BarCamp Day 2 – Morning & Afternoon

Simon Willison on OpenID
Simon talked about systems for single sign-on across multiple sites. You don’t give away your user name to the site, but do it via a third party signon, such as Yahoo!. MyOpenID

Attribute Exchange
Registering personas. You can set up personas which lets you act as different people on each site, with perhaps a different circle of friends or interests..

A bit prone to phishing – an evil site could redirect you to a phishing site which could catch your ID and password (if you are signing into openID via any old site (rather than at the mothership). AOL have turned OpenID on for 68 million accounts now. is a site which Simon has written, which acts as a middle man for yahoo signin/openID.

[Simon demos openID signon for Magnolia]

What happens if your provider goes away? You can use your own url as a delegation by inserting a couple of lines of HTML in the code of your site.

If you log into a blog to comment, you can populate a white list of trusted friends’ openIDs which would then bypass comment spam moderation. is a way to enhance your reputation as a distributed profile. Other users vote yes or no to say if they agree with your opinion. Jyte has a group for BarCamp (effectively a white list) which could be exported to another social network, lock, stock and barrell.

Janette Girod on Optimising The Everyday: Finding Flow
Janette’s presentation was all about the art of training your attention. You get out what you put in – pay attention and you’ll get more benefit. Also need to set up circumstances to allow you to pay full attention to what you’re doing. This can be helped by:

  • Defining clear goals
    Focus one one small thing to achieve per session.
  • Heighten concentration
    Can be increased by practice. Make it easier on yourself by removing apps you’re not using, ban im, email, twitter!! Don’t sabotage yourself.
  • Loss of self-consciousness
    Become absorbed in what you’re doing.
  • Distorted sense of time
    Specifically allot a period of time to concentrate – it can take 15-20 minutes to zone-in. 48 minutes on, 12 minutes off. Fun to race against the clock. At the end, it gives you break – get up, make tea, check email: this break means your next session of 48 minutes is more productive.
  • Direct & immediate feedback
    Test all the time, immediate reward for your work, seeing when something works
  • Balance between ability level and challenge
    T oo hard, you freak out, too easy, you switch off. If you have a really hard task, break it down into smaller chunks and get those out of the way one by one
  • Sense of personal control of activity
    Master your tools, then you will feel in control of what you are doing
  • Intrinsically rewarding action
    If you have a choice, do something you want to do, rather than something you have to
  • Focus of awareness narrowed down to concentrate
    Be strict with yourself if you find your attention wandering off track. If you keep practising this, you will need to do it less often.

[Janette, in full FLOW]

As a soon-to-be freelancer, I found her ideas and suggestions most welcome, as self-motivation will be a big factor in my success!

Erin Staniland on Web Sites For Photographers
Erin demonstrated With Associates‘ Flash-based galleries for photographers, with a cms. The customer gets their own domain name, a unique design on a small budget, they manage pictures themselves. Some examples of the system:

The CMS is Ajax on Rails, which creates an XML file which can be manipulated with Flash.

Minibooks – cheap, quick and dirty website for quickly showing work to potential clients. These have standard templates, slight customisations.

Ben Ward on ASP.NET Active Standards Pages
Ben concurred that ASP1.1 not designed with standards in mind. Therefore it was crap at it, at times. Visual studio tends to insert nastyinline JavaScript in certain circumstances, eg Image Buttons, form validation, hyper link pagination on datagrids.

Some controls need to be nested inside forms. Gridview (.NET2) MUST be inside a form. <label> is a pain. The code will generate unique codes for each element – it can screw up css id selections. Page doesn’t validate under some circumstances – viewstate can cause problems.

.NET2.0 Master Page templates are better now to set header, nav, footer and define content area into which we can drop the form controls etc. Easy to pass unique page ID for body class switching. Other useful stuff in the header – such as setting the RSS feed link for auto discovery of feeds.

Wrapping Up
After such an action-packed couple of days, there were a few dropouts by the end, but the vast majority made it to the final session. Thanks were given all round, especially to everyone who helped out or organised. There was a discussion about the format of the whole event, and it was general concensus that sleepover was an integral part of the event, and a one-day format wouldn’t be the same (besides, when would we play Werewolf?!).

As a first-time BarCamper, would I go again? Most definitely! It was fantastic to meet such great people – going to PubStandards with some of them regularly is one thing, but this is a chance to “jam” in a completely different way. There was laughter in the air virtually all the while during social times, and you could almost see the ideas sparking off each other during the speaking sessions.

So, we departed until next time, full of inspiration and in need of some sleep!

[All wrapped up, and the photos are posted on Flickr already.

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