Oggcamp 2015 and unconference lessons

Yesterday I went to Oggcamp, an annual unconference for general geek stuff which was held in Liverpool. I really enjoyed the event, and a big thanks are due to all the organisers (I know how hard this job is) who made it run smoothly, and the sponsors whose support meant that entrance was free — as was the pizza at lunch.

Things I learnt on the day:

  • CodeBug is selling well, both in the UK and internationally. Based not far from me in Oldham, they are a local tech startup success story.
  • Canonical are hiring. I didn’t speak to them because I’m freelancing and I doubt they want someone part-time (though perhaps I should have asked), but it sounds like an interesting place to work.
  • SQRL (pronounced ‘squirrel’) is a proposal for quickly and securely logging into websites with the use of QR Codes. I haven’t looked at the protocol in detail, and the fact that it has been proposed by Steve Gibson might put some people off, but it’s something I’ll be keeping my eye on.
  • The Ubuntu phone app store was exploited last month when someone uploaded a malicious app which had unrestricted permissions (i.e. it could access anything on the device). Alan Pope gave an open and honest assessment of the incident which other companies would do well to follow.

Things I learnt about unconference organisation:

  • Having an online spreadsheet which is updated with all the talks is incredibly useful. Not only does this mean you can work out the next talk to attend whilst the current talk is coming to an end, but it also saves a mad rush to the post-it note board every 30 minutes.
  • Giving the organisers specific t-shirts to make them easily identifiable is a great idea (even better would be if they had their names on, but that might be a bit too much work).
  • A few people commented that there was a lack of soft drinks/water for those who don’t want tea, coffee or cola. Not the end of the world, but something I’ll keep in mind if I’m organising a conference in future.

Sadly I failed to give a talk as I had only taken my tablet with me and none of the projectors supported the Apple magic protocols. Why PHP is awesome (and all other languages suck) will have to wait for next year…

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