Recap: BarCampEdmonton2

Yesterday was the first really beautiful day of the summer here in Edmonton, with temperatures near 30 degrees and sun all day long. It was also the day we held BarCampEdmonton2, at the World Trade Centre downtown. The weather probably had an impact on the attendance, because we had less people than anticipated (around 80). Despite that however, I’d say the event was still a big success! It was another demonstration of the fantastic tech community we have in Edmonton.

Reg setting up the scheduleBarCampEdmonton2

We had three tracks each with 20 minute timeslots for sessions followed by 10 minute breaks. In true unconference-style, we started by having everyone who wanted to lead a discussion or deliver a presentation put their topic and name on a sticky note. Reg then arranged them all on the schedule.

I ended up with two timeslots. First thing in the morning, where I talked for a bit about Foundations for an Open Edmonton and led an interesting discussion about open cities, and second at 2pm, where I talked about Edmonton Transit’s recent Data for Developers announcement. Some of the other sessions included: The Perfect User Experience by Peter, New Interfaces in Visual Search Refinement by Reg, How To Not Raise VC $ by Shaun, VOIP+SIP: A Primer by Slepp, Chocolate Monkey Heads by Chris, and Licensing Tech from Universities by Brant. Of course, lunch time and the many breaks throughout the day provided lots of opportunities for ad hoc discussion, and that’s really what BarCamp is all about!

Perhaps the session I was most looking forward to was the one by Rob Davy and his colleagues from ENTS, the Edmonton New Technology Society. They’re working to create a “collaborative and social technology workspace” here in the city, akin to hackerspaces and collaborative workspaces in other cities. I wrote about Workspace in Vancouver last fall, and wondered why Edmonton didn’t have something similar. Now we will! I’m really excited about it. You can visit ENTS tonight from 6-7pm at 10575 114th Street for an open house.

Pizza time!BarCampEdmonton2

Maybe we’ll do the next BarCamp in the winter, when it’s cold outside and everyone will want to come inside! Before that however, is a new event called UX Camp, taking place on July 18th from 9am to 5pm at MacEwan.

Thanks again to sponsors TEC Edmonton, iNovia Capital, and Smibs, and to everyone who came out to BarCamp yesterday! You can see the rest of my photos here.

Recap: BarCampEdmonton1

barcampedmonton Today was the big day – Edmonton’s first BarCamp! And I think it’s safe to say that BarCampEdmonton1 (BCE1) was a big success! About 100 people attended, and the schedule was packed with three tracks of 20 minute presentations separated by 10 minute breaks.

The event got underway at the World Trade Centre downtown at about 10 AM. We passed around sticky notes for people to write their topics on and then started to build the agenda for the day. After a few quick opening remarks and some thanks to sponsors TEC Edmonton and Nexopia, city councillor Don Iveson read a proclamation for BarCamp Day in Edmonton. The first sessions got going at 11 AM. You can see the schedule we came up with here. There was quite a range of topics – everything from Financing An Idea to Why Are Fundamental Programming Skills Second to Framework Knowledge.

Lunch consisted of sandwiches from Sunterra, and lots of beer from local brewery Alley Kat. The venue was excellent for this kind of event as it offered lots of little areas to break into discussions, and attendees definitely made the most of them. The afternoon’s sessions finished at about 4 PM, after which a bunch of us headed over to Pub 1905.

I presented my talk on Twitter and also presented a session on Wireless in Edmonton with Eric. The wireless for the event was powered by a bunch of Eric’s Open Mesh devices, and for the most part it worked quite well. I think our presentation was very well-received, and I hope it got people excited for wireless in our city.

I know there were a few people taking photos and recording video, so watch for those to appear over the next few days. Check out the tag BarCampYEG at Twitter, Flickr, and Google Blog Search. You can see a partial list of attendees on the wiki – feel free to add yourself if you’re missing.

If you have feedback on today’s event or if you’d like to get involved with upcoming events, please let us know. You can leave a comment here, or on the BarCampEdmonton blog. Or you can email or Twitter or otherwise message us – we’re fairly easy to track down!

Thanks to everyone who attended today, and of course to everyone who volunteered their time and helped to make BCE1 a success. We’ll likely have a few DemoCamps before the next BarCamp, but I’m already looking forward to it!

Reminder: BarCampEdmonton1 is tomorrow!

I’m quite excited for Edmonton’s first BarCamp tomorrow! Over 100 people have signed up to attend, and hopefully many of them will have things they’d like to share or talk about. I’m planning to talk about the state of wireless Internet access in Edmonton, and why I think Twitter could take over the world. Should be good.

There are about 20 spots left, so if you are still sitting on the fence – sign up now! You’ll meet lots of great people, and I guarantee you’ll learn something new.

If you’re participating tomorrow, please use BarCampYEG when tagging photos, videos, posts, and other digital media. On Twitter and other microblogging services, be sure to use hashtag #BarCampYEG. That way it’s easier to find everything:

See you all tomorrow!

Ten days until Edmonton's first BarCamp

barcampedmonton In just ten days, Edmonton’s tech community will converge at the World Trade Centre downtown for BarCampEdmonton1. Our recent DemoCamps have been extremely successful, and this is another great way to help the community grow:

Barcamp is an ad-hoc gathering of people in and interested in the Edmonton tech community. BarCamp is a series of loosely scheduled 20 minute presentations/discussions about whatever the community is interested in.

We are planning on having three different presentation rooms, as well as a couple of discussion rooms/areas, a “business” room, a “tech” room, and a “misc” room. Ultimately the topics will be whatever the community want them to be.

That’s the spirit of BarCamp – community driven!

I’ll be helping Eric setup free wireless at the venue. It’s a topic I’d love to talk more about – the state of wireless in Edmonton. I’d also love to talk more about Twitter, especially considering my talk at last month’s BarCampCalgary was very well received.

I’m hoping for a good turnout full of both new and familiar faces. Here are all the details:

WHO: You!
WHAT: Edmonton’s first BarCamp!
WHERE: Edmonton World Trade Centre, Floor 6 (600-9990 Jasper Avenue)
WHEN: Saturday, July 19th, 2008 from 10am until 4pm
WHY: Meet new people, learn new things, have a great time!

Unlike with DemoCamp, we need you to sign up for BarCamp. Do it soon before space runs out! Bring your ideas, your gadgets, and your enthusiasm. See you on the 19th!

More than 100,000 have used Meraki's Free the Net

meraki VentureBeat is reporting today that more than 100,000 people in the San Francisco area have used Meraki’s Free the Net WiFi service. That’s good news for the city, considering the much-talked about Earthlink service was abandoned. Maybe the business model is the reason:

Unlike Earthlink, Meraki isn’t seeking the city government’s financial support or approval, and it isn’t looking to make money from the network, either. Instead, [Chief Executive Sanjit Biswas] describes Free the Net as a “testbed” and showcase for the company’s wireless technology, which Meraki then sells elsewhere.

The company also runs local ads, but apparently doesn’t make any money from them.

Wireless is something I hope to talk more about at the upcoming BarCampEdmonton1. I would love to see a wireless service in Edmonton with over 100,000 users. I think the Meraki approach (not relying on the government) is probably the best way to accomplish that.

My friend Eric is going to be enabling WiFi at BarCampEdmonton1, so if you’re interested in learning more about how Meraki and Open Mesh work, definitely come down and ask some questions! We’d love to show you how it works.

And if you’d like to help expand the network in Edmonton, check out