I attended Democamp again on Wednesday night at the University of Alberta and, in my opinion, it was the best one yet. (This post took a while to get posted. I had a few issues with my host again. My fault though!)
It was Democamp 7 and while attendance seemed to be off a bit from the last one (about 120 or so) I thought the demos were really good. I figured with the lousy Edmonton weather lately that more people may have been out.
I thought the demos went smoothly but the reason I thought it was the best so far is that I could probably use all the sites being demonstrated!
The other thing I liked about Democamp 7 was that the people asking questions seemed to focus less on the coding and technical aspects of the website and were asking those doing the demos about the marketing and business aspects of their creations.
I really don’t understand the programming side of creating applications and am not that interested, so it was nice to see more of a focus on the business side.
There were several suggestions from the audience that those doing the demos should be linking their website output to social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Great suggestion! If you can find ways to expand your product’s visibility and usefulness via social media, so much the better!
The evening started off with Reg Cheramy and Sean Healy giving a demo of an app they created on the way down to Democamp Calgary recently.
I haven’t tried the app yet, but I understand that it’s a way of shortening text when you’re using Twitter. I can definitely see some uses for that when you’re limited by 140 characters. I’ll have to test it out and maybe report back on my findings.
I was impressed by the fact that they created the application, bought the domain and set everything up on their three hour trip down to Democamp Calgary. Good job!
They call it Democamp but the Demos don’t always work as intended. That was definitely the case with SnackPanda.
There were some technical glitches with the LCD projector and the guys came back at the end after borrowing another laptop. That didn’t help as they had difficulty once they got the demo going.
Technical glitches aside, they have an interesting idea. SnackPanda is online ordering software for restaurants without an online ordering capable website. So, it’ll appeal to mom and pop restaurants who don’t have a franchise backing them up for ordering.
One thing I didn’t hear was whether they would do online payment processing for the restaurant as well. If they could set that up it might make the software even more useful.
LCD projectors – what a pain!
I have been to more than my share of presentations and it seems like every presentation I’ve been to someone has had problems linking up to the LCD projector.
I have no idea why this is, but I’ve heard the same thing from a lot of people. If you’re looking to develop a bit of hardware or maybe software, here’s a problem looking for a solution. Do you know of something out there to solve these issues? I wouldn’t mind knowing about it.
Maybe that’s why I’m reluctant to do any PowerPoint presentations. : )
Chris Olsen gave us a demo of LeagueSmart. What it does is manage your sports league. If you’re managing a baseball, soccer, hockey or lacrosse league, you can set up your schedule and enter game stats.
I haven’t ever managed a league, but I can see this kind of thing being useful, especially in setting up your schedule. Apparently he’s got a few competitors out there. The software seems to run well and he said he’s got a fair number of leagues already using the software.
I asked him if he’d thought of publishing the game results in Twitter or Facebook, and he said he hadn’t. A social media element to this software would make it even cooler, in my mind. Having been in a softball league before, it would be really interesting to let all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media know about your team winning, the homerun you hit, etc. Maybe you could add YouTube video for when you got hit by a pitch too?
James Matsuba demonstrated Idletime, a job board for freelance, part-time work.
James has demoed the software at a previous Democamp and it’s looking good. Apparently they’re ready to roll on it, and they are going to start with Edmonton.
Their basic premise is that most businesses don’t want to post jobs on Monster and those big sites because of the cost. Idletime is going to cost far less.
They’ve got a lot of cool features and I am planning on having a look and signing up for it. One of the best features, I think, is that the site will send you a text message and let you know about jobs that fit your criteria. Nothing like jumping on those jobs quickly!
They’re planning on rolling out city-specific sites once they’re out of beta, so keep an eye out for it. You may want to sign up anyway to check it out.
Shawn Abbott gave a demo of the new Tynt. Tynt is another one of those demos we’ve seen before, but it seems they’ve completely changed their idea and kept the name.
Their product is Tynt Tracer. It tracks software that’s been copied from your site so you can get a good idea what your site’s users think is interesting and important. From a search engine optimization perspective, this kind of information is invaluable.
I am definitely planning to have a serious look at this software and its capabilities. It may be worthwhile for my SEO clients to be using this.
My only concern is that Tynt may be focusing more on the big websites with deep pockets. It’s in beta now, so you will likely be able to use it. I’m hoping that once they fully develop their fee structure that they won’t put it out of reach of small websites.
Perhaps my favourite demo was MapKat. You can go on and develop maps that are tagged with text and photos of your adventures. The adventures of other MapKat users are available to have a look at as well.
With my trip to Belgium in the works, I can see something like this being a cool way of documenting your trip outside of the usual blog post approach.
They can link to Picasa or Flickr photos or can host them for you. Right now it’s only photos and text that can be put up but they plan on adding audio and video capability to it, so you can link to your YouTube videos.
The site also has the ability to do slideshows, rate trips and filter for certain types of trips, like hikes, car trips, etc.
At some point in the future geotagging of photos will be possible.
With my trip to Belgium I plan on letting everyone know what I’ve been up to and this seems like an ideal place to do it, along with my blog.
MapKat is another site that really needs to have the ability to link up with Facebook, Twitter and other social media. If you could update on MapKat and have the ability to transmit details of your adventures to social media, it would leave you more time for those adventures.
Room At The Top
As usual, a large number of Democamp attendees gathered at the RATT to continue the discussion. Can’t wait for the next Democamp. In the meantime, we can keep up with what’s happening in the Edmonton tech community by attending Tech Wing Wednesday at Hudson’s in downtown Edmonton. Look it up on Facebook if you’re interested.