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Entries in category: Conferences

sxsw-2012-logo.pngThis year was the first time I have had the opportunity to attend South by South-West Interactive, the digital part of the infamous music festival in Austin, Texas that quickly grew to include movies and multimedia. With the tech-boom of the recent decade nearly letting the Interactive section overshadow the other parts it has been dubbed "spring break for geeks" and it is one of the largest and craziest events around for all things digital. So naturally it is the place to be to catch up on the latest trends and hypes in everything from online social media to cutting edge gadgets and private space ventures. SXSW can only be described as conference overload. There is simply too much of everything so it is an entirely overwhelming experience to be there.

So how was it then? Absolutely incredible of course! Despite the downpour of rain throughout that gave me a pneumonia, and the unknowable number of sessions, lounges and parties that I missed out on, I still had five fully packed days with stimulating chats, interesting sessions, amazing food and fun nights out. In addition we took a Texas roadtrip after the conference where we got to see a whole lot of a place most Europeans would never even think to visit.

Roots logo I've recently returned home after spending a few days in the rainy city of Bergen, my birthplace from where I still can be identified by my accent, despite us moving north when I was just a few years old. I was there to attend the Roots conference, a different technology conference where all kinds of IT-workers can meet and get professional and social inspiration from each other and the fascinating talks they had scheduled, one of which was by me on improving the user experience in existing solutions. The slides from my talk are as always available from Slideshare, and impressively the Roots organizers have already made all the talks available online, including mine!

Besides giving my talk the conference was a very interesting place to be and I heard and talked to a wide range of both the speakers and participants that provided me with new insights and food for thought. This was definitely a different kind of conference and one I can wholeheartedly recommend. The location in Bergen was also a positive thing, as it provided opportunities to go sightseeing and exploring in a city I rarely visit otherwise.

Image representing Meetup as depicted in Crunc...
This week the volunteer run Communities in Action unconference was held in association with the GoOpen conference, allowing the open communities to intermingle with paying conference attendees and getting the best of both worlds. This year there was a separate track for Open Data during the GoOpen sessions it was fitting that there be someone at Communities in Actions to take up the slack during the after hours sessions. To achieve this on short notice the Oslo Open Data Forum that I organize joined forces with Oslo Semantic Web Meetup to host one of the community tracks to introduce new faces to both groups and show the differences between them. The SemWeb-organizer Pia Jøsendal and I held the opening talk of our track on the difference between semantic web and open data, before we had a series of notable open data speaker from Norway present some of their recent work. The event was a great success with our largest number of attendants thus far, filling our assigned room to overflowing.

Javazone LogoAs usual I was in attendance at the JavaZone conference that ended today. This year I attended as a speaker with a variation of the talk on wiki usage that I held at XP2010 this summer, but based on my work with the open data movement I was also invited as a panelist for a debate on Open Public Data centered on what is being done about opening data in the Norwegian public sector, which the Norwegian IT newspaper covered in detail. Besides myself the panel lineup consisted of some vocal open data advocates from all sides of the table including Liv Freihow from IKT Norway, serial entrepreneur Shahzad Rana, Christine Hafskjold at the Norwegian Board of Technology and Sverre Andreas Lunde-Danbolt from the Ministry of Government Administration. Hopefully this debate will open more eyes to the issues of public open data!

When considering conferences, this year was just made highly notable by having XP2010, the 11th International Conference on Agile Software Development being hosted in Trondheim, Norway. It is a highly innovative conference providing a space for both the presentation of academic papers in combination with regular talks by people from the software industry. For me the conference presented a unique opportunity to broaden my horizons at a conference I normally wouldn't attend. In addition I also submitted and got accepted a lightening talk on the advantages of wiki usage based on my experiences with building wiki solutions in Atlassian Confluence at several of my consulting clients.

Attending the conference was very interesting with the academic factor and high level of international attendance giving it a different atmosphere to most Norwegian industry conferences. The talks were generally very good and highly inspiring in addition to the agenda allowing for excellent networking opportunities with the large amount of highly interesting people attending from around the world, being topped of by the conference banquet held at the student society building in Trondheim beginning with a Jazz-talk, followed by a tapas dinner with traditional Norwegian dishes and finally a black metal concert by Keep of Kalessin!

This past year I've been getting quite a few speaking engagements at conferences, some big and some small, and now also one abroad! I'm just returning home from overseas where I have given a talk at the Defrag social technology conference in Denver, Colorado.

The stated goal of the conference is "accelerating the “aha” moment". It aims to be doing this by gathering a wide range of thought leaders and leading innovators from the technology sector and bringing them together in a topical forum to see where we go from here. This of course means that networking at this conference is incredible with the crowd being made up of very savvy, smart and interesting people. In addition there were a few but very good open spaces, excellent keynotes, panel discussions and a series of topical explorations beginning with a set of talks and rounding off with open debates.

My talk was in the topical exploration on "Leveraging the Open Web". It started out by an introduction to the industrialization of content creation Peter Sweeney, after which I covered the basics of Open Data from where I handed over to Paul Miller to talk about Linked Data, and finally the session was rounded off with a short debate facilitated by Ben Kepes.

In many ways this was one of the most interesting conference experiences I've had, so I've also blogged about it in more detail here.

One of the things keeping me busy this fall have been the various conferences where I have gotten talks accepted. This week I attended Smidig 2009, a Norwegian conference about the use of agile methodologies in systems development.

The conference is organized with a series of engaging lightening talks on various topics in the hours leading up to lunch-break, and then a wide open slate for open space discussion groups to be determined by the participants taking up the rest of the day. It is notable that many of the participants at Smidig are also speakers, ensuring a high level of professional knowledge among the participants on the open spaces which makes the networking and discussion parts of this conference very interesting for everyone.

I attended as one of the speakers, and my talk was about how to get more value from your existing installation of Atlassian Confluence, an enterprise wiki-solution that is widely deployed among businesses in Norway. After getting good feedback on my talk I put up a successful open space discussion on advanced Confluence-usage afterwards, as well as yet another open space on a different topic the next day. All in all a very rewarding conference!

For Norwegian-speakers my talk at Smidig can be seen on video over at TCS.

Summer has passed and with the onset of fall so has the annual JavaZone conference for software developers.
This year I attended as a speaker and gave an extended version of my talk on the opportunities of open data. The talk was in Norwegian and can be viewed online along with the rest of this years JavaZone-talks at TCS. Standing by my topic the slides are naturally licensed as creative commons and available separately from my slideshare page. I would appreciate any feedback you'd like to give!

Regarding the conference itself it was very nice with the extra track of lightening talks in addition to the many excellent regular ones, and they were still covering the usual wide range of topics from the purely technical to team management and long-term strategic shifts. It is getting very noticeable that Java is now a mature technology, so there aren't many mind blowing innovations being presented among the talks any more, but I guess that is generally a good thing. However the exhibition floor was as busy as ever with most of the Norwegian IT-industry among the 2000 participants, but there were noticeably lesser-value giveaways and less freebies than before, likely due to the financial crisis making its small impact in Norway too.

All in all it was a great conference, despite my disappointment that the overflow-sessions had been moved from the conference floor to a separate area.
See you there next year!

This week two big events were held back to back in Oslo, namely the Sun CommunityOne North and GoOpen 2009 conferences, both with more than 600 participants. For the first time I was also among the speakers at the latter where I gave a talk on open data on the public sector track.

I got the idea for my talk during a chat with Ron Tolido at last years GoOpen which I thought was too focused at open source software as opposed to standards and data. Then with Objectware highly encouraging its employees to give conference talks, I was inspired to request and receive a spot for a talk about open data at this years conference.

Being swamped with work recently I was unfortunately not able to attend the rest of the conferences in their entirety, but I did catch some highlights including the talks by the Norwegian ministers of knowledge and reforms, Simon Phipps from Sun and Cap Gemini's Andy Mulholland, as well as a few other happenings. Despite me missing much and it being held in worse premises than last year, I feel that this second GoOpen was greatly improved and I am already looking forward to being back next year, perhaps with another talk!

Another year, another JavaZone, still the largest developer conference in Scandinavia with more than 2300 participants and almost a hundred sessions.

This year there was a lot of focus on SOA with RESTful web-services, grid-computing and parallelization and on agile software development with Scrum. Also there was a lot of buzz around using alternative programming languages on the Java-platform, as well as talk about going back to the roots of OO-programming.
While these were novel topics, much of the content still felt like old news, especially concerning weaknesses in Java. After all, we already solved most of these problems with the advent of Smalltalk 30 years ago!

Other items of note were the use of Prediction Markets, programming for social networks and database-less enterprise applications. Overall it was an interesting couple of days, but I feel like I learned less from the conference than last year. However the social buzz and community was better than ever, especially with the highly regarded ClubZone having open bars. And of course there is always the joy of meeting old friends and acquaintances again!