The late, late OggCamp 11 write-up… and more UUPC

Forever Delayed

Oggs!It has been several weeks since OggCamp 11 now. I’ve been meaning to post a quick recap for a while.

I’ve written before about being friends with the crew from the Ubuntu UK Podcast (UUPC), so I’ve been following the progress of OggCamp over the past couple of years. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend either OggCamp 1 (2009) in Wolverhampton or OggCamp 2 in Liverpool last year.

Waitaminute… OggCamp?

Sounds like a weird name, huh?

Well… yeah ok, it is a bit odd. Breaking it down, there’s an audio file format called Ogg Vorbis which was intended to be a non-patent-encumbered, higher quality alternative to MP3. Many FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) supporters and audiophiles prefer it to MP3 and many podcasts aimed at these communities offer the .ogg format as an alternative to .mp3. The “Camp” idea is basically that of an unconference, popularised by events such as BarCamp – often a weekend-long gathering about nothing and everything in particular, with late night hacking and geekery. And being an unconference, the first rule of the event is that you definitely, definitely, have to talk about whatever you are ever passionate about, and participate.

So you smoosh together Ogg + Camp and you get…

… a very cool event populated by folks from the FLOSS and audio communities, often attracted by listening to podcasts like Linux Outlaws or the Ubuntu UK Podcast… the two teams that started the OggCamp events a few years ago as a kind of successor to the previous LugRadio Live. It’s not only about audio, although there tends to be some content on that subject, as well as some live podcast recordings, and other craziness.

Crew at #oggcampOggCamp 11 was “my first time”. It was held at the Farnham Maltings, a lovely venue that is very close to where I live (and also where we’ve held some Digital Surrey events in the past), so it would have been mad for me not to have attended, and just rude of me not to have offered to volunteer as part of the crew.

My excitement turned to a slight amount of trepidation a few days before things kicked off, when our now-legendary crew chieftan Les Pounder sent us out an email to check that everyone was “OK with heavy lifting”… ๐Ÿ™‚ as it happened, that wasn’t too much of a problem! It was a pleasure to work with Les and the rest of the team actually – everyone was very laid back, happy, and just made things happen. I’d been wondering how onerous crew duties would be and whether they would prevent me from participating as an unconference attendee, but everything was shared around so I still found time for yet another talk on MQTT, and for some trademark heckling from the cheap seats during various other sessions.

You can explore my Flickr set from the event, but let me pick out a few small highlights:

  • meeting Roger Light for the first time, on the same day that Facebook mentioned their use of MQTT ๐Ÿ™‚
  • hearing Ken Boak talk about his Nanode project from London Hackspace (and here’s one I made later!)
  • meeting Laura Czajkowski and hearing her talk about how to get involved in real world communities beyond IRC!
  • seeing a fantastic community that had formed around some great people from two podcasts I greatly enjoy.
  • a brief converation with Karen Sandler, the new lead of the GNOME Foundation.
  • winning a ChipKit Max32 and a Canonical goodie bag in the raffle ๐Ÿ™‚
  • … and of course, watching Popey‘s demonstration of Extreme Ironing!

I hadn’t been to an event quite so specifically oriented towards freedom and Open Source for a while, and I’d forgotten how polarised some people can become around certain topics. In my career choices I’ve had to make some choices which make me a little more… shades of grey in my views about the technology landscape, so it is always good to have the challenging discussions and hear other views.

I’d definitely want to attend OggCamps in the future. A lot of fun, a great experience, and thanks to the organising team and sponsors. Recommended.

Even more talking

Following on from OggCamp, I was invited back to the UUPC Studio last week to cover for Alan – evidently I’ve not made too many slip-ups yet, since this is my third time as a guest presenter now. It’s really a fantastic experience and their production process and quality is always superb and well-planned and executed. Check out Episode 14 of Season 4 of UUPC “Revelations” to see how we got on with all the news, interviews, and listener feedback!

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