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DevCamp 2010 by ThoughtWorks Inc., Chennai.

Developer Camp 2010
10th July 2010, Chennai

It was my first attempt to take part in a BarCamp / unconference, which excited me very much after reading about them in Wikipedia.  Through some contacts, I was invited to attend the Developer Camp hosted by ThoughtWorks Inc, at Thiru Vi. Ka. Industrial Estate, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai on 10th July 2010.  I had originally offered to give a couple of talks on Text mining and Design patterns.  Though I had some anxiety about whether topics like Text Mining would sell amongst hard core developers, I was comforted by Balaji Damodaran (organizer) that there should be a lot of people interested in exploring AI.

    I reached ThoughtWorks office at 9:15AM and was surprised to find atleast a couple of dozen developers already come in.  Saturday morning for hard core developers start only after 11AM, but I was happy to be wrong then 🙂 Registered myself as one of the developers and opted to talk about “Text Mining Applications”, “Plagiarism Detection”, “Text Classification using Naive Bayes”, “Design Patterns” for the 9:30AM slot.  The unconference started at around 9:45 with the introduction by Balaji Damodaran.  At that time, atleast 70 developers were there in the hall (cafetaria).  Then I was asked to start the talk by 10AM.  When I went to the hall, it had only 5 people as audience, which kind of killed me as I am always used to having big crowd as my audience (what an EGO I have!?).

   I had asked a couple of the audience boys to go for hunting more audience for the talk.  See I were to advertise and promote my talk, which in fact is critical for everything in the world we live.  One of the volunteers advised to use a microphone and start the talk.  When I started the talk, I was surprised to see that people walked in to fill up the hall.  The talk went on and on with a lot of interesting examples which made everyone introspect about the way we see and assess our neighbourhood.   I am sure my audience have understood now that everything that we see around and solve could be mathematically modeled and be solved using computers.  Hurray, we made it!!

    Followed by that talk, I was asked to talk about Design patterns as a lot of developers had voted for that topic.  Ok, I wanted a coffee break! Went to the cafeteria and made some light south Indian coffee.  I added some pulverized sugar to my coffee and came back to the hall, while I was talking with another developer from LatentView technologies.  To my surprise, the coffee tasted like made with sea water. Then I realized that I had added salt instead of sugar.  I would like to greet the “brahaspathi” who kept the salt bowl near the coffee vending machine. 🙂

    The talk on Design pattern started in a small room as the number of votes was ~10 (which is still a large number) in unconferences. When we started that talk, one of the volunteer said, he would want to record the talk which is a good idea. The talk started, and we found that lot of people started to come into the room and we had to move to a bigger hall as the number of audience was over 40, which is like “wow”. The talk went on for a while and we interacted about Singleton vs Multiton, Strategy, Factory vs Bridge patterns with lots of examples. Overall, it was a wonderful discussion forum where we learned a lot of insight about software design using design patterns.

    If I were to use one word to describe the audience, I would say “intriguing”.  It was an awesome experience for me to talk about some of my experiences to a wonderful audience that you had brought it.  It is very rare to find a combination of patient, smart, involved, intelligent, experienced audience who crave for knowledge.  Our talks helped us to introspect on to the technology that we have been practicing. The ambiance was very motivating in the sense, lot of natural light and spaciousness.  Overall, I enjoyed every bit of it.  I am little depressed that I could not enjoy the food as I was rushing back to office.  Also, I wanted to take part in the fish bowl about Industry-Academic Co-op, but couldn’t.  I am sure, there is a lot of people who got benefited by this program, in fact I heard that statement from a lot of the audience after the lecture/talk.

Thanks to Shiv Deepak for introducing DevCamp.
Thanks to Balaji Damodaran for inviting me to the DevCamp.
Thanks to Shaswat Nimesh for the photographs.

EFYTimes news article is here.

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