London OSJam 0x10

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Photo credit: Dj Walker-Morgan

On Thursday the 1st of April we held the Google London Open Source Jam 0x10 (that is, the 17th). The Jams are informal meet-ups where people can present 5 minute lightning talks on all things open source-y, as well as network, eat free pizza, and drink free beer. The evenings usually have a theme, and this time it was "Open Source Building Blocks" - though as usual our talks strayed somewhat from this topic!

Our first three talks all hinged around web technologies. Ade Oshineye gave a talk on how simple technologies like HTTP and Atom are being used to create powerful publisher-subscriber models on the web. Dj Walker-Morgan presented Sinatra, a lightweight yet powerful Ruby web framework. Matt Godbolt - in an Open Source Jam scoop - demonstrated Quake II running in a browser, bringing together HTML5 technologies like WebGL and WebSockets.

The next two talks were more about soft skills and open source. Kuldip Reyatt gave a presentation on open source leadership skills - he is trying to bring together publicly-available training material and make it more discoverable. Sam Mbale gave an update on his work trying to bring the benefits of open source to Africa.

Photo Credit: adewale_oshineye

Bill Ray showed us some OpenGL ES demos on Android, and gave a quick run-through on how to set up the Android development environment, which he thinks "puts the pleasure back into programming.”

Douglas Squirrel presented an update on his work helping blind people. He demonstrated his ideas for connecting blind people with technical and other problems with sighted volunteers who can help transcribe screenshots and offer advice.

We were back on topic with Matt Ford's presentation on Raphael - a library for displaying SVG in a browser. He showed us a simple clock app he’d written on the way to the Jam. Next up, Joe Walnes and Neil Dunn did a tag-team presentation on WebSockets and how it could be used to implement a high performance, thin-client, model-view-controller system.

Glyn Wintle made an impassioned plea on behalf of the Open Rights Group for us to write to our MPs about the UK's controversial Digital Economy Bill.

Photo Credit: adewale_oshineye

Finally we ended with Jag demonstrating his amazing DIN digital instrument and how he was experimenting with collaborative music by allowing it to be controlled through an IRC bot, letting the audience join in and manipulate the sound as he played.

This time around there were more talks than we had time available so as usual, we all retired to the pub around the corner to discuss further. Another successful Jam!