I didn't get a chance to live blog during BarCamp Sacramento this weekend (too busy asking questions), but now that I am sitting in the back of a 747 bound for Melbourne, I thought I would take a few minutes to share some of the highlights:
Adam Kalsey started the morning with an alfresco coffee roasting demonstration. I can honestly say that I never knew that air popcorn makers were so versatile. The coffee was tasty.
Jinesh Varia spoke about Amazon Web Services. Amazon has created three web services to provide infrastructure to developers: S3, EC2 and Simple Queue Service.
- Simple Storage Service (S3) is a shared storage service, available via REST and other protocols, were users can store arbitrary data for archive or sharing. Amazon charges users on a monthly basis for their total storage plus bandwidth fees (either up or down). SmugMug is already basing their photo storage service on it. He also showed firefox extension that allowed you to access your files.
- Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is their elastic computing cloud service which allows people to run Xen images on Amazon's computing grid. The images can be controlled dynamically (that is, you can pop up or destroy images via web services) and you are charged per hour of use. This allows for some creative usage -- you can instantiate several new servers to handle your appearance on the front page of Digg, for example -- but will necissitate close monitoring because you pay by the clock hour (not CPU hour). Jinesh also showed us some of the Xen images (called AIM for Amazon IMages) that are being developed, similar to VMware's appliance marketplace.
- Simple Queue Service (SQS) was just touched on. It provides a reliable queue for messages - something that would be useful for some of the distributed processing in many web applications these days.
Joseph Scott (Automattix -- the guys behind Wordpress and Askimet) spoke about his work in implementing WordPress' XML-RPC features (XML-RPC is one of the more popular protocols for posting blog entries). He also showed off Microsoft's LiveWriter beta, one of the first blogging tools to support the new API. A really good session about something that I use daily. However, after looking at his bio, I realised that I should have asked him about Melbourne, since he has spent some quality time there also.
Tagged.com's Terry Chay gave a discusson about his implementation of eCards while at Plaxo. Opinionated, pointed and profanity filled - exactly what a good presentation should include :> After his session, a group of us had an interesting discussion on PHP frameworks, large scale internet sites, rails and Zend framework.
Elise Bauer from Simply Recipes started off the second day by schooling us for two hours about what it is really like to run a large scale blog. While I couldn't type fast enough to scribe all the pearls of wisdom that she handed out, it was fascinating to see how people use the infrastructure that I spend most of my time building. Elise could have easily spoke all day.
Scott Hildebrandt finished out the second day with a presentation on his work on 3D audio. He demonstrated the research by showing us some models he created in Pure Data (PD). While the math was over my head, the possible application of it in video gaming was certainly interesting.
Oh yeah, I gave a short but highly opinionated presentation on Cyclocross.