YDN blog post – BarCampLiverpool

Posted: December 10th, 2008 | Filed under: Conferences, General, Technical | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

My fifth ever blog post has just been posted to the Yahoo! Developer Network blog!

Not bad for my first week of blogging!


BarCamp Liverpool – Day Two

Posted: December 9th, 2008 | Filed under: Conferences | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Day two of BarCamp Liverpool started with ‘Let’s talk about sex’, an open discussion where, amongst other things Ian Forrester asked if geeks can talk about sex in an mature and adult way. The answer is ‘no’! This was probably the most entertaining part of the BarCamp, but possibly not for the right reasons.

In ‘How to pimp yourself’ Richard Quick talked about how to promote yourself as a freelancer, or as a company. He gave his 7 tips for success, and we then moved on to a discussion which expanded on his ideas. The information doesn’t directly apply to me these days, but there was plenty about how best to behave at conferences to make this a good session for me.

Cristiano Betta then talked about ‘Using wordpress for OpenID’. The WP-OpenID plugin allows you to use your WordPress blog to login to OpenID consumers. We followed this up with a general discussion on OpenID, particularly how to spread its use to the masses.

The last session I attended was ‘Don’t Just Change the World… Improve It!’ from Adrian McEwen. Adrian had returned to Liverpool late in the Capital of Culture year, and he talked about the changes he had seen, and his ideas on how we can make a difference in our communities.

With all that serious business out of the way all that remained was the obligatory game of Werewolf. I’d only played once before, and with a much smaller group, so this was great fun. I was killed while I peacefully slept, but it was almost as much fun to watch.

And with that, my first BarCamp was over. I will be back for more.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1948-2008

Posted: December 8th, 2008 | Filed under: Human Rights, Politics | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Two days from now, 10th December 2008, is the 60th anniversary of one of the most important documents ever written, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Read it, and think about how well your nation measures up. Sadly I can’t say it makes me proud to be British.

You can can find out more about the anniversary at http://www.un.org/events/humanrights/udhr60/.


BarCamp Liverpool – Day One

Posted: December 7th, 2008 | Filed under: Conferences | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

I’m waiting for the second day of BarCamp Liverpool, so I thought I’d take the time to write down my thoughts on day one.

I didn’t really know what to expect from a BarCamp, but whatever it was this event wasn’t it! Out of 200 places I guess about 100 people actually turned up, a sizeable number, but a little disappointing event even if you take in to account the inevitable wastage when tickets are free.

First job: book a slot to speak. My chosen subject: accessibility. I thought I’d stick to what I know. I’ll write about how that went in a separate post.

After an introductory speech from the organisers I moved on to a talk about ‘The 3D Web’ from Stephen Clibberly. I have to say I am not convinced by this technology, but it was interesting none the less.

Next, ‘How to be a dead good speaker’ from Phil Winstanley. As I would be speaking for the first time here I though that this would be a good subject for me. Realisation that I had done most of the things I shouldn’t have done in my slides didn’t help with my nerves at all, of course!

‘Readable Perl’ was after lunch (food for 200 people, eaten by 100!). Now I’ve disliked Perl for about 8 years, mostly because I had to work with badly written code. Seeing examples of how nice Perl can be might have changed a little bit, but I think I’ll stick to PHP and Python for now.

‘Getting started with Arduino – How to build a twitter monitoring Alertuino’ by Adrian McEwen has a fairly self explanatory title. Adrian modified a toy laser gun to activate whenever someone made a direct tweet to a particular address. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of Arduinos before. I may have to invest in a kit.

Then little me…

After this I took part in a ‘Privacy open discussion’ led by Alistair MacDonald. 4 of us spent 45 minutes giving our opinions on where the line is between personal and private when we blog, tweet, or otherwise post online.

Finally was a demo of Pacemaker form Ian Forrester. Now, I don’t share Ian’s taste in music, but this session was great fun. The Pacemaker is an impressive bit of kit, I don’t think it is the iPod killer that Ian would like it to be, but it is pretty cool.

And then on to the party. Free drinks courtesy of Microsoft, who also provided prizes for a raffle and startup competition. Their products are not entirely appreciated by an audience that seemed to be primarily Mac and Linux users, but I don’t suppose that is their fault.

And so day one came to an end.


First Post!

Posted: December 6th, 2008 | Filed under: Conferences, General | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

After many years of procrastination, I have finally started my first blog.

What it is going to be about remains to be seen, but I suspect I’ll be writing about web development, particularly accessibility and usability, and might include the odd political rant and my views on various human rights issues.

This is a weekend for firsts for me. First blog. First blog post. And also my first BarCamp, which will hopefully involve my first crack at technical public speaking. I’m attending BarCamp Liverpool, the first in the city and billed as the biggest in the UK so far. Post #2 will in all probability be about day 1.