I spent this weekend at the Brighton Barcamp 3, which felt like a good music festival in that there was a wide choice of things to do and everyone had completely different experiences. The schedules kept changing so you sometimes missed something you planned to see and ended up being surprised by something else. There was also an incredibly friendly atmosphere and I met some great people.
I saw a number of different talks, some of the highlights being:
- Premasagar from Dharmafly gave a good introduction to content aggregators for both technical and non-technical folk, covering Planet, lifestreams, Yahoo pipes and hAtom – definitely things I plan to play with.
- Coding in Yarn by eam31 was one of those sessions that opens your mind to something you'd not considered before. The talk compared computing, knitting and engineering, as well discussing the impact of the web on knitters. It may not have made me into a knitter but it is making me think about some very different subject.
- Copywriter Ellen de Vries gave a workshop on branding and product naming, leading a group through an example. The session was a lot of fun but also managed to teach a great deal in a short time. Ellen's business website is here.
- Tom gave a talk on how SCRUM has worked for him over the last year. He crammed a lot into a short presentation and it worked well for those who knew about SCRUM and those who didn't. After my six months of SCRUM it was good to compare the experiences I'd had with someone else's.
- Rebecca Cottrell's talk on typography was so packed it had to move into another room. This was yet another session where I learned a huge amount about a subject I knew nothing about beforehand. Thanks to Rebecca and Jeremy Ketih I now have a pile of links to check out over the next few days.
- I also attended David Hayward's talk on the Uncanny Valley in AI ("checkers has been solved but not King Lear"); Relly Annett-Baker's talk on 'Content without restriction' – what happens when people are not held back by copyright (the number of Prince of Tennis spin-offs blows my mind); and an introduction to the life of Hedy Lamarr by Jeremy Keith
- I managed to miss loads of talks I wanted to attend, such as the session on Scratch, a talk on band homepages since MySpace, and sessions on Death and Social Networks, the history of the right angle, and GTD & meditation.
I was impressed with the amount of work that went into the event. Meals were provided by a range of sponsors, from Brighton and beyond, and the university gave us the run of the union building. I learned a lot over the two days while having fun. Thank you to all the sponsors, organisers and volunteers. Hopefully there will be a Barcamp4 soon.