Monday, May 05, 2008

beCamp 2008

As tired as I was by the time I got home Saturday night, I am very happy that I made it to beCamp this year. Close to 100 people attended over the 2 days, about half of whom hadn't attended last year. It was great to see so many new faces!

There was a spirited discussion of "Web 3.0" where there was a lot of discussion about advertising. Never having been in the commercial sector, this is something that pretty much never occurs to me. Some folks looked at me as if I were crazy when I suggested that Web 3.0 was about personalization and localization services for users, not about advertising. There was a brief exchange about privacy issues, especially around the topic of providing personal information in exchange for personalized and localized services. I'm not sure that anyone would trade a lot of their personal info in exchange for a free coffee coupon, but others in the room were certain of this.

Josh Malone from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory led a great discussion on large-scale storage needs. There are certain similarities between their needs and the Library of Congress's needs vis-a-vis transfer of files and creation of deliverables for users, but their data is observational and is never updated, while our metadata and media files may be updated. They are considering some systems that I know another institution is using and I need to get folks in touch with each other. I also need to learn a lot more about our storage infrastructure at LC.

Baron Schwartz led a great session on mySQL optimization. He's just joined Percona as a mySQL consultant. Buy his upcoming book! I also realized after the fact that the reason I recognized his name was that, as an undergrad, he worked with my UVA colleague Perry Roland on the Museum Encoding Initiative.

There was a roundtable on data visualization where I heard about a number of tools that I wasn't familiar with, especially two PHP graphing libraries -- jpGraph and sparkline. For anyone on twine, I have a Search and Information Visualization twine started.

Erik Hatcher led a Lucene optimization discussion. Bess asked lots of questions in preparation for getting Blacklight into production!

Steve Stedman gave an informal demo of the Expression Engine content management system. Very interesting, especially its capabilities in resizing graphics on-the-fly.

Those are the sessions I made it to -- check out the wiki for the other discussions on the schedule, and links to slideshare for available presentations. Ruby and Ramaze, High Availability Linux, Adobe Air, Google App engine ...

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