The Second Ignite Boston is taking place this Thursday, September 6, from 6 to 10pm at Hurricane O’Reillys. If you have already RSVP’d your name is in our list and you will be entered into a drawing for $300 worth of O’Reilly books, and a Free Beer, or drink of your choice. If you have not RSVP’d or if you think a friend or two should join you, send email with your name to IgniteBoston AT oreilly DOT com. The final list of talks are listed below.
Summer is flying by and as we usher in fall, we wanted to give all New Englanders a heads-up that we are having a second Ignite Boston. The second Ignite Boston will take place on Thursday, September 6, from 6 to 10pm at Hurricane O’Reillys. Yes that is right, Hurricane O’Reillys. No, it’s not Tim’s office after FOO Camp. We’ve picked a venue that is more acoustically-oriented and should allow everyone to hear what is going on.
And we are planning to mix-up the format a little bit. There will be some short “launches,” followed by lightening talks, and a couple of other ideas that we will inform you of in the coming weeks. Let’s show our tech colleagues around the country that Boston/Cambridge have a vibrant tech community that gets involved in talking about cool new technologies and ideas. Not to mention that it is a social event to get to know other developers in the area.
If you plan to attend, email IgniteBoston at oreilly dot com for the chance to win $300 worth of O’Reilly books of your choosing. You must be present to win.
If you are interested in connecting with some of the folks who attended the first Ignite Boston, we have a social network set up for this purpose. You can reach our Crowdvine network here.
Another reason we wanted to announce this event this early, is so those of you who would like speak for five minutes on something cool, new, or exciting you can get into the queue sooner rather than later. Please submit your idea/s here:
Be no longer than 5 minutes.
Be on an innovative topic (no sales pitches, please!).
Be viewable on a PC [a MacBook Pro with Powerpoint, Keynote/has remote control, and PDF] with standard AV equipment.
Our first Ignite Boston is filling up fast. Since we have limited space at Tommy Doyle’s, please RSVP for this event–held on Thursday, May 31 from 6 to 10pm–by sending email to IgniteBoston [at] oreilly [dot] com. With your RSVP, your name will be entered into a drawing to receive $300 worth of O’Reilly books! You must be present to win. (We won’t use your name for anything other than this raffle.) RSVPs are not required but appreciated.
CitySense is a project underway at Harvard and BBN to roll out a network of 100+ wireless sensors all over Cambridge, MA, to monitor air quality, road traffic, and 802.11 conditions spanning the city. Every node will be a Linux-based embedded PC with 802.11a/b/g and will be fully programmable by end users. CitySense will support researchers across the globe who want to experiment with wireless mesh routing, distributed algorithms, and sensor networking. How will it work and what are some of the problems we have to solve to get there? Come hear about it. Got ideas for how CitySense could be used? We’d love to hear from you.
User contribution is generating tremendous growth and opportunity on the web, but there are two problems that few sites seem to have tackled adequately: too many contributions come from too few users, and too few users contribute repeatedly. Highly successful sites like Flickr, YouTube and Digg are not fully tapping their potential because they still persuade only a fraction of a percent of their users to contribute. “Clicker training” is a technique used by animal trainers to modify behavior in animals, an application of B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning. What if the techniques underlying clicker training were applied to web design in order to “train” users? That’s what I’m trying to discover with the website clickertraining.com. We’re trying to influence users who contribute to the website — e.g. post blog entries, comment on stories, vote in polls — to do so repeatedly in an effort to change the dynamics of user contribution on the web. I’d like to describe some of what is unique about how we reward contributions on clickertraining.com (a marker signal to mark preferred behavior and an intermittent schedule of positive reinforcement that is hidden from the user), and how that is informed by the science of behavioral psychology, in hopes that others may find new avenues for captivating users and encouraging repeat visits.
Come hear proof that there’s more to creativity and innovation than just brainstorming. Entrepreneur and inventor Kes Sampanthar will give you a sneak peak at his brand new innovation tool, ThinkCube, due to hit the shelves next month. For individual or group play, ThinkCube introduces you to a whole new world of ideas. It’s part game, part methodology, and full of inspiration. ThinkCube is the first commercial product by MetaMemes, LLC, a small innovation start-up based in MetroWest Boston.
Rick Treitman is the founder of a Boston area startup working on a new approach to web-based word processing. The product is called Buzzword, and starting May 15 it will be available for educators and other influencers in a preview edition. It’s quite difficult to convey in words the coolness of this application. Anyone who has seen a demo has been quite surprised and impressed. Among those who have seen early demos, Buzzword is receiving rave reviews (virtub.com/buzz.html) and is resetting the bar for what’s possible in terms of building web-based applications. In short, Buzzword is a free, web-based word processor that is accessible from any web connection. Although Buzzword is not strictly an “education tool” we believe it’ll find a strong acceptance in secondary and post-secondary education, (and perhaps among younger students) and teachers, and are therefore focusing our initial effort on that population. Buzzword will be available in a beta 1.0 version in the Fall of this year.
It is often said that the diversity of Open Source is one of its major strengths. I argue that we’re fostering the wrong kind of diversity. When we find an itch, our solution is too often to build a brand-new back-scratcher, rather than see if we can work with an existing one, extending it to our needs. As I discussed in my recent essay, “The Virtues of Monoculture”, too many choices can turn people off to using a technology, and drive them towards a vendor that offers a clear solution, even it it’s an inferior one. I’ll discuss why ego and borderline Asperger’s social skills lead to a plethora of competing projects all singing basically the same tune, and will propose that the ethos to be pursuing is diversity inside projects, not between them.
The world is full of chaos and fresh mountains of data, emails and photos are created every day. The design tools and development methodologies we use today are centered around organizing chaos. This is a bad way to think about computers and software. Folder, tags, meta-data even file-names place the focus on organizing the data rather then consuming it. So many people have such elaborate systems for ‘getting things done’ that they don’t get anything done. This talk explores design and development methodologies for searching, exploring and filtering large data sets rather than organizing them.
The Rhode Island statewide wireless network (RI-WINS) is currently in a pilot stage with three towers covering parts of Providence, Newport, and Narragansett Bay. I’m prototyping a few small, solar-powered systems for data acquisition and interactive art installations that are connected to the wireless networks. In descending order of size and power consumption, these include: a Linux-powered Mini-ITX system, the Make Microcontroller Kit, and an Arduino. In this talk, I’ll show the hardware guts that are going into it and explain how it all goes together
Volity is an open platform for multiplayer, Internet-based games. A language-independent set of protocols that rely on Jabber (XMPP), Volity frees game developers from worrying about common needs like player authentication, messaging, and record-keeping, allowing them to instead concentrate on the specific logic and user interface work their games require. Volity exists right now as an open network (http://volity.net) that anyone can add their own games to, and which players can enjoy through a free, Java-based game browser. This talk will present a brief description of how it all works, where the project is heading next, and how game-happy hackers can help take it there.
The majority of web-based forums use the phpBB style for presenting discussion forums through a web-based interface. But their presentation can learn alot from what a bunch of adult fans of lego have done. Over at Lugnet.com, Todd Lehman and Suzanne Rich Green have created what should be the model for web-based forums. Their layout and presentation of their discussion forums, news.lugent.com, provide a full range of information at every view. Starting at each newsgroup you are presented with the latest messages, a listing of sub-newsgroups, and a set of resources related to the specific newsgroup you are viewing. If we examine this view a little more, we see the newsgroups are presented in two catagories, General and adminstartive topics and specific Lego genre topics, for organization, the brief message display gives an idea of what the person is saying, who is saying it, when the said it and to which newsgroups they are saying it. Overall I have about 32 notations pointing out features or UI designs which makes their site very useful. Compare this to the phpBB style of topic view where you get linear list of topics giving the subject, who wrote it, how many replies and views have been made on that topic, and who and when the last person respond. And the topic view provides a forced linear view possible spanning several pages of messages. My talk would highlight as many of the beneficial features of news.lugnet.com LUGNET as possible in given time/slide limit and contrast to the phpBB style under the (not yet finalized) catagories of “Click depth to information”, “Customization and Personalization”, “Usability of the Interface”, “Ease of entry for newcomers”. Note: I have no affliation with LUGNET other then contributing an occasional newsgroup post under lugnet.robotics.
Conceived after sitting through a miserable morning of presentations during my first day at my current job, some tips on how to use the big screen behind you to wow the crowd, sell your idea, and avoid becoming Powerpoint’s bitch.
RingTones08.com is a free site that lets people rant and rave about the 2008 election by posting and sharing ringtones. We are a nation blessed with politicians whose statements practically beg to be ringtones. “Mission Accomplished,” “Last Throes of the Insurgency,” “Howard Dean’s scream.” Don’t let these pearls of political incompetence go to waste. Roll your own ringtone and let ‘em rip at shopping malls, bus stations, restaurants, your workplace…. We’ve been a nation of political zombies long enough. Exercise your freedom of speech and ring!
My talk is going to examine what we’ve learned about translating the human actions of community groups into a mobile service. I’ll relate our experience about technology adoption by parents, the role kids can play as educators, and what’s going to guide us in the future. I’m one of the founders of Padpaw . Padpaw is a service that helps groups organize and communicate using the computer you carry with you; your mobile phone. For the last 12 months, my colleagues and I have researched, built and delivered our service. Startups are more of a journey than a job, and I’d like to share our experience with the challenges of translating human behavior into a business.
Lakshmi Sadasiv O’Reilly Media - Body of Knowledge: Using Metaphor and Muscle Memory to Demonstrate Technical Concepts
Physics and other highly technical subjects are often taught by some combination of blackboard lecture, lab demonstration, and problem solving. I’d like to demonstrate how one central but hard-to-apply physics concept–symmetry–can explained by physically moving through a series of poses and “dance” motions and that this method is, in fact, more effective than a more traditional PowerPoint-based explanation. I’d close with the idea gleaned from the Head First series but slightly modified: that part of our legacy brain is its ability to abstract complex concepts by using our sense of our own body to create a metaphoric mapping of the concept, and how we, as people who need to get our technical ideas across quickly to a wide variey of audiences, can use our “face” time more effectively. The talk would have exactly three PDF slides and roughly two minutes of me jumping around, sometimes with a mirror in my hand. This talk ia adapted from a paper I wrote on musical metphor, a talk I gave on CPT for a nuclear physics seminar, and my experiences as a recitation instructor in the physics department at the University of New Mexico.
Break through the noise: How a run a press campaign for a new startup When you start a company, you don’t have any money to spend on lavish marketing campaigns. So how do you get on the map? You work with press people and bloggers to get coverage for your new product. What are the most effective ways to run this kind of PR campaign? What should you avoid? How much is enough? In 5 minutes, Matt Douglas will speak about his experience and what he’s learned along the way.
I want to talk about the needed revolution of current university system. It hadn’t been changed in almost hundreds of years and I believe it’s time to change and Internet will make the change happens faster.
Robert Swarr -
First, I would argue that JSF is a good choice for a UI framework for future web applications in that it uses an event-driven, component architecture, which is independent of the rendering engine. Next, I would argue that the one thing holding back JSF is JSP. JSP was designed to merge static and dynamic content within a request/response model. To some degree JSF and JSP are out of sync. We’re in a different world now where users expect a web application to exhibit many of the features of a desktop application. Web applications such as Google Suggest point the way to the kind of Rich Internet Applications users want and we need to develop. JSF together with AJAX can help us develop these kinds of applications. Some vendors provide Ajax packages that are tightly integrated with JSF. One example is Red Hat/JBoss ajax4jsf.
We would like to take the 5 minutes to tell people about the large variety of user groups in the greater Boston area. Marcee Henon from O’Reilly can vouch for me. It may be someone else that does the presentation because it is a long ride from me from RI. I am on the executive board og BUG and president of SNENUG.