Webjam 3: geeks on booze

Pack 100+ geeks into a room, fuel them with alcohol and give some of them 3 minutes (and not a second more!) to explain their latest cool project. That’s Webjam.

Photograph of Webjam 3 stage (very dark)

Webjam 3 happened last Thursday night 7 June. Here’s highlights from my scattered notes. If you’re one of the presenters, please feel free to tell me more!

1. Phil Morle, the CTO of Omnidrive, introduced the WebFS protocol. Very geeky, but it’ll probably become an important engineering standard for the Internet. I would have started the night with something a little more upbeat to engage the crowd — but the running order isn’t Phil’s fault.

2. Scott Barnes talked about Silverlight or Soapbox or something. I don’t really know, because he launched straight into the details without explaining what he was going to talk about. “Is this a Windows thing?” I asked myself. A note to presenters: Don’t assume your audience knows all about the specific tool or toy you’ve been immersed in.

3. Stephen Collins from Acidlabs presented something about social computing in business. I faded out. Was it satire? Maybe I should read his blog, it looks interesting. I should have paid more attention rather than making a joke about fisting (don’t ask).

4. David Wang from Google enthused about Google Maplets. Why was his example about Chicago real estate prices though? Always pick an example relevant to your audience!

5. Lachie Cox showed us the Ruby on Rails Oceania Facebook.

6. Earle Castledine presented the business model for Thetan Eater, a beautiful satire of the Scientology movement. There’s just three steps: HTML, a big question mark in the middle, and a PayPal button to collect the money. Nice work.

7. Laurel Papworth did a silly presentation about a “new industry body”. There’s a party on 30 November. Or it might be 29 November, there were two different dates on her slides.

8. Chris Stephens showed a nice Ajax-based booking system for The Independent Theatre. As he explained, booking theatre tickets is harder than you think, because there’s different pricing options, people want to buy seats in contiguous blocks and so on. I’d like to link to it, but I challenge you to find The Independent Theatre on the City of North Sydney website.

9. David Gravina from Digital Eskimo showed us closeguantanamo.com. I once worked with David, back in 1995, so it’s a shame I didn’t get a chance to chat.

10. Someone called Charlie from Murdoch’s News Digital Media showed us how they’ve streamlined the production of maps. The crowd didn’t pay much attention, but I reckon this is where the really cool stuff is — not gadgets for the techno-elite, but useful things which help people do their jobs.

11. Dylan showed us IntroVino, a recommendation engine for wine. I’ll definitely be exploring this later!

13. Someone from Reactive showed us their website for the Global Corporate Challenge, which I understand is some sort of giant hamster wheel for cubicle droids.

12. Lachlan Hunt started off telling us about a method to replace using Flash Video on websites with… well, something else. I’m not really sure. He showed us a video of him dancing and everybody laughed. It won the prize for the night.

[Yes, those last two were out of order, because the organisers changed the order due to “technical difficulties”.]

14. Browyn Clune showed us PerthNorg, a “user-generated news” website. I liked her sarcastic tone: “I had to start as a cadet journalist, so everyone else has to be punished.” A Sydney version is coming, apparently.

15. Danielle from Binalogue showed us how they generated huge amounts of video for club events like Yellow very quickly using Flash.

16. Someone called Matthew showed us something to do with the Harris Technology website. Or was it about price comparisons? By this stage I was chatting to people nearby, I wasn’t paying attention.

17. Andrew Spalding from Adobe was showing us what they’ve been doing with Google Gears — but he made the mistake of assuming I knew what Flex and Apollo and other jargon meant so I tuned out.

18. Aaron Wallace from The Sound Alliance showed us their rather amusing Yes Prime Minister toy, which I’ve previously blogged about. Most people hadn’t seen it and they were impressed. Lots of laughs.

19. Poor Sam Arnold. We were chatting and he seems like a cool, committed guy. But following a fun item with his serious piece about an e-health project meant he didn’t get the hearing he deserved. I forgot to take notes, sorry. Sam, you have my card so email me to explain it again.

2 Replies to “Webjam 3: geeks on booze”

  1. Chris Stephens got my vote, thought that was something immediately useful!

    Funny how the stuff that is obviously impressive, like the flashy flash stuff, doesn’t shine through as much as the simpler cuter things. At least, not in three minutes 🙂

  2. @jason: Yes, Chris’ work was nice, and that application is certainly a valid use of Ajax. If I recall correctly, my vote went to the Yes Prime Minister John Howard satire thing.

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