Stewart Brand, co-founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, computing innovator, and community organizer, is purported to be the first to pronounce, “Information wants to be free.” Although I’ve not heard his name dropped in discussions with BarCamp Milwaukee organizers, it definitely fits. Here’s how OnMilwaukee characterizes this freeform information mash-up:
BarCampMilwaukee3 is a technology based forum; running sessions all day Saturday and Sunday covering topics from specific programming applications to the role of the Internet today.
BarCamp’s run nationwide; each city specifying the format and content of the event to suit the needs and wants of the local tech class.
“There are several conferences in cities like Chicago, San Francisco and New York. BarCamp is a spoof on FooCamp, an event hosted by O’Reilly Media that is truly expensive,” BarCamp organizer Pete Prodoehl explains.
I attended (and was a presenter at) last year’s event, and I found it incredibly stimulating. You’re surrounded by interesting topics presented by enthusiastic and knowledgeable speakers. The only problem I had at BarCampMKE2 was deciding which topic to choose from in a given time slot.
It’s a good problem to have, and a strong reason to add BarCampMKE3 to your weekend plans. You’ll be glad you did.
This afternoon I attended Milwaukee’s second annual BarCamp, which is about a lot of other things, but is primarily smart and creative technologists coming out to play. (The tag clouds below are from the BarCamp Milwaukee site, where attendees are asked to state their interests in the same way that presentations / activities are given relevant keywords.)
It was stimulating to experience the free-form workshops, and exciting to imagine what this event will grow into with a few more years of publicity and support.
As I write this late on a Saturday night, the events are still taking place. BarCamp runs non-stop through tonight and into Sunday afternoon. When I return to give my presentation at 10 AM tomorrow, it will be interesting to see the level of wakefulness of my audience.
Under the influence of seminars on topics like improving streaming video and using Ruby On Rails to build better sites, I couldn’t let the night go by without doing at least one software change to improve Digital Solid. It’s nothing you can see, but I’ve removed the nofollow attributes that appear in links with the comments that people leave.
Thank you Douglas Karr of The Marketing Technology Blog for this important search-engine-related modification to WordPress blogs (like this one). Doug, I owe you a lot. You’ve given me the strength to face a roomful of mostly developers tomorrow morning, safe in the knowledge that I too can hack code — okay, when given simple and explicit directions!