Whew! It’s BarCampMilwaukee time! This weekend, October 6th and 7th, 2012 is BarCampMilwaukee7… that’s the seventh BarCamp here in Milwaukee, for those of you keeping track.

I’ve got a few things I’ll highlight, the first of which is the Raspberry Pi Roundtable, where people who have Pis, or want to use a Pi for a project can get together and talk about them. Having a super-cheap Linux-powered computer opens up some new possibilities, so we’ll talk about what those are.

The session I’ve got planned is titled Money. Maker. Business. and I’ll talk about how I started up my making business. At Milwaukee Makerspace (and other hackerspaces) members often talk about potential business ideas, so my talk will outline the process I went through, including touching on my Maker Business posts.

Thirdly, we’ll be doing our own Midwest version of the Nerdy Derby race. If you haven’t made a car yet, make one now! If you can’t make one now, Milwaukee Makerspace will be providing miscellaneous parts during BarCamp so you can try to build one. And it’s not just all speed and aerodynamics, and there will be style points awarded as well. (We might even call them “Moxie” points as an homage to the Power Racing Series.)

(And yeah, I’m sure I’ll also bring the RepRaster 5000 and enjoy some 3D printing hijinx as well.)

So yeah, has all the details. I hope you’ve already registered, because if not, we may not be able to feed you. Come anyway! We’ll figure something out, there are restaurants nearby, it’ll all work out, somehow, as it always does. :)


BarCampMilwaukee… Six!


Remember when you first heard about BarCamp? In case you forgot, the first BarCamp was held in Palo Alto, California, from August 19–21, 2005. Good old Wikipedia has a BarCamp page we’ve pointed many people to.

Back in 2005 I was pretty heads down and wasn’t really involved in Milwaukee’s technology or web communities. (I really don’t know what communities existed prior to 2006, so I’ll just say I wasn’t involved.)


So in 2006 I found myself in need of some networking, and community, and so on, and ended up going to the Milwaukee Web Design Meetup in May and June of 2006, and just after that, I wrote a blog post titled BarCampMilwaukee? Which, unless anyone wants to dispute, may have been the first seed of the tree that grew to be what we now know as the mighty oak that is… BarCampMilwaukee.

Lots of people helped along the way, including Justin Kruger, who ended up finding James Carlson and Bucketworks, which ended up being the venue for the first BarCampMilwaukee.

BarCampMilwaukee Introductions

Bucketworks also hosted the third and fifth BarCampMilwaukee, and for the second and forth, we were unable to use their building (moving, floods, occupancy issues, etc.) they got us venues to use. Bucketworks also acted as the fiscal sponsor for BarCampMilwaukee, allowing us to operate as a non-profit organization. In my opinion, Bucketworks (and their parent organization, The School Factory) have been more than just a venue over the years, they’ve been a great partner and a significant reason why BarCamp happens here in Milwaukee.

Bucketworks has had its share of ups and downs, and they ain’t perfect, and they don’t always get everything right, but for six years now, they’ve been a part of the BarCampMilwaukee experience. With BarCampMilwaukee6 coming up, it’s nice to know we have a solid venue with tables, chairs, an Internet connection, WiFi, a kitchen, lots and lots of space, and the things (and people!) we need to put on a user-generated conference.

BarCampMilwaukee2 Buttons

So, BarCampMilwaukee6? Yup, it’s happening October 1st-2nd, 2011 at Bucketworks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I just renewed and at some point the updates will start flowing, and shirts will be made, and meals will be planned, and we’ll do it all again, for the sixth time.

I hope to see you there! :)

Update: I mentioned Justin above, but I also should have mentioned Bob Waldron! Take a look at his blog posts from July 2006 and you’ll see that he and Justin were sort of running parallel to my initiative, and once we found each other and joined forces, things started to happen. Thanks Bob!

Audio Channel Uncategorized

BarCampMilwaukee5 Lightning Talk: Firefox 4

At BarCampMilwaukee5 we did Lightning Talk where you get 5 minutes to talk about a subject. (5 minutes only! We time it and when the alarm goes off, you’re done!) I talked about Mozilla Firefox 4, which is/was in beta at the time.

My main point was too let people know that Firefox 4 is much improved over previous versions of Firefox. I know a lot of people who have switched to other browsers (mainly Chrome) due to speed issues, and while speed is important, I don’t think it’s the most important thing.

My suggestion to people was to completely wipe their existing Firefox profile (which could easily be 5 years old by now) and install the Firefox 4 beta, and see how fast it was. Don’t install any add-ons, just start browsing fresh, and see what happens. Keep an eye one too, and see how those numbers and lines are looking.

I also touched on Mozilla Drumbeat, Game On, Firefox Sync, and Firefox Home. I probably left out a lot of things I would have liked to mention, but I did this unprepared. Also, you can actually say a lot in 5 minutes.

Special thanks to Chris Larkee for filming the Lightning Talks. You can find them all at YouTube, and Chris said they are all available under a Creative Commons license, but since YouTube has no concept of such things, you’ll just have to take our word for it. You can also find this video at


MilwaukeeDevHouse5 – Hack the Bucket!

Hack the Bucket? Hack the BarCamp!

It’s been a long time since we’ve held a MilwaukeeDevHouse, and while Milwaukee Hacker House has been doing somewhat regular events, DevHouse hasn’t, but we’re changing that!

BarCampers, Web414ers, and anyone else that does a meetup or event at Bucketworks, we invite you to MilwaukeeDevHouse5, happening on Friday, December 3rd, 2010, from 5pm to Midnight.

Here’s what I’d like to see happen: We do some brief intros, explain what we hope to accomplish, then we generate some ideas, and then we make those ideas come true. (There will also be food & drink of course! It needs at least some party atmosphere!)

We may not finish everything we start that night, but it should serve as a starting point. Also… the sky is the limit.

The sky is the limit. Really. We mean it, Any idea should be shared. Do you think there should be an iPad on the wall in every room? Should BarCamp have electronic SmartBadges that alert you to things? Should the grid wall be a giant touch screen? Want permanent videoconferencing and video streaming stations everywhere? RFID tags on everything? A grid of 20 monitors on a wall displaying artwork, photos, and data? Robots that serve us drinks? Anything. Don’t let any limits to your imagination keep you from sharing.

Once we have all these (possibly crazy) ideas, we’ll set about trying to make them happen. The “iPad on the wall in every room” idea might turn into “computer near the wall in every room” until, you know, we get the funding to make all of these dreams come true… but really, we’re hoping to spark some ideas, and adjust them to fit into what is possible with the resources we do have, or can secure.

I’ve got a few old computers, displays, and other hardware at the office I’ll probably bring along in the hopes that we can hack them into something interesting.

Will you join us?

(The graphic is based on an original photo by Tracy Apps, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Thanks!)

Audio Channel Uncategorized

Web414 October 2010 (Audio)

Web414 Here is the audio from Web414 for October 2010 (aka BarCamp ReCap!) We discussed how the event went, reviewed a little bit of the media, and talked about how we can make BarCampMilwaukee better in the future.

You can also download an MP3 file if you’d like. (And for our freedom loving friends, enjoy an Ogg file.)

Also, if you want to get all of the audio automagically downloaded podcasting style, subscribe to the feed.