Things I did last year (part two)

Following on from Wednesday's post, this post covers the last six months of 2008 and the early part of 2009. This should finally get me up to date and back to the point where I can post about things I did last week without a guilty conscience :) Even in summary form this is taking me a lot of time (that OpenTech event had a lot of stuff!), so I'm just going to publish it half finished and fill in the later events over the next few days.

Summer 2008

  • London Geek Nights: Ajax - I managed to write this one up
  • SearchMonkey Developer Event - obviously in a purple patch of productivity, I got this event written up too, I also wrote a tutorial for developerWorks a few months later.
  • Open Tech 2008 - Session 1
    • Rembrandt, Pr0n and Robot Monkeys (Kim Plowright) - An interesting talk on the relationship of man and machine, how we think into our tools, and the refreshing view that porn is one of the ways we reunite with our bodies.
    • Living with Chaos (Simon Wardley) - I was to see variations of Simon's talk several times over the coming months, and if you get a chance I recommend you go see him too as he's a very entertaining speaker. The message of the talk is that open standards are a necessary end result of the technology curve as we travel through the Innovation -> Bespoke -> Products -> Services continuum. By the time everyone is selling services you're at a commercial disadvantage if you're still on a bespoke solution or selling a locked in product.
    • What the Frog's Eye Tells the Future (Matt Webb) - A talk about the connections between the founding fathers of neuroscience, computers and cybernetics, eg. The Macy Conferences, Pitts and McCullogh, Norbert Wiener, Vannevar Bush, Ted Nelson and Douglas Engelbart. Cybernetics is a cross domain concept language, and the people in cybernetics are the 'dark matter' which link everything together.
    Session 2
    • Sponsor Presentation: TiddlyWiki Tales (Jeremy Ruston) - TiddlyWiki is a javascript driven, single page wiki - no need for a server, everything is saved directly into the file, so it can be used offline from your desktop.
    • Android and the Open Handset Alliance (Michael Jennings) -
    • Social networks and FOAF (Tom Morris) -
    Session 3
    • OpenID and Decentralised Social Networks
    • Distributed, Federated, Partial
    • The Web is Agreement
    Session 4
    • From Stealth Mode to Open Source in 90 days
    • No Comply: or Why the Paranoid Android Approach to Security is a Bad Idea
    Session 5
    • Publishing with Microformats
    • Power of Information: Rewiring the London Gazette with RDFa
    Session 6
    • Finding Good TV on the Interwebs with RDF and REST
    • The Bastard Child of Baird and Berners Lee
    Session 7
    • Intro to Hadoop
    • building for the open web
    This was a really good day, I would recommend going along to the 2009 event if you can fit it in (unfortunately I have a prior commitment :( )
  • Momolondon July - Enabling location in applications - A set of lighting talks: Interesting stuff from Ted Morgan of Skyhook (the iPhone geolocation provider) about using wireless network signatures to determine where you are; a talk on FireEagle; Charles Wiles explained how Gears for Mobile is R & D for HTML5; there was a talk on the W3C Geolocation API; Rummble and BuddyPing, location aware, mobile based social network apps; finally Mark White on Locatrix who are a platform/service provider for people looking to provide location based mobile services.
  • CloudCamp - this has now turned into a regular event, so the original links are long gone. Saw Simon Wardley again, with a similar talk to OpenTech but with cloud, and standards therein, substituted for open source.

Autumn 2008

  • Google Developer Day 2008 - I attended four sessions as well as the starting and concluding keynotes: Intro to Android, after seeing a real, live Android phone in the keynote this was a nice talk to get a closer look - the questions went on longer than the talk though :) ; A Deeper Look at Google App Engine, I was getting quite into the whole cloud computing concept at this point and I likle the way App Engine allows you to just write code and then get started without the bother of setting up VMs etc.; Codelab: Gears, although I went to this I couldn't get very far as my hurried Ubuntu install the day before had left me with a 64bit build - I had built a version of Gears but it didn't contain APIs compatible with what everyone was using so I skipped out of this half way through; this allowed me to got to V8 - the Chrome engine which described some of the techniques used in the recently announced V8 (it was a very popular talk!) including native code compilation and behind the scenes static classes. I wore my Ubuntu 'Linux for human beings' t-shirt which got featured on the closing video/photo montage (the message on the back, rather than me).
  • Scripting Enabled - This was an excellent event, I think videos of all the presentations along with text transcripts and slides are available at the website so I won't go on about it too much. Highlights for me were seeing videos of real users with screen readers and Jonathan Hassell on Dyslexia which both made accessibility issues real to me in a way they hadn't been before.
  • Mobile Location-Based Services
  • YUI 3.0
  • CloudCamp
  • London Perl Workshop 2008 - Since I'd enjoyed his introductory tutorial at the 2007 event, I went to Dave Cross's Introduction to Web Programming tutorial: some interesting stuff on how CGI actually works which I'd never really investigated before, how to work with HTTP in Perl, some hints on security (check all input variables - good advice in any language, and use taint mode, which is Perl specific solution for that) and he finished off with a short introduction on how to use template toolkit to make life easier. After the tutorial I went to a number of short talks: Regexp mini tutorial: Character Classes; Painless OO <-> XML with XML :: Pastor; and‎ ‎Intermediate Moose where things started to get a little beyond me and my rudimentary knowledge of Perl.‎