I attended my first BarCamp today and I was really impressed. It was a very full day of interesting presentations by a lot of very smart people, the range of topics was really quite startling. I’m familiar with user groups (although I don’t go along to as many nights as I’d like) and they tend to be quite focussed, however today people talked about whatever their current interest is – from Perl 5.1 to hardware devices to MythTV. I was particularly impressed with the support and encouragement attendees gave to speakers. If you’ve never given a public presentation and you’re unsure of yourself today would have been an excellent opportunity.
Like at user group nights and conferences I’m awkwardly shy and awful at striking conversation so I missed talking to a lot of interesting people today. It’s a different mix of people than I’m used to (like the Ruby user group) with a slant towards freelancing and smaller projects which is so refreshing compared to the behemoth corporate beasts I’m more familiar with these days.
Favorite presentations today: Mark Ryall’s Intro to Scala (second time around), and Paul Fenwick on an Illustrated History of Failure (with sound effects).
I winged a short demo of the Rspec Story Framework which is my current shiny-toy-of-the-week. I might have been better placed to answer questions if I’d actually used it in the wild yet…
Don’t miss BarCamp Melbourne 2009.