Barcamp Atlanta 07

I was lucky to attend the first(I believe so?) barcamp in Atlanta. What is a barcamp? It is essentially a geek-fest. Geeks come together to have an ah-hoc conference on any topic that they want. At the beginning of the event, an empty schedule is put up, and anybody can fill it out by allocating a block of the time to talk about a specified topic, which is called a session. There are multiple rooms, so multiple sessions can occur at the same time. The Atlanta barcamp lasted from Friday evening to Saturday afternoon at the new Georgia Tech ATDC building, some camped overnight prepared with their sleeping bag(in door), others went home to sleep and then came back in the morning the next day(that's me), and some others still did not sleep at all.

This was the first such event I've been to and I enjoyed it a lot. Some notable sessions for me were: Stephen Flemmings talk on trying to privatize space exploration and his experiences... and the vomit comet, I learned about the availability of webcomics , saw a demo on and saw up-close the one-laptop-per-child laptop, and a talk about marketing for geeks. I hosted a session with Timothy Moenk(whom I only just met) on opening up social networking, or the "social graph". Also I learned to play the Settlers of Catan(a German board game) from Mikah.

Some take backs

I felt that most of the sessions were scripted(guy with ppt presentation), and also a bit too short(30 minutes) to allow any free form discussions since most of the time would be used up just going through the slides(sometimes not even). What ended up happening was that the topics that I attended with which I was already familiar would not teach me anything new(like the one on Javascript and code coverage, for example), what I would have prefered was to have another half hour at least for free form discussion about each others' experiences about the techology/methodology. So what ended up happening was I went to more talks that were about things I didn't know much about, and I got a lot out of those.

Another problem I ran into was that sometimes 2 of the sessions I was interested occured at the same time, which forced me to miss one of them, others have had the same issue as well. Don't know what to do really about that... maybe we all share the same gmail calender and use a chat feature to resolve any conflicts?

I met a lot of really smart and geeky people, and had some beers, pizza, and a good time. Cooper: I would have like to see your Gwittir session, but had to leave early on Saturday because someone's installing granite counter tops in our kitchen.

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