Barcamp Auckland 2 Synopsis

Yesterday I attended my first barcamp / unconference; Barcamp Auckland 2. Ludwig and his team did a superb job arranging this event. It was well organised and there were lots of great sessions that stimulated lots of thought provoking discussions.

A key aspect of barcamps is participation and it is not about 1 person presenting, but more about having discussions and debates. The agenda is created on the day with people putting topics up on the board they are keen to talk about and facilitate and it just flows from there.

For further information about barcamps / unconferences, check out:

I attended a variety of different sessions which covered topics such as IE8, OpenId, Social Graph API, Privacy, Productivity, Mobile, Predictive Markets, ...

I used Twitter as my journal for the day, and my slightly edited synopsis of each session is:

Tech Productivity
  • Music can help to focus but can also distract; familiarity plays a factor.
  • Discussion re collaborative Personal Assistant's. i.e. one PA which handles multiple people
  • Meetings should be short. Consider Taking the chairs out of the room helps to achieve this.
  • David Allen's books on productivity are being highly recommended. I must check them out
  • Interesting thought re de-prioritising emails if sent to multiple people and a response is expected. Mechanical Turk as a helper?
IE8 Action Plan
  • 1/4 of users in NZ still use IE6. Interesting stat.
  • ~30% more effort required to build for IE6, ~5% more to build for IE7.
  • There are ~18k long tail web sites in NZ that are expected to be affected by IE8, due its better adoption of standards
  • Google is MS's biggest early adopter for IE8. Beta 2 is due out in August.
  • discussion re how to get IE8 being used whilst getting rid of IE6. Ideas: disks in Herald, filler with ISP bill, break IE use on TradeMe (or more to the point, force action)
  • n-1 deployment is a consideration for many companies. This will hinder deployment of IE8 for many corporates.
Using Social Graph and OpenId to make registration easy
  • Social Graph API (rel=me) being discussed. Sounds very useful for prepopulating information.
  • Social graph API looks very very powerful.
  • Open ID adoption needs to be balanced with trust. People will still have multiple IDs. Mainly for people who live and breath the web.
  • Sxipper being suggested by a number of people as an easy way to prepopulate information and signing on
  • OpenID is largely been seen as a land grab at the moment from most providers
  • Banks not expected to use OpenID for a long time due to liability etc.
Mobile Applications
  • Symbian is 75% of Smartphone market. With recent OpenSource announcement this is big.
  • The impact of iPhone vs Symbian will be interesting to watch considering the large Symbian penetration
  • Symbian is write once, run anywhere; J2ME gr8 in concept, device fragmentation; Win Mob little market penetration; iPhone?; Android?
  • iPhone is impacting more apps being acquired for Win Mob Smartphones (i.e. it is helping drive a mindset for the public)
  • Mobile OS stats vary largely by region. High CDMA use in US is a huge factor. Asia Pacific large for Smartphones.
  • Phones in Japanese market are in fact generally pretty basic, but heavy usage and how phone is used different than other markets
Politics & Web 2.0
  • 'Click here to send email to' one click campaign marketing common. Politicians obligated to reply.
  • is a New Zealand prediction market
  • Prediction markets are a bit like Wikipedia whereby the power of the crowd will normalise malicious behaviour
  • is home of the NZ Virtual Election
Privacy in distributed social networks
  • How do we express to a site how we want _our_ info used? Privacy = Control.
  • People don't read Terms & Conditions for web sites. A Common T's&C's framework is being mooted (c.f. Creative Commons)
  • User should be able to express in metadata form how they want their data used. Sounds a bit like a looser form of DRM (eg. robots.txt)
  • Privacy Commons Metadata could be applied to object, service or whatever
  • Leasing of information for a certain time period is being used by Fireeagle.
  • Being open about Privacy can be used as a selling point for a company as opposed to hiding what you're up to.
Mobile Web Stuff
  • Targeted txt advertising
  • Different SMS providers in NZ have different levels of redundancy and performance. Ensure the provider will be able to support you.
  • A SMS message can automatically load up a page, config change settings or apps can be pushed as a SMS message.I never realised the power
  • There is a standard around concatenation of many SMS messages, and most phones handle this nicely
  • Developers are wanting the ability for certain content to be zero-rated on a mobile network and to pay the mobile provider separately
Overall, it was a great day and I will definitely be back!


  1. Thanks for that Simon, 'preciate being able to catch up on the goings on from down here in Welly.

  2. Ditto Mike's comment (other than changing Wellington for Waipara!)

  3. Great summary - who did the mobile session?

  4. From recollection, here's who facilitated each:
    - Tech Productivity: Ben Young
    - IE8 Action Plan: Nigel Parker
    - Social Graph: Mike Cochrane
    - Mobile Applications: ?
    - Politics: Two guys ??
    - Privacy: Robert O'Brien
    - Mobile Web Stuff: Mike Cochrane

  5. The politics and web 2.0 session was given by myself, Craig Neilson and also Qi-Shan Lim.

  6. Thanks Craig. Without the Barcamp App on hand I was struggling for names.

  7. The Mobile Applications one was By Aaron Davidson from .

    Simon - I still have some pages open on my laptop if you wanted to have a quick look.


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