Janet (j4) wrote,

The geekest link

Oxford Geek Night 4 was another excellent evening of tech talks organised by the Torchbox team.

The top keynote was Tom Steinberg from MySociety (who do cool things like They Work For You and FixMyStreet, and are embarking on Groups Near You -- sign up now!) speaking on 'saving the world one perl module at a time' -- he admitted the title was facetious but then went on to prove that actually, joking aside, he is making a difference, getting people involved and engaged and joined up in the way that the webtopian future was always meant to, back in the days when we dreamed big dreams instead of sticking misspelled text on kittens.

Next came James Gardner talking about Pylons, which probably should be the Next Big Thing in the way that Ruby on Rails was back in the dark ages (about 10 minutes ago). Never having really a) done any Python or b) used proper web frameworks, I wasn't expecting to follow much of this; but James made it seem surprisingly clear, and also very cool.

The 5-minute microslots were all good, covering various aspects of the social and semantic web; microformats and nanoformats (how small can these things get?); the cardinal rules of web security; fun stuff on Google Earth from Google Sightseeing.com; and MythTV, which I'd probably think was quite cool if I actually watched TV (though the presentation was subtitled "record everything, watch nothing"). Overall the programme was eclectic, entertaining and intelligent: all the things we've come to expect from Geek Nights.

Of course, it doesn't do any harm that the Geek Nights are in a good pub and there's (a limited amount of) free drinks provided by (the one website I can't imagine needing to link to) Google. This time there was also a prize draw to win some cool geek books, which was extremely well-organised and completely fair (I say this because I won a book, optimistically choosing a fully buzzword-compliant book that I fear I may never get round to reading).

It's always a shame that there isn't room to fit more stuff into one evening; fortunately the Oxford Geeks are developing a workaround for this, and planning a BarCamp in Oxford next year. A whole day's Geek Night!

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