DemoCamp12: A Return to Fine Form

DemoCamp had started to run the risk of becoming a victim of its own success – the premise of a captive audience of 100+ geeks hunkered in a room had started to result in demos that were less about “sharing” and more about “promoting”. With impeccible timing December came, and gave the guys the perfect opportunity to take a month off and reconsider/re-vector DemoCamp to try and bring it back on course.

Triumphant Return
Well, after a couple month’s “hiatus” DemoCamp returned to Toronto last night in as fine a form as I’ve ever seen it. Through a little polite invitation, arm twisting, and rumoured cat-napping Dave, Jay & Joey rounded up three compelling and varied demos to share with the community. Mixed in throughout the evening were some quick updates from past DemoCampers.

Overall the crowd seemed to respond well to the new crop of demos, despite a bit of an ad-hoc sound setup (and unusually flaky wireless connection).

The Demos

On tap for DemoCamp12 were:

  1. FlockWill Pate
  2. Open Source and Education: Teaching Mozilla DevelopmentDave Humphrey
  3. BubbleShare v2.0Albert Lai

Dave actually stepped up to the plate first and shared some of the projects his students had been working on in conjunction with the Mozilla Development effort. Not a true demo to speak of but a great example of how open source development gives just about anyone an opportunity to contribute to a community project and have a real impact, regardless of age & experience.

Second up was Albert Lai from BubbleShare – he quickly ran through a couple of their newer features in the latest iteration of BubbleShare but, based on a show of hands, he went with the crowd’s interests and spent more time covering his recent sale to Kaboose, as well as some of the lessons he’d learned and approaches he’d explored with his team over the past couple of years as he brought BubbleShare to market.

Last but not least, Will Pate shared the Flock browser with the group. Will is a newcomer here in Toronto following a stint out on the West Coast working with the Flock team. Flock is another web browser based off the Firefox codebase. It extends functionality over a traditional browser in several areas including a more comprehensive search toolbar, as well as direct integrations to photo sharing sites, and RSS Newsfeeds. Definitely worth a look.

A Tale of Two Venues
This DemoCamp also marked a return to No Regrets as a venue. At the end of the day it seems a lot of people prefer No Regrets but the challenge is we’re pretty much filling the place to capacity (if not beyond). Socializing afterwards is a lot more fun at No Regrets compared to MaRS (we often lose a lot of people between MaRS & the bar and once we’re at the bar it’s largely a sit-down affair) but the packed space certainly isn’t as comfortable.

My only suggestions to improve things at No Regrets would be 1) Have the bar move the bar stools along the front of the bar to the sides/back of the room – they take up a lot of space and make it really hard for people to get up to the bar. 2) Speaking of the bar, someone needs to remind No Regrets that the TorCamp crowd likes to consume beer. Admittedly they were in a bit of a bind with the Superbowl the night before, but it seems like anytime we’re there it doesn’t take long for the draft taps to start emptying.

Next DemoCamp
I haven’t seen a date for the next Camp yet but I’m sure there will be one sometime in early March. When I see the new date I’ll be sure to post it here.