Tag Archives: Geek Dinner

Betsy Weber Geek Dinner

Most times when a Geek Dinner is announced for London, it’s really not practical for me to attend. What with a journey of around an hour by train into the centre of the city, and then often a need to take the Underground to wherever the dinner is being held it’s really not practical to get there from work.

This week is a bit different. I’m on a course run by Developmentor, who host their London courses in a managed office block a short walk from Kensington Olympia Underground, so rather than a long train journey, the journey into the west end is about twenty minutes on the Underground. So when Ian posted on Twitter yesterday that he had had a couple of cancellations for the dinner that night I took advantage of being in London and headed along.

The host/special guest at the dinner was Betsy Weber of TechSmith who was in town as part of a trip around the UK, Ireland and France, and although I was vaguely aware of the company, it wasn’t a name I had come across.

Having said that, it was probably a fortuitous coincidence, as having taken a look at the website of the company, their product is really just what we’ve been looking for.

One of the issues we have at work is that users, like everybody else’s users, don’t bother to read manuals. They often end up learning to use the applications via onsite training as either a super user who has been involved in the development, or one of us in the development team travels around training the users. What we have been talking about doing of late is producing screen casts to demonstrate the software, hopefully cutting down on the travelling for face to face training.

Anyway, it did prove to be a good opportunity to share some ideas about screen casting, and certainly we can take a look at TechSmith when budgets allow.

Aside from that, like most Geek Dinners it was a real mix of people and provided lots of broad talk about technology. I was sat next to Ian, and we had an opportunity to catch up with his work with Silverlight. Opposite was Paul, an accountant by trade, but who also is involved in the regular Bar Camp events. I also talked to Julielyn, a friend of Betsy who was travelling with her and who runs a company specialising in Social Media and Internet Strategy. Sat next to me on the other side was Melinda who again is involved in BarCamp and Geek Dinners.

All in all it was a great evening. The restaurant, the Cote, a French restaurant in Soho had apparently come recommended from Colin MacKay – definitely a hit – good food and well priced. Having said that, none of us actually had to pay anything, as despite us offering to split the bill Betsy kindly picked up the bill for the whole evening!

I had my iPhone with me, so below are a few pictures I snapped during the evening.

Developer Day 4 Geek Dinner

Wine

After the Developer Day, comes the night. With a number of people staying around the area and heading home tomorrow, plus one or two like myself and Dave who live locally, three out of the four Developer Day’s have been followed up by a dinner, this one being organised by Zi Makki.

As with the DDD2 dinner, I headed home to collect Beth, who although she would be bored silly during the day, quite enjoys the conversation at the dinner. In a change to previous dinners, after her starring appearance in a Channel 9 video, Dave’s other half Lou came along too and joined in the fun.

Down the Table

Unfortunately, as quite often happens with these things, there were a lot of no shows. Since the sign-up for the event is via a wiki, and opens pretty early on – indeed ahead of registration for the event, it is very much dependant on people taking themselves off the list if they subsequently are unable to attend. Sadly, failing to do this means that people who otherwise would like to come along, are put off. Looking at the list, we had a booking for forty people, and thirty-seven people listed as coming – however at least ten of those people didn’t show up.

Having said that, we had a great time none-the-less. In fact I barely talked to Beth all evening as she had a pretty wide ranging discussion with the guys further down the table covering everything from teaching to gun control. I had some somewhat more geeky conversations, however in general, although there is a slight geek focus to some of the conversations (and always the inevitable gadget comparison), ultimately the topics for discussion are as broad as any other party situation – there really isn’t an archetypal geek!

Creamed

It was great to see Lou at one of these occasions too, hopefully she enjoyed it enough to join us for one of the bigger London events in the future. I took a load of shots with the camera on the phone, thanks to the lack of light some are a bit grainy, but you can browse through my selection here. There were several other people snapping away during the evening, so hopefully we’ll be able to pull them altogether into a group later on.

Developer Day 3 Coming Up Fast

The third Developer Day is coming up fast, looking at the calendar it takes place a week on Saturday. I got in promptly with my registration, as did a colleague at work who is coming along too – both our passes turned up yesterday. As expected the event was full in just over two weeks, so it seems as popular as ever. Also as before I still can’t quite make my mind up which sessions I’ll go to – invariably I’ll go to different ones from what I plan anyway. Beth and myself are also signed up to go along to the dinner afterwards – looking at the list there should be one or two familiar faces there as well.

However, what will be slightly strange will be the people that won’t be there. Neither Dave Oliver, nor Sarah are coming along this time. From what I can gather none of the guys from SSE are making the journey up to Reading this time which is a shame, would have been nice to catch up with them.

Anyway, I expect I’ll post a report on the sessions I attended, plus a selection of snaps from the Geek Dinner too.