@madpilot makes

Perth Ruby on Rails user group. Edition 1

Matt Didcoe has finally gotten the ball rolling on a Perth Ruby on Rails user group with the inaugural meetup happening at the Silicon Beach House on Wednesday 20 February 2008 from 5:30pm. The first one will be pretty informal – no talks (although, I’m sure there will be plenty of taking).

So if you you use Rails, have tried Rails, are thinking about learning Rails or have only just heard of Rails, come along and watch me and Matt try to out geek each other :P

Details in a nutshell:

AWIA Event: Ideas4

For those of you who don’t remember, AWIA (and back in the day: Port80) has been running a series of talks, deemed “the Ideas series”, and I’m proud to announce the next one in the franchise: Ideas4!

We are lucky enough to have Lisa Herrod, a User Experience expert (and all-round nice gal) flying over from Sydney and local girl, Rachel Cook talking on startups. We might even have a special international guest, if everything falls into place ;)

Ideas 1,2 and 3 were awesome, and I’m expecting nothing less from Ideas 4, so make sure you mark 30 January 2008 in your diary. Tickets are $25 for AWIA members and $35 for non-members.

Head over to http://www.webindustry.asn.au/ideas4 for the rest of the details and to get your tickets.

Hurry though, they’ll sell out. They always do…

Podcamp. I want it now daddy!

As the more attentive of you out there knows, podcamp.info have been running a competition-turned-slinging match between the states of this fair country to see who should get the rights to host the first Australian PodCamp. Perhaps when they thought of this marketing plan, they were betting on Sydney and Melbourne (as usual) providing the bulk of the votes. Well unfortunately for them, they didn’t count of Perth’s very own BarCamp being but days before.

Ever since, a crack team of web commandos, accused of a crime they did not commit have been hawking Perth to anyone who would listen, and as a result, up until a few days ago we were in the lead. Now we only have to wait until the end of the week to find out where were stand – the create a further aire of suspense the organisers have removed the leaderboard so it will be a surprise on Friday. Just to make sure that we get PodCamp – we implore you to got to http://www.podcamp.info and vote #1 Perth.

Bronwen and I have even made a video begging for your support. See below.

Managing the menagerie of marvelous, erm events

First of all, let me apologise for the hideous attempt at alliteration. For those of you who have been following this blog, you would have noticed a large number of events that have been hitting the shores of the west coast of Australia. This isn’t the half of it – there are many other similar groups such as SIGGRAPH, Byte Me!, Plug and Play, WAnimate, PIGMI and Perth Massive who put on regular events.

Let me state this now – it is AWESOME. Being the most isolated city in the world we (on many occasions) have missed out on big events/concerts/sporting events and so we are often forced to put on our own events. This does create a slight problem though – quite often there are event clashes as there isn’t really much communication between all the different organisations. For example, on the 15th of August Perth is hosting WebJam, which has meant that the Perth Bloggers meetup is probably going to be rescheduled (because of the audience overlap) whilst still clashing with “Digital Content Industry Audit” that is being put on by ScreenWest and DoIR.

Now I know that things such clashes are inevitable – there are only so many days in the calendar, but I think we as industry groups (I’ve got my AWIA events hat on now) really need to make a concerted effort to let each other know what it going on. A nice flow on effect from this is that more people will hear about these events which spreads the love.

A proposal (and thank you to Kat Black for debating with me already)

This is far from well hashed out, and I would really love to hear your feedback on how we can do this.

In an ideal world there would be one central place where all events in the know Perth universe would be posted. The reason this hasn’t worked in the past is because EVERYONE tries to set these up, each one of the above bodies probably has an event calendar, which doesn’t help our cause. For it to work effectively, the owner needs to be a neutral body, such as DoIR or Central TAFE or similar. It would need to be community driven, perhaps with a trusted representative from each organisation with write access to a calendar or blog allowing them to post events on behalf of said organisation.


  • It is open – anyone can read and consume the information via the web, RSS etc.
  • There is no barrier for the event owner to post an event. If they had to email an already over-worked public servant to post this information this would quickly fall in a heap.
  • It is neutral – there is no ownership issue if it is driven by a neutral party who has a vested interest in ALL the groups involved.
  • Builds up a contact point for all the organisations in Perth. If you want to get in contact with an organisation, their details are right there.


  • There is still some administration from the point of view of the neutral body – they need to ensure the right people have write access and will still need to monitor for in-appropriate posting and such
  • For it to work, there needs to be a long term commitment from the neutral body

So why haven’t I suggested other options such as a event co-ordinator mailing list (my original idea) or a Facebook group or an Upcoming account or similar? As Kat pointed out, we are all constantly inundated with email, so adding more noise might mean the message is lost. A blog or dedicated calendar system can still feed information out via RSS or email alerts – it is simply more flexible. I would also feel more comfortable if the system wasn’t a closed one such as Facebook or Upcoming – by all means we can feed this information into these sites (automatically most of the time) but they shouldn’t be driving it.

I am more than happy to get the ball rolling on this, but I need to know if this will be of use – it will only work if those people who are actively organising stuff are going to get behind it.

Please leave me with your thoughts.