Saturday, March 31, 2007

BCB3 - Day One

31st of April and I got up early on a Saturday and got ready to go to Barcamp Bangalore 3. I was supposed to pick Jai on my way but he was getting late so I headed off to the venue to be there on time. The registration process was pretty fast and the crowd was not that bad as I expected. I expected around 500 people as per the registrations but it didn’t seem that many people turned up. Sid was already there with Abhijit and after the customary name stickers and mug shots we headed towards the auditorium for the introduction talk.

I was apprehensive about the idea of live twittering coz I was not confident that my laptop will pickup the WIFI signals and also if the battery will sustain charge for the whole day. As we entered the audi I decided to check out the wifi and it was not connecting and I was so disappointed. Then I came to know that there was no connection there. The intro started at 10 AM sharp by Kiruba giving a short talk about Barcamps and the Unconference model followed by the speaker intros.

10.30 AM sharp the sessions kick started and I went to the “Camera phone, You Tube and Skype” session presented by Deepak. Rajan was assisting him with the equipments. They were talking about the major possibilities of using camera phones in more meaningful ways. They also showed their product V/go (or is it Wgo?) using which they were shooting camera phone video of the session real time and broadcasting it over Skype. They had to end it abruptly as the time ran out as the other guys barged in. I think the speakers should really concentrate on making their presentation real short and crisp and also give time for Q&A. All were so overwhelmed with their product/tehnology.

From there we ran to the “Risk Management to beat stress” session by Payal. She just said the regular known stuff, I think it was more of a sales pitch which again she couldn’t really do well. She started off saying risk management is better than stress management but then there was nothing new. Or may be time didn’t allow her to finish. She said her organization will deal stress at the root level, etc etc. Didn’t convince the crowd I think. It was boring for me. Some one said "Payal is good looking and thats about it".

I had a peek at the Activ Mobs guys session which was jam packed on the way to Sujai's talk. Sujai’s “Future of Indian telephony” which was again very informative. I really loved his session at Barcamp 2 on WiMax. He again broke some myths and gave some insights and facts into broadband and mobile scene in India. He was mobbed by questions and he was patiently giving smart answers to all that. 2008 is going to be the boom time for broadband is what Sujai says. I hope so; I’m still waiting for BSNL to give me the broadband connection.

Jai came in at this time and he said “Mobile Internet session sucked. The presenter was late and the topic he started was boring. The crowd was impatient and the vocabulary was deplorable”

Lunch time and I was hungry like anything coz of the skipped breakfast. The food sucked big time; just made sure to eat something to beat the hunger. Nothing like the awesome Barcamp 2 lunch.

Spent time with Sowmya Karmally, talked about the work she is doing and also about the talk she is going to give. After lunch we had a good half an hour time so I went and tagged along with Muthu. He was very kind enough to introduce me to all his friends. I freaked out giving out my newly printed biz cards. Some loved the Gaping Void cartoon on the back of my card. Mahesh Shantaram wanted to take a picture of mine against the pink flowers coz he liked my pink mango print Allen Solly. RKVS Raman of CDAC even invited me to give a session for his students. I was thrilled. All this time Sid was busy setting up WIFI connections for other laptops.

Post lunch Muthu and I went to “Hadoop and Yahoo Search” session and oops it was a wrong choice. I didn’t understand a word what they talked about. Wasted a good half an hour there just by staring at people.

Then went to “Zook Mobile Search” session. Zook is searching by sending SMS and the users get Interactive responses by asking questions for refining search results. Didn’t interest me again. (I think it was coz of the food) :-) I again missed Sowmya’s session coz the Zook thing took a way long time to wrap up. She asked us why we were not there; Sorry Sowmya.

Jai joined us again and said “About the ‘Virtual Learning’ session.... I didn’t learn much. Only learnt that there is a software called ‘Open Index’ and that it is sort of like an LMS”

We collected our free Barcamp T shirts and headed towards Navjot's session on “Mobile Web Standards”. Was a very interesting and interactive session, but not much informative. We already knew things which he talked about.

Then the last one for the day, Savita Kini’s “Are we ready to move from services to products”. This one was really interesting and informative. People were very much a part of the discussion - wild comments, jokes, constructive points, some went berserk over their points too…. But Savita has amazing capability to bring the audience to her control. A ssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhh from her really worked wonders for the ones who were shouting. She also gave a tough look to a guy who was talking over the phone. A really good session and well time managed. Very constructive discussion and Savita really knew her job well. Sujai, Rajeev Poddar, Rajan, Vidya and another two guys were the ones who really drove the discussion. Some of Sujai’s wisecracks were really good ones. “One needs to have balls to go for product development” and “If you want to get married soon join Infosys” were the pick of the lot.

Met a lot of people at the hallway; the usual suspects and also new guys. Kiruba, Raman and Selva from CDAC, Akshat and Sidu of Activ Mobs, Shiv Prashant Sood of Huawei, Amir from ThoughtWorks (ThoughtWork guys are people to watch out for, I think they are doing some real good work), Amit bhargava of Cognizant, Param, Rajan, Rajeev, Sujai, Mahesh Shantaram and many other guys. Amit Pande was missing. Live twittering was a success more than I thought it would be. Sid, Abhijit and Jai pitched in to help me in making it work. That was so sweet of them. We got Barcamp as a follower for the BCB3 timeline and other guys too. Hope the public will check out the timeline tonight and will follow more closely tomorrow. Some of the rooms didn’t have power plugs so my computer went out of power now and then but I somehow managed it and I would like to call it power management :-). The overall experience was very good and I’m looking forward for the second day.

Btw my laptop is too heavy and I’m realizing it now as I’ve got a shoulder pain. No not the right one. :-)

Pictures courtesy Sid, Jace and Mahesh Shantaram.
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