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FOWA Expo London 2008 – Day 1 October 10, 2008

Posted by Michael Kowalski in work.
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The venue for this year’s London Future of Web Apps conference is again Excel, the large conference center in the Docklands. There are a couple of other conferences sharing the space: most disconcerting is something called “Hillsong”. Wikipedia tells me it’s some kind of Australian Pentecostal church into music. Certainly their crowd includes a lot of young, not too crazed looking people. But they have stationed greeters every 5 meters along the long walk from the tube platform to the hall, wearing red “I LOVE mychurch” tees and burbling bright good mornings.

Very nice hessian goodie bag. Simons Willison and Wardley seem to have decided they are some kind of comic double act. Um, without actually being funny… Oh well, they’ve put together two good tracks. 

Kevin Rose – hadn’t seen the harsh new haircut; did he do prison for some fratboy prank? Don’t know, all this “people who like what you liked also liked” stuff is very hard to get right. I find Amazon, the poster child for this stuff, frequently irritating. Good question about whether we are narrowing people’s perspectives by tightly personalising what they see. 

Edwin Aoki from AOL says web apps are not after all the future, unless you don’t care about making money. Coins “GFC” for “Global Financial Crisis” so we can talk about it and have it still sound techie.

Good and well staged overview from Blaine Cook and Joe Stump about scaling. Yes, all programming languages suck, in one way or another.

Jabber is the “next step beyond REST”, apparently. 

Cappuccino guy says “from a 10000 ft view, all web apps are the same”. Well, maybe, but that’s no reason to write them in pseudo-Objective C with no markup. I call this “the Swing Fallacy”, but some people don’t seem to have noticed that Swing was/is a disaster. Though the key bindings, clipboard support, undo etc in Cappuccino do all look good. 

Afternoon ends with a Dragons Den style pitching session. Five startups with 60 seconds each and a panel of Jason Calcanis, Brent Hoberman, Mike Butcher and the man in the hat. Amusing and even useful. Some of the pitches too British and bumbling. eRepublik the winner – casual gaming being a sure thing, revenue wise (grumble: though they never gave me a beta tester account even thought I signed up months ago).

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