Photos from the BarCampVancouver09 Photowalk

As mentioned in my previous post, this year’s BarCampVancouver had a morning photowalk where we ventured out around this year’s venue to explore the area through a lens. There was probably twenty of us wandering around mostly empty, over grown property next to the rail yard near Main and Terminal.

Here’s a selection of my favorite shots that I took on the photowalk (all my photos from BarCampVancouver09 are here).

BarCampVancouver 2009 - Photowalk

BarCampVancouver 2009 - Photowalk

BarCampVancouver 2009 - Photowalk

BarCampVancouver 2009 - Photowalk

BarCampVancouver 2009 - Photowalk

Peter has a good shot of me taking this photo.

BarCampVancouver 2009 - Photowalk

What’s fun about going on photowalks like this, at least that I’m discovering, is when in the company of fellow Nikon owners, you get the opportunity to try out different lenses to at least experiment with other components that I could get for my D90. For example, the final shot above was wide-angle lens of Peter’s that he let me borrow about half-way through the photowalk. It really gives you a good idea of how something works and feels before you consider purchasing said gear.

But it doesn’t matter about what lens you have. Jordan always looks sharp.

The biggest element that I get from photowalks like this is just learning my camera. It’s how I learned the ins and outs of my Canon S5 IS, and the Nikon D90 is no exception. I’m refining what I already know to get a better grasp on pushing my photography, but when you’re around people like this who know even more, you are constantly learning. The conversations are incredibly geeky at some points, but understanding terms, sharing concepts, and having someone grab your camera to show you some setting that you didn’t know existed is invaluable. It’s a true testament of only getting better by simply giving it shot.

Actually, in photowalking terms, you give it about 500 shots in hopes that you come up with a handful of good ones.
Continue reading “Photos from the BarCampVancouver09 Photowalk”

BarCampVancouver 2009 not only successful but well worth the time

BarCampVancouver 2009 - Schedule Wall

Last weekend, BarCampVancouver 2009 was held at Discovery Parks Vancouver. And more than anything, I think the location was an ideal spot to have this year’s gathering of like minded folks to get together and discuss a good variety of topics, ranging from day trading, mass transit, photography, and even a session inspired by an old post of mine regarding freelancing (certainly read Raul’s post on this issue which further explains this session which I also attended).

BarCampVancouver 2009

BarCampVancouver 2009

I have always been a fan of BarCampVancouver since the first one I attended in 2006. In fact, that was the first big event in the Vancouver tech community where I was really introduced to the vast array of people who make up this city’s thinkers, movers, and shakers, only to have that be the tip of the iceberg of what it is today.

BarCampVancouver 2009

BarCampVancouver 2009

My favorite sessions this year were, of course, the photography focused ones led by John Biehler and Scott Prince. The morning photowalk around the building was followed by a great afternoon session regarding editing processes. Moving into the DSLR world myself, this is obviously of interest to me. I’ll post more photos from that photowalk later, but big thanks also goes out to Peter Andersen and Tyler Ingram as well. Learned a lot from these folks as of late, and you’ll see more proof of this later.

The other session of interest was a discussion I attended where the focus was the gap that exists between designers and coders. As with our projects with sixty4media, I found this interesting because it’s something that I personally struggle with on a constant basis. By that I mean the internal struggle I have between my creative sense and how difficult it can be to incorporate that with the infrastructure of web design.

As I get deeper into the realm of web development and push the boundaries of my skills, I find that working with a designer allows me to work better as a coder. Hearing the struggles, frustrations, insights, and ideas of how to deal with this gap (which varies from person to person), I came away from this session with a renowned sense of inspiration that have already found their ways into the how I work on a day to day basis.

BarCampVancouver 2009

I think the key thing to consider when it comes to events like this is that some of the best things you discover come from conversations you have outside of the sessions going on throughout the day. Sure, there are things like business contacts and the exchange of cards, but I’m talking about those elements where you really learn a tiny nugget of information that alters the way you think about or do things. Those moments are what really keep you coming back because who doesn’t like to be better at what they do or are passionate about?

BarCampVancouver 2009

Congrats to the organizers of this year’s BarCampVancouver. They did really well, and I’m looking forward to another one next year already.

Follow-up on BarCampVancouver 2008

BarCampVancouver2008 Photocamp

BarCampVancouver 2008 seemed to come up on us all too quickly, and I would have to declare the event an overall success. From the party on Friday night to the all day affair on Saturday, Granville Island was a great campus this year. We completely lucked out on the weather as well, so you can’t ask much more than that.

BarCampVancouver2008 WordCamp

WordCamp was also a really great event that I got to be apart of. I tried to help out with the planning alongside Duane and Rebecca, but there was a bit more to be done the day of than expected. After some quick ghetto engineering, the screen and projector worked out great, and the sessions were all really good. Hopefully my involvement in the genius Q&A portion of the day made sense for many of the attendees, and for a really great run down on the sessions, check out Rebecca’s post.

BarCampVancouver2008 Photocamp

Photocamp was another point of enjoyment for myself. I mostly caught the last few sessions with Tris Hussey, Derek Miller, and John Biehler, but they were well worth the time to learn a bit more about photo sharing sites and various pieces of gear that I’m all too poor to spend money on.

The day concluded with a brief photowalk around Granville Island, so I’ll include a few shots or you can see the entire set on Flickr.

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

Good times, and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

BarCampVancouver 2008

Just a quick post this morning to say that I’m here at BarCampVancouver 2008 on Granville Island. It’s turning out to be an amazing fall day, perfect for strolling around the area to see various sessions and presentations for this year’s BarCamp.

I’m currently waiting for everyone to show up at the WordCamp location at the PTC. Everything is good to go, but I’m unfortunately missing out on the scheduling session back at HQ.

Yah BarCamp!

Mark the date for BarCampVancouver 2008: September 27th

As we head into the late stages of summer and fall is still a little ways under the horizon, that only means one thing. BarCampVancouver 2008!

Session: "identity 2.0"

Planning is still going on, but one thing has been set for this unconference. September 27th is date for this year’s BarCampVancouver, and I’m sure the events, gatherings, and other mischief will extend from that.

BarCamp is an ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees.

All attendees are encouraged to give a demo, a session, a presentation, or help with one. All attendees are expected to be participants. All presentations are scheduled the day they happen. Prepare in advance, but come early to get a slot on the wall.

Presenters are responsible for making sure that notes/slides/audio/video of their presentations are published on the web for the benefit of all and those who can’t be present.

Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join. [barcampvancouver]

I had to miss last year’s BarCamp due to my hectic day job at the time, but things are slightly different now so I should be able to attend without too much concern. I have even thrown my hat into the ring in terms of helping organize the event, so it’ll be a lot of fun seeing how this comes together behind the scenes.

Another thing I will say about BarCampVancouver is that the one I attended in 2006 was one of the best things I have probably ever done. I met so many people that have become great friends, and there were a lot of things that I learned as well.

In fact, when I think back to it, it’s amazing to see where the “Techcouver” community was then and where it is now. One might say that it’s changed quite a bit, but it’s an amazing community nonetheless. Of course, the technology has made some leaps as well, but that goes without saying.

So, mark the date! September 27th is the day for BarCampVancouver!

BarCampVancouver2007 is open for registration

BarCampVancouver2007 The dates for BarCampVancouver2007 have been announced, so mark August 17th and 18th on your calendar. Sign ups have been going fast, and there were about thirty people putting their name on the list of attendees within the first twenty-four hours.

Checking just now, the list is just over eighty, and there is a max capacity of 120, give or take what the organizers think they can cram into WorkSpace. My name is already on the list, and the same can be said about Rebecca.

Our adventure to BarCampVancouver2006 was our first foray into the tech community that exists here, and it was awesome. We met a lot of interesting people, many of them becoming friends as much as great people to network with. There were a lot of great sessions as well, many of which I blogged about here.

If you’re interested, sign up sooner rather than later. You can always take your name off the list as the dates approach, plus this particular unconference should be free. However, last year we gave a small donation to help cover the costs and got t-shirts in return. Very sweet.

Podcasting and the Meta Argument

At BarCampVancouver, Ryan Cousineau[wiredcola] led a session called “Sturgeon’s Revelation”[wiki]. The idea that “ninety percent of everything is crud” was the center piece of this session, applying it to pretty much everything that exists in the world of Web 2.0[wiki]. The main topic of focus, however, was podcasting[wiki].

Darren Barefoot made a recent post regarding social networks and podcasting, citing that the resources are not there for the medium as there is for photo, video, or link sharing. This idea speaks a lot to what Cousineau was getting at with his session, and much of his thoughts on the topic is posted on his blog.

When it comes down to it, there is not an easy way to share content within a podcast unless you listen to it. You can’t Google search for information that can be found in a podcast. There are such things as show notes and tags that people apply to the material that they publish, but not everyone does it, nor does everyone do it the same way.

The only solution to this problem is to transcribe podcasts in their entirty so that anyone searching for a topic can locate it in your podcast as well as anywhere else on the web. Quite often, this is where people with low opinions about podcasting derive their argument, and I’ve heard this thought propelled by a lot of bloggers. Yes, blogging is a very quick way of publishing information for the world to read in nearly real time. It is instantly indexed, searchable, and archived.

Generating audio for a podcast can be done in the same way, but often is delayed and ineffective with being timely. The podcast itself, in its raw form, is a bunch of ones and zeros, and no one has developed a way to index the contents of a podcast so that it is searchable across the internet. No matter how great of material that you have in a podcast, some one finding that gem of information inside forty minutes of a mp3 won’t happen unless they download it and listen.

This is where I start to agree with the point that Cousineau is saying and the thoughts presented in Barefoot’s post. The conversation that you can get from podcasting is vastly different for the ones that happen through blogging, Flickr, or YouTube. “Feedback” is the better word for what goes on with a podcast. Continue reading “Podcasting and the Meta Argument”

BarCampVancouver: The End

Session: For some reason, the wireless crapped out on me at the very end of the session Tod Maffin led regarding “Hacking the Mothership(CBC)”, and I had a complete blog post vanish on me when I hit publish and lost all bandwidth at that exact moment. Yeah, that totally sucked, but I imagine that this is just apart of the beauty that is BarCampVancouver. Let me see if I can recall a little bit from the last few sessions of the day that I attended, and in no particular order.

Drupal is a powerful platform that I am becoming more and more familiar with everyday. It can do more than just a blog, and the programming aspect is a bit more meaty than WordPress. What I have learned in the past few months about PHP and MySQL tends to make me interested in seeing what I can do with Drupal. It’d be a major jump into a learning binge, but I’d like to give it a shot.

Other interesting elements to the platform is how it can be integrated with podcasting. That is, one site can serve up multiple feeds, and it is all built in to Drupal. Modules can make you site dance circles, and installation is generally simple. Some things do take some knowledge and experience. I’ve done a bit of reading about it up till now, but the session today really gave me a better understanding.

Session: David Gratton led a session about “Music Social Networking” that was interesting to sit through. He mainly laid out what his company is doing with It’s a lot like how it sounds, but is learning from its errors, as well as its users, and attempting to put a new spin on how people network in the world of enjoying music. Find friend, new bands, spread the word, and report back to the artist so they know what’s going on with their music.

It’s a really great concept, and I asked about how this can be incorporated to podcasting. They have a lot of local Vancouver artists already on the network. I’ll have to explore their library and see what I can do with their service. If anything, I’ll be in touch with them for sure.

Alexandra Samuel ran a session on tagging and the various ways that one can use them to help promote their blog and network with other bloggers with similar interests. These are classic tools that all blogs seem to have built in these days, but there are many ways to expand their effectiveness. Her blog and company’s website, Social Signal, are full of great ideas about this topic.

Session: And this is where I hate my laptop or the wireless network or the evil spirits who struck down my ability to have bandwidth in WorkSpace at the very moment that I had a long list of points that Tod Maffin covered in his session. That sucked so much.

Basically, Tod opened the floor to everyone in attendance to get ideas on how this new age of media can revolutionize the CBC as it currently stands. How can blogs, podcasting, and interactive media alter or be incorporated into what the CBC does? At the same time, how do we, as the general public, feel about where we can fit in the grand scheme of things.

Damn, Tod. It makes sense as to why you have scaled back on your podcasting projects now. I talked to him briefly and discovered that he is no longer affiliated with the Foursevens Podcast Network as he was before. TodBits still exists. He just hasn’t gotten around to getting something done. Look at what he’s trying to do here with the CBC. Think he’s busy?

There were a lot of interesting ideas thrown around that my tired mind can’t really recall now(stupid wireless). One thing I do recall is the fact that everyone in the session has listened to a CBC podcast. On the flipside, none of us knew that the CBC will pay you to read or perform a piece from your blog if you were to submit it, and, of course, it was chosen for air. That’s something I’m going to keep in mind.

WorkSpace - Leaving BarCampVancouver 2006After all of that, even sitting here on the couch at home, there’s still a lot to soak in. I have a variety of contacts that I made, shook the hands of some really cool people, and dropped some business cards that we made up last week. Events like this are dangerous. It doesn’t help that I get ideas in my head, fall in love with them, and then dive in head first until, not coming up for air until I’m happy with the result.

I ran around, taking pictures with my Nokia all day. All the pictures are now in this Flickr set.

I’m beat. After our time spent with Matthew Good last night and today’s excitement, I’m ready to crash and hit the beach in the morning. It was fun.

BarCampVancouver: Open source wireless jam

It’s tough to get a single in here right now. As soon as lunch was over, the bandwidth got gobbled up. We’ll see when I can get around to getting this published.

Open source media is the session I’m sitting in right now. It’s amazing how well I can listen and type at the same time. But the focus is how much the realm of how media relations and public relations has changed. Are press releases a thing of the past? Are blogs the future way in which companies release their major news announcements?

And why am I listening to this? Well, with podcasting, who do you communicate with the public? You can’t just say, “I’m podcasting and people will get my message through that method.” No. It won’t work that way. Just because you have a radio transmitter, not everyone will be listening to the radio. You have to do more to get your information out.

It’s probably not promoted enough, but I blog a lot about what the podcast does here. Trials, news, and other information as it comes about. Perhaps I don’t promote that enough, but it’s more than what the podcast just is, right?

I finally have wireless, so time to get this posted. Tod Maffin just arrived and will host his CBC session later as well.

BarCampVancouver: Morning over

The pizzas just arrived and the noon horn just sounded from the BC Hydro Plant. That means the morning sessions are officially over.

BarCampVancouver: Ryan thinks everything is wrong with podcastingSo far, I’ve sat through three sessions and overheard a fourth. The last one was about java programming which was incredibly cool. I should probably paid more attention to that one, and I can already see what was being demonstrated as being turned into a WordPress plugin. Basically, it’s a what to fill out forms, and when typing the date, you can enter in “tomorrow” or “two days from now”, only to have the scripting turn it directly into the corresponding date. Neat stuff.

The digital archiving session gives you a lot to think about. From the basic way that you store information on your computer, all the way to what is going on in the world, saving your information is key. The true magic is making sure that whatever you do, it works and lasts for years and years to come.

BarCampVancouver: James Sherret - AdHackRyan Cousineau, a Metroblogging Vancouver contributer, led a session about all that is wrong with podcasting. The scale of the session stemmed further than just that specific medium, but that was the heart of the conversation in the end. What his main point was the meta level of the whole thing. Searching and finding information is difficult when it comes to the piles of audio out there. Should we be doing more to transcribe things so that the world can Google us easier? It’s an interesting and vaild concept. Gave me a little bit to think about.

James Sherret led a session about a new project that he is heading. AdHack is a brilliant idea, and I’m excited to see it launch. Today was kinda the unveiling of the venture. It’s a worthwhile way to truly reconsider how advertising works.

Keep checking the Flickr stuff(mine and Rebecca’s).

My pizza is getting cold. More later.