Mashup Camp IV: Speed Geeking 2 and wrap-up

It’s taken me a couple of days to get my notes transcribed from Mashup Camp’s last speed geeking session, since I’ve spent the weekend frolicking around in San Francisco. I really have to learn to do this before I kill all my brain cells on a weekend…

I saw many less speed geeking sessions than the previous day, in part because some of them just didn’t bother to participate in the second round. I’d like to point out to the demonstrators that if you can’t manage to wrap up your predetermined 6-minute conversation even when a siren goes off in the room in order to restart the next round, don’t expect me to believe that you could ever deliver anything on schedule.

Here’s what I saw:

QEDwiki: Not sure what the mashup was called, but it was built on IBM’s QEDwiki and combined Google maps with (or should I say events, allowing you to search for events by subject/keyword, plot them on a map, then click through directly to the Upcoming event page. As with other QEDwiki sites that I’ve seen, this was multi-pane, with the top pane containing an RSS feed of events matching the search criteria, and the bottom pane containing the map. Future plans include adding Eventful and other event listings.

Cold Call Assistant: Another QEDwiki mashup, this one combining data with a variety of other sources. You create a sales campaign on Salesforce as usual, which consolidates a list of contacts and their details, and this mashes it up with competitor information, news about the selected competitor or IBM (this was created by an IBM’er), local weather, restaurants and golf courses. The idea is that it provides context for a conversation that you’re about to have with the customer that you’re cold-calling for this sales campaign; why they picked golf courses rather than strip clubs, I’m not sure. 🙂 There’s no feedback to, that is, if anything comes from this call, you’d have to go back to manually and enter in the data.

Best Price Food Shopping: An interesting idea for a mashup, which combines one feed per product (such as milk or bread) using Javascript to fetch and parse the RSS with Google maps to plot out where to buy your groceries. There’s some colour coding for which is the cheapest and most expensive, but this whole idea is reliant on the stores providing feeds for the underlying data, which isn’t currently happening. Useful for people with lots of kids who care about the price of milk, which isn’t me — I do much of my shopping in Toronto’s Chinatown, where I buy fruits and vegetables for pocket change.

Mashup Telephone: Probably the funniest (and most useless) mashup that I’ve seen, the mashup version of the telephone game: you know, the one where you whisper something in someone’s ear, they do the same to the person next to them, and so on until you’re all laughing about how scrambled that it got along the way to the 10th person. In this case, a search term was passed through successive mashup APIs sequentially to see what came up.

Flickrball: Another useless but charming mashup: a game where you have to get from one word to another in six moves (the old Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing) using tags on Flickr photos. Some nice eye candy in the UI, but it wouldn’t otherwise captivate me.

Seegest: A social movie rating site, where you rate what you’ve seen, what you’d like to see, and what you own. If your friends want to see the same movie as you, it helps to facilitate a movie night. If you own movies that you’re willing to lend, it can match them up with your friends (to whom presumably you’d be willing to loan a movie). It uses Yahoo authentication, so you’ll need a Yahoo ID to use it, plus feeds from Amazon for movie/DVD information and video of trailers from YouTube.

The last breakout session of the day, scheduled for after the speed geeking, sort of didn’t happen; most people were just hanging around chatting or demonstrating, and no one was in the room scheduled for the session that I had planned to attend. Given the opportunity to get north of the valley towards San Francisco before the 3pm car pool lanes kicked in, I headed out, skipping the closing session and the awards. At 2:58, I crossed the point just south of San Francisco airport where the car pool lanes cease to exist, and continued north for my weekend in San Francisco before the start of BPM Think Tank on Monday.

This was my third Mashup Camp, and likely my last; in fact, if it hadn’t been that I was coming down for BPM Think Tank anyway, I probably wouldn’t have attended this one. I enjoy Mashup Camp, but I’ve seen a lot of the stuff already, or am tracking it online; since I don’t write code any more, much of this is a bit peripheral to what I do, making it difficult to justify both the travel expenses and the time away from paying clients. Maybe I’ll be back when Mashup Camp hits Toronto, there’s certainly a strong enough tech community and BarCamp community to support one there.

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