Tag Archives: barcamp

Want to Help with BarCampPortland – May 1 and 2?

BarCampPortland is right around the corner on May 1 & 2, and we need your help to make it successful!

  • Donate! We’re a little short on money to feed people at Barcamp. By donating a few bucks, you can help us buy some food for the event.
  • Sponsor! These events can’t be successful without our sponsors. Contact Todd Kenefsky (kenefsky on gmail) if you would like to sponsor a portion of the event.
  • Volunteer to help. BarCampPortland is an event run entirely by volunteers. Contact  klint at renegadefuturist.com if you can spare a few hours on Friday or Saturday to help.
  • RSVP. Don’t forget to RSVP for the event on Upcoming.
  • Follow us on Twitter: Up to the minute breaking updates about the event as @BarCampPortland

You can learn more about the event by visiting the BarCampPortland wiki.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Want to Volunteer for BarCampPortland?

We still have plenty of time before BarCampPortland on May 1 & 2, but it’s never too early to get people thinking about how they can help out with the event! If you love BarCamps as much as I do, please join us next week for our volunteer kickoff meeting. Anyone interested in volunteering for the event is welcome to attend!

BarCampPortland Volunteer Meeting
Monday February 23, 2009 from 5:30pm – 6:30pm
CubeSpace 622 SE Grand Ave
RSVP on Upcoming if you plan to attend

Want to help in some other way?

  • RSVP for the actual event on May 1 and 2 on Upcoming.
  • Sponsor! These events can’t be successful without our sponsors. Contact Todd Kenefsky (kenefsky on gmail) if you would like to sponsor a portion of the event.
  • Join our Mailing List: Sign up for our Google Group to get email announcements about future meetups and events.
  • Follow us on Twitter: Up to the minute breaking updates about the event as @BarCampPortland
  • Tell your friends: Don’t forget to use the BarCampPortland tag when blogging, posting pictures, etc.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

SXSW Interactive Portland Meetup on January 19th

Are you planning to attend SXSW Interactive or considering attending?

I was just talking to Hugh Forrest, SXSW Interactive Event Director, and he told me that they are organizing a meetup here in Portland on January 19th. I can say without hesitation that SXSW is my favorite event (outside of Portland). It is also affectionately known as spring break for geeks due to the large number of parties every evening, and the sessions never start before 10am to accommodate our late night partying.  The Austin BarCamp also runs in parallel to SXSW at a nearby location, so many of us hit BarCamp along with the main event. In other words, it’s a great event. You should join us at the meetup if you want to learn more:

January 19
6–8 p.m.
Fez Ballroom: 316 SW 11th

Here’s the catch: If you want to attend, you must RSVP to interpress@sxsw.com. Please be sure to put Portland in the subject line of the email (they are doing a few of these in various cities).

This will give you an opportunity to learn more about SXSW from the people who organize it.  If you’ve never attended or were on the fence about attending, it’s a great opportunity to learn more. For those of us who already love SXSW, it gives us an opportunity to get to know some other Portland people who plan to attend.

On another note, a few of us plan to use Shizzow to keep up with each other at the event and find the best sessions, parties, lunches, etc. If you don’t already have an invite and would like one, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll hook you up with one.

Tons of Portland people attend SXSW, and I strongly encourage you to think about going. It’s in Austin (the cool part of Texas), really smart people attend, there are great parties, and the sessions are amazing.

BarCamp Meetups are Now the Legion of Tech Happy Hour 6/26

Please RSVP on Upcoming to help us get a count for the event:

We have a new name and new location, but it is the same great event at the same time as our regularly scheduled BarCamp Meetup (4th Thursday of every month). We recently realized that we’ve outgrown the Jive breakroom, and we’ve evolved away from the BarCamp Meetup name. So, we’ve renamed this monthly event to the Legion of Tech Happy Hour, and the event will now be held outside on the back patio of Plan B.

Thursday, June 26, 2008
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Plan B
1305 SE 8th

The intent is to get a group of cool people interested in technology together to chat over drinks on the fourth Thursday of every month. Anyone working in high-tech is welcome to attend. Conversations usually range from wikis to open source to blogs to who knows what!

Other Important Events!

BarCampPortland 2008 Recap aka Geeks, Bubble tea, and Werewolf

The days and weeks leading up to BarCamp can be busy and stressful for the organizers as we work through all of the last minute arrangements, but it is so worth it! I had an amazing time at BarCampPortland, and the majority of the feedback has been positive. I won’t go into the gory details about everything that worked / didn’t work, since you can view the full postmortem document online; however, I will cover a few of my impressions of the event.

I love the BarCamp format

I’ve attended a number of BarCamps, and I am finding that I enjoy attending BarCamps more than traditional conferences, and I think I learn more at BarCamps, too. The people who attend BarCamps are smart and engaged. These are the people giving up a weekend to geek out with others over various technologies, not the corporate types who only attend conferences during working hours. We had people attending from as far away as Chicago, Washington D.C., and Alaska. I had amazing conversations, talked to a bunch of very interesting people, and learned about new ideas and new ways of doing things.

Online Communities

I held a community management roundtable session again this year at BarCamp to a packed room. I’ve done a few of these roundtable discussions where I kick off the conversation and let the group take it in different directions while I act as moderator for the group and contribute actively along with the other participants. I’ve done this at Corvallis and Austin BarCamps, but it never works as well as it does here in Portland. In other places, I’ve had to drag the discussion along or manage people who dominate the conversation while contributing little. In Portland, these just work, and I learn as much from the process as the other participants. I have no idea why it works so well here, maybe we are just more community-oriented than some other locations, but I’m glad that the session went so well. If you want to learn more about the topics discussed, you can view the notes from the session on the Drupal site.


We held a mini WordCamp along with BarCamp on Sunday, and there were more great sessions that I wished I could have attended. I learned a lot about WordPress theming, including how to write your own theme from scratch. I doubt that I’ll try it anytime soon, but it did give me a much better understanding about exactly how themes are constructed in WordPress. Aaron Hockley also led a really good discussion about the underlying infrastructure under WordPress.

Painter’s tape is your friend

Painter’s tape makes a great schedule board and can be used to hang really heavy banners without hurting the walls.

Unique Portland Flair

Here are a few things that make our BarCamp very “Portland”:

  • We have Bubble Tea! For the second year in a row, we’ve had bubble tea made to order at BarCampPortland. A big thank you to Six Apart & David Recordon for making it possible.
  • Werewolf games provided us with hours of amusement in the evenings led by the Portland Werewolf group (yes, we meet up to play monthly here in Portland!) We even had a Chicago attendee introduce us to a new variant that proved to be really interesting and challenging!
  • Twitter was a main attraction during the event. Portland has a very active Twitter population, and most people had a Twitter username on their badge. We used Twitter to make announcements, follow up on sessions, and drive most of the communications during the event.
  • We had lots of other entertainment including a wii station, War Games, and more.

More Information

As always, Rick Turoczy has done a great job on Silicon Florist of rounding up the coverage for the event. You can get links to pictures, session notes, and other blog posts from the Silicon Florist BarCamp Portland: The Weekend that was post.

Thank you, thank you, thank you

A huge thank you to the entire organizing team, all of the volunteers, the always helpful Cubespace staff, the attendees and the sponsors who made this event possible and successful. These events do not happen unless people are willing to pitch in and help where it is needed. People were helpful and patient as we recruited from random passers by to help with various tasks.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Don't Miss BarCampPortland May 2, 3, & 4

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you might not know that we are holding our second annual BarCampPortland this weekend. Here are a few things you should know:


Friday, May 2: 6PM-10PM
Saturday, May 3: 9AM-11PM
Sunday, May 4: 9AM-2PM

622 SE Grand Ave
Portland, Oregon

The event is completely free, but it would be great if you could RSVP on Upcoming

What is BarCampPortland, and Why Should I Attend?

I think that I did a reasonably good job of explaining this in a Silicon Florist blog post last week: BarCampPortland: Five reasons to attend

But I’m not technical enough to attend …

Bulls**t! All you need to attend BarCampPortland is a passion for technology in some form: as a user of technologies, as a Twitter addict, as a blogger, as a programmer, as a food geek, as a sys admin, as a …

Last year, we had hardcore programming discussions along with conversations about online communities, science fiction, Lost TV show conspiracies, knitting, and so much more. I don’t want people to self-select out of BarCampPortland because they aren’t programmers. I haven’t written code in years, and I’ve been to a bunch of BarCamps (in Portland and elsewhere), and I always feel welcome. BarCamps use the “law of two feet”; if you get to a session and decide that it isn’t useful for you (too technical / not technical enough), you can just get up to walk out and join another discussion.


Portland has a huge Twitter community, and we will be using Twitter for updates during the event. Please follow BarCampPortland on Twitter to get real-time updates during the event. We will also have a space on your badge for your twitter name, so if you haven’t yet joined Twitter, now would be a great time!


Are you a WordPress user? If so, you will want to attend the mini-WordCamp running along with BarCampPortland on Sunday. We will also have plenty of other sessions on Sunday, too if WordPress isn’t your thing.

Bubble Tea and Bacon

Let’s just say that I’ve heard rumors about Bubble Tea and Bacon (separately, because together would be yucky). Nothing confirmed and no promises. I’m just sayin’ that I’ve heard some rumors.


We are still looking for volunteers, so if you would like to volunteer, you should contact Raven Zachary.

Just shut up and go already

I had a blast at the event last year, and I expect this year to be even better! Attending BarCampPortland is highly encouraged (and not just because I’m organizing it!) 🙂

Want a BarCampPortland T-Shirt? Act Now!

BarCampPortland is rapidly approaching. The event will be held on May 2, 3, and 4th at CubeSpace. If you have not yet RSVPed on Upcoming, please do it now. Having an accurate count of attendees really helps us plan the event!

This year we’re asking Portland BarCampers for a small donation if they want an event t-shirt. For a donation of $20, before April 26th, you help support the event (things like the space, food, and supplies) and get an awesome shirt designed by local design group Brash Creative. Please note that with this donation you will have our many thanks for supporting this event; however, you will NOT get a tax deduction, since Legion of Tech does not yet have 501c3 tax exempt status as an organization.

You can select your t-shirt size and make your donation through PayPal on the Legion of Tech website. We will not be taking orders for t-shirts after April 26th, and we will not have extra t-shirts available at the event.

Also, we are still looking for sponsors. If your company is interested in sponsoring, please contact Selena Decklemann (selenamarie on gmail).

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

BarCampAustin and BarCampPortland Compare & Contrast

This is my second BarCampAustin, and it’s been interesting to notice some of the similarities and differences between Austin and BarCampPortland. For some reason, Austin seems to have more presentations and pitches instead of the informal round table discussions that people seem to favor at BarCampPortland; however, Austin also has more of a party atmosphere. Last year, it was held in a bar with lots of drinks all day, and this year, they had beer on tap all afternoon. They also had a live band, karaoke, and stage diving. Austin throws parties; Portland plays werewolf 🙂

Both BarCamps tend to be full of really smart people with great questions and great conversations both in the sessions and in the hallways. I’ve been running into and meeting people that I only get to see in person at conferences like these. It seems like a lot of my techie friends seem to favor BarCamps, which isn’t surprising since many of them are fellow community managers and community-minded geeks.

On a final note, it wouldn’t be a whurley organized event without something over the top & crazy happening. BarCampAustin had a runaway battlebot that jumped the curb in the parking lot and attacked the air conditioner at a neighboring house. Final score: battlebot 1; AC unit 0.

Community Reputation Systems Session at BarCampAustin3

A lot of people are anti-reputation system taking the position that since they might be gamed, they can’t be useful. Personally, I don’t agree with this approach. I think you have to be careful with reputations, but they can be useful.

Basing it on activity alone can be a good way to build the community, but eventually you need to base the reputation only on helpful or productive participation, not just everything. Cubeless uses a karma system with a heavy weight on whether answers are helpful or not, and they have separate numbers for activity and helpfulness; however, they plan to combine them into one number. They also plan to hide the number in the future and only show categories that are based on the hidden number. I think this helps, but it also helps to make the content very transparent, so that you can see the types of contributions. If you can see the people who have a lot of activity of the “good post” or “nice job” can probably be easily ignored while focusing on contributions from people who have helpful and interesting feedback.

We do something similar in the Clearspace reputation system with a combination of activity and helpful points.  I also like the idea of hiding the overall number. We currently show the number, and it makes it easier to game and compete for points.

When does activity become less important to weight the currently activity more heavily than past activity so that people who leave don’t stay at the top. The really need to gradually drop off as newer contributors become more important.

Twitter Session at BarCampAustin3

Last week was the biggest week ever based on the number of updates. This doesn’t surprise me, since last week, I was finding it really difficult to keep up with Twitter. This week is even worse with sxsw, so I’m guessing that they will beat their record again this week.

Twitter is about simplicity and communication between people. Based on contraints: 140 chars, etc. Focus is on building the services that power all of the other tools, rather than on promoting the additional services.

More than 1/2 of the users are outside of the US (40% US, 39% Japan), and they are working on localizing Twitter. A group in Japan has created a site that skins the Twitter site in Japanese. It’s also interesting to note that Twitter does not work in Japan via SMS, so mobile isn’t driving this adoption.

People use Twitter for shared experiences. They have mapped spikes in Twitter activity based on superbowl events (Giants touchdown, etc.). Blaine compared it to being in a virtual bar seeing a big virtual cheer in the Twitter activity. Super Tuesday had similar effects.

People also use Twitter as a personal diary. One women has a private account for herself where she tweets about things her son said to keep as a record. Very interesting to look a 6-month summary of these kinds of life experiences.

Others use it for promotion, which Ben says may be slightly evil, but on the other hand, you can turn off the people who become obnoxious and solely self promotional. Some news (earthquakes, etc.) hit twitter 20-30 minutes before it hits the mainstream media.

Stability is the big focus (duh). The devs use the service, are passionate about it, and are really motivated to keep it stable. Moved to a new data center and are spending a lot of time now on scalability, more clusters, etc. in addition to adding monitoring tools and other system management and reporting tools. They have more than doubled the number of servers in the last 2 weeks. The problem is really hard to solve: maintaining the privacy context, real time posts to thousands of people, etc. It really is more difficult than what people think – it’s not just an easy sms application. They have occassionally “fucked up”, and are willing to admit it. They are working on capacity issues, database optimization, etc. to keep improving the stability. So far, it’s been up and fast at sxsw, which is a pretty big achievement. They are having a hard time keeping up with all of the api apps that ping twitter every minute, but they aren’t willing to cap it at 5 minutes, since it makes the service so much less valuable.

Trying to encourage people to have rich interactions that stay meaningful and trying not to encourage the people who just want to collect followers. They are also looking at adding some analysis / attention functionality. It would be awesome to know how much your traffic is going to increase when you are looking at adding another follower, for example. Also looking at allowing people to authenticate via OpenID.

A lot of people are working on Twitter bots. One lets you sms an Amazon bot to get back the price of something on Amazon.

Beginnings of a pubsub application for people doing Twitter aggregation and using the Jabber/XMPP protocol really reduces the load and increases stability.

Caveat: The stuff here from Blaine are things he’s thinking about and not necessarily a future feature. Jabber gives them addressability and ability to subscribe to specific things from other applications, like Pounce, to help break down barriers between sites to communicate with friends despite the site that they prefer to use. Lots of people are talking about building their own Twitter, which can be really difficult, but they want to allow these people to integrate with them rather than having just another silo. The focus is on openness.

Note: Blaine hates SMS 🙂