BarcampNorthEast, Newcastle

I had a fabulous time at BarcampNorthEast. It was quite a small gathering, which allowed everyone to meet and get to know each other. The hosts had bagged a lovely venue, The Art Works Gallery, just out of the centre of Newcastle – they had also thoughtfully been shopping for lots of food, drink and snacks for those attending. Here are a few snippets of what I saw and heard…

I had fun watching Ian Forrester give a demo of Diablo and patiently guide those watching who volunteered to have a go.

Cathy Ma gave us talk into the inner workings of Wikipedia. Jure came from Slovenia and gave a talk on issues around gender and identity terminology on social network sites. Tom Scott told us about pineapples, pirates, how to spoof a government site and awesome ratios.

I heard how Oli had taken a Wiimote and together with an arduino had made a light theramin. Afterwards I nipped over to another area to hear Aubrey de Grey tell us in entertaining fashion about the TED Commandments or ‘how to be a heretic’.

The TED Commandments or \'How to be a Heretic\'

Later in the day Tara Hunt asked us to think about Mind Hacks – what tricks and rituals we used regularly to help us get through life. This was followed by a thoughtful discussion started by Emma Persky and Ian Forrester around gender issues and geeking.

After a lovely BBQ supper, which was great because there were two separate grills – one for the meaters and one for the veggies, there were cocktails and Ian held an impromptu mixing session on his Pacemaker. We stayed up till after 3am playing two epic games of Werewolf!

Somehow I managed to sleep on the floor of the gallery with the paintings hanging like stars above. In the morning we were all up quite early, in fact I think I was up latest at 9.30am.

I munched my cereal as the first talks began. I listened to Ian Forrester’s demo of the Pacemaker music mixer, Emma Persky told us stories of her travels, Cathy Ma a story on ancient wisdom and Piers Cawley sang us a song about his youth!

All too soon the guardians wanted their gallery back, so after some tidying up, we left for the outside full of bright sunshine and went for lunch at a local restaurant. Suddenly, it was time to leave lovely Newcastle and come back to London, I mused about the fabulous time I’d had on the train whilst uploading my photos, the weather turned dour and sadly grey on the way.