Thomas James Just a geek.

Technology, Gadgetry, Photography and Software Development

BarCamp Brisbane: My first "un-conference"

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Yesterday i attended BarCamp Brisbane which was my first un-conference. I had read a little bit about the concept, where everyone that attends is meant to participate in some way. I hadn’t planned to talk. It was rather daunting, turning up just before 10am not knowing anyone, not knowing what to expect and what kind of crowd would be there. I quickly realised this didn’t matter, although a little latter there were a few familiar faces. Arriving at the same time as @damovisa, we quickly struck up a conversation about the event and i learned he was the organiser of Developer Developer Developer (DDD) Brisbane, an event which I’m also attending next weekend.

The schedule and topics were decided in the first 30 minutes of the conference, during everyone was meeting each other and networking. One of the organisers was also going around asking for topic suggestions for “Birds of a Feather” which are small break-out discussion groups on a particular topic that someone can just place up on the schedule and an alternative to the main stream of 5 minute lightning talks and longer 20 minute presentations.

Three talks in and there was a free slot in the lightning talks that wasn’t filled and with the organiser asking if anyone wanted to speak i volunteered to talk about CouchSurfing which is something my wife and I participate in. The few minutes i spoke about CS resulted in a pretty lively Q&A on the concept, which was awesome. It was either CS or Netduinos & Yubikeys, maybe i’ll keep those for next time.

Throughout the day there were a number of excellent talks both technical and non-technical, the crowd was generally made of up software developers and other IT related fields, but if you’re thinking of attending a BarCamp or un-conference don’t let this put you off, from what i could tell any topic is welcome.

Some of the topics talked about on the day included:

The day ran really smoothly, professionally organised and went of well, quite an amazing feat considering that the schedule & topics are decided on the day, with a number of presentations prepared by participants on the same day. So thank you to the organising team of BarCamp Brisbane, it was an excellent day I would easily recommend to others to try out. If you gave a talk, ping me in the comments so i can add it to the list.

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