Monthly Archives: October 2008

My notes from the afternoon sessions of BarCampHelsinki2

(originally posted here

What happens to Seniors? by Summpi
continues/expands on a Lunch time discussion:

What happens to designers & Programmers when they get to the Senior level (not how do we help OAP’s , as i first thought from title).

Options; change company, become Project manager, Start a company, Consultant.

Reactor as an example.
Interesting projects, good team, good tools
Interesting point – not so good pay, but amazing conditions. Only 3 people have left, now approx 100, can pick clients.

Fjord‘s senior people get pleasure from mentoring.

Conversation morphed into/onto business models (which had been mentioned during Myles session earlier)

Web2.0 – do it cheep first then monetise.

How to get over the gap (only need a few 10k s to get to an intial level), then need to get 6 months to one year money to get to VC level (few 100K’s users)

Jaiku – changed purpose. What was their business model.

Tools for Distributed teams by Antti
Antti had prepared slides, but decided to change to a more group discussion type thing

Basic idea – Teams should not be distributed.
Discussion : for a more succesful project you must get everyone togeather physically at the start of the project for some period of time (time length depends on number of factors, but few days to a week seemed to be consesous )

Tools used for Project management? Kisko is using Basecamp

37signals – all products are basically a productised wiki.


Campfire used in kisko. Scrumwords.

Timetracking methods;
– enter using emacs & text file this is then parsed via excel.
– checking time spent by svn logs, emails etc.
– Stimmer – Scred team bills by second.
– Github – times stuff via checkins?
– Fogbugz – investigated by

Discussion: Estimating, accuracy and best practices. Joel Spolsky‘s essay on software estimation was mentioned.

Beer – Why does it taste so good by me
Originally i had posted this on the Wiki as the i saw that the proposals were getting a little “heavy”, and late one evening after slightly more than one glass of beer it seemed like a good idea.
As there was only a few sessions on the board, i put mine up there (if only to fill the last 10 minutes before going to the pub!)
I basically gave a short summary whiteboard presentation of the Wikipedia pages on beer.
2 main types – Lager and Ale (i started off drinking Ale in UK, and prefer it).
Beer is made of only natuarl ingrediants; water, mated grain (normally barley), hops and yeast.

A couple of days later i came across this article about an ancient yeast being used to make beer.

User Experience by Niko Nyman
Niko volunteered to give this as Sergio was not yet back to give his talk.
Niko will be using the same slide set at Web 2.0 Berlin

Experience is …
Excellent ideas and pictures.
Worth of the admission price when presented at ??
Example of hyundai – they provide new purchases with lots of reasons for their purchase after they have bought the car, as they know you will get lots of commetns for your unusual choice.
Dvd player with coffe cup button
He has put his slides up on slideshare now

One thing is that the graph on slide 50 was refered to a number of times in the conversation in the pub afterwards.

An excellent presentation of basic fundamental concepts, my notes/wrtie up is short as the session was near the end of the day, and appart for the graph (which kept being used in the beer session in Kaisla afterwards), there was only a single fundamental idea presented.

Niko pointed out that he does similar workshops at corporates to help managers understand design and user experience fundamentals.

Design Ethics by Sergio Palomo
Presentation and discussion of the ideas presented by Gabriel White. The original can be seen here

We do not want to be evil.

Ethically is good design enough? Are designer’s responsible for their product.
Discussion – Example of guns & knives

Use principles & heuristics
Question – rules for ethics? Is good will enough, or something else

Overview of heuristics.

Discussion – if/how social web sites are addictive

Use of resources (multiple devices not ecological), how to re-use
Make it easy to do double sided printing.
More principles & heuristics – gives a language to have the discussion/negotation.

Discussion on ethics.

It was a real shame that this came so late in the day, it could be seen/felt that everyone in the room really wanted to take part, but was really just too tired.

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My notes from the before lunch sessions of BarCampHelsinki2

Originally posted here

Once again, the sessions were a single stream, with the titles written on the big board.
As was the case last time, it was quite a slow process to get the titles on the board. As there was no better suggestion we took the sessions in the order they were written down in.
I will link the title of each session to the relevant Jaiku thread, where i have already posted my “rough notes”, so i don’t plan to duplicate those here, but expand on them slightly.

Does Silicon Valley culture work in EU? by Myles Byrne
This was an interesting session as Myles was on a flying visit to Finland, i think around his stealth startup that was doing something with Neuroplasticity.
Myles started off by quoting some “stupid big numbers” such as 170 guadrillion transistors, 55 trillion links, 2mhz freqency of email, 31khz freqency of txts, etc
In Silicon valley this adds up to 1 big machine, this is referred to as “The singularity” (the idea that this 1 machine will soon be equal a single human brain)

There was then an interesting discussion that seemed to conclude that in Finland, generally, people are practical and direct but in the “Valley” there is an environment where dreamers and big ideas can exist. @Pe3 pointed out that it is quite funny to be talking about Finns as all the same.

Myles then talked about the clock of the long now apparently it is featured in the latest Neal Stephenson novel

The discussion then morphed into how the two places viewed risk (mostly with regard to starting your own business.
The conclusion of this seemed to be that the EU was more about Social risk whereas the US was more about financial risk.

Doing one thing properly by Henry Lehto
Presentation available here
An interesting presentation on the idea that it is better to do only one thing really well, rather than multiple things to a good standard.
This lead to a number of interesting discussions, around each of the points raised.
For me one of the eye opening discussions was sparked off by the example of the Disco app, which only does CD (DVD?) burning, costs approximately 20$ to buy, however it duplicates the functionality of the built in OS X burning app, but does not come close to the functionality of Toast. The interesting thing was that Mac users are willing to pay 20$ for an application that is prettier than the inbuilt application. I knew this on some level, but had not realised that the hard core Mac faithful regarded this as normal.

Bridging the gap: explaining RSS to grandma by Tina Aspiala
Tina went back to basics (presentation wise), with a whiteboard based discussion/presentation
She started off with a couple of lists; Two basic platforms that exist today (and hence you should consider when developing a solution) are Computers (Mac’s, PC’s Desktops, laptops etc) and cell phones.
Changing and/or enabling technologies; RSS, Wiki’s, Social media, CMS & blogs. these are things that are obvious to everyone in the room, but hard to explain to non-tech literate people (example of email now used by virtually everybody)
Tina then asked that if there is all this cool stuff “out there” why is it not more used. The discussion came up with a number of reasons, and tina gave an example of how she tried to get the market stalls in Töölöntori to make use of modern technology, but was not able to make them change.
All this was leading to the point that had just launched an updated version of the site, and how best to get Restaurant owners to update their own information. There was a good flow of ideas supplied by everyone present (be aware that free advice is worth everything you paid for it!).
Future expansion plans for is that no matter where you are in Finland, you will be able to find an eating place near by and have information about that place (average price, quality, opening times, food types etc)

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