Friday, 29 April 2011

Refresh Colombo - April 2011

I'm not a big fan of rain, it usually means lightning is around and I have to switch off the computer. I absolutely hate it when it rains when I need to go out. So I was contemplating whether to go for Refresh Colombo this time, especially because today everything was going to be about Firefox 4 and related stuff. Although I love the browser with all its plug-ins, talking about how it was developed didn't really appeal to me. But so far Refresh Colombo managed to serve up something new and worthwhile in every meeting so I thought of braving the weather and going for the meetup. And it turned out to be the correct decision :-) .

The first presentation was about HTML5 and it was done by Dilantha Nanayakkara. He went through a slide show ( ) and explained the contents of the slides. The guy has being building websites since 1996 so I'm sure he appreciates the new features in HTML5. One thing I noticed while attending meet ups is that it is increasingly getting easier to build cool looking websites, will this lead to a reduction in prices :P ? Anyway I mostly build niche blogs using WordPress and you can build a cool looking blog easily enough if you have a decent WordPress theme. Here is my recent niche blog about Birthstone Jewelry which took me around 30 minutes to set up, it still needs some dressing up with a decent header images but setting up navigation etc is so easy with WordPress.

Firefox 4 Party
The next event was the Firefox 4 party and there was a big cake sponsored by the Cake Factory. I guess Dilantha was the oldest guy at the event so he was given the honor of cutting the cake. After the refreshments various features of Firefox 4 and Firefox for mobile were discussed. Danishka Navin showed some videos explaining the various new features. I have only used the "Pin as App Tab" so it was interesting to get to know about the new features. I was impressed by the new Firefox button which saves a lot of space. If your using Windows as the operating system this doesn't come as default. To get the button you need to go to View -> Toolbar and deselect the Menu Bar. I think it is a good idea if Firefox explains how to enable these features while listing down features.Thejo explained how Firefox 4 mobile version has improve the user experience and some more cool new features. We were also given some Firefox souvenirs to remember the event. You can view some photos of the party visiting this link ( via Malintha ).

Firefox 4 Discussion by Sinhalen FOSS
Next item was a panel discussion about Firefox4 hosted by the Sinhalen FOSS team. Sinhalen FOSS is the first Sinhalese podcast and they discuss various things related to FOSS. Although I'm a software engineer I hardly consider myself a geek but I found the session thoroughly entertaining. Bud and SeeJay were joined by Danishka and Thejo in the panel. Various things including how you can contribute to the open source community were discussed. If a non geek like myself enjoyed it I think this podcast will be perfect for geeks. I couldn't find any pattern to there podcast so I guess subscribing to the RSS feed is the best way to keep track of them.
Although I enjoyed the session I personally think it would be a good idea if they diversify the topics discussed at Refresh Colombo so a much wider audience can benefit from it. Maybe this was a one off because of the FF4 party. Looking forward to the May edition :-) .