and content on the site and after reading numerous blog posts on the subject I thought it was about time to present a session a a Barcamp about it.

After the sessions wrapped up it was down to the local chippy for a chippy tea, fabulous I have to say and well worth a fiver. It took Caz, Alistair and I about an hour to get back to the venue as we used this as a photowalk opportunity, which was great as Blackpool Illuminations were also taking place (however someone left his tripod in the car).

Once we got back to the venue, the bar was open with a very very generous Bar tab put on by Yahoo!, unfortunately with me driving back I could only drink pop which was a bit of a let down.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by a magician called Paul Sylvester and Iam sure other people will agree, he was the funniest magician I’ve ever seen, top entertainment! Tunes then followed and the night wrapped up.

Barcamp Blackpool

Barcamp Blackpool

Barcamp Blackpool

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