Barcamb 3

I attended my first barcamp this weekend, Barcamb 3 at the superb offices of Red Gate in Cambridge. As a barcamp newbie I was a little unsure of what to expect but the whole weekend was great fun, full of an interesting, open and welcome bunch of folk, well organised and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

My talk was in one of the first slots on Brain Games, BBC and Facebook Fun. The theory being to jump in at the deep end and just get stuck in! The talk seemed to go well and was well attended by a probably very tired bunch of people early in the morning. The slides are now up on Slideshare, you can also check out the Cambridge Brain Sciences website and try out the most entertaining brain games!

It was good to meet new people and chat away to those I hadn’t seen for a while. The general atmosphere was fun, especially Saturday evening when Doctor Who took over a couple of the rooms along with beer and pizza. And the games. I watched, and partially understood, Settlers of Catan. Played a few rounds of Family Business, lost of course! Couldn’t stay until the early hours, but popped my head into a Werewolf game just as they took their first casualty.

The talks were of high quality. A mix of planned talks and impromptu stuff by people who obviously knew their stuff covering a diverse range of subjects from tech, science, japanese, photography and sleeping. Half the problem was working out which one to listen to!

Highlights included Mat Clayton’s talk on increasing users via Twitter and Facebook, by fair means and foul cunning. A real eye opener to what techniques really work. Michael Brunton-Spall had a good couple of talks, the first on Twitter @Anywhere, the second a joint one with Triest on Test Driven Design which expanded into a discussion on the merits of pair programming.

Gareth Rushgrove’s talk on Dev/Ops was also interesting on bridging the gap between developers and sysadmins. Other good stuff included open street data for CycleStreets, an agile technique from Toyota called Kanban, how to make a good screencast, an intro to Git, a detailed look at message queues and a nice diversion from tech with tips on how to take good macro photography.

My web agency Studio 24 were also very happy to sponsor the event, looking forward to Barcamb 4.