The last week has been crammed with planning for and finally realising the first WhereCamp unconference to be held in Europe. More of that later but before WhereCamp EU, there was the London Twitter Developer’s DevNest.
Angus Fox, one of the organisers of the DevNest, had first got in touch with me last year after the launch of the Yahoo! Placemaker web platform that allows recognition of place references in unstructured text. Placemaker plus Twitter status feeds seemed an ideal candidate for a mashup and Angus was keen to get me to talk to his hard-core Twitter and social media literate developer audience.
Then in November 2009 Twitter announced their use of WOEIDs, the language neutral geographic identifiers that underpin Placemaker and the other Yahoo! Geo Technologies platforms, in their new Trends API. Naturally all of the Geo group at Yahoo! were excited, verging on ecstatic, at this. But getting our respective schedules in synch with each other wasn’t the easiest of things and 2009 came to a close without getting a firm date in the diary.
Come the evening of Wednesday March 10th and I made my way to the Sun Microsystem’s Customer Briefing Center, just north of London Bridge where I was joined by Ewan MacLeod, the straight talking and highly entertaining and informing editor of Mobile Industry Review, Paul Kinlan, Developer Programmes Engineer at Google and a plentiful supply of beer and pizza.
Ewan went first and you knew he was tapping into a rich vein of mobile geekery when a slide of his tee shirt drew such loud chuckles and guffaws from the audience, myself included.
Ewan’s deck is on SlideShare.net here and it speaks for itself even without an accompanying video; I strongly urge you to browse through his deck for some fascinating stats on mobile phone usage, breakdown and penetration and for the low down on exactly how much impact the iPhone is, and more importantly, isn’t making.
I was up next and gave a talk on (Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Geo (with WOEIDs), which attempted to give this tech savvy audience a background on what geocoding, reverse geocoding and geoparsing are, why this isn’t a trivial task, what WOEIDs are and why they’re important for geo and for deriving meaning from content, such as Twitter status updates.
My deck accompanying the talk is above and there’s also a (slightly shakey) video to accompany it as well.
Closing the talks was Google’s Paul Kinlan who gave us the low down on Google’s Buzz and showed that the adage of never work with children, animals and live demos still has life it in.
Accompanied throughout by beer and pizza courtesy of the event’s sponsors, the Twitter DevNest was thoroughly enjoyable, a bit of a revelation in places and showed that Twitter has a deep and very enthusiastic developer following.