The Dowbrigade News is coming to you live this morning from BarCamp Boston, at Marignon High School in Cambridge. This is the third Bar Camp in as many years, and the success of the idea is seen in the increasing attendance, interest and sponsorship at each successive event. So what is Bar Camp?
Billed as the “unconference” it is a sort of on-the-fly mash-up of a technology conference, an almost tribal gathering of geeks, software developers, newtech entrepreneurs, code slingers, mad geniuses and electronic eccentrics who come together to bounce ideas off the walls and each other, demo prototypes and alpha versions of new ideas, discuss issues of interest to the community and socialize in that endearingly verklumft camaraderie of the socially challenged.
After brief introduction to the concept and modality of Bar Camp by Shimon Rura, some caustic comments from organizer Mike Walsh we gave 30 second intros by the crowd, which took awhile as there were well over a hundred geeks by this point, and featured areas of interest like, Drupal, Python, Ruby on Rails, heuristics, cloud computing and making money.
The intros are now over, and there is an amorphous hour during which the conference schedule is supposed to coalesce and congeal from the fecund soup of so many supposedly smart people milling around. There is a large wall in a lobby outside the cafeteria we are using for the plenary where concensus, popular and ad-hoc sessions are magic-markered into a blank conference schedule. This is known as the “schedule wall” and is the official program of the unconference. On a bulletin board opposite index cards are posted with ideas, requests for sessions, “Anybody interested in….?” queries and half-formed proposals waiting to develop into full-fledged session ideas.
Sounds extremely sketchy, no? But it has proven effective and successful at past Bar Camps, and so your trusty correspondent will now sign off to observe the creative process first-hand and inspect the resulting program to see if there is anything we could possibly understand.