Sunday, May 23, 2010

MinneBar 2010 Recap

Minnebar is an (un)conference aimed at getting those in Minnesota’s tech and design communities together to discuss topics that interest them. This (un)conference is unique for several reasons. 1) It's free. However, donations are welcome. For $10 this was the cheapest tech conference I have ever attended. 2) Admission included: breakfast, lunch, snacks, open bar, and of course 8 concurrent session to choose from!


Google Page Speed

Key points:
  • Google Page Speed is similar to YSlow. It evaluates the performance of your website, displays the metrics, and lists optimization strategies to improve your score. It can be downloaded as a Firefox plug-in.

Room and Bored

Key points:
  • Is college broken when it comes to Information Technology? This was the topic that was discussed. Personally, I do not see anything broken with college. However, it is very important to supplement real world experience with an IT degree. For example, if you are in High School and want to pursue a career in IT then join your local IT community. It's never too soon. In addition, try finding part-time IT jobs or work for free. There is no substitute for real world experience in addition to an awesome college degree.

"I'm a guru not a God!" A Tao of System Architecture

Key points:
  • Characteristics of successful software systems were discussed. Many common themes were discussed: KISS, don't reinvent the wheel, open/closed principle, etc. In addition to those common traits the one characteristic that topped the list pertained to bureaucracy. Mark Beckman noted that "bureaucracy is evil and should be severely limited".
  • "Bureaucracy frustrates people, distorts their priorities, limits their dreams and turns the face of the entire enterprise inward." -- Jack Welch, GE Annual Report, 2000
  • Lean processes are preferred. We must eliminate the overhead of simple tasks. How quickly can you deploy to production or setup a new development environment? Is the process simple or not? Cloud computing has few hurdles and provides an alternative for departments seeking simpler process.

Mapping Your World with OpenStreetMap

Key points:
  • OpenStreetMap is a Wikipedia of maps allowing anyone to edit the map. Now we can map our favorite tennis courts, hiking trails, or archery range!
  • Topo maps are currently in development.
  • Cloudmade can be used for driving directions

Why Drupal? An expert panel

Key points:

Getting started with CSS3

Key points:

Overall, Minnebar was a hit! The attendance was extremely high with roughly 800-900 attendees. The venue at Best Buy was fantastic. However, next time they should increase the number of available WIFI hotspots. The network was overloaded. I can't wait for the fall show!

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