Christian Heilmann

Posts Tagged ‘barcamp’

TTMMHTM: Barcamps, datasets, social mentions and Python in JavaScript

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Things that made me happy this morning:

So, are you are going to BarCamp?

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

One of the most asked questions at dconstruct last week was if I am coming to the Brighton Barcamp. I wasn’t coming, and there is a reason.

When I helped organizing the first London BarCamp and the Hong Kong BarCamp, one of our main drivers was to organize events that get developers out of the woodwork that normally do not show up at events – as they cannot afford going due to lack of support from their companies.

Another big difference of BarCamps to other events is that everyone going should be giving a presentation. Therefore they are a great opportunity for people who know a lot of things but normally don’t get offers to give presentations, or even for those who don’t feel comfortable giving talks to get their first experience.

Both of these (in connection with my quite full schedule this year) make me take a low key approach to me going to BarCamps in areas that already had a BarCamp or I’ve already been. I am helping to organize and support BarCamps behind the scenes and raise funding, but I consider that with tickets being limited and going very fast it would be unfair to keep interested people outside as I am hogging a ticket.

I will go to BarCamps I haven’t been at or just try to pop by from time to time but in general I am not going. This is not because I am not interested – on the contrary – I am just of the opinion that the “scene” is small enough as it is – time to learn about some “new blood” and follow the presentations online and through friends.

Barcamp5 London will be at the ebay office in Richmond

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Dees Chinniah just emailed me with details about Barcamp London 5 on the 27th and 28th of September in the ebay offices in Richmond.
It is quite a trip to get there from Central London, but if the weather will be nice the location is the bomb – and there is enough space to park if needed.

More information on the BarCamp Site and of course on Upcoming

Let’s give Dees and of course Jonathan from ebay our support and make this a great unconference.

Is it time to take mashups and use them to solve real issues?

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

This is my presentation given at the BarCamp4 at Gcap in London, talking about my recent move to start doing more mashups again and what lead to it.

My mashup and accessibility fatigue

In a nutshell I have to say that I was getting tired of ethical hacking and mashups. Far too many people just create mashups for the sake of putting some information together or prove a technical concept but I just couldn’t see the use of what was produced. We create a lot of ideas, prototypes, proofs of concept, celebrate them as being cool and then never re-visit or turn them into projects.

I was also bored with the accessibility movement on the web. Instead of concentrating on solutions for people we ran in circles demanding technical solutions or implementation of standards that don’t make much sense in the real world. It was much more important to be compliant with something than to really deliver for the people who needed us to remove barriers for them. It is all about demanding things to be done rather than doing them. And I felt that I wasted my time trying to get something done in this surrounding.

Boost : The social innovation camp

That changed drastically when I was a judge at the Social Innovation Camp. The concept of the camp was brilliant: allow people who have real world problems to draft up an idea how modern technology like web sites and social networks could help solving or at least making these problems smaller. The entries were massive and ranged from simple things like sharing sites (rent a drill instead of buying one and let it collect dust) to personal growth/learning monitoring systems.

Boost : Enabled by design

The project that stood out the most for me was Enabled by design which is a showcase site for people with disabilities showing the world what problems they have fulfilling certain day to day tasks (say cutting food) and what tools are available to overcome these problems.

The second idea of enabled by design is that it should become a place where product designers and production companies could get information about what products are needed and then can start designing and producing those in more appealing ways. Most assistive technology and products are ugly, and they don’t have to be – actually that makes the person who just had to start to use them to fulfill tasks previously easy for them feel even worse. People get as excited about product design as we get about APIs and mashing things up – both of these great amounts of energies could be targeted to solve real-life needs of real people.

Boost – Ability 2.0 conference and accessihacking YouTube

With my mindset of giving the accessibility world a swift kick up the backside I gave my talk Fencing-in the habitat at the Accessibility2.0 conference pointing out the useless energy we waste on technical solutions built to satisfy ourselves rather than making a difference for the end user.

One of the other talks that day was Antonia Hyde talking about the issues users with learning disabilities are facing on the web, especially in regards to online video. Well, I thought to myself, as YouTube has an API, and I’ve been playing around with it already, why not have a go at an accessible YouTube player. I’ve created a prototype and sent that out to Antonia and some other accessibility contacts and the feedback was awesome.

What confused me most was that I got feedback from schools and blind people thanking me for the player and finally being able to use YouTube. I liked that a lot – realizing that I helped far more people than I thought by tackling something I hadn’t tried before – thinking in detail about the needs of people with learning disabilities!

The player is going strong and I am now writing documentation for the 2.0 version which will feature a search, playlists created by bookmarking in and more features like zoom.

Question: What about the future?

Am I weird (don’t answer that out of context) or is there something in there? Are there more developers out there who are stuck in a rut mashing up data without ever really making a difference with it, or do I care to go there just because I have so much exposure to this world?

I am imagining (and already started) planning an event for exactly that – social and accessible hacking of currently used internet services. We could have a hackday weekend with spokespeople from different agencies explaining the issues that people with disabilities have to use for example flickr, youtube, last FM and so on and a bunch of hackers to have a go at building alternative interfaces based on the APIs of these companies. I would also like to get people from these companies there to learn about the hacks and maybe take on some of the learnings and put them in the live systems.

The question is: would that be something you want?

Accessihacking Online Video – my presentation for BarCamp Brighton

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

I just finished my sesssion at BarCamp Brighton about making online video more accessible by allowing for sensible, time-based commenting which could become a poor man’s captioning in a second stage. In general it is just showing off my hack of the YouTube player using their API.