Archive for September 26th, 2007

What I got up to at Barcamp Galway

Well, last weekend was yet another successful Barcamp for Ireland. I made the trip over to Galway Friday night and was pretty suprised at how great the roads were. I had to stop in Maynooth on the way and it took about 3 hours from there. The new motorway takes a lot of time off the journey.

BarcampgalwayI got to DERI at about 9:45 and picked up my pack for the day and of course the customary barcamp t-shirt. I had forgotten to bring a notepad so was very thankful for the notepad and pen. My collection of barcamp t-shirts is growing steadily however I am missing one for Waterford and Belfast. (I must check EBay to see if they are for sale as a collectors item 🙂 ) John Breslin opened the day and let us know the agenda for the day. Even though he said the no shows effected his mood, he definitely didn’t show it. The conference room was pretty impressive with 3 screens on the go at once. Edgecastmedia streamed all the days events for those who could not be there and the Jaiku feed was up on the screen so we could see all the comments and questions from the online viewers. I stayed for John’s talk about, its amazing to think that up until now all the people working on this having been part time. It now boasts on average 30,000 visitors per day. I don’t know how John keeps this going along with all his other work in DERI.

I got talking to Mick Lohan during the coffee break who introduced me to Martha Rotter. It’s amazing when you see a face on the Net all the time and then come face to face with that person. I had planned to go to Martha’s Silverlight event in Dublin this Thursday so it wa great to get to talk to her and get some background on Silverlight.

BarcampgalwayAfter the break I caught Vincents Jordans talk on Drupal. He showed us how to set it up, from downloading to configuring. This looks like a great option for clubs that want a web presence with an “out of the box” solution. Vincent is involved in Galway City Harrier and drupal really fits their requirements. As he went through the various plugins of drupal, it’s power and ease of use really showed. BarcampgalwayI was really looking forward to the next talk, it was by Sean Lyons from Zimbie. This is another spin out from the TSSG in WIT. When I was in WIT the TSSG were only starting and I had the pleasure to learn about java from Eamonn de Leastar. Zimbie are getting into Instant messaging space and look like they have something really good to offer. I worked with Infiniteagent in the past who are also in this space so it was interesting to see how Zimbie have apporached it.

I went for Martha Rotters Silverlight talk next. This was due to take place in the “Boot Camp” room but was moved to the “Front Line” room. It was a good move as a lot of people was interested in this talk. Again the 3 screens worked really well here. I was really impressed with the Jigsaw demo where all of the pieces made up one larger video stream but when broken up they still showed their individual content. I’m was happy to see that you can use JSON to communicate back to a web service. I might try to hook a Silverlight client up to a Java web service and how they fit together.

I had time to catch Jans talk just before lunch. Jan has developed touristr, a web site all about tourist stories. To develop the site Jan had to outsource his deveopment to the states. I have noticed in recent times that there seems to be less and less developers available in Ireland. We have had trouble ourselves finding developers in recent times and it looks like other people are having a similar problem.

BarcampgalwayAfter lunch, I went along to Walter of Sxoop’s talk on Amazon EC2. I had heard a little about the S3 service that Amazon offer but did not realise that you can also use their virtual servers by the hour as well. Walter showed us how he uses the service with his pixenate site. You can make an image of the server that you want to use. When you need to kick off another duplicate server to take some of the load, you can spawn a clone of the server in about 3 minutes. He asked if someone could pick a number between 1 and 20 and of course someone had to say 19. Far play to Walter starting up the 19 servers for the demonstration! It really showed how you can programmable boost your infrastructure extremely quickly just in case your new might app goes viral.

BarcampgalwayAlastair, the SEO expert from Logon talked about SEO. It was pretty interesting and covered some tips on getting yourself up the Google search ladder. It seems like there are a lot of cowboys out there in this field but Alastair is one of the good guys and pretty funny too. After that I caught John Breslin talk about Semantic networks. It seems like this area is getting very interesting lately. He was talking about FOAF ( and the ability to move your profile from one Social network to another. It’s an interesting concept, I wonder if one “profile manager” site will emerge and then the various social network sites could use this to store a profile for someone.

BarcampgalwayAfter that I hung around for the panel discussion on Start-ups. It was amazing to see John Collison of Auctomatic. He really knows what he is at and it looks like the move to the states has really worked out for him. The panel went on until about 6.30 and there was some great participation via the web. I wasn’t able to make it across the road but by all accounts it was a good night over there.

As with all Barcamps everyones days can be very different, depending on what talks you attend. Here are few other reviews of the day:
John Breslin, Aidan Finn, Martha Rotter, Tom Raftery, James Cooley

Thanks to John, Aidan, Conor and everyone else that helped organise Barcamp Galway.