Sunday, November 14, 2010

Whoo, BarCamp Philly!

#bcphilly I had a great time at BarCamp Philly 2010 yesterday. BIG ups to the organizers, JP Toto, Roz Duffy, Kelani Nichole, and Sarah Feidt. I had the opportunity to sit and pontificate with some of the most awesome folks from the city, the region, and beyond...and picked up a couple t-shirts to boot!

In the morning there was the session on Weaving a Regional Mesh For Open Innovation. I think the content of the session could be summed up in a statement made by the presenter, Joe Raimondo: "The World needs R&D". It was more or less an open discussion on ways to foster and encourage innovation around real-world local problems. We touched on early education, higher education, mobilizing community [human] resources, traditional hierarchical organizational structures, and a host of other topics. Most of it wasn't terribly specific to this region, outside of the examples raised (as most people in the room were from the region). It was an awesome way to start off the day.

Then there was an OpenDataPhilly talk featuring Paul Wright, Mike Jewsbury, Mark Headd, and Stuart Alter (not much of a tweeter) from the DoT. There were some good questions brought up by the audience here, such as how Philly is addressing the issue of 2-way data streams (as opposed to just from government to citizens), and how they (we?) are approaching data and digital tool access with respect to the digital access divide in Philly. Not all the questions were answered in ways that were yet satisfactory to me, but these are hard problems and only recently starting to get worked out anywhere, so I'll cut the panelists some slack.

After that I chatted and mulled around for a while, and eventually ended up in Kris Walker's presentation, Internet as Platform. It was an apt refresher on open-web principles, showcasing the current state and trajectory of web [browser-based] platforms. If I can recall where his slides are hosted, I'll post it here. Update: Here's those slides

After a nice lunch at Good Dog with Corey Latislaw, Jason Cox, and Pam Selle, I intended to attend a talk entitled "JavaScript is Real Code" with Len Smith, but for whatever reason it was moved to a later time slot. Instead, I and a couple other folks stayed around for an impromptu session on jQTouch with Wil Doane, who shared samples and explanations from code that he uses to teach a class at Hudson Valley Community College. I wanna do that!

After a bit of shuffling around, deciding on my next session, I settled into Riot URLs: Gender Feminism and Tech with Maria Sciarrino and a room full of folks discussing women and men (and boys and girls) in tech. On one level, I enjoy sitting around talking about bias in tech (takes me back to my college days), but there's something weird about it too. Maybe because I feel it's too important an issue to be touched on in an hour-long discussion, which is often as far as people go with it. Maria did express a desire/make a suggestion that the discussion continue in some form. Update: Maybe a regular brunch?

Lastly, I sat for a few in Corey's last-minute addition to the schedule, a disscussion around coding for good. I wish I could have stayed for the entirety of this session, but I had my partner's birthday celebration to get to (trade one good time for another).

Still have some thoughts to digest, and I'll do so later, either here or over on Kwa Watu. Just want to say thanks again to the organizers, the volunteers, the sponsors, the presenters, and the attendees of this BarCamp Philly.