BarCamp Brighton – second day

The second day of BarCamp was illuminated by several conversations about the future of Social Networks (is there one? will multiplicity kill them off? is Facebook past it or you ain’t seen nothin’yet? what about identity sharing with XFN and similar frameworks?).

I learned a bit more about Twitterbots. Twitter is one of those services which I know about but would, I think find overly intrusive into my working day. Partly that’s just me being older, I guess, but there’s a personality element to those sort of choices as well. There were a couple of people at least who are doing research into social network analysis: Aleks Krotowski of Linden and The Guardian’s tech team, and Beth Granter of Sussex Uni. I suggested a connection with Peter Gloor who’s a guru of this stuff at MIT’s Sloan School, who I met on a company IT Field Trip I organised to MIT last May.

Jeff Barr ran a session on Cloud Computing, for me an update on what Amazon Web Services has added to its portfolio since I first met Jeff on a Study Tour two and a half years ago. AWS lowers the entry barriers for startups, and enables enterprise IT to test things out or do big short-term projects without major capital investment on infrastructure.

So overall, what a great event! From the initial publicity, it could have seemed like a geekfest for students, but the great value was the whole spectrum – people with that kind of sharp insight, established hi-tech companies, start-ups and more – and the chance to absorb a much younger IT culture than the one I’ve spent the last twelve years in. And for free, thanks to the sponsors! If you get a chance, go to one!

Amazon Web Services
Peter Gloor at MIT’s Sloan School
SocialSim Aleks’s blog

BarCamp Brighton

A new experience: informal techfest at Sussex Uni under the heading of Barcamp. Completely informal, with the expectation that everyone will present a session. About 50 people: not all IT people. And when the assembled company ranges from luminaries like Jeff Barr of Amazon Web Services, from sponsors like Yahoo and SecondLife, from UK companies like BT, from university research … no keynotes, everyone, even the luminaries, just put up the notice for their talk like everyone else. You’re in for a fascinating and interesting time meeting people and learning things.

Jeff, who I’ve met before, didn’t talk about AWS. He talked about doing business in SecondLife, and the hurdles he’d had to get over to get Amazon to let him take an official interest. Some of these were issues picked up in my own session which I billed as a survival guide for a geek in enterprise IT. A group of about half a dozen of us talked about some of the fears (if you’re discounting a career in enterprise), frustrations (if you’re in there) and the upsides and benefits – for a geek, remember, not the financials. I’ve been at sessions on accessible javascript, basic image editing (with Photoshop or something like it), RDF, Social Network Portability (half the session, because I left to go to Jeff’s) and met people from Yahoo!, The Guardian, a local start-up called Ribot doing mobile design, a local authority, and more.

Uploaded is a version of my session. It will get edited to reflect the conversation we actually had! More tomorrow, and look out for tags on Flickr and so on.

How to survive in enterprise IT
BarCamp Brighton 2