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Barcamp Kathmandu 2010: Expectations, Experience and Suggestions

Barcamp Kathmandu 2010 Logo

This was the first barcamp that I got to attend on 28 August, 2010. I had already missed the previous year's barcamp. I was a bit late to reach the barcamp, as I arrived there at around 10:10, and had already missed a session on Crowdsourcing and Microwork in Nepal by Mark Sears. I arrived midway into the session on Karma, a Framework for Creating Educational Software by Peter Gijsels from Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Nepal. Amidst the exictation to listen to innovative ideas, meet new people, and nervousness with my own session (as there was a huge crowd of audience), I registerd my session at 10:45Am. A few minutes later I was informed that my session was moved to after lunch slot.

There were a lot of sessions to be presented on the day, and I had already calculated the crunch of time and the delay. The first thing that I contributed to the event was through my tweets, and was happy that I was trying to be one of the most tweeting persons in the event (thought there are no statistics to support, but I could see my avatar over the #barcamp tweet search page so often ;)). There were times when I really had a tough time maintaining the tweets because of the awesome sessions (I always had to tradeoff between trying to make #barcampktm a trending topic and listening seriously to the session). A lot of new ideas poured, melted, and remixed during the event, and I was readily enjoying them.

Some of my favourite sessions (the ones I attended and enjoyed, P.S: I missed a few sessions as well):

Which talking to a few friends outside the session hall, I missed a few sessions. The short breaks in between the sessions for lunch and tea/breakfast helped a lot to give your mind a rest from rolling out on ideas, as well as to structure the session — what whitespaces do in design. I had no idea that the “delay” in my session is going to make it to the end, and till my sessions arrived, a lot of participants had already left the session. My session, on How would you celebrate software freedom, was like a tired speaker delivering to a tired audience. Hopefully, the audience were not as tired as I was at that time. To aid to that, I had spent much of my time the previous day over my slide design. My session was focussed on Software Freedom and brainstorming ideas on how to celebrate it. Also that was to augment to encourage the audience to activity participate in the Software Freedom Day 2010 celebrated by FOSS Nepal Community. The “brainstorming” part did not go well, but at least I was able to convince the audience (a bit) of software freedom and the upcoming Software Freedom Day 2010. My sessions ended with the links to follow, as I got a nudge from Sangita Shrestha to wrap up my session.

The event was really awesome, and I loved to listen to the myriad of ideas diversifyin from Economics, Politics, Technology and Arts. What I liked most is chit-chat with good old friends that I had not met since long. Quite a event to meet all of your friends at the same time, same place that you would even have thought of forking the event into a beer-party!! The event came up quite to my expectations with a few exceptions on time management. There were a few sessions registered from in the ongoing sessions, and were given a higher priorities in time assignment to that of pre-registered event (I'm not sure whether the scheduling was based on the importance of topic being presented). Also that numerous sessions put a hard time for the audience going through them, although most of them were really good. So my few suggestions for the event would be like:

  • Have optimal number of sessions
  • Have a proper time management and scheduling (despite of the fact that we Nepalese are famous for delays)
  • The presenters (including the organizers, somehow) needs to devise ways to make the sessions more interactive and part-taking
  • For the audience: Can we do more than just to like an idea/session? Let's take initiatives to tend to materialize them.
  • To the organizers: Can we have Barcamp more than once a year?

My resolutions after the event:

  • I'll be collaborating with Jwalanta on developing Khanchuwa.com.
  • Will buy a hemp t-shirt.
  • Will re-think of trying to get an SSH like interface for the UPS (with arduino/nepaluino) with help from Ujjwal
  • Try to gather more ideas and people to celebrate Sofware Freedom Day 2010.

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