Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Refresh Colombo - July 2011

After missing the last two events I was very eager to attend the July edition of Refresh Colombo. I was very bitter about missing the last edition because there was a presentation about mobile marketing. I guess you can't have everything in life. There was a huge crowd for the event, probably somewhere close to 150. This is the largest crowd I have seeing after the FireFox party. The organizers were actively promoting the event by mailing previous participants and encouraging them to display poster in there offices and universities and the large crowd could be a result of that. Kudos to @nazly, @alokag, @HamidAfzal and everyone else who plays a part in organizing such a useful event.


The first presentation was about MongoDB, done by Dinesh and Susantha. A nice comparison was done between the traditional databases and mongoDB.Different situations where mongoDB can improve performance in certain cases were also discussed. There was a small demonstration as well showing how easy it is to add, delete and modify records etc. From what I understood the main idea with mongoDB is to reduce the disk space as much as possible and thereby improve performance. ( mongoDB experts feel free to correct me in the comments section). Another good things about mongoDB is you don't need to do any installations. Its just matter of running an executable file. Since I'm having trouble installing various Oracle versions and finding compatible PLSQL developer versions this sounds like a great idea. And there are no JOIN's :-) . I hate joins, specially when there are like four joins in one big view.

Social Media beyond Marketing

The next presentation was by Thushara Hettihamu who is a senior manager in Dialog Axiata. He spoke about how dialog is using social media to respond to customer inquiries etc. I have being using Twitter for a while now and have seeing some complains about dialog and its a good things that they are actively using social media to counter those things. If you want a quick response from dialog the best things to do is post it on there Facebook walls, buy the looks of things you are guaranteed a quick response. In answering a question he briefly talked about how to handle negative reviews as well. Early that morning I attended the Digital Dojo by Ogilvy and some facts mentioned there were also mentioned in the video Hetti showed. Internet and social media users are rising in Sri Lanka and if you don't respond to its as a brand you might find yourself losing customers and crushed by competitors. There were some questions about fair usage policy and things were just about to interesting when Nazly jumped in and ruined the fun :P .

Future of Web Apps

The next presentation was by Lakshan Perera and he talked about the future of web apps. Although I'm a software engineer I wouldn't call myself a hardcore geek and this presentation was a bit beyond me. But since lots of techies come for Refresh I'm sure many of them enjoyed it a lot.

Mobile Trends - From Symbian to Android

The next presentation was done by Thejo, who gave a very entertaining presentation. He talked about how Symbian failed both the users and the developers. If you listened to his presentation you might get the feeling that Symbian was the worst creation made by mankind. But he gave some really good examples of why Symbian failed. Although he talked about the OS one general message you can get from his speech is keep things simple. The world, specially the technological developments are moving at a fast pace and you should make it easier for people for keep in touch with your developments. He also talked about the difference in revenue model, which was another factor that made developers switch to Android. A very entertaining presentation I'm sure enjoyed by many.

TweetupSL 2

After that there was a announcement about TweetupSL. Which is an informal meetup of Twitter users in Sri Lanka. You get a T-Shirt if you register quickly for the event ;) . Using social media is much more effective when you know the person in real life and these events are the perfect opportunity to build connections.

Bus Route Finder

There was another presentation which was not on the agenda and that was the introduction of the much talked about bus route finder by Chav. It seems to work fine for the destinations I checked. It is an open source project so can check out the code and give feedback or make improvements.
Another great Refresh Colombo event and definitely looking forward for the next one. If you are not attending you are missing out on a lot and it is definitely not a geek only thing.

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