Archive for the 'unconferences' Category

This year’s 3Dcamp

This is the 5th year of 3Dcamp – when did time fly?

When we started back in 2008, there were a number of similar events running in various cities. There was a podcamp in Kilkenny, a barcamp in Cork,  and in 2008 we had a webcamp in Cork before the BlogTalk conference.

When we started discussing the idea of a barcamp at UL, James put forward the idea of branding it as 3Dcamp. It was a time when 3D representations were seen as the coolest thing after sliced bread, Second Life and other virtual worlds were just surfacing. Google Earth and Sketchup were trendy, and everybody was interested in wii hacks. I didn’t know much about 3D technologies at the time, but I was definitely ready to learn!

This year, we discussed about how  appropriate the 3D name is for what we are planning to include. Not very appropriate, but myself and James decided to keep it for this year, as it is a sort of brand by now.

So, for this year we encourage speakers to focus on:

  • Mobile applications
  • The Internet of Things
  • Augmented Reality
  • Maker/hacker-spaces
  • Open Data, Open Culture
  • Gestural Interfaces (Kinect)
  • 3D visualizations (Blender, Sketchup),
  • Virtual worlds & gaming (Second Life, the Metaverse)
  • Mapping mashups, GPS, geotagging, geocaching
  • Location-based Services (LBSs)
  • Urban games,  location-based mobile games
  • Robotics
  • Haptics and augmented toys (eg. Wiimote hacks),
  • Interactive art installations

Please keep an eye on the 3Dcamp website, our Twitter and Facebook page for news and updates. Speaker names and topics  will be added closer to the date.

The hashtag for 3Dcamp 2012 across all social media will be #3Dcamp12


March 18 2012 | Events and Uncategorized and unconferences | 1 Comment »

3Dcamp – a note on FabLabs

My intention was to give a presentation about FabLabs at 3Dcamp. But being in the middle of 1000 other things, I postponed putting my name forward until no slot was left unoccupied. Well, I guess you don’t need to hear me talking – you can read it by yourselves.

FabLab (or Fabrication Laboratory) is a concept originating at MIT as part of the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). If you’re looking for a short explanation, it is the realistic version of the Star Trek replicator.

3D printing is just one side of it. There are mills, cutters, molding and casting and electronic circuits involved.

I first heard from FabLabs from my Dutch friends Elmine Wijnia and Ton Zijlstra. Here’s a documentary about FabLabs made by Elmine:

This is a FabLab wiki based in Afghanistan.

The whole idea is about sharing designs globally, while making things locally.

There are 41 FabLabs around in the world at the moment, in US as well as in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands in Europe, in Afghanistan and in rural India.  The concept seems to have captured the imagination of many, and inventors, artists, teachers and students can get access to top technology to experiment making things without too much need for training.

Will the day come when we’ll produce all we need in our own kitchen? The plates, the mugs, the tea towels, but also the washing machine and the family car? Will the day come when machines will be able to replicate themselves?

May 28 2010 | Events and Uncategorized and unconferences | No Comments »

Doing ethnography

Thanks to Twitter again and to the serendipity it creates, I came across a talk titled “Fake Ethnography vs. Real Ethnography” by Aviva Rosenstein from the User Research Friday held in San Francisco last November.

Here’s the recording:

Fake Ethnography vs Real Ethnography Talk at URF08 from bolt peters on Vimeo.

And  James Kalbach did a great job summarising it on his blog!

This is an ongoing debate: do researchers from other domains than anthropology really do ethnography? Or we should only speak about “using ethnographic methods”?

In our project, even if we did field studies during extended periods of time, we preferred to state that we used “ethnographically-informed” methods. Anyhow, Rosenstein makesthe point in the conclusion of her talk: if you are stating your possible bias, you are collecting data (instead of recording assumptions), you’re treating your informants well and you’re also observing what they actually do without relying entirely on what they say they do, if you are trying to understand things at a deeper level, look for patterns and write the whole thing down, you are doing decent research employing ethnographic methods. In the end, the measure of success is delivering some value to the organisation you’re working with!

I loved the advice she gave to researchers : mix and match, be creative and resourceful bricoleurs, make mistakes and tell the others about them, and… be brave!

The talk rang a big bell to me – it is so difficult to walk on this narrow path when there’s criticism everywhere, and so good to hear some words of encouragement!

Carl Aviani also makes the following point:

“Here’s a clever way to do a conference: make it short (four hours), make it entertaining (fast, opinionated presentations), do it in a bar. User Research Friday, hosted by Bolt Peters in SF, has used this formula to great effect a couple of times so far, most recently on November 7, when six speakers in the design research field kept 140 of their colleagues spellbound, then stuck around for drinks.”

Really – an interesting idea!

I tried to retrieve the tweets from the event – there’s a twitter feed on the screen during the final sequences of the video, and Bolt | Peters mentions #URF08 as hashtag, but summize doesn’t seem to find anything. An application for extracting and archiving event Twitter feeds anyone?!

Update: Friendfeed does the trickThis tweet of Josie Fraser gave me the idea to try!

Enhanced by Zemanta

May 10 2009 | unconferences | No Comments »

OpenCoffee, Twitter and thinking out of the box

I went to the Limerick OpenCoffee Club this morning. I could afford this luxury, as the semester is over- no more teaching on Thursdays- and my contract ended anyhow.

We had quite a few of new attendees, and I tried to play the host. Don’t think I succeeded very well, because I was too nervous thinking of the 1000 different things I had to postpone doing for going there! But anyhow, after 10 min and 2 urgent mails sent, I managed to sink into the relaxed atmosphere…

This time we had two presentations on the agenda:

  • Elaine Rogers from Seefin Coaching spoke about Time Management, and
  • John Gleeson from the University of Limerick (UL) spoke about Technology Transfer.

I had my laptop with me, and instead of taking notes, I felt like twittering what was going on. Read from the bottom up if you want to make any sense of it!These are all the tweets under #LOCC during those hours!

The funny part was that Ger Hartnett read my tweet about Elaine’s slide with a list of time wasters, and asked if Twitter was on the list. I presented Elaine with the comment (in almost real time), and she confessed she avoided it on purpose… because herself spends a lot of time on Twitter.

  1. elainerogers @gabig58 @schregardus thanks 4 comments. Really enjoyed giving the talk 🙂#LOCC about 17 hours ago from TwitterFon
  2. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC Partner with researchers and research groups, make your skill sets known to UL, suggest interesting problems, tap into EI support about 19 hours ago from web
  3. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC The EI High-potential start-up program – about 19 hours ago from web
  4. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC Successful UL Campus Companies:,, about 19 hours ago from web
  5. Ga09_normal gabig58 omg! 5 new followers in the last 20 min, just because I’m tweeting from #LOCC! Thank you! Hope my battery won’t fail me! about 19 hours ago from web
  6. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC For companies looking for collaboration with universities,have a look at Innovation Vouchers and Innovation Partnerships(EI funded) about 19 hours ago from web
  7. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC John Gleeson’s role at UL is to facilitate university – industry linkages and research commercialisation about 19 hours ago from web
  8. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC A bit of history – the establishment of UL in 1972, a picture of the White House and one of the Living Bridge about 19 hours ago from web
  9. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC John Gleeson from UL talking about Technology Transfer for the next 20 min. about 19 hours ago from web
  10. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers Anecdote about a person changing her Facebook profile to check what ads would come up! about 19 hours ago from web
  11. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers Try to fit your todo’s in one of the four quadrants: important/not important, urgent/not urgent about 19 hours ago from web
  12. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers shares her personal planner layout. A wheel of life ( underneath helps her keep the balance. about 19 hours ago from web
  13. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC Are you a Fireman? Over-Committer? Acquarian? Chatty Kathy? Perfectionist? Find out yourself! about 20 hours ago from web
  14. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC if procrastination is taking up,and you spend your day on Twitter, FB,YouTube -your body is actually telling you it’s time for a break about 20 hours ago from web
  15. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC The mayonese jar story:you can put the golf balls in,the pebbles and the sand -but there’s always space left for a cuppa with a friend about 20 hours ago from web
  16. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @ghartnett No trace of Twitter on @elainerogers time wasters list. She confessed she avoided it on purpose…she’s a Twitter addict;) about 20 hours ago from web
  17. Mypicture_normal ghartnett @gabig58 Is Twitter on the list? #LOCC about 20 hours ago from TweetDeck
  18. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers goes through a list of time wasters. Meetings very well represented;) about 20 hours ago from web
  19. Mypicture_normal ghartnett @gabig58 @elainerogers talk sounds interesting. Sorry I’m missing it. #LOCC about 20 hours ago from TweetDeck
  20. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers from Seefin just started her talk. A few attendees’ opinions on time management. Elaine “time management is a myth” about 20 hours ago from web

And my battery did fail me in the end!

I had the chance to play an Akoha Thank you! card with Ted Vickey, for his talk on LinkedIn at Bizcamp.

And then I ran home to finish my slides for the Lero Industry Day on Monday.

In the evening, I went to an event organised by the Limerick County Enterprise Board: a talk by Brody Sweeney, the man behind O’Briens Sandwich Bars, titled “The real way to start up and stay in business”. The talk was the most inspiring event I went to lately! Brody spoke with extreme honesty about the problem he faced along the way, the sometimes unorthodox approaches he had to take, and what really counts. What really counts are people and hard work – and this struck a chord in me! We’ve heard the same thing from Patrick Collison at the OpenCoffee almost a year ago – there’s really hard work behind any successful business!

And the message we all took home was that there’s an opportunity in every apparently bad thing that’s happening to us – and the current recession is no exception! So I’ll try to get up smiling tomorrow morning, start with my best foot and see the hidden opportunities behind all this apparent doom and gloom everybody seems to be whining about!

May 07 2009 | Ireland and unconferences | 1 Comment »

Bizcamp Dublin

I had in plan to go to Bizcamp Dublin ever since I heard it was going to happen. On the very morning I felt dead tired and didn’t want to get out of bed, but in the end I managed. And wasn’t sorry: the day was great value! It was worth it spending 7h on the bus just to be there!

Kudos to Keith Bohanna, Alan O’Rourke, Keith ShirleyCampbell Scott and all the others who were involved in the organisation. They’ve done an excellent job, and we have learned a lot from them for the coming Bizcamp Limerick!

They decided to have a fixed schedule for the day, which was available for download before the event. Usually at barcamps we have a board with post-its that can be shuffled and re-shuffled many times during the day, but I was so grateful the bizcamp Dublin organisers gave us a printed schedule to serve us as a guide during the day!

I was late in the morning, so I missed Aileen Hannan ‘s talk“Practical Finances for Entrepreneurs”. Even if I had the chance to listen to her at Barcamp Cork and I’m reading her blog, I still regretted it.

I went to the Dan Barry talk “Legal issues facing start-up businesses“ – I found it excellent, to the point, full of very practical advice.

I hesitated between Niall Harbison‘s talk “Marketing and Growing Your Start-Up” (I am a real fan of Niall and a great admirer of the way he uses social media!)  and Yanky Fachler‘s “Using chutzpah (balls, brass neck) to get through closed doors”. I must confess the subtitle  “The emotional transition from employee to self employed” made me go to Yanky’s talk- the talk was nice and entertaining, but it didn’t do anything for me. He didn’t speak specifically about this transition,  but rather shared anecdotes about how some of today’s success people started.

It was the first time I had the chance to listen to Emily Tully in person (I visited her blog though!) – her talk on “Self Promotion/ how to use PR and the media to your advantage” was excellent. She spoke about things such as having different press releases for old and new media, being honest and thinking about your audience.

During lunch everybody had the chance to meet old acquaintances and make new ones. I’ve done a brief survey regarding the interest in having a 3Dcamp at UL in June (looks like we should do it!) and interviewed this young fellow who didn’t seem at ease among so many adults. He told me all he’d like to see at Bizcamp Limerick – I hope we can live up his expectations!

The afternoon started with a panel discussion moderated impetuously by Patricia O’Sullivan : Successful Fundraising. 5 people shared their experience in obtaining funds for their start-ups: Caelen King from, Niall Harbison –,  Campbell Scott from IGOPeople, Keith Bohanna – dbTwang, and Ciaran Crean – MicksGarage. They were joined by two advisors from Enterprise Ireland. I wish the panel would have been given a bit more time – they all had interesting things to say, and the room was buzzing with energy.

I was tempted to join the Battle of the Biz session  run by Robin Blandford after that, but I decided it’d be better to learn something about branding. Gerard Tannam‘s session “Branding Your Start-Up From The Get-Go” was probably the highlight of the whole Bizcamp for me: straight to the point, informative, practical and stimulating. I had several “eureka” moments during that talk – it was really worth it! The interesting thing was that the room was completely packed – either people have developed a nose for quality sessions, or they deserted the Battle of the Biz after it was explained to them.

I returned to the big room just in time to catch a presentation by one of the competing teams and couldn’t make much sense of the presence on stage of 5 young ladies who seemed to have been got there by accident!

Next,John Whelan from Trinity College and Stephen Kinsella from the University of Limerick spoke about the existing opportunities for start-ups to take advantage of the existing academic expertise in the country: Create Ireland,the EI Innovation Vouchers, the CampusRock initiative, the NDRC – Media Lab 2, focusing on translational research, other Enterprise Ireland programmes.

I wanted to listen to Chris Byrne, but he didn’t make it up from Cork. The final session I say in was run by Jane Hogan and Sean Kirwan . Both of them spoke about how to increase your sales – a lot of enthusiasm, but to my taste they sounded a bit like the network marketing talks I used to listen to in the late 90s. If you take away the enthusiasm, there’s not much substance left!

It’s amazing how the span of attention is almost unlimited during such events! I’ve never got bored at any unconference type event – there are so many interesting people to talk to and speakers to listen to, that it is difficult to divide your time. Could we do something similar in academia? Have one day a month when anybody can volunteer to give a talk, and allow the students to go wherever they want…

March 14 2009 | Events and unconferences | 1 Comment »

Planning for a DellCamp in UL

A post on How to turn a bad thing around on the OpenCoffeeClub Limerick blog got a lot of attention – and after that Evert Bopp, one of the fellow organisers of the LOCC, was interviewed on Today FM and on the Ryan Tubridy show.

This created a lot of buzz and the idea of organising a BarCamp focusing on entrepreneurship and start-ups

Then, I came across Stephen Kinsella’s post and listened to the podcast- he was talking about a University initiative group. It occurred to me that we should join forces, so I drew his attention to the LOCC idea.

Twitter did the rest. Other people jumped in, so on January 23, we met in UL for the first time to discuss how, when, where, who. Why was obvious: trying to turn a bad thing around… The discussion started with Stephen Kinsella, Hughie Tiernan, Bernie Goldbach and myself around the table. David Quaid, Evert Bopp, Ger Hartnett and Shane McAllister joined us shortly. We were all buzzing with great ideas about speakers, sessions, advertising and so on. The only problem we had was with the date: Stephen had already made a provisory booking of the lecture hall and break-out rooms in the Kemmy Business School. And the date was March 7. Bernie told us he just spoke to Keith Bohanna and that was the date they had picked up for Bizcamp Dublin. A short conversation with Keith on the phone, a tentative of bringing the Dublin Bizcamp to Limerick alltogether, the frightening spectrum of having two competing events on the same day, a check of the rugby calendar, and we agreed to move the event to March 21. Dellcamp became Bizcamp Limerick!

We went to see the facilities and everybody was impressed by the new KBS building.

Kemmy Business School The lecture hall

Stephen Kinsella has the whole story in this  blogpost.

January 23 2009 | Events and unconferences | No Comments »