I went along to the recent indieweb camp in Utrecht.

The first day’s seminars included some fascinating ideas and demos, and some useful discussions too. I came away with a strong desire to follow up on Julia Jannsen’s beautiful attention fair, a work of design that explores the black heart of the social web.

image: utrecht reflection

I missed the seminar on building your own search engine, annoyingly, but given that the camp was videoed, and the video can be found on archive.org, I was able to revisit it.

I raised one point that I think I want to consider further, which is about putting out misinformation about yourself to help protect your identity from pirates such as google and facebook, and the consequences of their abuse of the information they (quite legally) steal. But that’s not for this discussion.

I think I’d also like to review recordings of other webcamps: if their content is as useful as this one, then there’s a lot of interesting information and ideas to pick up and dissect.

The second day was a short hackfest, in which I did little, while a fellow participant built a search engine. The idea is to share knowledge and questions while building things. However, I am coming from a completely different place (here) to everyone else (the indieweb), so had little to share. Even so, it was useful, particularly in terms of absorbing the practical side of what was going on elsewhere. I’ve no intention of going anywhere near active website based stuff; I’ve been burnt too many times (drupal, next cloud, etc.) and php, for example, has far too many zero days, but, even so, the context felt good.

The webcamp was a small community of like minded people meeting and discussing a shared interest, coming from many directions with many different purposes and ideas. It was well worth attending.

Utrecht itself is a fascinating city. Brutalist architecture in the UK is usually pretty poorly done, but it works here (and in France, and in Luxembourg, etc.), and very well indeed. Now, I’m limited in my impression of that aspect of the city to the area around the station, and the low rise area where the webcamp was held, so it’s not exactly an opinion based on carefully surveyed research, but, from what I saw, the city planners have done a good job.

My one regret is that I didn’t have the opportunity to photograph the city, particularly the canals. I’ve previously got some photos of which I’m rather fond.

I will attend more such events, hopefully making a bigger contribution in the future.