Update: 14 of the presentation slide decks are available at slideshare.
Last night was the third Ignite Boston, at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square. Ignite is an O’Reilly Media sponsored series of events in various cities around the US. Lots of O’Reilly authors, editors, and various Friends Of O’Reilly gather to talk about tech stuff and generally geek out.
Highlights of the evening (for me):
- Juhan Sonin on Interface Design Tenets – looking to create a Strunk & White equivalent pocket reference for interface/interaction designers. (There’s a wiki just getting started)
- Benjamin Mako Hill talking about Selectricity, a free and open source framework for managing elections / polls etc. Also can be used freely as a hosted offering.
- Craig Freifeld talking about Health Map, which is a visual mashup of emerging disease reports – a sort of crowdsourced (though they use mainstream news reports) epidemic tracker.
- Jesse Vincent‘s Web 2.0 is Sharecropping, a quasi-rant about the limitations inherent in not owning your own tools.
- Lucy Mendel talking about Buy It Like You Mean It, which is a non-profit organization aimed at bringing rich information to consumers at the point of purchase about the social impacts of the products they are considering: environmental concerns, labor relationships, etc. They’re starting with the chocolate industry and she mentioned their impending launch party at Taza Chocolate in Somerville next Tuesday.
There were lots of lightning talks – so not being on my highlights list doesn’t mean the others weren’t good, just that they didn’t resonate with me as much.
Lowlights: The “keynote” speakers were excepted from the 5 minute lightning talk rule. I think that’s a mistake – not that what they had to say wasn’t valuable, but both were just too long for the crowd and the environment. Standing in a hot, crowded pub is not conducive to listening to a lengthy talk on a subject which may or may not even be relevant to you.
Also, unfortunately, Fish Fishman’s planned “5 minute mixed reality magic routine using Second Life and the Ignite audience” didn’t materialize. Always difficult to do any kind of live demo requiring connectivity in an unpredictable environment – I was looking forward to that one, if only for the “I’ve not seen that before” aspect.
Thanks are due to Microsoft for the free (as in beer) beer, though I don’t know that one-drink-ticket-per-pre-registered-attendee is exactly what I was expecting from such a large sponsor. I thought the open bars of the bubble-era Internet were back, but I guess folks are being more cautious this time around. O’Reilly also raffled off tons of books, through out shirts, and the like.
Looking forward to more Ignite events in Boston down the road.