BarCampSD5 (5/30-31/09) Notes, Day 1

Rough notes from BarcampSd5, May 30 & 31, 2009

This was my first BarCamp and I really enjoyed it.  I didn’t know very many folks, which was good for me because that meant I couldn’t just tag along with friends but had to actually participate more.  I sometimes need to be forced to engage at social things! Took place over two days at Intuit offices. Really nice spaces – except their high tech AV system turned out to be less than, um, Intuit-ive for some of  our presenters.   Is there really any worse feeling than being up in front of an audience of your fellow geeks and you can’t get your computer image on the projector?  Really.

Saturday sessions I attended:

10:30. How to give a good talk / Llewelyn Falco

  • Talks should be transformative, see the world differently after the talk
  • Timeline of impact:    Start — halfway — finish ———————————————— long after
  • Target he’s shooing for is: next barcamp, 6 months away.
  • How many had 1st sex more than 5 yrs ago?  Everyone remembers it.  Not that it was your best sex ever, not entertainment value.  You can say something that people remember 6 months later.
  • Shotgun analogy – birdshot vs bullets: when you know a lot, you want to stuff a lot in there, but it gets no distance. Your goal should be to load up one message and give it distance.
  • To transform their thinking you have to show the audience what’s wrong with their current thinking. This prepares them for receiving your message.
  • Takeaways: t-shirts good.  Jingles good, proverbs good.

11:00. brainstorming talk topics for THIS BarCamp – popular session, lots of newbies.  Some ideas:
– hackerspace
– coworking
– freerunning/parkour
– healthcamp
– photography techniques
– campcamp: how to actually camp
– speednetworking: fast intros to the folks in the room
– wikis for personal organization

12:00:  how to pick up girls / @jaimedeals
Actual topic: Extreme Online Deals

Talked about “deal” sites for shopping and getting insane discounts, to the point of getting stuff practically for free.
Some sites talked about:,, dealtuner,  woot, Today’s Deal of the Day as a meta DoD site) Giveawayof theday (software available free every day), Nextag, pricegrabber, bizrate.  Also discussed reward and coupon sites like,,  Also for retailers’ price match guarantee programs, and

12:30 Ethnography / Cognitive Design Lab
Talk from some cogsci grad students Amy L and ____ (didn’t get name!)  about work with doing digital ethnography with dance, other stuff related to methodology… didn’t make a lot of notes, sorry!


1:30 I had signed up to do a session on decoding crappy consumer health stories into real medical research with PubMed.  My title was Studies Show.  Only had about 13 people but it went OK.   After seeing the previous folks difficulty with projection I made sure to go to my room early and test ‘er out.  Good thing I did – I needed to install a fix to make my video card output to two devices.  Then there was lunch.


3:00  Basic CSS
One aha moment:  most of us do CSS vertiacally but if you have room on screen, string it out horizontally. If you use a monospaced font, you end up with visually scannable columns so you can see all your width, decoration, etc. and make sure everything is consistent.  Need to be using monospaced font and a wide screen.  is a good resource.


3:30 took a break and played with my computer.  And drank more coffee.


4:00  Future of Mobile Device design /  Jeff Axup
UX professional group

Working on mobile for travel – travel guides, hooking up with fellow travelers (not that kind of hooking up), staying in touch with home, etc.  How much unintended use can you possibly predict as a designer?  Example from audience of agricultural workers in India using sites they can’t even read to discover markets and prices.  Example: foam prototypes with fictional functionality written on them.  Literally written.  Let people play-act with them.  Imagine what it would be like if all your friends had one.  A whole city.   Interesting, but didn’t get a lot of “omg must run home and do this” but cool nonetheless.


4:30 My SoCalled Second Life – Vaneeesa Blaylock

Presenter was a tall gangly yet graceful Jeff Goldblum Goes to Long Beach guy with 9 second life identities, plus lots of other lives.  Character is a performance artist who works as a choreographer for Halliburton (!) living in the Hague.
Teaches art at Long Beach State.
Basically talked about his experience using SL with students in art classes, but touched on a huge range of potentials and pitfalls from amazing collaboration opportunities to rampant sexism/looksism and safety.  Found voice does not enhance the experience – rarely matches the oversexed visuals.
sltypewriter – an art piece that lets people jump on the keys, then sends out a tweet.


5:00 – Viss, People Hacking 2.0

Viss is a well known tech guy in San Diego who hacks for a living.  His latest interest is in people hacking.  People are 1GB USB sticks.  Attackers can hack your people as well as your tech.  If they can hack your people, your data are toast.
Looking at various psychological methods and tricks to read people and get them to do what you want.  Slightly evil, more than slightly dubious science in some cases, but really interesting.
– question from the floor: dont you feel bad destroying the social contract between you and the world?  (much uncomfortable laughter)


5:30 Real cloud storage with Amazon EC2 /  Florian

Talked about s3 and EC2 for managing storage, virtual machines.  Various tools like elasticfox, aws management console
Rightscale lets you build a server and web application server that uses your EC2 space. Get scripts, get alerts about problems from automatic monitoring, this went waaay over my head really fast and twitter was down so I couldn’t read what else was going on.  Many questions in the room about whether “software” load balancing was good enough.

THEN I WENT HOME.  I did not camp at Barcamp.  I think about 25 people (out of 250) stayed over. Many games were played.


Posted on June 5, 2009, in Meetings. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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