barcamp tampa 2012 – new directions

barcamp fills the hunger gap with traditional food

This year barcamp returned to the University of South Florida’s School of Business Administration for a combined event with codecamp. More than 300 creatives, engineers, and coders from a broad range of backgrounds began lining up before 7:30 a.m. for name tags, coffee, donuts, and a presenting slot. view barcamp Tampa 2012 on flickr

To the average person who might find themselves marooned in this gathering by either a fussy Garmin GPS or a galactic wormhole, barcamp tampa surely comes across like Santa’s Little Helper on the Simpsons – blah blah blah blah blah. I’m no coder, so much of what enters my ears during each of the day’s 50-minute sessions finds me in full agreement with that cartoon greyhound. What does get through, though, is often priceless in terms of application and value.

from statistics to startups to plugins – what you can learn

Barcamp Tampa 2011 was my introduction to the network’s universe of mostly backend web and app design. This year, a shorter list of speakers meant a leaner menu of topics, spread across nine venues in six time slots that started at 8 a.m. and ended at five.

I finished the day with three solid seminars under my belt, leaving a couple of half-baked selections behind on the table. Even though overall the offerings were pared down, Beyond Netflix – New Frontiers in Algorithms, Harvesting Social Data, and WordPress Optimization added up to several hours of insight, information, and takeaways that would have proven elusive, if not impossible, to discover if not for barcamp.

quantity and quality – tough to choose from a broad list of topics

  1. Beyond Netflix – New Frontiers in Algorithms This presentation by USF faculty member Balaji Padmanabhan explored the future of preference aware software, using Amazon and Netflix models to demonstrate the value of sentiment analysis engines. In other words, knowing what you want before you do.
  2. Harvesting Social Data TAWLK engineer Lance Vick described the advantages of live tracking search and sentiment analysis simultaneously without having to open a separate window for each stream. The software, still in beta, uses keyword entry to filter results from whatever channel platforms are selected, including social, blogs, and other accessible content.
  3. WordPress Optimization Website host IT manager David Parsons laid out options and best practices for WordPress blogs, ranging from plugin strategy to security to graphic overhead that can slow down load times significantly.

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