Mozfest: Day 1

2015-11-06 20.44.42

I’m at my second Mozfest, and I’m loving every minute of it.

I didn’t blog at all for my first one, because I was basically overwhelmed, and I’m trying to make up for that this time.

Mozfest is all difficult to describe. It takes place over four or five floors of a building near the O2 arena with lots of space for conversation and collaboration. There are about 900 attendees. There are sessions arranged so it’s ‘kind of’ like a conference but it’s really not.

The easiest way of explaining Mozfest is this. There are 900 people there. You can ask any one of them ‘What’s the awesome thing you are doing?’ and they know the answer.

This evening was a display/demo evening – with lots of cool companies showing their wares. We’ll talk about those in a moment. What’s impressive is everybody else.

The first few random people I spoke to this evening where:

  • Producing language support tools in Tanzania.
  • Producing open journalism tools to improve reporting in Afghanistan.
  • A teacher who ran awesomely high level code clubs in Switzerland.
  • Setting up large-scale backspaces in Ghana
  • Teaching creative coding though art.

And those were the just the people who where visiting! They are such incredible humans to be around: it’s like giving your brain a hot bath.

So – the demos. I’m going a pick out a few, just because they stick in the mind, but so many were awesome (and I didn’t get near the particularly popular ones because of the crowds).

I was blown away by the work that cartoDB were showing. I have wrestled with visualising data on maps before and they showed off some applications that where just incredibly intuitive and usable. I’ll be playing with their tools.

It was nice to chat to the people from the Knight Foundation. I think their timeline tool is something that we might use in the TooManyCooks process. On that point, every time I see I get more and more convinced that they are the front end I should be using for TooManyCooks – certainly it’s already the first place I’m going to next time we work with a school that blocks Google Drive. 🙂

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