I attended a free conference in Manchester on Saturday called Bar Camp Manchester. It’s basically a bunch of software people getting together to help each other out with presentations and round table discussions. It’s proven to be the best vehicle for cross-discipline information dissemination I’ve found every time I’ve attended.
The first session I went to was one I requested – I wrote a post-it note reading “iPhone Dev” and put it on the wall and a very experienced iPhone developer grabbed it and stuck it in the 10am time frame there by volunteering to run the session.
The session turned out to be not only iPhone dev – but alternitives designed specifically for my problem: What platform do develop for? I walked out looking into wrapping an HTML5 solution in a simple browser app for each platform I want to deploy to, possibly using the Sencha Touch framework that was demoed in the session.
The next session was given by the developer of the Visual ID’s project and ranged from anthropology to color blindness and opened my eyes to a much better way of generating icons for folders holding tons of files. One of the sites mentioned in the session was ScribbleThink.
During the annual Drop Your Pants session, where people are encouraged to describe projects they have been thinking about and let the room critique and suggest ways to get it done using the skill sets and knowledge of this very unique group, I describe my desire to have wi-fi addressable thermostats in my house. The group pointed me to the sites Alarm.com and the Invention Submission Corporation. Other topics discussed in this session were other peoples ideas and the group gave equally good advice on how to further them.
The Gorilla Projects session generated some great ideas on how to make Manchester, NH a better place. One was declaring the official hash tag of the city to be #MHT. I immediately tweeted this. I can’t think of a more official group to make this declaration. Also discussed was generating QR codes for bus stops pointing to web based scheduling information. I mentioned this article in wired in response to a suggestion of 311 service for MHT. Collecting photos of the Mills and putting QR codes at the spots they were taken was also discussed.
The last session was a 2 part discussion of SEO techniques and general “good ideas” for websites and social campaigns. A lot of this was not so much new to me, but hearing it all put together in a cohesive discussion was useful. It generated some definite actions I’ll be taking for some side projects I’m working on.
The after-conference was right down the hall at a nice little restaurant whose name I can’t remember – nor can I find them online. I admit I wish the original suggestion to go to Milly’s Tavern was followed. I was looking forward to bragging that I am the Mayor – which of all the people in the world probably would have mattered to this group more than any.
If you’re presentation is listed above and you want credit/mention let me know and I’ll add whatever link to you you’d like.