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.)



I’m a big fan of the BarCamp events. There is one in Chicago soon which I can’t attend. I’m wondering if it would be possible to organize one in the Milwaukee area?


We would need participants. There’s the Milwaukee Web Design Meetup, Milwaukee Ruby User’s Group, The Milwaukee Linux User Group, The Wisconsin Java User Group, and hopefully a few more groups that might have people interested in participating… I think finding people interested in participating would be the easy part.


I’m ranking “finding a suitable location” as difficult. I’ve got a few ideas so far, and I’m sure I could come up with more, but I’m very open to suggestions here. (One issue which might be a problem is “event insurance” so keep that on the list with a big star next to it.)


Companies or individuals that might help sponsor the event may prove harder. This isn’t San Francisco, it’s Milwaukee, and the money usually doesn’t flow as freely here. I suppose it all depends on the cost of the event as to how much sponsorship we might be able to pull together. Since things are generally cheaper in the midwest, I’d hope we could do it for maybe half the cost of BarCampLA.


Powerstrips, networking gear, computers, misc. “stuff” would be needed. This is probably my least worried about issue, because in past events I’ve been involved with, these things always seem to work themselves out. Of course I might just be overly-optomistic here.


Luckily, there are already some good guides to help out with the planning: BarcampLA Post-Mortem, BarCamp NYC – the Nuts and Bolts, Dummies Guide to organizing a BarCamp in your city, as well as the BarCamp site’s Organize a Local Bar Camp section…

So what do you think? Could we pull off a BarCampMilwaukee?