BarCamp Leeds 2007 – a round up

So a quick round up of my first BarCamp experience at BarCamp Leeds: brilliant.

Thanks to all the great people I met, all those great presentations, good food, and whoever persuaded all those students to dress up for our arrival at the after party. Brilliant venue as well.

Best business card award goes to Richard Garside for his origami crane. Which I particularly like, in my pretentious way, for the link to the Japanese legend of a thousand origami cranes, which tells that if you fold a thousand cranes, you’ll be granted a wish… hand out a thousand original business cards like this one and your business wishes could well be granted.

Richard Garside business card (thumb)

My sessions were:

  1. Mark Sailes: TV 3.0 (read more)
  2. Georgia Brown: Giving the web a voice. Georgia demo’d the voice over IP (VOIP) technology from her company, Phone From Here. The interesting part was the thought she and her colleagues were giving to how voice should fit into various online environments, from a simple link to be inserted in a LinkedIn profile to a proximity sensitive chat facility for Second Life.
  3. Isriya Paireepairit: Drupal. Isriya took the room through an overview of Drupal, why we should use it and giving an overview of the community development effort around the project. Discussion turned to the difficulty people had had designing for Drupal, and the frustrations of what Isriya acknowledged was a steep learning curve.
  4. Manoj Ranaweera: Wikis suck – beyond post production (slides). Manoj is building a Web 2.0 company, eDocr, around the contention that Wikis aren’t always the answer due to issues with editing equality, lack of fixed content to build discussion around, and inevitable disagreements. eDocr allows you to upload a document, and others to comment on that document… currently it’s in a (stable) alpha state. Discussion covered adding the more useful paraphenalia of user generated content, e.g. voting, better targetted comments and addressing (possibly to the paragraph level), easier embedding in other sites.
  5. ME!: Introduction to WordPress (read more), subtitled: coping on a whiteboard when your laptop refuses to play (slides).
  6. Mike Nolan: Symphony – PHP doesn’t have to be crap (slides). Mike took us through one of PHPs answers to those smug kids with Ruby on Rails, and talked us through the issues of dealing with a student body – not as large as you might think it turns out… his last slide was “Trust the students; they usually do the right thing”. (Actually his last slide was “exit;”, but that’s just too cheesy to highlight really!)
  7. Mark Rushworth & Dom Hodgson: SEO Site Clinic (read more)
  8. Tom Smith: Things you may not know but might (read more)
  9. Caius Durling: Introduction to Ruby and live coding. Caius led us through a whirlwind tour of Ruby, followed by coding a small Ruby application, live and in front of our very eyes, which queried websites for basic HTTP information and some quick facts about their document structure.

Overall a fantastic day, and thanks again to Deb, Imran Ali, Tom Scott & Dominic Hodgson for organising it… and here’s to the next one, see you there.

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