The sun, the surf and of course the barcamps - LA has it all. This was BarCamp #2 for me and I enjoyed every minute. The best part of these events is that most people love them - they love the environment, interacting with real developers who take great pride in everything that they do. Surrounding yourself with people who enjoy barcamps is truly a great experience.
To make things easier for BarCamp-ites, ungrid.org (brought to us by Digisynd) took photos of the conference grid and put them online, allowing viewers to see what's coming up without having to go back to the board. The grid was close at hand for those of us with iphones (no not me - other cooler people), the grid area was still the central hub for the conference, spawning the most unlikely of talks from discussions on whether zombism stems from bacterial or viral infections to gathering more players to play Magic (yeah - I didn't realize people still played that either). Alright...enough with the fluff :) Let's talk sessions. I went to several sessions that I thought had some great content:
Social Engineering (presented by Alex Smolen)
Alex gave us a great overview of the reality of security at any company. He hammered home the point that companies don't always try to be the most secure. They simply want to be just secure enough to do business. He went through points about how the most insecure aspect of any business is not the technology - it's the people using the technology. The whole concept of a social engineer is behind the idea of hacking people, taking advantage of the vulnerabilities in a person's brain. People will always be more flawed than machines. Let's take passwords for instance. Passwords are a bane for those who are trying to secure a site. Humans will usually go with the easiest password that they can remember. Social engineers exploit these flaws while avoiding suspicion.
URLs are the New Cookies - intro to awe.sm (presented by Jonathan Strauss)
Jonathan gave us a great overview of awe.sm, with an overview of the technology behind the product. His discussion included URL shorteners and how they introduce a single point of failure, he handled queries from the crowd like a pro (we would expect nothing less from a former Yahoo!). I recommend his site for businesses and developers alike.
While I was at the conference I had the chance to speak to everyone about two Yahoo! services that I really care about - BOSS and YQL. There are many others I recommend but I haven't talked to developers about BOSS yet and they have some great plans for the future of this product that I really wanted to share. Take a look at the slides and if you have any questions send me over a message on twitter @jcleblanc
Special thanks to all of the organizers of this event - you all did a great job with this one and I'm glad there are people willing to go to these lengths for the community.
Yahoo! Developer Network