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BarCamp Philly 6: lessons from the annual unconference

The conference has a software developer focus, but there are talks for everyone. They range from the inspirational to the functional to the philosophical ("Exploring Fear" was one talk). We chatted with attendees to find out what they learned at the event.

The scene at Barcamp Philly 6. Photo by Lisa Yoder.

Philadelphia’s civic hacking scene is one that can stand on its own now.

That was one of the lessons learned at BarCamp Philly, the sixth annual wide-ranging unconference that invites anyone to speak about just about anything. The conference has a software developer focus, but there are talks for everyone. They range from the inspirational to the functional to the philosophical (“Exploring Fear” was one talk).

We chatted with attendees to find out what they learned at the event.

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Eric Stein, database administrator at Drexel University (center): “I really want a quadrocopter.”

Laurie Snyder, UX designer (right): “I really need a side project.”

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Kotaro Fujita, developer at New York City startup DocPhin: When working with a client, stop yourself if you or your client use the word “just” or “only,” as in “It’s only a quick fix” or “That should just take five minutes.” Terms like that understate how changes can affect an entire website or project.

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Nico Miceli, SEO & analytics consultant at SEER Interactive (left): I was surprised to learn that city government is working with open source hardware (Arduino) on the Solar Sunflower project because “government is usually years behind in technology.”

Joe Zeoli, designer at Miles Technologies (right): Virtual reality systems are practically cheap now. They used to cost around $1,000 and now you can get them for $300.

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Danielle Parnes, project assistant at Community Design Collaborative: I found out that there are a lot of people in Philly that are willing to share their knowledge — for free.

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Ram Parthasarathy, “Recovering Developer” at Monetate (far left): The civic hacking scene in Philadelphia is real. When I learned about the Solar Sunflower project, I was surprised to hear about people with full-time jobs using their free time to do something of that scale.

Jeff Patti, developer at Monetate (right): Musicians can learn from web comic artists and the way they give comics away for free.

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