Barcamp Leeds

Attended the first Barcamp Leeds this weekend, it was very good. Many good talks, chats, and laughs were had.

(photo by Moshin Ali)

My talk (slides) on Openstreetmap Leeds (creating a free map of Leeds)went ok, helped to crystallize some of my recent thinkings of the project and will be the subject of a forthcoming post. Some comments about OSM, how to encourage more people to take part? possibly though the use of “here’s my places i’ve mapped”, possibly a chart of personal stats, for some competition. I think OSM is still pre-early adopter at the moment. Oh, and special thanks goes to Kevin Whitworth for the use of some of his great photos! please don’t sue me! 😉

Some of the talks I enjoyed:

  • Victor Szilagyi “on getting lost with GPS”. A fascinating look at locative media, and some ideas about new interfaces, passive, for experiencing these. Like a braile / pin face on a device so you can feel events and locations, and a locative radio player. Had some good chats with Victor: he organized Mobile Camp London.
  • Reinhold from Leeds Met gave a fun account of his work in augmented reality and vision, robot cars and races, and puts out the challenge for Leeds, shall we enter a car for the next DARPA grand challenge? (also, he talked about how these types of challenges, with a big award at the end encourages good development).
  • Tom Scott, one of the organisers, and who is doing interesting things with pineapples apparently, did a very fun “zero to game in 20minutes”. We made a card game, based on Ninjas in Space. Fun!
  • Ikem Nzeribe, who I first met at the State of the Map conference, presented his ideas for Doodol, a great idea – using vernacular geographical sketch maps to describe places that blows the pin on a map out into last century. Worth watching for.
  • Tom Smith, I have loads of time for. He presented about “stuff we may not know, but might want to”, amongst all the gems he talked about, were the works of Tufti and Robert Horn, how paired programming makes your code better, aka Talking to the teddybear (Made me want to register that as a domain name!), and is looking for good ideas to take into reality. His slides are here
  • Ben Dalton from Leeds Met, did a wonderfully funny session on futurology and “paleo-futures”, and we split into groups and devised the future for Dogs and Metal detectors… well you never know! Paul Robinson then did a session where he looked at how futurology is crap, and you cannot predict the future.

As with all events with more than one stream, there’s things I missed, alas. On the whole things went really well, apart from ASDA who delayed and generally messed up the refreshments delivery. Boo to ASDA!

Yay! to local games developers, Rockstar Games for the booze etc, was first time I played with a wii on their new game, table tennis, and for general hilarity!

Thanks to Dom, Tom, Deb, Linda and Imran for all their hardwork. Looking forward to a two day event in the springtime!