Notes from Barcamp Auckland 2010

Barcamp Auckland is an annual gathering of developers, designers, start-ups and social-media types. It’s a full day event held in an ‘unconference’ like style, where the attendee (see my attendee & interested folks list on Twitter) set the schedule – and people turn up to discuss topics which interest them.

The following are the session notes I took during this years Auckland Barcamp

Session 1: Seadragon & Data Visualisation [AJAX, Canvas, Silverlight, Pivot]

Nigel Parker / @nzigel

  • Most in the room are developers, the 3 of us who aren’t are User Experience, myself and a guy who designs fruit sorting machinery and is looking for a different career and/or some ideas!
  • Seadragon – a Microsoft acquisition, essentially a tile server allowing [whatever] data to be dropped in to display zoomable data (Maps, HiRes Photography etc)
  • Sweet image zooms on TePapa wall
  • 80GigaPixel image panning via Canvas Zoom using Seadragon AJAX in canvas (IE9 preview) – incredible speed via shared Barcamp WiFi network. Images cached and brought down in the background.
  • Allows single push UP of source data, the data pushes out to client – very very very cost efficient (see costings on Nigels blog)
  • For some wow, check the glamor shots & zoom to eyelashes. 10MB images super nice res.
  • MS Pivot (Microsoft Live Labs project) is building better taxonomy based on tagging.
    • Check out the sorting flexibility on ‘Pivot WorldCup‘ for a published example. Sort on Red/Yellow cards, Goals scored etc. – awesome.

Session 2: Doing Less. Using SaaS and API’s to automate your workflow

Glen Barnes @barnaclebarnes

Everytime you do a task, ask if it’s repeated, ask if it’s able to be automated.

  • Xero
    • Use ‘Bank Rules’
      • Code Accounts
      • Code stuff you buy overseas minus GST
    • Automation means less work, fewer mistakes
  • Mail Chimp
    • Free or Paid accounts
    • Groups of people mailed on a regular basis
  • CapsuleCRM
    • Keep you organised on tasks and opportunities
    • Stops you doing busy work when you should be focused on closing deals
  • APIs
    • MyTours (City walks, Museum Tours etc.)
    • Uses API to take new signups and push to Capsule as an opportunity
  • Scripts
  • TextMate / Text Expander / Snippets
    • Allows shortcut keys e.g. Type ‘Lorum’ and you get a paragraph of Lorum ipsum
  • Gmail Labs
  • HopToad
    • Check log files e.g. Email me on a 500 error (and will only email once per error rather than per instance)
    • Intergrates with LightHouse (bug tracking)
  • Recurring Invoices
  • 1Password / Supergen Pass
  • Syncing / Firefox / Dropbox
  • + Greasemonkey
  • Send your itinerary and it automates calendaring, weather, directions etc… know
  • Instapaper
  • QuickLaunchers (keep your hand off the mouse)
  • Testing Tools / SourceCode validation : When committing code, tests are autorun against the commit

The downside is the join to everything mentality. Buy-in from your users/colleagues is key – How much time are we spending reading productivity tips?

Session 3: What next for Digital TV in NZ

Steven Ellis @OpenMediaNZ

  • Developed ‘MyPVR‘ (essentially MythTV). A Freeview Model is still in limbo due to ‘various reasons’
  • The push for going digital was to drive standardisation, unfortunately – it’s resulted in MORE standards.
  • Analogue switch off 2013-2015 in NZ?
  • Alternatives: iDTV / YouTube / Hulu / Project Canvas / TiVo + CASPA / Ziln in NZ – Telstra initiative) / TVNZ, TV3, C4 OnDemand / Torrents

My Questions:

  • How much does it matter, are homes setup to notice the differences between P & I / SD & HD / Decoding Audio appropriately?
  • Intrapremis transport, are people going to start taking structured cabling seriously for in-home distribution? (CAT 5/6 systems such as nirv etc)

Session 4: Open Data in NZ – Where we’re at, and Where to next.

Rob @amatix & Glen @barnaclebarnes

Open Govt / Open Data / Open Source have been gaining momentum recently – BUT THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THINGS

It’s taking a lot of time to get things happenning in Government. There is a lot of concern about releasing data that may not be right. Because of this we need to think carefully about how to release, how to correct and where to store this data.

  • Looking to switch to a different data catalog for
  • The hardest thing is finding the people to talk to – if you have people inside a government agency who thinks they might want to make their data available, Glen & Rob have the contacts inside the State Services commission that they can talk to to get over legal concerns etc.
  • – A bunch of internal government people who are passionate about making the government datasets available.

An Example – Mapping:

  • Compare Chataham Islands on versus which has the LINZ data overlayed.
    • There are 5? cattle-stops, individual trees are mapped. 170 layers of LINZ data are now overlayed into openstreetmap for the Chataham Islands
  • are using openstreetmap data sets for everything (except the US)
  • Looking to have all of NZ merged with LINZ data + what the community has already put in. The feedback loops are key to improving the data set.

People Doing it Right:

  • working with Taupo District Council to plug into their API to log issues.
    • Other councils seeking to charge for similar access and/or for data sets which are otherwise freely available from the councils websites.
  • Transit (via ‘InfoConnect‘) provide an API to feed some of their motorway data.
  • Wellington have made building footprints available, Auckland charge $700 for a map tail.


  • Some of the opening up issues are down to the source being donated (e.g. some historical / cultural images) and the concern is inappropriate use of these donated images. NZGOAL (NZ Government Open Access Licensing) – a creative commons approach to restricting use of the data which may resolve some of this hesitancy.
  • Dealing with data poisoning? Some stuff needs confirmation, multiple reports? Levels of trust in community? Whatever the method, these things resolve quickly in the most part and also tend to be a very small percentage of (mis)use.
  • Not ‘getting’ why the data is useful – some councils can’t understand why you’d want real-time bus information.
  • Most councils in the Auckland region are on hiatus due to super-city uncertainty, despite this the OpenData movement needs a champion in each region (Auckland would be the hardest work, but with rich rewards given the number of like minded people keen to get this information) – any takers?

Session 5: What do you want from your Telco / Service provider?

Simon @gianouts & Rob @nzrob

Simon and I decided to see what people in this area of interest/expertise were looking for, and try and dig a bit deeper than the default “We want more, faster and cheaper – with really big numbers to the home, then step 2, then profit” commentary which tends to gravitate to such questions.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the point raised, it is interesting to see what a group of people who may be 3-5 years ahead of the populous are seeking.

See Simons notes here, My session notes follow:

  • Robust or Agile – can they co-exist?
    • Must be reliable (111)
  • Mobile
    • Pagers/RT replaced by Cellular based on price, lack the coverage & reliability of what they replaced?
    • Coverage – infill with Femto?
    • Roaming equality
      • When overseas, make things the same price
      • Are carriers gouging?
    • Why are the devices so expensive in NZ?
    • Why are the plans so expensive – infrastructure repayment?
  • Data
    • Make it cheaper / possible to join existing infrastructure
    • Community Fibre (rural flexibility)
    • Shared Ducting
    • Reasonable data charges
    • Fixed & Mobile
    • Roaming equality
  • Make Information / APIs avalible
    • Calls / SMS & MMS / Routing / Billing
    • Faster development / niche data / recommendation services (plans providers)
    • Pull call information into your own CMS systems
    • Voice mails
    • REST / JSON
    • Write access to bill (SMS to buy coffee)

5 Min Slots

Pacific Fibre: Lance Wiggs @lancewiggs

  • Data caps are not the norm elsewhere in the world
  • Govt FTTH initiatives need an international component
  • Capacity growth may exceed supply in 5-10 years
  • 900GB to Australia 5TB/s
  • Pacific Fibre looking to double this with 2 fibre pairs LA – AKL : WGN : Sth Is?

Day without media

  • The University of Maryland asked 200 students to go without media for 24 hours. Many could not!
  • Used terms of addiction (physically sick, “this was the worst experience of my life”)
  • Could live without TVs etc, couldn’t do without iPods
  • Students showed NO loyalty to any media source
  • Flood of disaggregated data, much of which was via friends

IS EVAL evil?

  • How can we use it?
  • (Should suggest checking OWASP)

Interclue – Seth Wagoner @sethop

  • The known unknowns (There are 7 of them)
    • It’s hard to know what your user base know about browser addons.
    • Which browser do you author for
    • How do you make money (freemium?)
  • Lazerus – state save of forms (encrypted) if stuff goes wrong
  • Go to for Seths first Safari add-on released yesterday.

Judson Steel – Scott Judson @dvint1

  • Hine Electrical & Security: Job Dispatch & Notes, Stock, revisit system for iPad
  • Would be great for anyone doing on-site servicing work with a high degree of back channel status requirements.

Augmented Reality – @mikael_letang

  • Very neat session – I’ll have to revisit my analogue notes 🙂
  • The slide pack is here

Session 6: Ragtag Leadership: How organisations need more Captain Mal and less Captain Kirk

Simon Young, @audaciousgloop

“I’m writing a book and this discussion is part of it – looking for feedback on leadership values and experiences to test resonance.”

Business books are really boring, and concepts can be really abstract / difficult to visualise. Proposing Science Fiction management models

  • Star Trek – Corporate Model
    • Everyone wears the same uniform
    • Everyone is cross trained
    • Same Values? “You stop being human when you stop following your principles”
    • Tribal (Ref: “Trekkies”)
  • Doctor Who – Commentator / Consultant Model
    • Independent
    • Sees things differently
    • Proprietary Technology (sonic screwdriver)
    • Not looking for permanent work – there to solve a problem and move on
    • Issues: May cause other issues, may not be aware of full context
  • Firefly – Startup Model
    • Have to make money
    • Ragtag
    • Improvisation
    • Win : Win
    • Entrepreneurial
    • Creating a culture
    • Humor (When work is stressful, when risk / stress is high)
    • Purpose

Session 7: Getting the most out of Home Tech – Gadget stories and Connectivity nightmares

Rob Inskeep, @NZRob

  • I was running the session, I’ll need to refer to my prep notes, and what I scribbled down during the session

Session 8: Social Good: Using your TechFu (How you can help your local community / educators fill a knowledge gap)

Rob Inskeep, @NZRob

  • I was running the session, I’ll need to refer to my prep notes, and what I scribbled down during the session

And – that was the end of the day… PHEW!


2 responses to “Notes from Barcamp Auckland 2010”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rob Inskeep, Goi. Goi said: RT @NZRob: New Blog Post: Notes from Barcamp Auckland 2010 / Seriously good rundown Rob ! […]

  2. […] following is intended to be a summary of various links covering Barcamp Auckland 2010 as my notes only capture what I was able to […]