Apr 25, 2010

my first #barcamp - the #mcdd10

I noticed #mcdd10 in the context of the barcamp before droidcon. I heard about barcamps before but never digged deeper. But there is even a german wikipedia article about barcamps so it must be relevant and first hand impressions are always the best. Also the topic of #mcdd10 matched my interest as I am into mobile development and gave me the chance to experience one barcamp before droidcon which matches my interests even more.

The whole thing started @TU-Dresden with a self introduction of each participant by three tags to keep it short. I really like that idea - it blocks self exposers from ruining that and helps shy ones to do well here to.
My keywords where Android, J2ME and bluetooth. There where a lot of users with tags I disliked like mobile marketing or other stuff of which I don't think that it improves the world we live in - just stuff to make money with from my point of view. I somehow expected more developers there.
But my luck was that in the sessions which where highly interactive some devs showed up with interesting info. The first session was on how to bring mobile apps into corperations. The topic was not really my interest but it was interesting hear from *them* how many problems they have with closed platforms like apple. The big issue is deployment. They simply can't do what they want to do there - Jailbreaking is not an option for corperation use and the other way is through steve and he dont wants to play with them. This was my chance to promote open systems by telling them that it is possible with android to solve the deployment there easily and have noone between the user and you who decides if an app can be deployed.
The next session was all about blind people using mobile phones. First there was hands on an I-Phone with a screenreader. The touchscreen was used for input and voice synthesis for output. Nobody here was blind but the session-initializers said they made experiments with blinds and it is really useful for them. In the discussion some issues came up. It seemed not to be able to switch off the display even if you cannot use it like a blind one. You can only dim the backlight to a very low value and so drain your battery more than you have to. The second thing was that an physical keyboard would be great for entering long texts ( And Android has such devices ).
I don't want to review all the sessions here because this blog entry is getting too long otherwise but noticeable where brainstorming sessions. The start was done by one image and one written location for each group. Our image was frankenstein and our location was a nuclear power plant. Then we should write down ideas based on image and location very fast without a need for quality - only quantity was needed here. The second thing was to select one idea by putting stars on each group member's favorite idea. It was nice to see that my idea got by far the most stars. It was an app to show how far an nuclear power plant is away from your phones position. After selecting the idea we where told to improve it. Some nice Idea came up like morphing from your image to frankenstein based on the distance to the next power plant. The last part was to figure out how to make money with it this part was not my thing but nobody had a problem that i was quite there. Caused by the lot of company members there it felt like this was a cheap harvesting of Idea here but i had no problem with that because the idea was ethical and I don't have the time at the moment to do another project.
The session after that was based on the brainstorming before. It was all about making a video representing the idea. I thought videos making is taking long time. But the trick here was to improvise and give a very short deadline ( 30min ). Here are the results of the 3 groups:
* Barcoo
* SnackR
* Frankenstein

Possible flight spaces where limited on the location so i was not realy able to show up with my mobile-phone project but i did a small flight on the space on the picture below so that carying all the stuff around >20km by foot made at least some sense:

After all it was an very nice weekend. I had a lot of interesting communication - the sun was enabled all the time - got a lot of coffee there and Dresden is a very nice city. Special big up to the orga, my drivers and my friendly host - it all worked like a charm.