Ignite #4 Dublin
In the aftermath of EclipseCon 2010, when the Program Committee got together to talk about the state of the show, one item that came up was the possible use of an Ignite-style format for presentations. The format is deliberately designed to reduce waffling and slide overloading by limiting presenters to a total of twenty slides and five minutes. That’s ok, but the key innovation is that each slide is shown for fifteen seconds and the presenter has no control over the transition. Now that’s pressure!
The greatest challenge for constructing EclipseCon 2010 content was the wide mismatch between the sheer volume of material that was submitted and the container for that content — the rooms and time slots. Take, for example, the Eclipse Modeling Project. This is a container project that has something in excess of sixty sub-projects. How on earth can each of those projects be given time to present in full? Even if only half of them were active, it would still be a tough deal, considering that Modeling is only one of the Eclipse top-level projects. In fact, the Modeling PMC did a great job by including a Modeling Runway talk, which gave twenty-odd projects three minutes to introduce themselves. Very Ignite-like.
So, for the purposes of research, I attended Ignite Dublin #4 last week at the Science Gallery, and I have come away a total fan of the format. Mind you, the diversity of the presentations was the real titillating bit – some examples: we had a photo-essay from a paraglider, and ambient soundscape performance, pedantry, fish stock history (yikes – we had them all eaten by 1870), comedy, legal knowledge and the demise of newspapers. Presenters included a cinematographer, a biologist, a couple of performance artists, film-makers, a neuroscientist, a designer, an environmental historian and a statistician. Beer and pizza was the icing on the cake, if you excuse the screwed up food metaphor.