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Entries Tagged 'ruby' ↓

SocialDevCampEast2 Recap

I’m finally recovered after a really exhausting week that included SocialDevCamp and the wild ride of Twitter Vote Report.

SocialDevCampEast2 went off without a hitch on Saturday at University of Baltimore.  Once again, some of the best and brightest developers, entrepreneurs and social media gurus gathered to trade ideas and talk about the future of the web.

One thing we try to do at SocialDevCamp is vote on the sessions, to make sure they are things that people really want to hear about, or at least size the discussions to the right rooms.  We ran 5 rooms all day in 5 sessions plus lunch, for a total of 25 sessions! Check out the wiki to see the sessions that were held.

Personally, I enjoyed the conversation on location technology, and why location-based social networks have yet to reach critical mass.  Most folks felt that there was a technological barrier — it’s just too hard to continuously update your location with current device and battery constraints — and others questioned what incentives people have to update their locations.  We decided that those incentives probably needed to be tuned in order to see a successful location-based service emerge, and that there may also be benefit for people sharing location-related information anonymously.  Great talk, and I’m still thinking about what incentives might make LBS actually work.

We did a session on Twitter Vote Report, which was awesome because we were actually able to recruit some members of the crowd to do some work on the project!  Bryan Liles and John Trupiano contributed some great work to the codebase, some while sitting in the session!  We talked about the overall architecture of the project, and the fact that it was put together in just two short weeks of coding!

There was a good conversation about iPhone development, introducing people to the platform and answering questions about the platform.  Many seemed to be glad to get a feel for Cocoa and I wouldn’t be surprised if several of the folks there end up working on the platform!

Alex Hillman of Philadelphia’s Indy Hall helped to lead a discussion on co-working in Baltimore, and by the end of the session, we had actually launched co-working in Baltimore, with a mailing list and a set of great ideas for taking things forward.  Yesterday, we held our first “official” co-working meetup at Bluehouse in Baltimore; I’ll write more about the co-working initiative separately.

Because I wasn’t in the other sessions, I can’t say what all was said in them, but I heard good things about the conversations on data portability, source code management with Git, and crowdsourcing. If you were in one of the sessions, feel free to leave some comments here or links to your own blog!

Ann Bernard helped put together an awesome party for SocialDevCamp at Metro Gallery with great food from Tapas Teatro and an open bar.  And live music from Natasha El-Sergany, KADMAN, and Ra-Ra-Rasputin… A great way to end the day, and I can say that by the time it was all over, I had talked to a few hundred people and was completely exhausted!

This morning, Mike Subelsky, a friend and one of the organizers of the recent and fabulous Ignite Baltimore said via email, “It is not an exaggeration to say that SDCE has totally changed my life,” referring to the first SocialDevCamp held in May. Not to sound self-congratulatory, but the same is true for me.

SocialDevCamp is one of a few things sparking a renaissance here in the Baltimore/Washington area, giving rise to events like Ignite and to movements like co-working.  With the social media tools available now, this sort of thing is finally possible to do, and it’s hugely gratifying to see it happening!

See you next spring for SocialDevCampEast3!

SocialDevCamp East + TwitterVoteReport = Busy

Being busy seems to always come in spurts for me… just when it looks like I’ve got too much to do already, something cool turns up and takes things to whole new level of busy.

That would be this week. SocialDevCamp East, the barcamp-style unconference that I started with some friends last spring is back tomorrow, and that’s certainly required some coordination and planning.  That would have been plenty.  We have over 200 RSVP’s now (between the Wiki and Facebook) and we expect a truly incredible day of networking and learning.  See you tomorrow!

The other big news of the last two weeks has been the TwitterVoteReport project, for which I’ve been acting as defacto CTO since about October 18th.  This is a great project, a great cause, and an awesome idea.  The data we collect will be an archival quality primary source document for future generations to study the evolution of the election process.

We have five distinct data sources coming in about people’s experience at their polling places: Twitter, Telephone, Direct SMS, and Apps for Android and iPhone.  These are all normalized and aggregated into a single database and reviewed by humans for maximum accuracy.  The data will then be made available in real time to anyone who wants it — from the media to watchdog groups to mapmakers — to help the world understand and monitor the 2008 US elections.

Putting this project together, with all these diverse inputs, has been a monumental task and a real demonstration of what’s possible when people decide to work together.  We had over 600 phone channels donated.  We were able to think up, code, and submit an iPhone app in just 3 days.  We’ve received press coverage far and wide from sources as diverse as TechCrunch and Fox News.  Not bad for a few days’ work.

There’s plenty more to do still (between now and Monday), and I’m busy all day tomorrow at SocialDevCamp.  We’ll do a session there on TwitterVoteReport and what we’re up to… we still need more help from people good with maps!

I’ll post more here as things evolve, and a recap next week, but remember, nothing’s impossible when caring people dedicate themselves to a common endeavor.

Meantime, check out:

And watch for news about TwitterVoteReport.com on NPR and in the Baltimore Sun (in addition to myriad other outlets!)

Three Events You Can’t Miss

Ignite Baltimore Logo

 

The self-organizing tech community event has finally come of age here in Baltimore.  Here’s three events you can’t miss.

My new company, Roundhouse Technologies, is a sponsor of all three, and I’m speaking at Ignite Baltimore and am event co-chair for SocialDevCamp.  Each of these events is an example of the kind of self-organizing community events that I believe will shape the next wave of tech on the east coast and which I believe will give rise to the next great wave of innovation. And this time, that innovation is going to happen in places besides the towns along 101 and Interstate 280.

I’ve not talked a lot about Roundhouse yet publicly, but we’re methodically building things up, and we’ll have more to say soon. Stephen Muirhead and I are heading up the company. Stephen is an experienced executive and entrepreneur, and among other distinctions is the former president of Microprose Software, maker of the Sid Meier Civilization games, (ironically now owned by Atari, with which I had a long association, though under a previous incarnation).

So, anyway, lots of stuff is happening.  Ignite Baltimore should be amazing.  If you have not RSVP’d yet, please do so now to be sure you can get in.  The space is limited.  SocialDevCamp East was heralded as one of the top tech events on the east coast, and we’re expecting another amazing day on November 1.  And if Twin Tech II (held a couple of weeks ago in DC) is any indication of the scale and energy we can expect at Twin Tech III, we’re in for a heck of an event.

Tech is very much alive and well in DC, Baltimore, Philly, and New York.  Watch it unfold in the coming months and years!

Twittervision Election View

An hour or so ago I launched Twittervision Election View, allowing viewers to see posts to Twitter about the 2008 election in their original geographic context.

Twitter launched something similar this morning, and the idea to do a political view of Twittervision has been around for a while, so it seemed natural to try to do this now and especially in advance of tonight’s debate.

We have some enhancements planned, and right now the site is getting a ton of traffic as people discover it… we should be able to put some more server capacity on it which should keep things steady.

Let me know what you think!