June 13, 2007 – Starting Friday, Charlottesville will host technology "geeks" from as far away as Boston and Silicon Valley for a Web technology "unconference." Instead of Powerpoint, think Mad Libs; there are general outlines of what will be discussed at the “beCamp,” but the participants will fill in the blanks with whatever they want, hopefully creating fun and engaging conversations in lieu of sleep-inducing slide presentations.
The “be” in beCamp stands for “bleeding edge” technology, which is the central focus of the unconference. The beCamp-ers will decide exactly what bleeding edge technology will be discussed, which is entirely appropriate since the nature of bleeding edge technology is that it isn't yet widely known or used. The idea for beCamp is modeled on the international “unconference” phenomenon known as BarCamp, wherein campers determine the agenda of their own event, bringing their personal passions to the forefront and putting the focus on those ad hoc conversations that most conferences confine to the hallways.
“If you're a geek in or around the Charlottesville metroplex or even if you're merely tech-curious, this is the event you really don't want to miss,” said organizer Steve Stedman, an ITC Webmaster.
“Think of it as an ‘open-source geek gathering,’ where attendees get to decide what goes into and what comes out of the event,” said Stedman, who also founded beTech, an informal network of local and University of Virginia Web developers that also focuses on bleeding edge technology.
Organizers have secured historic Fry's Spring Beach Club as the conference venue. The conference will take place from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, June 15, and from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. Several local businesses and the University of Virginia are co-sponsoring the event.
Registration for beCamp is free; all that’s asked of each attendee is that he or she pay for a meal or two, contribute something to the program, or volunteer for setup or cleanup. In return, participants receive beverages, free WiFi and the opportunity to teach and learn from one another in a relaxed and fun setting.
Stedman urged anyone interested to learn more or register at www.barcamp.org/beCamp.
“It will be two days of coding, collaborating, and conversing with people who can't help but share their enthusiasm for the latest Web technologies,” he added. “As one of the registered campers noted, it will be a ‘technology Woodstock’!”