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layout: post
title: BarCamp Gent
date: 2008-12-01 18:14:47
updated: 2008-12-01 19:37:59
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<p>This weekend <a href="" title="BarCamp Gent wiki">BarCamp Gent</a> took place. A BarCamp is an unconference organized by the participants (check <a href="" title="BarCamp article @ Wikipedia">Wikipedia</a> for more). A little more then 100 people showed up and there were 45 presentations, a nice overall score. It always impresses me how you can create a professional event like this, solely based on the goodwill of the participants. If you give up your Saturday for a geeky conference you need to have at least some passion for what you are doing and that's exactly what makes BarCamps great: people speaking about what they are passionate about.</p>
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<img src="" alt="BarCamp Gent t-shirt" />
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<img src="" alt="BarCamp Antwerp schedule" />
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<p>I forced myself to present as well this time. Being a sidekick during the previous 2 BarCamps I decided is was about time to present something. I tried to give a short overview of <a href="" title="My presentation, or what's left, on the Internet Archive">OpenStreetMap</a>. What it is, why we need it and how to contribute.</p>
<p>I liked <span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Bernard Grymonpon</span></span>'s presentation about <a href="" title="Craftsmanship presentation on Slideshare">Craftsmanship</a> (in Dutch). He stated that talent in the <abbr title="Information Technology">IT</abbr> sector is undervalued. How can we explain to the client that there is a difference between someone who &lsquo;makes websites&rsquo; and a professional webdeveloper? The discussion was just starting when the 20 minutes passed which is a pity, could have taken a little longer. It was nice to hear lots of people struggle with this idea.</p>
<p><span class="vcard"><a href="" class="url fn" title="The Beard Full Service Photography">Filip Bunkens</a></span> (in Dutch) gave a double session starting with the theoretical strobist part (taking photos with off camera flashes) and a hands-on follow up. By the end of the day we had a chance to play with the professional lighting setup. Others were queuing to get their new Facebook profile pictures taken. ;) Nice to have a separate photo track at BarCamp. I missed <span class="vcard"><span class="fn n"><span class="given-name">Stijn</span> <span class="family-name">De Meyere</span></span></span>'s presentation about <a class="fn n url" href="" title="Concertfotografie presentation on Slideshare (in Dutch)">concert photography</a> (in Dutch) and need to start following this guy, his photos look awesome. Let's hope for some more photography related sessions next time.</p>
<h2>Self-help group for geeks</h2>
<p><span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Dorien Aerts</span></span> presented her <a href="" title="How to get your girl to be more of a geek @ theicecreamdebate">10 tips</a> to turn your girl- or boyfriend into a geek, hilarious. It felt like a self-help group for geeks, and I mean that in the positive way. Dorien's poll showed most people joined Facebook because of their friends and because they felt they were &lsquo;missing something&rsquo; by not joining (their friends holiday pictures for example). Someone explained how he got his wife to use Twitter and got a big applaud from the group.</p>
<h2>Burning 4 million</h2>
<p>I heard <span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Toon Vanagt</span> earlier at the <a href="/blog/techcrunch-belgium-meetup" title="My review of the Belgian TechCrunch meetup earlier this year">TechCrunch meetup</a>. Apart from his helmet his presentation didn't really interest me that much. Well, this time it did. Rarely have I heard such an honest talk about lessons in life. Toon started <span class="org">Casius</span></span> and explained what went wrong and how he learned from this in his presentation with a catchy title: &ldquo;What I learned after burning &euro;4,000,000&rdquo;.</p>
<h2>Dutch or English?</h2>
<p>This BarCamp was in Dutch, previous Belgian BarCamps have always been a mixture of languages with presentations being mainly in English (as far as I know). Some people said that being able to present in you mother tongue raised the level resulting in better quality presentations. This is very well possible but for me it feels too &ldquo;restricted&rdquo;. It may lower the barrier for native Dutch speakers but raises it for the rest. In my opinion BarCamps are about openness: sharing knowledge and experiences, bringing innovative people together, without language restrictions.</p>
<p>Just for the record: everyone could present in English if they wanted off course, only no one did (myself included). Everyone spoke Dutch so the presentations were in Dutch. Next time a non-Dutch speaker may not be interested because &ldquo;it's in Dutch&rdquo; confirming the idea of the people who do participate that there is no need to present in English.</p>
<li>A list with the <a href="" title="BarCamp Gent 2 group on Slideshare">presentations</a> on Slideshare.</li>
<li>The Flickr group with loads of <a href="" title="BarCamp Gent 2 group on Flickr">photos</a> from the event.</li>
<li>I have a feeling the <a href="" title="BarCamp Gent stopmotion movie on Vimeo">stop motion</a> movie of the day will be a new BarCamp tradition.</li>
<p>Big thanks to <span class="vcard"><a class="url fn" href="" title="Johan Ronse's blog">Johan Ronse</a></span> for initiating the event, the <abbr title="Instituut voor Breedbandtechnologie">IBBT</abbr> for the location, One Agency for sponsoring the event and Netlash for the pizza! I met some interesting people, heard some good presentations and went home with a new project idea. Exactly what I expect from a BarCamp I would say.</p>