Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Future of Web Apps Summit

There will be many blogged reviews about this excellent conference organised by Carson Workshops (a big thanks to Ryan and Gillian for bringing to the UK such a great group of speakers and for the smooth organisation), but what interested me was the level and methods of audience participation. A free WiFi Internet connection was provided and Ryan Carson asked the attendees to use a standard tag of futureofwebapps and everyone was off and running. With so many laptops around the conference hall, and at least 50% displaying a glowing Apple logo, connectivity was bound to get slow at time. On opening up my PowerBook, before the event started and the room filled up, and checking out iChat the list of buddies showing up on Bonjour was massive and growing. Group chats were starting up as were IRC chats. This was the kind of thing you'd expect with this sort of audience, but more interesting was a Bonjour shared SubEthaEdit document that popped up for collaborative note taking. Amongst many others I joined and added only one or two notes during the conference (a little difficult for me as I was typing with one hand whilst making an audio recording on my iPod). Many were adding to the notes, including some off-topic stuff and funnies, simultaneously whilst others fixing typos and layout, although at times there was one person typing hard.

In addition to the co-operative document there were others blogging hard such as Robert Sharl (tapping at the keyboard ferociously next to me) and Rachel Clarke, and with all these sources created at the event it is possible to get an excellent feel of the day and the talks. In near real-time it was possible to follow the conference online as some did, even communicating to the bloggers present. I even noticed someone at the conference cutting and pasting from Robert's blog into an e-mail. Obviously this makes a great resource those who attended but didn't take notes. One interesting and useful record of the summit is from Lars Plougmann in the form of mind maps.

I (along with one or two others) was uploading pictures to Flickr on the day, but the mass of posters after the event along with the interest in the images has made the futureofwebapps tag the hotest on Flickr this week.

futureofwebapps is the hotest tag

It almost seems pointless for Carson to add to this mass of media, but they do create really good follow-ups to their conferences and I'm looking forward to the podcasts which will be better recorded than my efforts. If you were one of the unlucky 200 on the waiting list, or just couldn't make it Kensington Town on Feburary 8th, then it's all out there in many forms, it'll just take you longer to view everything than being there!

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