Stories by John Ballinger

Toybox: Huge screen bliss

The reason I decided to buy a new monitor was I had moved over to using a MacBook Pro 15” laptop. I had a great workstation and a couple of good laptops, but after switching to the MacBook Pro I realised I could get rid of a few computers and just live with one.

Geeks gather to share, network and play

It’s over, I feel shattered, my mind is going at 900 miles an hour and my body is craving sleep. The recovery process involved lots of water, two afternoon sleeps on returning home and the unpacking of many toys, including the Wii, my radio controlled plane, Guitar Hero Les Paul replica guitar (yes it is plastic) and assorted computer equipment and electronics.
I spent last weekend at the coveted Kiwi Foo Camp 2008, also known as Baa Camp, held over three days at Mahurangi College in Warkworth. The event — free but invites only — aims to bring many experts, scientists, hackers, eccentrics, government officials and all-round geeks together to exchange ideas.
The event kicked off last Friday afternoon. A hundred and fifty attendees gathered in the staff room and were addressed by Nat Torkington, the Foo Camp organiser, who has put this event on for the last two years. The session began with a quick intro — name, company and three words only to describe your vast array of talents.
Foo, or friends of O'Reilly, is about participation and sharing. A blank schedule is drawn up where anyone can lead an hour-long session on a topic of their choice. Within the next ten minutes, 67 sessions were filled into the schedule, including:
iPhone development. hardware to software, by Layton Duncan; Usability session with Ross and other special guest stars; My programming language is better than yours! Multicore, concurrency, making the pain go away, by Andre Pang; Digital content strategy, with Judith Tizard and; RFID and Biometrics: not the panacea we've been told it is, with Peter Gutmann