Tuesday, 12 April 2011

BarCamp Kuwait #2


I came a little late I missed out 5 presentations! although I saw a little bit of one of them online, the stream was an amazing idea, you could even hear the mentos suffering with plastic bag tearing sounds, and then it ends! May the souls of all those mentos rest in peace.

I also managed to get a cookie :} There was a huge cookie fight! Silent but a lot of munching went around.

Now for the real juicy part, the presentations, I didn't take pictures of all the presentations, although I was in a killer seat! Was trying to focus on what all those really smart geeks are saying. Howeve barcamp Kuwait's website has it all, an excellent post containing information about the presentations and presenters. They made my life easy :p will just link to their links.

So the list of presentations and presenters is as follows (lazily copied from BarCamp)
  1. WarDriving Kuwait, by MBH.
  2. Cloud Computing, by Bashar Abdullah.
  3. Python in the Workforce, by Burhan Khalid.
  4. Cookies Vending Machine, by Dherar Al-Rushoud.
  5. WebsiteSpark and BizSpark, by Microsoft.
  6. User Experience Design, by Haider Al-Mosawi.
  7. Kuwait Paper Dump Mobile, by Salem Marafi.
  8. BioBanks and the Importance of Informatics in Kuwait, by Dari Al-Huwail.
  9. Internet at a Glance in Kuwait, by Talal Al-Awadhi.
  10. Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, by Tammy Camp.
  11. Open Source in Business, by Bashar Al-Abdulhadi.
  12. Scaling Web Applications, by Ahmad Al-Ibrahim.
  13. Q8Traffic, by Nasser Al-Hilal.
  14. Patient Data Privacy, by Dr. Mohammad.

One more caution, I am not an IT person, barely with an MIS minor, so technically I might not do the presentations fair, I will view them of a simple user view so forgive me if I don't review from an IT point of view :) I will start from the 6th.

User Experience Design, by Haider Al-Mosawi

The presentation carried a lot of concepts on how to design your website/service/product to be user-friendly, because in the end you do need a satisfied user, although there are various reasons that might force some users to use something they don’t like "having a large group of people you connect with are into it" (e.g.: Facebook, I for one do not like it and don’t recall when I last signed in, but keep it for events and people mainly!). presented information was good, light, presenter sent it out well, luckily not too technical so I kinda grasped everything.

Kuwait Paper Dump Mobile, by Salem Marafi

Kuwait Paper Dump Mobile presentation was the most attracting one to me when I first read the schedule, because I think its one of THE most successful non-profit quiet online Kuwait projects, its a website with a simple idea that grew with time, from the wonderful blogger 3baid, it is very Eco-friendly and useful service! I quote from their website

"Kuwait Paper Dump’s Goals
Our mission is to reduce the need for paper by creating an online reference of information that is traditionally distributed by paper media. Kuwait Paper Dump is an environmentally oriented not-for-profit organisation."

The project grew with time and now there are more contributors :) I hope that one day it becomes "the website" all brochure distributors go to, and we would stop or at least limit the unnecessary printing. After that being said, the mobile version would be defiantly interesting, since I do benefit from KPD a lot.

Now there was a lot of technical stuff shown like codes and how to and which language or method was used to make the mobile version of the website, YET the presentation was not boring nor stuffed with gibberish to me! I enjoyed it very much, a perfect balance between the really heavy IT material and fun, a highlight that made the information flow much easier to my non-IT brain. Also the graph in slide #7 illustrating the way KPD mobile version works was really easy to comprehend for me. Good work Salem and all of the KPD team.

BioBanks and the Importance of Informatics in Kuwait, by Dari Al-Huwail

The barefoot guy :p The presentation was light and very informative, they work in Dasman Diabetes Institute. He spoke about having a bio data bank for all the people around Kuwait, a bio bank is simply all the medical information about a person that is /was/ will be recorded about a person during his lifetime all gathered in one massive database. I thought it was impressive and a GOLD mine, pity I didn’t talk to him in time of why I think its so precious! But I will write it here & will try to e-mail him with my ideas!

As a person with a statistical background I think its amazing data! A lot of analysis can be done, the simplest that popped into mind is a correlation study between diabetics and the medical history of a patient, so instead of hearing “its genetic” there might be other factors hidden. Especially that such a disease is widely spread. Also those findings will ease the awareness campaigns aiming to remove those factors leading to diabetes. Presenter was really easy going relaxed. Away from the personal security issue I think its vital information to be kept electronically, if we as patients can access it and have our medical history anywhere for any Doctor to use them, our life will be a lot more easier than it is, now the security, authentication and authority issues are a huge debate. Yet the concept is lovely.

Internet at a Glance in Kuwait, by Talal Al-Awadhi

This was not a heavy one and a more close to the heart, since it contained a lot offfffffff "Statistics" :} The presentation was a rundown for the internet usage in the world and in Kuwait specifically and how the future is "on the go", meaning mobile developed applications/websites/services are a must, the market is going towards them mainly because "for me as a user" its easy and accessible anywhere! It was a light one, liked the presenter he presented the information in a simple clear way. I liked the time related changes in the internet in Kuwait , brought up a lot of memories, I could almost recall the dial-up sound when we used to connect through KEMS, the weekends were a vicious fight through the busy lines.

Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, by Tammy Camp

Now this is a cool one, we had a video conference with Tammy, so the content is mainly about what the title above, Silicon Valley is one of the best places a web-developer can be, all the resources are around the corner and idea hunters are there too. She later asked about the people around in Kuwait, whats new there what are we up to. The conference was fun and I loved her smile!

Open Source in Business, by Bashar Al-Abdulhadi

Now this was the cherry on top! I did not know him in person nor KuwaitNET but I follow him on twitter, the biggest con is that the presentation was outdated "which he said and apologized for in the beginning" also many friends told me that some of the information are wrong and not valid currently, nonetheless the pros are a lot :} I always like to eat the frog first then go to the nice stuff :p here it goes...

He spoke about open source business related programs and how you can cut back on cost as a fresh new entrepreneur with facts and numbers, in the presentation he showed us a comparison he made in 2007 "I think?!" when he first started his business between the Microsoft business suit and an open source one. The main idea that attracted me is: there is always an other way to do things away from Microsoft, now I highly respect them for the office package and more, also for sponsoring barcamp YET the monopoly move was not nice, back in the day :p Now things did change but history was made. To jump away from any software/hardware that is very familiar is scary! I know I was hasty when I got my mac but now simply love the shift.

His enthusiasm when presenting was very good and also the Microsoft fight was amusing between him and the organizer Shaymaa (a.k.a AhamShay) who was a great sport about it. Now I can firmly say, I do not fear the open source products, the presentation was done on an open source software, his mobile was turned into a slide flipping thingie through an open source program :) The choice is yours and it can be done. In his twitter page he defined him self with a few words I quote "Open Source Enthusiast" and he made me enthusiastic about it! WELL DONE.

Scaling Web Applications, by Ahmad Al-Ibrahim

He is one of the KoutBo6 guys, now from all the presentations I attended this was the heaviest. Again the fact that am not into IT made my life so hard in his presentation, he elaborated on a lot of technical stuff where I wished he gave the big picture of what that technology did for them, yet those could be beneficial to all the IT people out there. He seemed a bit tired or drained, kesar kha6ri, he could have presented it in a better way especially that this website is amazing, it is one of the most successful Kuwait web-projects I've ever known. He spoke about how their website is being operated, which I thought would be tough, an online game is time consuming and all the syncing and time related information transfer is pretty sensitive! and they did it :D I don't think I am being fair to this one but again as a non-IT person I wished to know more about their work on the website in an easier way.

Q8Traffic, by Nasser Al-Hilal

This was an adhoc presentation for one of my FAVORITE twitter accounts in Kuwait :D I love @q8traffic, its a simple twitter account made my Nasser Al-Hillal that takes tweets from around twitter land, that contain the hash-tag #q8traffi and post them in that account and you by following q8traffic you can get on the spot user-made updates! How cool is that? He made this simple useful idea a reality and non-profit :} a young Kuwaiti initiative that we all thank him for *I for one, do, very much* with all this traffic going on, q8traffic has made my life so easy. Also it feels really good to be able to help others to know ahead what they are facing out there :) the user-related additions are very attracting to me. Well done and wish that more development comes to q8traffic.

On half of the q8traffic presentation I left I was drained lol. Now the over all event pros and cons, the above pretty much says the pros since we saw and heard amazing people present their work, all of them with no exception has added a lot to me, some more than others but they all added :)

The room was terrible! Two poles inside?! WHY @!@ I hoped for a better bigger one. Time was really a big issue for me, the event is so long! I think we should make Barcamp marry PechaKucha :} However, I would like to thank Microsoft and ALL the lovely event organizers (Shayma - Majed - Haider) and the others who helped around and the one who's camera kept finishing the battery and had to call for help all the time lol, you all were amazing. nothing beats a relaxed small live local event! Had an amazing afternoon/evening/night that day :>

p.s.: sorry for the delay o.o


Haider said...

Thank you for the lovely review of the event.

It does seem like cookies were the central theme of BarCamp, and you captured that beautifully. ;)

Q80-ChillGirl said...


Thank you :D glad u liked it and cookies were dominant that day :p