I was lucky enough to attend BarcampBrighton at the weekend, thanks to a tip-off from psd and the fact that I had to be down the road in Eastbourne today anyway for our release planning.
For those unfamiliar with the Barcamp concept (which until recently included me), no schedule is set in advance, but attendees turn up with either a prepared talk or some ideas of subjects they think people might be interested in. On Saturday morning after the introduction we each scribbled a quick description of our session on a slip of paper, and stuck it in a free slot on the agenda grids, creating an instant [un]conference with five half-hour talks happening at once for the two days.
I’m not going to try to describe everything, or I’d be here forever (after all, I still haven’t finished writing up Agile2007), but highlights included being taught how to do this card trick by nicepaul, an audience discussion (neatly driven from a tiddywiki) on whether someone should buy a Wii, and talks about subjects ranging from web site accessibility and internationalisation to geocaching. Oh, and of course the obligatory (and my first) games of Werewolf. I did a demo of Selenium, which seemed to go down well, albeit with an audience of four (it was the last session on Sunday, and I was competing with Powerpoint Karaoke).
All in all, one of the best conferences I’ve been to. Which isn’t bad for free (with food and beer thrown in)!
In some ways the event almost seemed to run itself, but obviously that was largely down to the incredible efforts of all the organisers and helpers (especially the hosts, Madgex, who gave up their offices to nearly a hundred messy geeks for the weekend). A huge thank-you to them, and to the various companies who provided mountains of food and drink during the weekend.
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