Barcamp Cape Town reviewed

I’m probably one of the last to blog about the Barcamp event that took place over the long weekend, but nevertheless I promised a couple people I would write about it, so I am.

My work colleague and me arrive arrived 2 hours before the start, not because we were super keen, but because of a mix up in times between the website post, and the email we were sent. I could have certainly done with the extra sleep.

After meeting a couple of the campers, and a few technical glitches at the start, the unconference was ready to start. Initially, I did feel a bit out of place, I was one of the very few running Windows on my notebook. There was a lot of matrix screens, with heavy code text displayed, surrounding me. I managed to position myself next to a marketer though and slowly began to ease up 🙂

Below I’ve quickly wizzed through the presentations I attended:

  • The stuff they never taught you at Comp Sci 101 – Rashid Omar
    I never did Comp Sci 101, so I felt a little left out. *sniff*
  • Firefox Extensions & Plugins – Craig from Quirk Marketing
    A very interesting presentation on an extension Craig developed that enables a Firefox user to view the search status of a website, namely the Google and Alexa page rank of a website. It has roughly 50 thousand users!His best quote of the day, “It’s really quite a small script, very easy to do, only a few thousand lines of code“.I’m glad I’m a designer!
  • Podcasting – The New Media Revolution – Glen from the ZAShow
    If you are interested in podcasting you should have been there. How to record a podcast, what software to use, where to publish it, what to talk about and how to attract listeners was all discussed.
  • Plone – Jean Somebody
    An interesting, open source content management system, with strong multilingual support, ideally suited for intranets. Jean exposed the capabilties of the system very well. Don’t ask me to repeat what he said though. The words were flying a few hundred meters above my head.
  • Marketing yourself as a contractorJo Duxbury
    The title says it all. Jo covered exactly how you should sell yourself as a freelancer when approaching potential clients. If you are a freelancer, or a business owner requiring a freelancer check her site out.
  • Technologies for schools –
    This presentation included 3 technologies under priviledged schools around Africa can benefit from technology cheaply and efficiently.

    • The first way was by making full use of the online Wikipedia in schools. With a little effort this online encyclopedia can be used offline in schools. I’ve never really thought of Wikipedia like this, but in essence it can be used to replace Dictionaries, World Books and the Internet, in one very small download.
    • The second was Linux thin clients (or something to that extent), which basically one or two powerful servers to host applications, displayed on recycled old machines in the classroom. The server does all the processing, the PCs just display all the information through fancy network cards. A very cost effective solution!
    • Thirdly, there was the Wizi Digital Courier. Basically, a flash drive that stores all the emails sent and recieved, and all the websites requested on it. It gets plugged into a PC with a dial up connection over night, as this is the cheapest time to connect, and does all the work required in sending and recieving information over the internet. The next day you plug your flash drive into your school computer lab “server” and presto internet offline. The information may be a day old, and the emails may arrive a day late, but its a small price to pay for young under priviledged children to be internet enabled.
  • Marketing 2.0Dave Duarte
    A fascinating presentation on the way marketing is going. Viral marketing and blogging are definitely two of the biggest, and probably cheapest, marketing tools available today!Dave used the success around Stormhoek wines as a case study. Just check out these guys web stats, amazing growth in an amazingly short time frame!

    Graham Knox from Stormhoek wines had a tight advertising budget, and didn’t want an advertising company to swallow it up, so he turned to blogging. His offer: any person who blogged about the Stormhoek blog would get a free personalised bottle of wine. The offer was happily accepted by loads of people and back links came firing in.

    Obviously it helps to have Hugh McLeod, the well known disruptive marketer, and owner of the famous blog, Gaping Void as a mate. Hugh drew some of his famous cartoons for Stormhoek.

    A long story short (that you can read more about @ the Stormhoek blog), Stormhoek won Best consumer Campaign” for online work at the London International Wine and Spirits Trade Show, they are now exporting to the USA and the UK, and soon to China I think, all because of a blog!Dave also used Caffeine Spot as a case study. A new and fast growing blog written by some guys running a coffee shop in Sea Point, Cape Town. They have a similar offer, blog about them and get a free coffee and muffin. And that’s what I’ve done. And now I have lunch.Dave’s words I enjoyed, “Get a bit creative and see what social media can do for you“.

I was unfortunately unable to attend on Saturday, but visit Rafiq’s blog for a list of links of posts about Barcamp Cape Town. Thanks must go to Conrad for all his hard work in organising the event! Top notch Conrad!

No I didn’t do a presentation, I just didn’t have enough time to prepare anything. I designed the t-shirt though 🙂 I preferred it on a baby blue colour shirt, to the creme one that we recieved, but a big thanks to Quirk Marketing for sponsoring them.

Barcamp t-shirt

If you were there, leave a comment. If I incorrectly stated something, correct me.


16 responses

  1. Sounds like a good time was had by all. Nice shirt too, btw. 🙂

    I really wish I could have been there, seems like a great group of people were involved.

  2. If you weren’t a designer you could definately be a journalist! Makes for good reading… Pity u didn’t do a presentation!

  3. Not sure why the trackback function didn’t come through… but thanks for the Caffeine mention Mark. Coffee & muffin on the house 4u!

  4. Thanks for the thumbs up Dave. Journalism here I come 🙂

    Thanks for the caffeine guys, and good luck with your blog.

  5. Thanks for coming to BarCamp Cape Town…

    So BarCamp Cape Town has come and gone and I think it was one of my personal highlights in the recent years and a great honour to have been involved with.
    For each and every one that attended and/or helped out in some way .. thank you.
    I am humbled by …

  6. Justin Avatar

    Hey – I was also running windows 🙂 … It was great!

  7. Unconfrences rock!

  8. Hey Mark – thanks for the mention! Great to meet you, the designer of the Unconference t-shirt 🙂

  9. I’m sorry if I was too techie — I wished people would stop me and ask me to explain, but they didn’t so I just forged on .. Perhaps if the venue were smaller there would be more two-way communication.l

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  12. […] If you’re a passionate techie, geek or mediaphile you don’t wanna miss this. The Cape Town event rocked! […]

  13. […] I attended the Barcamp Cape Town unconference earlier this year. Sponsors include all the big cheese: […]

  14. […] The Barcamp Cape Town attendees reading this post are probably wanting to know how the London event compared with the Cape Town event. Well the answer is not that black and white. I think its quite hard to compare the 2 Barcamps. Barcamp Cape Town was first of a kind, not only in South Africa, but Africa. Nothing like this had happened there before. It had a unique African flavour to it that was completely different to Barcamp London. The beauty of the British Barcamp though was the amount of resources made available to it, i.e. a fast, fat internet connection, big web companies sponsoring it, like Yahoo, eBay, Techcrunch and the BBC, and a country where blogging is a far bigger thing. […]

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