I’m writing this from Paris after two days of web audio discussions on the Web Audio Conference: I think my brain hasn’t processed everything yet and I couldn’t even attend all the talks and events as I’ve got to prepare for FOSDEM and work on my normal duties too.
So I’ll be somewhat vague and generic to start with, and possibly keep editing the post to add links to things.
If you follow me on twitter you might have seen a lot of tweets during the conference. Lots of libraries and tools were presented. It was great that, as Jan Monschke mentioned, they all were open source and encouraged contributions. It is also, I believe, a symptom that there is SO MUCH WORK to do on this field that people feel underpowered and unable to build all that we need in order to get as creative/expressive as we’d like, or at least, as we can be in other platforms.
So that was cool. However, I can learn about tools and libraries from the comfort of my home and chair. What is really cool is being able to take part in “the hallway track” discussions and do some “networking”, but this is something the conference didn’t really facilitate. The schedule was really TIGHT, and didn’t leave time to process / discuss the new ideas with the people around you, let alone think about them yourself. It all felt really crammed together.
Granted, there was some time for questions after each talk, but I don’t think that’s the right moment or place.
Correction/update: there is an afternoon “hacks” session at Mozilla today which can be used for networking/discussion.
There were a few more aspects that were Not Cool At All, such as the whole line up of speakers being mostly white and male. I think I could count with one hand the number of women on the room (me included) and I’d still have free fingers. In other contexts this would have been outrageous. I tried to encourage diverse groups to send their proposals, and it didn’t work, but I don’t want to make myself feel exclusively responsible for this.
Finally, some members of the conference staff were overly zealous and made me feel incredibly uncomfortable: repeated bag searches on the way in, by the same security officer. Being addressed/yelled at in French, and policed all the time even when in our office. I was yelled at when trying to get some water from the table before lunch because it wasn’t the right time yet (but there wasn’t any other water to drink!). Some of my colleagues were told not to take drinks from the office kitchen’s fridge even if they are Mozilla employees (!!). Some people need to chill down. C h i l l d o w n.
The Web Audio conference is a wonderful and so very much needed forum. At times it even felt like a magic pioneering place, a one of a kind meeting that we were fortunate and privileged to be part of. I want/expect it to get better and better in future editions