Barcamp Bangalore 13

By Ninad Pundalik

It’s been more than a month since BCB13 happened, so this post is a little late. But, as most of you might know by now, I’m pretty lazy when it comes to writing.

The dry details first: Barcamp Bangalore 13 was scheduled for the 2nd of March, 2o13 at SAP Labs India. Like always, registrations started at 8 in the morning, sessions started at 9 and a total of 36 full sessions and 10+ Techlash sessions were presented. BCB13 started trending in India pretty soon, and was in the list till the end of the day. The event ended at 6:30 in the evening, and this time round, rains did not gate crash the party.

So, how did my day at BCB13 go? Hectic! It started very early in the morning. Me and Aman planned a surprise for everyone, so we had to land up at the venue at 6 in the morning. Thankfully, I had checked with security and SAP folks before planning this out, so we could work without any disturbances. Over the next hour and a half, the two of us, along with some early birds who reached the venue at 7 itself, used about 200 Post-it Notes to make:

Once this was done, it was time for the usual running around to get the speakers lined up, slots filled up and generating the schedule. Like BCB12, we had decided on using an algorithm to generate the schedule. It tries to generate a schedule such that the least number of BCB attendees have a clash of sessions. A side effect of this has been that the most popular session gets scheduled pretty early on, and it sets the pace for the entire day.

There were quite a few glitches in the morning (and I’d be surprised if a Barcamp ever started without them). Projectors had not been set up, room names were still missing, Wi-fi credentials were failing and so on. This meant a lot of running around for us planners. But, thankfully, most of these issues were ironed out by the time the event started in full swing. All this running around meant that I would miss the introduction session (again!) and maybe even the first session of the day. Once the schedule was generated, and all the screens were up and running, I filled up for the day with a couple of sandwiches and went on.

Last time’s Twitter + Schedule wall made a come back. We had to move the node.js hosting to a different provider due to change in pricing plans of the previous provider. We were slightly unhappy with the initial time it took for the socket.io handshake to complete, which meant a delay in content showing up. However, I assume it worked fine for everyone, as I did not hear any complaints. This time round, I added support for media entities, and the screen displayed images. Also, the underlying API library had to be changed, to support Twitter’s 1.1 API.

We also experimented this time with a Post-it Wall, and there were some pretty amusing notes:

Sessions I attended:

  • By the time I finished hogging, I had already missed most of the first slot sessions. I popped in to Soham’s session on How to become a Better Programmer, happening in the next room.
  • Next up, was Maths and Photog. Most of it was a re-hash of things I’d learned at the Photography Club in Pilani. It was a good refresher, seeing that I’ve lost touch with photography.
  • Before lunch, I decided to attend Arun’s session on Why do People Become Entrepreneurs, which had an interesting discussion, and YourStory.in’s session on <a title=”Entrepreneurs”).
  • Post lunch, Techlash hogged the lime light. The most popular sessions were the LeapMotion device demos and Kaamastra’s product pitch. Although I missed Razorflow’s demo that day, I did bump into it later on Reddit, and I’m pretty happy with the product.
  • How to survive AWS outages, as well as the session on <a title=”AWS”). Both were pretty interesting topics for me.
  • After that, I wandered into the Gamification session for some time. Gautam covered some basics of the concept, and showed a few videos of how the concept is used. However, I’d already studied about the concept while preparing for SAP’s InnoJam last year, so I got bored. I walked out and instead, used that time to finally meet friends.
  • Last up was Sathya’s talk on slides atleast once.

The day ended with the usual Feedback session. Rahul Anand, the winner of this time’s PosterMash was also felicitated on stage. Plus points included video recording of the talks, addition of venue maps to the Android app and the variety of talks. Points for improvement included a difficulty rating for sessions, more publicity in colleges and the need for more impromptu sessions.

This time around, I did not present a session. I had a couple of ideas for the session, but none panned out into a Barcamp Session. They would have been pretty good as lectures, but I would then be limiting the discussion, which is so characteristic of a Barcamp Session. Also, work responsibilities and schedules were tight, so I would not have done justice to the topic. Hopefully, BCB14 will be a better time for me *fingers crossed*.

How was the event for you? I would love to hear from you all. Also, where do we, as planners need to improve on? Have any crazy ideas for Barcamp Bangalore 14, and want to give it a shot? Do let us know!