BarCamp Chennai Day 2
The day kick started with a wonderful session on Microsoft Word 2007. Pratul who happenes to be a third year student of Computer Science Engineering, Jeppier College is a Microsoft student champ (I will join the community when I am in my third year). Being a Student Champ of Microsoft he almost gets every info on M$’s latest projects and gets to test the pre-beta version of the product.
Office 2007 has a Mac feel to it (Microsoft is becoming Mac these days. Every thing is getting copied). It is quick, has better UI and goes easy on the eye. The first version of Word (Word 1.0) released at 1989 had 100 features/functions (Bold, Italics etc) in it. Word 2000 had 1500 functions in built. But on a recent survey by M$ it was found that people still used the basic 100 functions mostly. This is primarily because the user interface is bad. A person had to search/navigate a lot to find new features, which was very painful. Word 2007, makes these complaints a past. M$ word 2007 also breaks free of the “Files Edit View Format” cliche and has a new Mac like interface.
Dynamic changes on word alone will not signify as a major Office 2007 update. Even Excel and PowerPoint have also been revamped. Live graph is something to look forward to. Photoshop might run out of business as M$ powerpoint takes over most of the functonalities of Photoshop.
However the stability of the system is what worries me. It’s still in pre-beta. But then M$ is known for its crashes and blue screen of death 😉
Following this session, was Atul Chitnis’ “Mobile computing beyond PC”. the session was very informative and also bought about a discussion on how to make applications addressing the mobile users, instead of just shrinking the already PC applications into smaller frams and installing them on your portables. He says “One major reason why the iPod clicked was because of its “one hand full control” interface” The applications are simple to navigate thro, unlike most applications created for hand helds, by developers which have complicated menus and features built for a PC. The user has to squint his eyes and press a doesnt keys and tap a hundred times ont he screen to get things done. This talk actually complimented the previous talk on Microsoft Office 2007 and at the same time also rebuked it. Both the talks were centered on user interfacing and how to make it simple. But Atul openly declared that the idea of his session was to show the endless possibilities of a Mobile device and why a PC may no longer be needed.
An interesting fact that Atul shared with us “In the past ten years, say from 1995 to 2006, a PC has gone dramatic change. So many new features and so many new extensions. Its practically not possible for a person to work on one of those 1995 PCs. But lets take the time span of last five years (2000 to 2006). What change has happened. Practically nothing. For the past five years Computer has become saturated, well, of course leaving those minor changes like few new buttons and a better wall paper! thats it! I can still work on a 2000 machine without a hitch!”
This is where Mobile computing eneters. The boundries lie to be explored.
A quick audio conference with Sujatha (Founder of PodBazzar) ensued Atul’s talk. The Conference was a success, leaving the few glitches with the voice quality at times. Podcasting couldnt be more easier and definitely it’s an untapped resourse of money for peeps in India. Most of us have never tried Pod-Casting, and even if we tried, we gave it up due to lack of netorking. PodBazzar is an excelent place to start with.
Just before lunch a neat session on new age Mail sync techonlogy was delivered by my good friends Ashwin and Moyeen. Both doing their final year collegeing at Jeppier college of Engineering. It was a delight to see these lads carry out the session with confidence that only a expert could have. The idea is unique and their project has been recogonised as one of the 20 best final year projects in India by Microsoft (The review for which will be held on 24th of this month, at B’Lore). MailSync basically integrates EMail and Mobile.
In light with the number of presentations piling up and lack of time being a villain, track two was thrown open for demos.
Amit from Delhi gave an insiders view on MindCanvas a survivors list to making killer applications/web products. I like the interface of Mind-Canvas.
Narain made up for his yesterday’s dismal web 2.0 presentation with a brilliant session on TracBac – A web 2.0 application which he promises will help designers to keep in league with reviewers with minimal effort. At present Tracbac isnt full fledged net service, it’s still in beta. the navigation and the reviewing process is simple and made with dummies in mind. Good work Narain!
A few more session on Ruby was presented. To beat the slugishness and the sleep inducing session, I moved over to flaunt the artist in me.
Boskey my good friend and college mate gave an interesting talk or rather a demo on how to integrate Ajax into a lot of applications. For instance audio recogonising and indexing softwares, on the fly modifying websites. I have made a note to learn Ajax in my summer hols. seems to be a powerful tool in web 2.0.
The BarCamp T-Shirts are pretty cool. I got one for my bro’ too. A few memmorable group snaps and contacts were exchanged. Finally BarCampChennai comes to an end. It was a fabulous experience. I am planning on attending the BarCamp Bangalore edition, which will take place on 22nd of this month.
Photos of BarCampChennai
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