Good Times at MoSoConf

I was lucky enough to attend the Mobile and Social Conference in Saskatoon this year, and even more lucky that they selected me as a presenter at their HTML5 Code Camp! Here’s a few notes from my experience at @mosoconf

Wednesday: HTML5 Code Camp & Kickoff Party

First off, I want to say The Two Twenty is a pretty awesome co-working space. I’m actually kind of jealous that Saskatoon has such a thing, and wondering why Regina hasn’t jumped on board yet. I arrived a bit early to the code camp and got to meet some of the other speakers before the event. When we finally got down to it, we kicked it off with an intro to HTML5 from Jesse Heaslip, followed closely by a presentation from Research in Motion about the role they think HTML5 will play in the mobile space and how their new OS is planning on taking advantage of it.

After RIM, I was the first one up to walk people through code. My topic was Geolocation using JavaScript APIs with a touch of Google Maps’ v3 JavaScript API. I think it went pretty well, and I’m definitely glad I got a chance to practice it beforehand at iQ. You can see my presentation here, and the code we went through (as well as a few extras) is on my github account.

That was followed by a cool presentation on WebSockets thanks to Jordan Boesch, where we made a multiplayer balloon popping game (I won!), and finally by a presentation on WebWorkers from Dan Merino. The day wrapped up with a few free drinks, pre-registration, and great conversation at Earls, hosted by Zu.

Thursday: MoSoConf Day 1

My only complaint about mosoconf is that it was hard to find parking, and once you did it was damn hard to find the Arts Building on the U of S campus. What made that worse was the pouring rain on Thursday morning. After an hour of searching I finally found the conference rooms and was able to catch the tail end of the first presentation from Duncan Stewart and his predictions on the future of TV, Social, and Mobile technologies.

Following that was a great presentation from Darren Hailes of Westjet, talking about their social media strategy. I was impressed by how Westjet tackles social media and uses it effectively to engage customers, and I’m hoping to take a few tips back to iQ with me :)

Right after the morning break there were a few quick “marketplace pitches”, in which any participant can sign up and has 2 minutes to address the crowd with an idea or brief community advertisement. After realizing this was a thing, I did my best to get on the list to pitch HackREGINA in the afternoon session (and was successful!). Following that was a great talk from Julien Smith on taking basic laws of nature and evolution and using them to motivate yourself and your company to evolve and be the best you can be. A very energetic and to-the-point presentation I really enjoyed.

Sessions

After a quick lunch there were several sessions to choose from. I went to the GSMA OneAPI Gateway session first, in which GSMA revealed a carrier-agnostic API in which you can charge to people’s cell phone bills directly (among other things). There was a lot of good feedback from experienced mobile developers on the current state of the API as well as some feature requests, but overall it was a good idea and it’ll be interesting to see where they go with it. More information @ http://oneapi.aepona.com/

The second session I visited was a “MoSo Chat” format session about the transition from problem to solution in software development. This was interesting in that the moderator and the two speakers at the front of the room were facilitating the discussion rather than talking themselves. There was a lot of smart dialog happening and I was proud I was able to contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way :)

After that I checked out the “Developers Are From Vulcan, Designers Are From Wonderland” session, in which Jennifer Fraser reviewed some of the techniques that her team and company uses to manage the developer-designer relationship, as well as the problem with co-located worldwide teams. Lots of great ideas on how to address those issues, but as I tweeted, you can never beat face-to-face collaboration (more on this in a future blog post).

The day ended with another round of marketplace pitches (I pushed HackREGINA on everyone, hopefully we get some interest), followed by Dave Carroll, better known as the United Breaks Guitars guy. He’s an independent musician who, through his experience with his viral video, learned the ways that users can drastically affect the image of a company through social media. There were lots of great takeaways, mostly focused on the “wrong” way to handle a social media confrontation.

Summary

In all, mosoconf was great, and I highly recommend anyone interested in the startup scene to go the next time it’s available. I unfortunately was only able to take in the first day of the two day conference, and I missed a lot of the great music that they have in the evenings, but it was a good time nonetheless.

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