I cycled down to the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus to go and take part in BarCamb. It was great to be in an environment where everyone had turned up because they were passionate enough about their interests to want to share it with others.

There was quite a lot on web stuff like microformats, the semantic web and information/social organisation, and a great talk on natural language processing. It was also good to see where Nyido had gotten with their vga-over-ethernet stuff. Now available in USB flavour in monitors!

I talked about mbed for the first time; this is a pet project with the general aim to take all the cool electronics and embedded software technology now cheaply available, and open it up to the average hacker; think grown-up lego mindstorms, rapid prototyping or mashups for the real world! Although it felt a bit early to be showing it given the early state, it also seemed like a good chance to get some feedback on the ideas.

Quick mbed demo

I basically just demo’d it a bit, and it all worked! It was great to have people who’d never touched hardware interested in having a go. That’s what it is all about!

Andy and I quickly came up with the idea of a RSS Digital Photo Frame; get a stream of your friends or family photos coming live to your home as they get added to Flickr/Facebook etc. Sweet! Geoff wanted a card reader for access to his house, and Laura’s talk about the AlertMe connected home thing had everyone throwing in loads of ideas for intelligent home peripherals. It was absolutely great to follow the AlertMe talk because i’m a big fan and it is exactly the type of thing I want people to be able to do for themselves; after all the “wouldn’t it be cool if…” comments, I hope I made a few people think more along the lines of “perhaps I could make this cool thing that…”.

The other nice thing about being somewhere like the Genome Campus was that there was a fair few people there who knew stuff about Genomes and all that jazz. Someone there (who I appologise to for not knowing his name) gave me a great overview and a book recommnedation so I could understand more about it all:


I’ve hit amazon for a copy to take on holiday, so hopefully i’ll soon understand what is going on in this other world that is currently very far removed from mine. My guess is that in 5 years time we’ll be merging those two worlds, creating instruction sets and compilers for building the real world!

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