The Irish edition of FOWA in Dublin lasts only one day. But because the presentations are short (about 20 minutes) you end-up seeing a lot of talks. And as usual what makes FOWA different is the opportunities you get for casual conversations with the speakers.
The venue was a building in the grassy campus of University College Dublin. Everyone could sit outside in the sun for lunch.
The talks that stood out for me were those by Raffi Krikorian (Twitter) and Christian Heilmann (Yahoo), both dealing with geolocation. When it’s about geo I always think of Google Latitude and Bing Maps but Yahoo actually does a lot too, especially in the area of APIs and web services.
IPv6: we’ve been hearing about the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses for a long time. I remember my teachers talking about this at school back in 1996. Well Owen Delong explained that this is now less than two years away. More info on the ARIN site. You can even get counter badges that give the current estimate for the exhaustion date.
I was sitting next to the CEO of TicTacDo, a collaborative how-to site that looks very useful. You could think of it as a Stack Overflow where each question would get a single answer in the form of an actionable TODO list. The app has been live for a while and the enterprise version will launch soon.
Databases: there are many alternatives to the classic relational database. Chris Lea described the NoSQL approach (slides): a range of tools (CouchDB, MongoDB, JackRabbit) should be considered before jumping on MySQL, SQL Server or Oracle.
Some excellent non technical talks by professional speakers: Alex Hunter about taking care of your brand and the lovely Relly Annett-Baker about content creation.
The after conference party at Solas was great: free bar from 7.30pm to midnight (you can never go wrong with that), very good atmosphere and good crowd.
One thing I noticed: during the last FOWA I attended there was an army of bloggers taking notes live on their laptops and posting as the conference was progressing (I could find the posts in Google 30 min after a presentation was finished). Not this time! I think I know why: three years ago people were using blogs to post live information, now they use Twitter, which is better suited for this kind of thing. Somehow Twitter has made blogs more quiet.