BarCampMilwaukee: Share Your Gadgets Session

I lead the Share Your Gadgets session at BarCampMilwaukee, where geeks gathered to gab about gadgets…

Blinky Name Badge It went very well, but like many sessions, it seemed too short. We spent about an hour, but it could have easily gone twice as long. I talked a bit about my PIX Sports device, which is cool, but not quite cool enough. I described how it sort of required morse code to program it to display something, and while the geek factor on that is high, the usability is a bit low. The group was surprised you couldn’t just plug it into a USB port to program it. That would definitely be a nice addition (as long as it didn’t require some lame Windows-only software.) I also mentioned how it had no on/off switch and to turn if off you have to remove the batteries. Someone thought that making it use USB for charging would be a good idea, and it would. So this is a gadget that is cool, but the 2.0 version could be so much cooler.

We also saw and discussed a number of phones and software apps run on them, a Psion organizer circa 1992, and an AlphaSmart Dana Wireless system. This is definitely one session that I wish could have run twice as long. (In fact, I could have went for hours discussing gadget UI‘s, usability, and connectivity.) Ah, well, there’s always next BarCamp…


BarCampMilwaukee JerryCam

Here’s my first video: BarCampMilwaukee: Time Lapse. Actually it was a collaboration with Jerry, who set up a webcam while he was there…


Thanks Jerry! Hope the drive back to Iowa wasn’t too rough…


BarCamp Public Address System

One of the issues we had at BarCampMilwaukee is that we did not have an easy way to immediately notify people of things.

This problem may be unique to the space we were in (Bucketworks) which was large (huge actually) and had no intercom or PA system, at least none that we knew of.

FRS Radios Things like letting everyone know when sessions were starting or when lunch arrived, or even just trying to find someone in Bucketworks, would have been easier with an intercom system. We could have done something as simple as put an FRS radio in each session room to alert people as to what was going on. (Sadly, I had three radios with me, but didn’t think of it at the time.) I know at least a few times I had to stop sessions from running over their time (only because the space was needed by others) or had to let people know that the session would need to end in 2 minutes.

I’m really not trying to be a control freak. I think if Bucketworks had an intercom or PA system, it would have made a few things easier, that’s all. Just an idea for future BarCamps…

(Mike and I discussed this a bit yesterday, he mentions it as well.)


BarCampMilwaukee: Success!

Well, we did it… we pulled it off… BarCampMilwaukee was a huge success! I’d like to personally thank every person who was involved in making it happen.

How do I define huge success? We only had a few minor injuries, everyone there seemed to be having a good time, people learned new things, they shared their passions, and made new friends. All good…

As I get some time between doing follow-up stuff, and editing video, I’ll try to write up some more detailed posts about the different sessions and topics I was involved with. Hopefully others will do the same.

I already thanked most of the sponsors (see BarCampMilwaukee Part IX) but should add a thanks to 800 CEO Read for providing breakfast on Sunday, and O’Reilly for sending us some books for the participants and the Bucketworks library…

We’ve come a long way since the first post about BarCampMilwaukee on July 5th, 2006.

We should also extend a special thanks to Jeramey Jannene who was involved in the planning from early on but had to miss BarCampMilwaukee due to a family emergency… We missed you Jeramey!

(I would have had this post up sooner, but Mike called me to ask me why I didn’t write a post yet… Here it is Mike!)


BarCampMilwaukee so far…

I’m at BarCampMilwaukee, and I’m tired…

There has been a ton of great sessions so far, and we’re still going strong. So far I’ve talked about gadgets, and Drupal, and RSS, and logos, and saw a crazy robot, and rode on a remote controlled robot go cart, and saw a tiny helicopter, and rode an electric bike, and ate some pizza and whoooo!

Did I mention I’m tired? Still, we’re doing the Mini-Mash Pit right now, and if something cool comes out of it, we’ll let you know…

(Here’s the folks sitting in right now: Victor Nwankwo, Blake Hall, Kevin Ciesielaski, Christian Wilcox, Scott Reynen, Mike McCallister and Justin Lowry…)