Category Archives: HackDay London

3 geek events; a summary

It occurs to me I’ve been to three geek events recently, and not mentioned a word about them.


Over the weekend Yahoo, the BBC and a bunch of other companies ran HackDay up at Alexandra Palace. The basic principle being: get a bunch of geeks together, give them large amounts of APIs, ideas, caffeine and pizza, and then see what happens. A few unexpected problems occurred, such as Alexandra Palace getting struck by lightning early in the day, and then the fire alarms thought the building was on fire, so understandably opened the roof vents to deal with the problem. Which meant, that it was now raining on everyone’s laptops. The HackDay staff did a good job of evacuating everyone out into the conservatory before the next storm hit, and a lot of people kept right on hacking.

During the day I hit a couple of road block in my attempted hacking, apart from the obvious inspiration one: firstly a lack of crossdomain policy files meant I couldn’t access a lot of the BBC feeds I wanted to. I’m thinking of making moo cards with important info on them, just to hand out to people who don’t make it easy for Flash. Secondly my attempts to use the HTML object in Adobe Air seemed to hit security problems -aka I could only load up locally saved web pages. So in the end I spent a few hours randomly annoying Aral while he was playing with a wifi Nabaztag/tag by making it flash and waggle its ears at him. As a result of all these difficulties I spent most of my time at the event wandering around catching up with people, looking at geeky things at the O’Reilly Make stand (including a gear system built out of pasta and ginger snaps), seeing a few alpha demos of projects for HackDay, and a fair bit of evangelising Flex to a variety of different people of different geek creeds.

As I was only half an hour from home I opted for crashing out in my own bed (as opposed to the comfy beanbags that others seemed to have chosen). Unexpected house adventures involving an ethnic cleansing of moths meant I couldn’t make it back for the second day. I really enjoyed the first day though, and I’m looking forward to the next big London geeky event like this.

London .Net User Group on Silverlight

This was on Thursday, and felt a little strange – I felt very much like a spy in their midst. I turned up to hear someone from Microsoft talk about Silverlight – I didn’t go to Mix and this is the first public chance the UK has had so far; also I wanted to hear a pitch directly to the developers as they tend to be more about implementation and actualities, and less about product pitches. I’m going to write up my thoughts on Silverlight separately, but as far as comparisons on the User Group go, this one felt a little flat -I’m now even more grateful to the efforts put in by Niklas, Tink and Aral to try enliven the meetings, find the right venues and grow the respective communities.

Scotch on the Rocks

This was at the beginning of the month, up in Edinburgh. It was definitely good to catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while as well as put faces to the names on all the blogs I skim. There were a few good sessions in there too and I’m actually looking forward to some of the improvements in ColdFusion 8. The Thursday night was suitably alcoholic as well 🙂 I’m surprised at the how small the UK ColdFusion community actually is, and I’m very grateful for the demonstration of Adobe love we had by their sending over of Tim Buntel to talk to us.

Future Geekery

No more geek things for a while now, although looking at my calendar there are quite a few coming up: hopefully I’ll be able to make the next London Flash Platform meeting in July (I’ve had three collisions in a row now, Whitby, Scotch and now Glastonbury); I’m still toying with 360Flex:Seattle in August, although the airfares are not cheap and work won’t pay my costs; September is BarCampBrighton, which currently is currently oversubscribed by at least 3:1; November is FlashOnTheBeach, this time around I’m planning not to have any conflicting deadlines to deal with.