Boston BarCamp – Hey Lets Go!

The second session I attended was titled: Hey Let’s Go: Building a social networking site using Web2.0 technologies

HeyLetsGo is a site, currently focused on Boston, that pulls together social networking and events: you can see what your frieds are going to (or saying they are going to), and talk about where you are going or have gone to. The presenter was Rebecca Xiong, one of the founders of the site, and Geoff Menegay, the lead developer / technical architect.

It offers photo sharing, location information (show events near me), restaurants, reviews, etc.

The basic problem they see themselves being able to solve is people having too much difficulty being able to find out what is happening, planning their upcoming weekend, and see what other people are doing. Each person registered has a profile, can sign up for events, identify other users as friends, join groups, and comment on events. Most of the events come from automatic feeds or end-users, some come from the staff. Once a month they throw their own party, sometimes co-sponsored with other local groups.

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BarCamp Boston – How Technology is Changing the Music Industry

BarCamp Boston Monster Labs Big Brain Room

This morning the first session I sat in on was on “How Technology is Changing the Music Industry,” which was organized by Nate Aune from, Jazkarta, and Plone4Artists, and Mike Champion and Gary Elliott from Tourbus.

It was in the Monster Lab’s BigBrain, which turned out to be rather small.’s goal is to be a decentralized network for musicians and fans in the Boston Area.
The goal of is to connect people to live music. When you’re looking for a show, the process is too complicated / dispersed: you browse venue pages, ticket reseller pages, band pages, fan pages, pitchfork, etc.

With, you tell them what bands you like, they tell you when they come to town. You can get an rss feed of events matching your profile, or an iCal compatible feed.
The long-term goal is to build a community site around live music. Right now they are in Boston and San Francisco, goal is to expand into other markets as well, but slowly.
They are using a Ruby Lucene port called Ferret.The discussion turned quickly to questions about how the service could be expanded – finding other artists similar to those I’ve said I like, for example. Audioscrobbler/LastFM provides an API which takes a band name as an input and outputs other bands which you might also like (described here).

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Adobe Flex Demo at BostonPHP

Last night, Mike Potter (from Adobe’s developer relations group) presented to BostonPHP. The podcast version is now available from the BostonPHP homepage or this direct link. Most, if not all, of the demos Potter gave are on his site as well.
He showed a number of intriguing things, including:

  1. Flex 2 SDK, FlexBuilder, Flex Data Services, etc. Basically the whole 2.0 line of Flex, which provide an environment (IDE), packaged components, and a compiler which outputs .swf format, to be deployed to a web server and interpreted by the Flash player in the user’s browser
  2. AMFPHP (a non-Adobe open source project) for sending objects back and forth between PHP on the server and Flash on the client without the need for serialization/deserialization. (No current support for nested objects, but an array of objects can be returned directly).
  3. Flex/AJAX Bridge (an Adobe Labs open source project, ) for exchanging messages between JavaScript in the Browser and ActionScript inside the Flash player (or your Flex application which is running as an SWF in the Flash Player in the Browser). Google Finance actually uses this when you are looking at a stock chart like this one, to highlight the news stories on the right if you click on a letter in the chart and vice-versa. (I wonder what Grease Monkey scripts could do here – since they can now alter the Flash movie as well as the DOM of the page).
  4. Apollo, which he described but did not show – basically an “.swf runner” which will let users download Flex applications (as .swf files) and run them in a desktop environment without communication back and forth with a server. Will also probably serve as a host environment to PDF files, and potentially (Potter was less committal here) AJAX applications. A developer preview should be coming “later this year.”
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Flash Player development on Linux

Penguin.SWF is a new blog at Adobe which claims to track “development status and issues regarding the Linux version of Adobe’s Flash Player” (according to the masthead).

Mike Melanson, the blog’s author, says he “may” ask for input on issues.

I’m hoping that means development of a Flash player for Linux is actually occuring, to the point where it has issues on which input could be required.

So far, there’s only one post (the “origin story”) and 73 comments – I’m assuming that ratio will even out over time.

BarCamp Boston

BarCampBoston is coming up this weekend (June 3-4th). It’ll be held at the Moster campus in Maynard MA. Download the Poster, print it, and plaster your cube walls with it.
I’ve decided to use the occasion to force myself to stop playing with the design of Open Parenthesis and start blogging.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I won’t keep tweaking the design and fixing layout issues – but I’ll start focusing on the content more than the look.