BarCamp Chicago - Episode the Second

After having fought off the alien invaders, restored peace to the council, and made it back to the blog, our story continues...

BarCamp Chicago was tremendous. It's very difficult to explain or convey the idea behind a BarCamp - but I'll try to do it anyway: "a gathering of people involved in the field of technology, business, users, developers, thinkers, designers, where they are concentrated together for a short period of time to discuss, present, and create their ideas, thoughts, work, and experiences." (sounded better the first time I wrote it, but that's lost to the cobwebs of the digirealm).

See myDigitechnician for a good list of the attendees and their associated sites. In general, it was just my kind of venue. I like talking about various ideas in a lot of different areas. I'm an engineer/developer who dabbles in business and design. There were the mirrors of these roles all around the conference, given that they came to the conference with similar mindset. Therefore, it was very easy to have good discussions during presentations, as well as afterwards or even in the waning hours of the evening, and the waxing hours of the morning (didja like that lunar reference?)

BarCamp, as a structure for conferences, is a very good idea. Unlike other conferences, anyone can present even if they aren't a luminary, well published, write a good abstract, or otherwise pre-planned. (although some are those things). As such an open-conference it promotes the openness of ideas and acceptance.

There was the wonderfully performed presentation by Sean Johnson on how to not run a business. CleverSafe blew me away with their concept and implementation of a globally distributed, secure, reliable, redundant data storage system (that deserves its own post). Ziad Hussain exalted ubiquitous and open devices, and Walker Hamilton explained that users don't care what community they're on, it's where their friends are that matters. Add to that a good IPA and I'm in relative heaven.

My biggest sorrow was that the Detroit Metro area doesn't offer the large number of business resources for entrepreneurs and tech-types. I'm looking forward to BarCamp Grand Rapids, which is a little closer to me.

In related news, I need to start using a real blog editing utility, as compared to writing directly in the browser.

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Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.