Last night was Democamp night –the thirteenth in Toronto, to be exact, and a nice improvement over some of the previous iterations.
To start, Mike Beltzner (User experience lead from Mozilla) and Betsy Weber (from TechSmith) gave an invited 15-minute talk each. Mike Beltzner’s comments about managing a large open source project were insightful, and reminded me of Fogel’s book Producing Open Source Software. (Mike also has the best CV I have ever seen.)
We then had a bunch of short (5 minute!) demos. I lost count of how many (David Crow says 11, including Betsy’s), and though the quality was uneven, there were some pretty good ones: Walkah‘s OpenID presentation and myhood.ca were my favourites among several others worthy of attention. OpenID is picking up speed and we’ll be hearing much more of it soon; myhood.ca is a nice integration of Google Maps with rental information in the same tune as JobLoft, a previous Democamp presentation.
On the negative: No Regrets, the venue, was uncomfortably packed, and the number of presentations dragged for a bit too long. But overall I enjoyed the new format pretty much. David Crow’s post throws some cool ideas on how to keep improving the format –I’m looking forward to seeing them in action.