The Day We Went To BarCamp Canterbury

Date: 12th May 2011
Author: Deri Jones

On the 30th April SciVisum sponsored the first ever Canterbury BarCamp and presentations were made by Dr David Hobson of our technical team, and Deri Jones, CEO.

Here are their round ups of the day itself:

‘There’s no way this can possibly go wrong… oh wait, yes it has’

By Dr David Hobson, past PhD Student in electronics at the host venue for barcamp University of Kent.  Now working for Scivisum as part of the tech-team.

For an unconference, barcamp was remarkably conference like.  A large number of talks were on for the whole of the day in the three seminar rooms, from a wide range of topics from programmable logic on an FPGA board to growing vegetables. The attendees were a mix of university of kent postgraduate students, staff, and a fairly large number of local software developers, tinkerers and sponsors of the event.

Prizes were given out on the day. The winner for best talk was a colleague of mine, Edd Barrett, a PhD Student in electronics, who walked away with a brand new Netbook! Surprisingly, I myself won joint third prize for my talk, winning myself an XMOS developer board, a nice piece of kit for tinkering! Deri also attended, talking about his experiences creating startup web business and running a web application testing service.

Especially surprising that I won, given the occurrences of my own presentation. I planned to give the talk on my Macbook pro, so I set up with a wireless key and my slides so I could talk about load testing and monitoring and demonstrate the scivisum portal. However… I didn’t have a connector to bridge my DVI output to the projector’s VGA inputs. D’oh, indeed. After an initial setback transferring my presentation to a friends laptop backfired when they didn’t have a wireless key, and a second several minute delay fiddling round preparing my talk on another friend’s laptop when I rescheduled my talk later in the afternoon, my talk finally started. My talk gained an immediate reaction as soon as the title slide appeared after this near-disastrous-delay:

‘There’s no way this can possibly go wrong… oh wait, yes it has’

I think you can guess how that was received! Overall it was a great day and I hope barcamp is back at the university of kent next year, bigger and better! The geek is strong in Canterbury, and a range of talks came from all over Kent. The University staff had a good presence notably by Professor Colin Johnson and the various students from electronics and computing. The winning talk was by student Edd and runner-up Hannah Greer, careers advisor from Christchurch university.

A Geek’s Tale

By Deri Jones, CEO, SciVisum

It was  a great day, and good chance to rub shoulders with a whole range of Canterbury people:  interesting and clever guys, from a wide range of backgrounds whether IBM or University lecturer or smal HiTech start up.

I particularly enjoyed Robert Govier’s talk on the Whitstable Twitter app – twitstable  (Robert’s Twitter handle:  @thegovier) –  interesting how the real world serendipity  of Whistable being such a rare word as a town name (unlike Canterbury, or London suburb names like Barnet with it’s hair-style usage !) means that harnessing online technology is so much easier for references to Whitstable.

It was nice too to be back in the University of Kent at Canterbury grounds – I was based here way back in 92 for a few years as CEO of the spin off company from the University that was the UK’s first Internet Service Provider!   Back then, we had 128K bandwidth to the rest of the planet, that we shared across a couple of hundred clients: mostly the Unix teams in large companies, who dialled in with modems.  How things have changed!

SciVisum is proud to have strong links with the local Universities and provides a variety of internships and industrial year placements for Canterbury students, as well as offering opportunities for graduates and PhDs to be involved in world-class software development processes, using the best open-source tools.