BarCampMadison2, 26 - 27 July 2008
(Update 0 -- photo added on 29 Jul 2008)
BarCampMadison2 took place on 26 - 27 July 2008 in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, USA at Extra Bold Studio.
Because the venue was smaller than last year's location at a hotel, the number of participants was limited to 90. As of late Saturday night, the participant list showed 87 people, although that includes people who signed up for Saturday, for Sunday or for both.
Despite having less participants that previous barcamps I've been at, there were still many more interesting tech people at the event than I had time to meet and talk with. So in that respect, the number of people at BarCampMadison2 didn't offer less than other barcamps. Where the lower number of participants did have an impact was in the number of people leading sessions after supper on Day 1. The afternoon sessions filled four tracks completely with worthwhile one-hour sessions, and the time flew by. However, the evening sessions didn't fill, and had there been another 50 or 75 participants, there would likely have been a full evening schedule of sessions.
Made good Drupal progress during Day 1 of BarCampMadison2. We had a late night session of 'Hello WebWorld' with Drupal, which was actually just Blake H giving me some private consulting on the website concept Andy and have started working on. Unfortunately I didn't have the necessary ftp info, so we couldn't add useful modules to our test website. But Blake got me closer to conceptually understanding how Drupal works and how it can best be utilized.
When I checked Gmail this afternoon, an email from another northeast Wisconsin Drupaler was waiting for me. Mike P sent me an email, apparently prompted by my recent blog posts about Drupal, expressing interest in connecting with other area Drupalers. The merry band is growing. After seeing Mike's email, I excitedly reported northeast Wisconsin's latest connection amongst Drupalers to Blake. My comment prompted him to mention another potential Drupal connection in the Green Bay area. The nodes continue to connect, or perhaps existing connections continue to become more visible to me.
Day 2 of BarCampMadison2 began with 3 hours of sleep, followed by an hour of transitioning to full consciousness, then a protracted scavenger hunt for bagels and coffee. After a judicious amount of prodding and poking at the people with barcamp money in their pockets, three of us ventured out in search of fast-breaking comestibles. Trekking down to Gotham Bagels resulted in three bags full of bagel booty, but no beverages. Lamenting the lack of hot caffeine, we dragged our bagel bags back to Extra Bold Studio. With more pushing and prodding, another intrepid trio set out to obtain coffee to wash down the bagels and Steak & Fries cold breakfast pizza. The coffee order placement preceded a 40 minute siesta in the coffee house, necessitated by micro-batch brewing of the gourmet coffee. Longest wait I ever had to get a cup o' java.
Two excellent sessions were held on Day 2. The first was a group talk led by 4braham W and Blake H about Madison user groups and the larger topic of engaging and building the general tech community in the Madison metro area. There's an exciting core of people passionate about this topic and a bright future for near-term progress. Watch for a new Web608 website to launch in the upcoming few days!
The second Day 2 session I got a lot out of was "FOSS for Windows/Macs." The concept was that most focus of the USA open source world seems to be on Linux implementations. There can even be open hostility toward people who use or promote open source apps and concept on and for Windows and Mac computers. Because there are so many benefits to the Free and Open Source Software world, those benefits should be extended to and leveraged on Windows and Macs. In addition to other wide-ranging topics we discussed ideal opportunities for pilot programs or starting points for involving Apple (Mo C), Google (new Madison office), Microsoft (their lead open source guy and their new Madison research lab or Jellyfish office) and Sun/OpenOffice.org/mysql (Jess B).
As barcamp burnout approaches and PowerPoint Karaoke blathering fills the air around me, I sign off for today with a hearty "Hi O Silver, away!"...