Posts Tagged With: BarCampHelsinki

Thoughts on why i like unconferences

With the upcoming BarCampHelsinki IV this was more on my mind, possibly due to the many recent conversations where i would be explaining about barcamps.

My view is that what happens at unconferences, is more about people communicating as peers together, even when it is a more classic presentation style, rather than the traditional conference format where it is more a single person at the front attempting to distribute their wisdom.

But the killer difference for me is that at BarCamps there are intermediate level people teaching beginners or learning from one another.
At a traditional conference the “guru” will often attempt to please both types of audience (beginner & intermediate), and thus often fail to please both . I find that by teaching people who know less than you, you will often find the gaps in your knowledge & understanding, and thus progress towards mastery faster.

But the reason I keep coming back to these type of events is the sheare randomness of what happens at them.
The core principales of BarCamp type events Seems to cause people with a commaon characteristic of having a willingness and desire to share to come togeather. This in turn, leads to oppertunites to be exposed to new things. Emma Persky touched upon this in a recent post where she points out that not everything happening at a BarCamp is about technology, in fact the most memorable/remarkable sessions are often the ones no-one expects.

Posted by Wordmobi

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My notes from The Mobile Trends session

The slides that Christian Lindholm used during his session are on slideshare here

As Christian’s session announcement was rather last minute (in true BarCamp style ;), the audience got to discuss the ideas in quite some detail.

During the talk (as is my habit at BarCamp’s) i was attemting to take notes and then posted them to this thread on Jaiku.

So these are my notes tidied up slightly. The text in [] are things I have remembered after the event and don’t have actual notes for.

The handset business is dropping – this is mainly due to consumers hanging on to handsets longer

People always need to talk so the operators are ok?

Phone to flute leap not possible for “normal” mind [referencing the Flute app demo at the recent iPhone announcement]

In-app purchasing is huge oppertunity for digital assets. [Most people have not grasped this yet?]

2 master copies (laptop/desktop & cloud)
From development of the Lifeblog software, there was two components; phone & pc. 40% of effort was assigned to sync, but ended up as 60% of cost. VERY difficult problem.

Mobileme syncing is not 100% fool-proof yet.
Privacy. Use a Box that lives physically at home but logically in the cloud rather than some third party

Figure out what a companies super rare eng skill is:
At Nokia it was the RF guys who were gods
At Yahoo it was the guys who understood backend scaling

The handset market is seperating out into high & low end, [middle is disappearing. Problems for Sony-Ericsson and others?]
Nokia is digital Coca-Cola [memorable quote from Christian]

Apple is the only b2c handset manufacturer all the others are b2b

most people are used to combination of screen & keyboard, and understand how to interact with a device with these physical characteristics. [touch-screen is too new method to interact with computers]

Operators have not figured out how to sell more than one [not sure exactly what this was in reference too, but i think it was that most people only have a single “thing” from an operator, and that Netbooks offer a chance for operators to upsell data packages]

Object is small & cheap – reverse gadget psycology kicks in, this enables women to buy in [Christian had a really good explantion of the difference of how men and women buy technology, but i have forgotten it]
Kids. Families need to be very affluent for everyone to have their own computer.

Hardware is the service – iPod is a physical service
Razr – beautiful design, super thin but horrible to use

Olpc – fucked? A “.org” is not able to compete with comercial market.
Olpc is the genes/ancestor of netbooks.

Apple will get into the netbook market at somepoint. Will they be able to be as game changeing as iPhone? [waiting for the market to settle before joining?]

Still dont have good linux build for netbooks

BBC iPlayer users more Bandwidth than youtube in uk

Kids using bluetooth to pirate/copy content (new sneakernet). Adults forget that they have “send via bluetooth”, kids don’t as it costs less [one reason for popularity of SMS was the lower cost of sending SMS than making a call]
[there was an example of kids exchanging 1.5GB movies via Bluetooth]

Companions – Limit is battery life

iPhone if used as intended, always runs out of juice very early in the day

Number of devices is increaseing. Christian has an iPhone, iTouch & e71, all three can have empty batteries by end of a busy day

[don’t want to be without some form of connectivity, so share the laod between the devices to extend battery life]

Lots of activity in android driven by smaller operators & manufactures
Still imature

Android has lots of inovation in ui

Need to build then analyse in mobile space (this costs lots of time time and hence money)
With an OS just need to grind on it! [to drive out all the small edge case?]
Google hiring superstars who don’t have patience to grind it out?

Difficult to make a platform that is not fragmented [I think this was in reference to the many partners in Android]

Palm – beautiful but screwd
100M is small change for existing players

anaology of “Football player being sent on in tennis shoes” [does not matter how talented, if not on the field with totally the corect equipment, then will not be able to perform]

Syncing. Palm (currently) is a good demo [everyone is waiting to see what the reality is]
Problems of duplications, and loss (not able to define where and when so hard to file a bug)

No one has a working solution yet.

Sync is definatly a forward in the final winning team. What the other players are is not so clear.

On touch:
Don’t know what will be dominate entry form

Swipe. Check it out as an input method [christian was refering to a contact of his who had developed this (faster input method for touch screens), famous for developing something else]

Blackberry test that abc was faster than qwerty [comment from Jesus around some test Blackberry had done on keyboard layout. Thinking was that people were used to phones being layed out in Alphabetical order]

Chrstian has another company working in area of sensors that could help extend life of physical keyboard’s [he provided this as a disclaimer i think]

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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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