Monday, April 10, 2006

Hyderabad BarCamp - Postmortem




It's almost been 2 days since the hyderabad barcamp ended, but unfortunately I am getting time to write about it only now. Well, I haven't really been busy with anything, guess the heat is taking it's toll on me and I am just too lazy to do anything.

So, 5 of us (from the company I current work for), set out in almost 40 degree celcius on a lazy saturday afternoon (2pm) for this barcamp. Well, nothing could have got me out of my house on a holiday but my love for web 2.0 & ajax and all those cool buzz words was incentive enough for me explore this event. And moreover it was free...yes free! That means I could go there without having to convince anyone on why/how it was important for me to attend it ;)

It took us almost 45 minutes to reach there. The event was supposed to start at 3pm and by the time we reached there, we had given up all hope of getting a good seat. To our suprise we still had some good seats available (in the front and we quickly grabbed them).

Oh Ya! As soon as we reached there we checked in at the registration desk and got a lot of goodies (T-shirts courtesy cordys, stationary - fancy notebooks & pens courtesy progress and some more stuff courtesy pramati). It's always good to get such things..I somehow have a liking towards fancy notebooks :)

This event was taking place at the IIIT campus and I must say I was pretty impressed with the WiFi connectivity in their campus (even though I was not carrying a laptop - actually I don't even own one right now ..hehe!)

So, the event kick started by Ramesh Loganathan's Intro talk on Web 2.0. He gave us insights on how this term was coined by O'Reilly - how it created a buzz and it was clever marketing. He encouraged active participation from the audience and discussed a lot on how blogging, google, wikis, community sites, flickr, etc have changed the face of the WWW.

Following this was a talk by the CEO of Pramati - Jay Phullur. To be very honest, I didn't know who this guy was and I was least interested in his talk, but somehow when I got to know 5 minutes down the line that he was the CEO of Pramati (well, i don't know much about this company either, but then what the hell! he is the CEO man! he demands some attention :) I started listening to him. He was presenting on the opportunities web 2.0 had to offer and it turned out to be quite an interesting talk in the end. Obviously, for people present there it was great fun when Jay mentioned about his 70 year old dad and what kind of web interfaces (especially webmail) he wanted to use (and how he thinks the Yahoo webmail user interface is so crappy - well now that was enough to get some reaction by all those Yahoo folks who had flown down from Bangalore for this BarCamp:) Having worked a lot with the designers, I found Jay's dad's ideas actually pretty interesting...Might even try some of them. After that all questions & answers were in reference to Jay's dad :) I think he was probably the most famous guy out there (till the end of the seminar ppl kept giving examples with reference to him).




The next talk by Rajan (on Economics of Web 2.0) was a little disappointing. He spoke about the move from n^2 to 2^n and all the laws related to it and the importance of attention. The chap probably knew a lot but his presentation was of no use to me (at least..no offence! he was one of the organizers and definitely worked hard at organizing this event..only he should have worked a little harder on his presentation :) joke.

Sharad Singh Solanki (SAS) gave a nice presentation on Tangible User Interface Design. The videos that he showed just blew me out of my chair..they were really cool especially the Sony example (with all those tiles for data) was out of the world. I culd possibly find no relation of his presentation with AJAX or Web 2.0, but nevertheless, it was so interesting to know about an alternative user interface design.

Dr. Vishal Garg (IIIT) and Kamal (IIIT) presented their ideas on Open Journal and Maha System respectively. With all due respect, to me both sounded a little confused and were not able to present their ideas across. None of them made any sense to me.

Rajiv and Pavitar from Pramati gave a talk on XFORMS. This talk too was disappointing not because I don't like XFORMS but because these guys failed to convince the audience why XFORMS are needed. I think the participants should keep in mind to first speak a few words on why this technology is needed and why we should learn it. Everyone just comes and dives into their material and writing code :(

Anand from Cordys gave a presentation on showing off his company's product to be very honest. This was probably the most humorous presentation as this guy surely was a cartoon. He kept bashing every other company and was so proud of the product they had to offer. Obviously he had no idea about front end technologies as he kept saying that AJAX is rocket science and how javascript and dhtml are so difficult - well all ths while showcasing a product that itself was written in DHTMl..irony! irony! :)

Oh Well! sometime in between was a tea break where we were served snacks, tea, coffee & coke. The organizers definitely had taken care of us pretty well. Kudos to them!

All this while I was eagerly waiting for the Yahoo guy's talk because obviously he seemed to know a lot about web 2.0 and all. Finally his turn came around 8pm (while we were being served some pizza's for dinner, thanks sponsors! :) and everyone was hooked onto the talk. I must say some people (probably from cordys) might have already developed some disliking toward this guy as he was quite bored by their presention and also came across as someone who was very proud of the libraries his company had written.

To be very honest there was a air of attitude with the guy, but it was pretty constructive I must say. That guy was totally in love with his company / his work and I think that's a really good thing. He also seemed to know his stuff..demo'd some of the Yahoo library features and show cased the cool new Yahoo Avatars stuff.

I managed to win a Yahoo goody for asking some good questions..hehe! probably advantage of sitting in front. I won a wallet. I just wish they would have put some dollars into it :)

Finally, the last presentation of the day - "Into the mind of a shit scared entrepreneur" by Sunder. His was a nice talk. He seemed to have stared a startup with some of his friends after quitting his job and he took us through the ups and downs of starting a startup. Was a funny talk and quite interesting.

Phew! I am tired now. I think I should go get some sleep now!

The event was a huge success and I hope this kick starts more such events in hyderabad. More than anything else it was good to know / meet people working on similar stuff and how they approach problems in their projects.

Till Next Time,

Tata,
Great work organizers!

7 comments:

Irfan said...

I have always loved this kind of geek culture. And a conference (unconference to be precise) on Web2.0, Ajax and similar buzzwords, I would not miss this for the world.

BarCampHyderabad was a great success. Very well organized. Good speakers (except a few who tried marketing their products. Especially the funny (and rude at times) Cordys Guy). Good topics, although I still could not figure out the relevance between Web2.0 and Tangible User Interfaces.

And not to forget those lovely goodies and the pizzas.

What more could you ask for ?

Eagerly waiting for the next BarCamp :)

Ciao
Irfan

Rajan said...

Hi,

This is the kind of feedback that I dreaded :D (https://rajan.wordpress.com/2006/04/09/my-talk-on-barcamp/)
I would have loved it if you had said that you hated my presentation :D

Nice notes otherwise.

It is really great to know you braved the summer to come to barcamp. Sure we should plan for another barcamp soon.

Cheers,
Rajan

Disha Khan said...

Good Post Mandy...
nice to know so much of BarCamp and your summarization...

I wish I'd have stayed for more time to see the Yahoo presentation, but by that time (actually by the time Y! guy commented on Cordys presentation, and the wars begun) I got sick and left :( and I had to attend some personal things as well :)

and this sure generated interest in Ajax and student community will definitely gain from this...

but I wonder why some ppl make Ajax look like rocket science? if its not we'd've definitely more working examples in the barcamp...
the only two working examples of significance was Cordys and Yahoo, and Cordys was way too elaborate, I did not get to see the whole interface/application, it was huge and looked almost like Visual Studio, but on web.
I missed Yahoo, but from what it’s online it’s good…
Hope to see more of these in coming days (and probably your presentation as well)

Sudhakar said...

I thought, I missed a great presentation by Y! guys, but now can sit back relaxed :-).

Sumeet said...

Hey Mandy.
Excellent write-up! :) It was good to meet ya.

Which organization are you currently with?

cheers,
Sumeet.

Mandy Singh said...

hey sumeet, i work for this US based company called united online (www.untd.com) which operates under the brands www.netzero.net www.juno.com www.classmates.com and many more.

Anonymous said...

I did not know both juno and classmates.com belonged to one company. Yes, I am waiting for the next BarCamp too :). It wasn't publicized much (I read about it on a Hyderabad site, in some obscrure place), I hope they improve next time so I don't miss it.