Craig Rowe

Techlead / Developer

7th March 2012

Barcamp Bournemouth 4

Having made the trip twice before I was looking forward to Barcamp Bournemouth. It's probably my favourite small event. Partly because it's so close, partly because it's a great venue but mainly because there's always something interesting and new (at least new to me) going on.

This year Mozilla Developer Network had added a new element into the mix by sponsoring and providing gamepads for a hack space. But that wasn't the only difference. There was, at least in my now old man eyes, many more younger attendees than before which led to some interesting discussions - ranging from the validity and credibility of our professional body, the BCS, to interesting views on getting a job and what the best smart phone is.

As a career long member of the BCS it was interesting to get involved in debating its usefulness during the discussion led by Tom. My personal view is that it's very london centric with too broad a remit to be of more use to someone than the independent, specific events/groups that are available. It's power comes however in being a 'force for our interests' at a governmental/lobbying level. For example, in recent work pushing for computer science rather than an MS Office based IT curriculum.

It would appear that many of the attendees also felt that it was irrelevant to (particularly web, as was the nature of the audience) development job applications and it's accreditation of degrees was not particularly seen as the 'gold standard' as the organisation maybe hopes.


By far the most memorable thing from this years event was the Hack created by Syd and Ad.

Having retired to the comfort of my own bed late on Saturday night I returned to find that Syd and Adam had spent the night knocking up a pretty impressive demo using an arduino, mac, ruby, objective-c, LED combo. The device was able to display an 8 by 8 grid of lights based either upon a website control or by reading tweets marked with the #bcbomo4 hashtag (using the now readily available Lawrence Sans font).

Whether it was down to that, or the talk by Syd (that I'm now referring to as the 'make awesome shit' talk) I knocked up a tiny hack myself afterward. In fact I'd hate to say it was actually inspired by cocks, but maybe it was. While various attendees were fighting for control to draw phallic symbols on the 8x8 grid I thought it'd be kinda cool to be able to create such a dot matrix style picture based on an image.

Written in JS and using canvas this little tool now lives here and here. It will take an image from a remote online location and transpose it into a grid of coloured or black and white dots. Not particularly useful, but kinda fun - and that's the whole point really.

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