December 12, 2008

Barcamp Liverpool

Barcamp Liverpool

Event type: Conference

Date: 2008-12-12


If you've been following the rest of this blog of late, you'll probably be getting fed up of mentions of Barcamp Liverpool by now. This is the last one (I think...). I wanted to jot down some thoughts and experiences from the conference in general, rather than the specific parts of it that I was closely involved with.

Although I've been to a few other un-conferences in the past, this was the first proper Barcamp I'd attended. The lack of any organisation to the schedule was really refreshing, and I think helped to give the attendees much more ownership of the conference. On Sunday in particular there were a number of people who hadn't presented before, or who weren't planning on talking, but who were inspired by the first day and decided to give a talk.

John O'Shea's discussion around his Meat Licence proposal is a great example of that. It was one of the most interesting talks I attended, and wasn't one he'd initially planned to give.

I missed the first couple of sessions on Saturday because I was busy getting onto the WiFi (as is often the case at these sorts of events the network couldn't cope at first, but they got it sorted after an hour or so) and setting up Bubblino.

Chris D. Pickford and Thomas R. Smith had an interesting look into the different archetypes that make up games players, and talked about how games need remember who they're primarily targetted at, from design all the way through to marketing and sales positioning. I think I'm a socialiser rather than an achiever, killer or explorer.

Next it was some fun with The Hodge and Tom Scott and their quiz. The missing link rounds and google-racing were great. Rather than ban computers and mobile phones, they were an essential part of each team's kit.

I don't remember what the next session was, probably because I was trying to get my talk set-up properly whilst I was listening. And annoyingly I missed Alex's Deconstructing the Capital of Culture and John talking about OpenStreetMap because both clashed with me showing people Arduinos.

Sunday morning started an hour later at 11am, which was a godsend because I was still recovering from too many free drinks courtesy of Microsoft at the after-conference party. I don't think that helped me in the first session either. Gill Hunt's (of Liverpool Ventures) 30 minute business plan session was pretty interactive and it was interesting to listen to the rest of my team coming up with ideas for the Mazzini project - thanks for the ideas guys!

By then I'd decided to give a second talk, but hadn't got the slides finished, so I skipped one of the later sessions and worked on it at the back of another session, paying half-attention. Annoying really, as I think the Codewiki is a worthwhile and important idea, but I failed to work out properly how I could help with it. Or to find any useful links about it after the event - if anyone else can point me in the right direction, please chip in with a comment. Ta.

John had also decided to hold a second talk, although it was more of a group discussion about GPS and location services on mobile phones, and in particular the iPhone. Getting a decent location out of the phone is a lot harder than you'd expect, as it will often give you a number of results of usually increasing accuracy - but you don't know exactly how many results you'll get, or when.

It was an amazing weekend, with so much packed into it. So many interesting people to talk to, and a wealth of ideas and knowledge flowing around. Twitter captured a lot of the vibe of the event - for a while on Sunday it almost overtook Christmas as the most popular thing being discussed on all of Twitter!

Once again, thanks to Katie and everyone else for organising it all. I can't wait for the next one.

  • Tags: Barcamp Liverpool bcliverpool

    Posted by Adrian at December 12, 2008 12:52 PM | TrackBack

    This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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    I don't think there is anything online for the Codewiki yet, but Julian Todd blogs at

    A post about his helicopter log scraping is here but there isn't any data.

    Posted by: Martin Owen at January 5, 2009 09:36 PM

    Excellent. Thanks for that Martin. Hopefully Julian will get something online soon and blog about it, then it'll pop up in my RSS reader :-)

    Posted by: Adrian at January 7, 2009 04:16 PM
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