Barcamp Auckland 4 Summary

I had yet another excellent time at Barcamp Auckland 4 #bcak4. This is an unconference run each year that brings together developers, designers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and others for discussion about topics of interest. 

The sessions are always thought provoking and there are lots of super knowledgeable people and hence great discussions. My notes from the sessions are below.

Building client side libraries in the enterprise

Simon Lieschke, @slieschke

  • Build on top of Yahoo! User Interface library

    • YUI doc tool for generating source code notes

  • Developer declares dependencies and this will then determine what libraies to use

  • Have generated tag library docs

  • When building javacript libraries, use a functional test page (e.g. if change CSS then show all different buttons) #regressiontesting

    • currently build page manually

  • Selenium mentioned as a tool to consider. It looks quite good.

  • Unit Testing

    • JsUnit

    • YUI test is a bit nicer than JsUnit. It provides better tools for simulating browser behaviour.

    • Google JS Test Driver may be another option

Doing Less. Using SaaS and API's to automate your workflow

Glen Barnes, @barnaclebarnes

  • Repetitive work sucks

  • Whenever you do a task think “Can I automate this or make this more efficient?”

  • MailChimp is good for small Mailing Lists. WYSIWYG editor abut can also upload.

  • Keep organised and focus on your tasks and opportunities. e.g. CapsuleCRM

  • Check out Capsule API

  • Capistrano is a good for automated deployment of websites.

  • TextMate bundles

  • Use context aware snippets (where available). Consider reuse of text you often write (e.g. an email signatures)

  • Hoptoad collects errors generated by other web applications, and aggregates the results for developer review.

  • Dropbox is awesome

  • Tripit is great

  • Quicksilver, Instapaper, Quicklauncher

  • Tools good for problem tickets for CSRs are not necessarily good for developers and bug tracking.

  • Automated testing (e.g. Selenium)

  • Run a source code checker (e.g. lint) across your code before you can check in to source code control system

Raising venture capital how to develop funding relationships

Yvonne McLaren @bucketree

  • Venture Capital is like an “Entrepeneur/Innovator, Investor, Creation of future capital” triangle with the Venture Capitalist in the middle.

  • Show where clear profit is

  • Look for partnerships. You usually can't compete straight with big, but you could possibly sell to them.

  • If you're getting paid in shares, make it a convertible note so you get bought out when the company gets larger investment

  • Have a shareholders agreement

  • NZTE's Escalator is investment service for small-to-medium enterprise

  • Will the VC make your idea work?

  • Don't treat Mum & Dad investment any different than investment from a stranger

Open Data in NZ - where we're at, and where to next

Rob, Glen, @amatix @barnaclebarnes

  • Lots of good stuff happening in NZ

  • Open Government, Open Data and Open Source are different things.

  • Government does not work quickly

  • There is sometimes a worry about releasing data that is not 100% correct, and how updates should be fed back

  • is an excellent resource for NZ government data.

  • Using a proper data catalogue is a good idea

  • Why open data? To sell, show use cases of what can be done with the data.

  • OpenStreetMap has been enriched with Open Government data (for the Chatham Islands so far). Aiming for whole of NZ in 6 months. Includes cattle stops and trees.

  • Crowdsource the improvement of data. This requires thought as to how the process will work.

  • The new MapQuest is using OpenStreetMap for all data other than the US at the moment. This should also aid in improving the data.

  • Start with low hanging fruit. Don't try and do everything at once.

  • has lots of great info.

  • Access to local council data (that is cost effective) would be good. There is a wealth of excellent data there.

What do you want from your Telco / Service provider?

Simon, Rob, @gianouts, @nzrob

  • Rob & I ran this session and threw up what was discussed on the whiteboard.  I may not necessarily with some of the points and this group is not necessarily representative of the mass market but there is definitely some good food for thought.  I have transcribed the whiteboard information below.

  • Reliable

    • 111 everywhere

    • Data access everywhere

      • Something is better than nothing

  • More flexibility in rural areas to access more fibre in a cost-effective way

  • Use of shared physical pipes/ducts

  • APIs

    • Rationale for why a Telco should do this: Reduce costs to build things themselves

    • Read & Write access to Billing data

      • Use Case: Right-planning

      • Use Case: Integration into customers’ billing system

      • Use Case: Buy flat white and put on Telco bill

    • Access Voicemail

    • MMS/SMS

    • Any data friendly format is okay (i.e. not PDF)

  • Reasonable data charges

    • Fixed & Mobile

    • Roaming too

  • Don’t do content

  • Tivo (or similar) – why?

  • ‘Powershop’ type of model

    • Use case: This weekend I’ll use company xyz

  • Fast to/from everywhere

    • content from wherever

  • Why have Yahoo! (or similar)?  Audience wants to chose whatever.

    • prefer reduced cost instead

  • Don’t want email or hosting

  • Upload vs Download

    • appropriate plans

    • encourage people to generate and upload content

    • Don’t care whether info is stored in NZ or not (privacy is not a concern)

    • Want fast access to data

  • “Don’t make me think”

  • Quality of video/YouTube/Hulu/…

  • A Google/YouTube/Gaming comparison across sites would be good to aid consumers to choose appropriate plan and provider

    • This needs to be independent of a Telco

  • Well priced mobile plans and phones

  • Unlocked phones

  • Simple plans

  • Easy billing

7x5 minute slots

Pacific Fibre, Lance Wiggs

  • Nobody else has data caps as much as NZ

University of Maryland No Media experiement, Mike Dickson

  • University of Maryland ran a no media (email/fb/twitter) day with 200 students .

  • Many of the students couldn't do it. Felt literally sick (a real addiction)

  • The only email messages are school related

  • The only mail I have ever received is email

  • I haven't used a landline telephone in over a year

  • I don't answer my phone until after 12 noon

  • I watch tv online

  • I haven't turned my machine on in 3 years

Is EVAL evil?

  • Sandboxed it can be very useful.

Interclue, Seth Wagoner

  • We often make assumptions about what people know. c.f. What is a browser?

  • Interclue is a browser add-on

  • Lazerus for auto-save of forms to your hard drive

  • Each browser is different

  • Prefetching icons can dramatically improve performance

  • Making money: fremium model

Judson Steel, Scott Judson

  • Job Dispatch app for Hines security.

  • Ipad-based

  • Integrates with Timesheets, Stock etc.

Augmented Reality

  • Definition on AR "combines real and virtual, is interactive in real time, true 3d"

  • Check out how a logo model looks when it's built

  • Try on clothes.

  • Face recognition to get info from FB/Linked In etc. and then overlay

  • Face recognition site:

Ragtag Leadership: how organisations need more Captain Mal and less Captain Kirk

Simon Young, @audaciousgloop

  • Writing a book. A lot of leadership books are really boring.

  • A lot of management models can be be found around us. Science fiction can teach us a lot.

  • The Star Trek management model... everybody knows the mission, same uniform, embodies the values

  • Doctor Who management model... not tribal like Star Trek, but sees things differently (e.g.. consultant) or have special tools

  • Firefly management model is akin to startups... small, need to earn money, ragtag. People sign up for their own reasons.

  • Improv – make the most of every situation

  • Win-win

  • Entrepeneurial

  • Creating a culture is a key part

  • Humour can be useful in times of stress

  • Choose what to be disciplined about and what to let go.

Getting the most out of Home Tech - Bring your Gadget stories and connectivity nightmares

Rob Inskeep, @NZRob

  • You can put motion sensors in a room and turn lights on/off, but different people react differently to this. Where's the switch?

  • A big consideration when buying devices for the home; they should last longer than the 18 month cycle of an iPhone.

  • With a Linksys WRT modem you can load Tomato on it and get a mesh

  • WAF (Wife Approval Factor) is a key part of purchasing decisions.

  • Use your tv as a photo frame when it's not in use. In addition to family pics, pics from Nasa etc are great for discussions.

  • Use the likes of Google Powermeter to understand your data consumption

  • If building a house it is a good idea to put network cabling in up front. It is much harder later.

  • Run ducting instead of just cabling. This provides for additional future proofing.

Challenges of App development (and web development) for mobile (android / iphone / Symbian / J2ME / Blackberry / etc)


  • iPhone established early on how much you can put on a screen

  • Lots of different devices makes it harder for developers; different screen sizes, memory size etc. This is however reality so needs consideration

  • With a soft keyboard on many newer devices there's not a lot of the screen left anymore.

  • Web pages don't currently stand up to the performance of a native app on a mobile device.

  • In the Apple world there is a worry that Apple will come out with an app and revoke your app from their marketplace.

  • Know and understand the rules before starting an app for a closed marketplace. When doing dev for another company cover yourself and get their lawyers to check all is okay. Also rules may change along the way so monitor rules changes (& likely ones).

  • Identifying if a user is using Wifi or a more costly data connection is not easy on all devices.

  • Some apps have sensors, some have compasses; need to know what they have for some apps.


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