04.06.08 // BarCamp London 4

This weekend was BarCamp London 4. It was my first ‘Camp outside Austria and Germany.

In short: It was an excellent event – thank you Ross and team. You did a marvellous job. After first introduction and lunch first sessions began at 1 o’clock. The first session was held by five Yahoo! guys, one of them – Dirk – of Webkrauts fame. Session topic was the “Yahoo! Code Review”, a process to find mistakes in code and find best practices. They offered an overnight code review to volunteers. Mark pointed out, that a code review sounds incredibly scary at the beginning but is a very valuable source to learn from.

The second session by Tom Morris was about GRDDL, a webstandard to make semantics on websites extractable. This looked very confusing and only usable with a lot of effort, I need to have a second look.

Session number two was about “Books on Mobile” which was quite interesting regarding DRM and payment over the air.

Christian Heilmann, again of Webkrauts and Yahoo! fame, did a poorly attended session about web accessibility because the BBC’s javascript framework got much attention. Never the less it was an inspiring talk about accessible youtube videos and the need for web developers to produce more innovative and world changing stuff that really matters instead of YAGMM and he just hit the nail on the head. We have to come from tech-driven innovation to people-driven innovation.

Faceball, game of the champions. Sadly growing tiredness prevented me to join the obvious fun. That would have been the next serious blamage for Germany since the No Angels at ESC. At least watching was huge fun and Christiano deserved to win.

Currently organizing a conference I was very interested in the following “Usable Conference” session. That was very basic yet important stuff, which is collected on the website. I hope the website gets as usable and clean as the conferences will be.

Next up was Andy Budd who promised a talk about guerrilla usability testing earlier and switched to game usability testing instead which was non the less very interesting. Additional bonus points for not having a sales pitch for silverback, a usability testing programme for the mac, which his company Clear Left produces.

Barcamp wise the day ended unusual. Yes, there was a party and yes there was (cold) pizza and (lots) beer involved. But two quite funny comedians, too. I haven’t understood everything but they made some funny jokes.

Then there was the supposed-to-be highlight of the visit: Doctor Who. I didn’t like that it was a cliffhanger episode and the tension was/is nearly unbearable. After just some more talk and watching pointless youtube videos sleeping was high priority.

Inspiring was the evening and the following morning, where Gernot, “Colin“http://www.colinschlueter.com/ and I developed an running application for the iPhone/iPod touch where you use your fingers to simulate running. Actually Gernot developed the app and Colin and I watched how he progressed. We offered the name, non the less, which is “Forrest”.

Me on the roof of GCap

Sunday was great: My first session was “Multi-Use vCards” by Neil Crosby which is a great concept and I want to build on that. It’s about to use a password to give more informations to people you trust.

The “Future of Search” was the topic of my next session which was a quite inspiring talk. The use of trusted directories to get better results was offered as an solution. “Friendfeed” was the next talk which was totally passive attended by me, charging my iPod touch and my MacBook. No new findings there.

After the Lunch there was the second session of the Code Review from Yahoo! A site from Simon Willison was reviewed in a hurry. They reviewed HTML, CSS, Accessibility and JavaScript. Very intelligent suggestions with many best practices. The effort of Yahoo! is great and very important for the progress of the web.

I really liked that weekend and the view from the terrace of GCap was wonderful, including London Eye, Big Ben and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Oh: What session did I do? Actually none. That is very sad, but all my interesting projects are not really in a state where someone would benefit from them and the other sessions were just so darn interesting.

(Photo by Gernot)

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