What an awesome event. I've never been able to go to any geek conferences for any number of reasons (the most common of which is my lack of transportation). But now we have a low key and truly invigorating event right here in my home town. Every talk I saw was fun energetic and exciting. Everyone there seemed genuinely interested in meeting people, having a good time, and discussing technology. Which is a huge departure from my friends who even the geeks aren't interested in nearly the same kinds of geekery that I am.
The night started off with an "egg drop" which didn't involve dropping any eggs (I know I can sense your disappointment from here). Rather Bre Pettis and what I'm sure were several other people constructed some kind of medieval siege weapon, constructed in the conference room with which we were to fling or hapless eggs into the brick wall. The idea was that each person/team would design some kind of contraption with wich to keep his egg from breaking, and the survivors would win.
This event was a lot fun and reminded me a lot of high school when I made trebuches, calorimeters, and various other toys as part of the science curriculum there. My friend Katie and I met the night before and quickly tossed together some stuff with materials we had on hand, namely, dowels, balloons, string, and old inner-tubes. Not even having started really before it got late we did most of our construction there, and got to watch as the room slowly filled with participants. Saw some other really cool designs, and talked to A LOT of people. (as it turns out Seattle podcasters was having a meeting that same night so it seemed like every time you looked over someone had a camera up in your grill, this was mildly disconcerting at first but I got used to them after a while). Our little capsule started out looking something like this and ended up looking like this (I kid). But if I find a real picture of it, it wasn't all that dissimilar.
It turns out we put a bit too much effort into this, and the slingshot wasn't that powerful. Which, while a little disappointing, was probably a good idea, and everyone seemed to have a really good time. Designs ranged from silly (yes that is an egg wrapped in an avocado, wrapped in fruit cocktail, stuck in a squash), to serious. The end result was a lot of people helping eachother talking, and throwing eggs against a wall! ... and then the talks started.
wont go into that much because while the talks were really great I think you would do best to simply watch them when they become available (check the ignite seattle webpage for details.
I was particularly interested in Scott Kveton's talk on OpenID and got to enjoy a few minutes of his time talking his ear off about web technologies the future of OpenID and what measures could be taken to help with phishing. What came up that I didn't expect was the discussion about how since an OpenID is a url, it links somewhere, and the roles that providers are playing in this, what ideas he has for collecting all those spaces that you have as an individual and aggregating them into a single location such that your online identity begins to be associated more with your presence on the web. This struck me as interesting in particular because of my work with vidastream, and how we're seeking to provide a location for people. Somewhere singular to collect their online presence. It seems like that meshes extremely well with Scott's ideas on openID, and it was only slightly embarrassing to admit that I had in fact not yet implemented OpenID in vidastream.
The event was great, the people were great, and my friend Katie, who isn't much of a techy geek (or a geek at all... at least not outwardly) had a really fun time. So lets do it again!