BathCamp evenings

bathcamp T-shirt

In September last year, a barcamp was held in Bath. It was called, somewhat predictably but not unreasonably, “bathcamp“. 🙂

I blogged about it at the time, but in short it was a fascinating weekend that brought together a great group of people.

But it didn’t end there.

There will be another bathcamp event, but the organiser Mike Ellis had the very neat idea to keep the momentum going in between the full barcamp weekends with a series of monthly evening meetups.

The first Wednesday of every month, BathCamp becomes an evening event at Revolution in Bath. It works really well, keeping the sense of community going in between the full barcamps. Many turn up early, in time to have a drink and something to eat in the bar downstairs. You get a group of people all sat together, but it’s very welcoming and friendly. You can sit next to anyone there, and get involved the conversation – not always the case with every geeky meetup I go to.

At about 8pm-ish, everyone goes upstairs for an informal presentation on some tech topic of interest. Then there is a break where everyone gets themselves a drink, and talk and bounce around ideas about the presentation.

Then another (generally somewhat related) presentation from a second speaker, and another chance to talk about the topic with everyone else there. These bits make a difference – sometimes these events can drift into “turn up, listen to talk, go home”. But so far, the Bathcamp meetups have been a long way from that.

The talks so far…

4 Feb 2009

Paul Boag (@boagworld) talked about “10 things a web designer would never tell you” (video on vimeo).

“These arty-farty web designers are always telling you how your site should look. Don’t listen to them! Don’t they know the customer is always right? Here are 10 things a ‘good web designer’ would never tell you about choosing the perfect design.”

This was very entertaining – presenting what not to do in a tongue-in-cheek spin on his book made for a very funny talk. Paul posted the video of his talk on his site, which he’s since turned into a blog post. Both are worth a look if you missed the talk.

Ryan Carson (@ryancarson) talked about Ubiquity for Firefox (video on vimeo)

“Ryan Carson talks about Ubiquity: why it’s important and how he thinks it’ll change everything.”

I’d heard of Ubiquity before, but Ryan’s talk was a good way to get a discussion about it started, and some interesting ideas for uses and possible plugins came out of the evening. If you’ve not heard of Ubiquity, the introduction video on vimeo is definitely worth watching.

4 Mar 2009

I (@dalelane) talked about “Monitoring your home electricity usage” (video on vimeo)

“Dale talks about the various home electricity meters available to consumers, including CurrentCost, and the hacking he’s done to make aggregate data available on the web.”

I gave a whistlestop tour through the different hacks and projects I’ve seen people do with CurrentCost, and why I think they’re interesting. My slides are on slideshare, although if you were at HomeCamp, there wouldn’t have been much you’ve not heard before. I really enjoyed giving the talk, and it seemed to capture people’s imagination – there were lots of interesting ideas and discussions around it afterwards. (And hearing how many people told me and tweeted that they’d be buying a CurrentCost meter after the evening, I was wishing that I was on commission for them! 😉 )

Ben Tomlinson (@boppyer) talked about Arduino (video on vimeo)

“Ben talks about the amazing Arduino physical computing platform. Oh, and chickens.”

I’ve heard about Arduino before, particularly from Nick, but didn’t really know what it was all about. Ben gave a great overview of what they can do, and some of the cool ways they’ve used them at ico. You can see some of the projects that he talked about on their website – I particularly liked the look of the biometrics exhibit and chicken race game, but to be honest, they were all fascinating.

1 Apr 2009

The talks for the next evening are still to be confirmed, but the theme for the evening is going to be mobile, so I’m particularly looking forward to it. It’s also great timing as it means I’ll be in Bath ready for the start of openMIC Mobile Innovation Camp the next morning (big thanks to @edzell for giving me somewhere to sleep for the night!)

If you can get to Bath, I’d strongly recommend going (signing up on the ning site is the best place to start). You don’t need to have been to the original bathcamp barcamp, and as I said above, it’s a great group of people and is bound to be an interesting night.

Photo of bathcamp duck from alistair_uk on Flickr

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One Response to “BathCamp evenings”

  1. Claire says:

    Wow, I just went on the site. Revolutions has changed so much since I was there.