Open Spaces Coding Day - Getting Hands On!!!

Time for a little reflection. Over the last year, I think that a great deal has been achieved in the Alt.Net community in the UK. We have had two conferences and Sebastian Lambla has now ran four Alt.Net Beers. These have stimulated healthy discussion in the community which I am very happy to see and we should continue to nurture.

In the spirit of continual improvement, I have been thinking about how we can build on these successes and one question in particular comes to mind: "how do we move from talking to doing?". I would also like to foster a feedback loop into the conferences so that the conversation has forward motion.

My draft proposal to the community is to host a series of what I am currently calling "Open Space Coding Days". I would like these to be on a regular basis, rather like Alt.Net Beers. The focus should be on hands-on activity rather than general discussion but the Open Space philosophy still applies. Accordingly, the activities should be self-organizing. This is not about speakers or powerpoint. The only requirement we should have is to publish the code in an open repository and notes in a wiki.

Before I get tackled on the subject, for all I know this is a format that has been tried elsewhere. I suspect that the model might be very near to a BarCamp but as I haven't been to one, I don't know.

I am very interested in taking feedback. The following jump to mind but the list won't be exhaustive:

  • Would you be interested in attending such an event?
  • Would you or your company be interested in sponsoring?
  • I have in mind to do this on Saturdays - do people think this is the right day?
  • What is a reasonable number of people for a hands-on event like this (I suspect it will be fewer than for a conference)?
  • How often should the event be run? Monthly? Every other month? Some other period?
  • Should it run separately to Alt.Net Beers or seek to work together (perhaps planning events to coincide)?
  • Is it reasonable to require attendees to bring their own laptops and have development software already installed? If not, what are the alternatives?

I am in discussions with Conchango to host the first of these as they were so supportive with our first Alt.Net UK Conference.



Conchango have kindly agreed to be venue hosts for Open Space Coding Day 1. This will be on the 31st January at their London offices.

I was expecting to have to put up a reservation form, but in a flurry of tweets during today almost all of the places have been taken! Taking a leaf from Scoble, I thought I would see how effective twitter would be as an organising tool and I am very impressed! At the time of writing, there are a couple of places left so if you are interested, please contact me either on or email If you can't make it on the 31st, don't worry - I will be running the event every other month, so you can always catch it next time around.

When I was at the PDC, I found it very annoying that there wasn't a consistent hashtag in use. Therefore, I would like to propose that we standardise on a single hashtag for these events. I have started using #openspacecode - the only other option that came to mind was #oscd, which (whilst shorter) just seemed too arcane to me.


Following the principle of 'golden hours', there will be two coding sessions of two hours in the day and a generous period of time for socialising over lunch:

The planning process will be as follows:


  1. Attendees put up the sessions they are interested in having
  2. Attendees put their names against sessions they are willing to host. No host means the session is dropped. Be aware: the host is not a presenter, the host is not expected to even know the subject. The host is simply someone to keep the session flowing effectively for the participants.
  3. Attendees vote on which proposed sessions get the go-ahead.

The only exception to this process will be that I am going to try to have one 'keynote' session per event. On the 31st January, Barry Dorrans (Security MVP) has kindly agreed to host a session on "Hands-on secure development". It's certainly one session that I want to be part of!

Please remember to bring your laptop. If you don't have one, then you will have to share. There will be WiFi access available. I will be putting together trial Virtual Machines for anyone who isn't an MSDN subscriber or hasn't got Visual Studio installed. Important: if you want to propose a session using a different development environment, for example using Mono on Ubuntu, please contact me so that we can arrange a VM. These session are about doing, not presenting, and so any proposed sessions that attendees cannot participate in will be dropped before voting.

On the Web

Open Spaces Coding Day - Getting Hands On!!! - …

Other nearby events. Nov 27 µCon: The Microservices Conference 1 miles away in London. Microservices are a new approach to architecting applications.

Open Spaces Coding Day - Getting Hands On!!! - …

Cheap web design nepal, outsourching web development nepal, outsource software development ...

Conchango - Eventbrite

Open Spaces Coding Day - Getting Hands On!!! Jan 31, 2009 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Conchango - Notcutt House, SE1 9EU London

Volunteers needed for Prospect Hts. prairie seed planting day

Like getting your hands dirty? Make an investment in a major community project ... Openlands and ComEd to administer the Green Region Program. Recognizing that open space in local communities is a crucial element of the quality of lives, the ComEd …

Daily Herald • 11/25/2014

Why There’s No Open-Source Standard-Bearer for the Network

Big companies that buy a service from smaller ones impose tough contractual terms around code escrow – meaning ... But it also means that open source tends to get swallowed up by big companies in the network …

CIO • 12/2/2014

A track for everyone at OpenStack Summit |

Is open source really ... the Summit features two days of hands-on training where users can learn how to do what others have done before. Contributing to OpenStack's upstream code can be a little bit intimidating. There are a full day of sessions dedicated ... • 8/30/2014

Model from Old Church literally has a ‘hands-on’ career

On any given day, you might find Ashly ... material to protect her arm from an open flame while sprinkling a product with cheese. Other times, she is pressed close to a model, her arms wrapped around them so her …

Times Dispatch • 11/25/2014

The new Office for iPhone is everything it should have been on day one

The company is getting rid of Office Mobile and replacing it with three standalone iPhone apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, just like on the iPad. In fact, because these apps share code with the ... or SharePoint …

Engadget • By Dana Wollman • 11/6/2014

Hands On With the Puls,'s Connected Wearable

Typing on the tiny screen takes some getting ... right enters a space while a swipe to the left deletes your last character. It's definitely not perfect but it's efficient given the tiny amount of screen real estate. At launch …

Mashable • 10/16/2014

Kano Ships Its First 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits, Fueled By $1.5M Kickstarter

Kano Computing, a startup that plays in the learn to code space by adding ... plus adding Wi-Fi to get the computer online. The keyboard and integrated keypad is very small, so certainly best suited to child-sized …

TechCrunch • 9/27/2014

Hands-on: miniLock's powerful file encryption is dead simple to use

The creator of Cryptocat, Nadim Kobeissi, is back with another easy-to-use encryption tool ... here's a quick hands-on with miniLock on a Windows 8.1 PC. miniLock after a public key is generated. To get started, visit …

PC World • 8/4/2014

Windows XP users won’t get a patch for serious Internet Explorer 0-day exploit

Now it’s time to see what happens when a high-priority security advisory is issued and Windows XP users can’t get their hands on the fix. Security researchers at FireEye have uncovered a flaw in the way Internet Explorer references available memory ...

Geek • By Lee Mathews • 4/29/2014

At U.S. Open, Serena Williams and Roger Federer make quick work of foes on Day 2

Indeed, there was barely time for Townsend even to draw back her racket and get the ... named Serena Williams, who wore a leopard print dress and all but devoured her pudgy, 18-year-old cub/protégé. It wasn’t quite the U.S. Open debut that Townsend ...

New York Daily News • By Wayne Coffey • 8/27/2014