TechHui

Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

2010 TechHui Conference: That's a Wrap!

Aloha e TechHuians! We had three keynotes, 10 panels, 180 Subway sandwiches, a special HTML 5 session, a few hand launched AUVs, an appearance by Gollum and no fatalities. Woohoo! Many thanks to our sponsors*, organizers Susan Horowitz (Pacific New Media College), Mika Leuck (Ikayzo) and Jay Fidell (ThinkTech Hawaii) for all of their hard work. We also greatly appreciate the daylong efforts of moderators Burt Lum, Jay Fidell and Joseph Saturnia.

Keiki-Pua, many thanks for reviewing how we fared with the legislature over the past year, and HSTC/HSTI's goals for the coming years. Kaz, Mahalo for sharing the current state of Blue Mars. The videos look fantastic. Vinod, thank you for the education in nanotech - all very interesting stuff!

Mahalo to all the great panelists. A special thanks to those who flew in to attend - Seth Ladd from CA, Matthew Hawkins from the Big Island and Steven Squire from Maui. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We know some of the panelists were a bit rushed, and we apologize for that. We may limit panels to three people next year.

As always, your comments, suggestions, questions and creative insults are welcome. We hope you had a good time and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Thank you again for attending.

Best regards,
The TechHui Team

*Sponsors: Superb Internet, Pūkoʻa Scientific, Oceanit, HTDC, Revolusun and Ikayzo

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Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 27, 2010 at 12:14pm
Aloha Matthew - Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful feedback. The conference is a huge amount of work for many people, so this kind of feedback is really appreciated.

I agree with you and Slava that we should have more detailed descriptions of the panels and topics covered. Next year we will rectify this. We will probably also adjust the structure to allow for more of a deep dive in the programming related sessions - fewer panelists and more code examples are probably in order. I wish we could have given Seth an hour, but we ran out of space before he proposed the idea. Next year, if he is able to join us again, we will carve out more time for him.

I also agree that Skype was problematic. The AV system just wasn't up to the task. Its a shame, because Dr. Kobayashi's work is actually very interesting. He was doing a deep dive, which is exactly what we wanted.

Matthew Camp: I thought Soctt's presentation on localization was especially interesting and became aware of cultural differences that I had never considered in web design.
So did I. His original presentation was about three times as long, and had tons of additional interesting content. We'll get it posted in the User Experience Design Group or in a blog post.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 27, 2010 at 11:59am
Slava Frolov: Another issue is making Flash Usable for Users With Disabilities http://bit.ly/bVxhPX
That information is grossly out of date. Your accessibility link is from an article written eight years and many versions ago. As I mentioned in the panel discussion, Flash and Flex have many built in accessibility features. MX introduced accessibility seven years ago. Silverlight also has accessibility features. The problem is that developers just don't use them.

HTML 5 does have the advantage of providing some accessibility automatically if you use semantic tags.

Slava Frolov: You can look at one of his reports to get an idea, this one was published few years back http://bit.ly/a6adYy Quote: "Using Flash for navigation is almost as bad."
This is an involved topic best discussed somewhere such as the User Experience Design group, but in short - this assertion may apply to static web sites, but web apps often have states rather than traditional pages. Lets move the technical discussion to the appropriate place.

Slava Frolov: Also nothing was said about SEO.
We can't cover everything in a 50 minute panel. SEO was discussed in other panels. If you are interested specifically in deep dives on programming, you may want to attend some of the meetups we have for specific technology areas such as the mobile developers meetups. Those involve more code samples, discussion of libraries, etc. You have to remember, this conference was designed to provide a taste of tech in Hawaii - everything from energy technology to nanotech, not just programming.

Slava Frolov: Do you see any major player using Flash for content?
No.

Slava Frolov: By the way, if Flash is so great why TechHui is written in HTML+CSS? ;)
I have no idea where you are going with this. I don't recall anyone suggesting use of Flash for sites like TechHui.

Slava Frolov: Also I didn't hear much about Silverlight.
That was my fault. We were missing an adapter for the machine that had Silverlight installed, so I couldn't do any demos. As such, I chose not to spend too much time on it.
Comment by Matthew Camp on June 27, 2010 at 11:42am
Hi Dan, thanks again for puttin on the TechHui conference. There are so few opportunities for the disparate tech community to get together and learn about new technologies and lessons from experts that have been through the trenches.

Unfortunately, I arrived a little late and missed the Keynote presentations.

I was able to catch the better part of the Renewable Energy Panel, the User Experience Design Session, the HTML 5 Session, the Star Trek Tech Today Session, the iPhone & Android Panel, and the Inventors Panel.

I can honestly say that I had trouble choosing between each of the breakout sessions offered and found them all equally appealing. Game Development vs. User Experience Design!? Tough choice!

With only 50 minutes per session and 3-4 presenters per session, I thought each session moved along very quickly and kept me fairly interested throughout the day.

In the User Experience Design session, I thought Soctt's presentation on localization was especially interesting and became aware of cultural differences that I had never considered in web design. I thought Bernad Uy's presentation was especially valuable and might find myself using is framework for website design practices in the future. I did find Steven Squire's segment a bit soft in relation to User Experience Design, but appreciated his take on web design and it's connection to other media such as scenes in a movie.

In the Star Trek Tech today session, I was really impressed with the panelists and the technologies that are coming out of companies such as Oceanit and Rapid Technology. I thought Ken Cheung and Russ Ogi's presentations were spot on with the topic. I was honestly a little frustrated with Dr. Kobayashi's presentation. While I appreciated the effort to include Dr. Kobayashi over skype, I was lost from the very beginning and had a very hard time following the discussion between the audio quality, wind in the background, birds chirping, heavy accent, and highly technical nature of the discussion. I feel it would have been helpful if he had a better understanding of his audience.

I thought the iPhone & Android discussion was especially insightful and was especially entertained by Dr. Sam Joseph who brought a great amount of energy and levity to the discussion. I felt his presentation on iPhone vs. Android was spot on and really hit critical points for devs contemplating jumping into one platform or the other.

The final session I was able to attend was the Inventors session, which I was excited about, but ultimately let down by. The description was "learn about the process of invention from idea to commercialization." I thought Bell Spencer provided some very valuable insights as an entrepreneur and angel investor, but I was frustrated by some of the following presenters that seemed to use their time as an opportunity to advertise their business or brag about their successes with little to no relevance to the topic.

Oh, and I thought the HTML 5 session, while brief, was very interesting, and opened my eyes to a lot of innovations in the new specs that I was clueless to.

Overall, I was very impressed with both the quality and organization of the event, and would recommend any tech enthusiasts to attend future TechHui conferences and events.

I do have a recommendation for future events. My recommendation is that an expectation be set for both the presenters on what the audience should get out of a discussion and for the audience to expect what they can get out of a session. I did feel that a few times the presenters missed their mark on the topics as described in the session descriptions and that the audience expectations varied significantly.

I think this could be done easily by providing a more detailed description of the nature of each session and explaining what an audience can expect to get out of it. In addition, I feel that if the presenters are provided with an expectation of what the audience should take out of each session, then they can tailor their discussions better to the audience.

Thanks again for all the work you put into the conference. I hope to attend more in the future!
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 27, 2010 at 10:26am
Flash vs HTML five comparison was good. It was somewhat bias, for example, in regular html you don't need to write specific code mouse control, browser behavior(back button, etc.), keyboard control(tabs, arrows, etc) mouse and keyboard, while in flash it in not native.
I'm not sure I understand this argument. Flash/Flex have APIs for handling keyboard and mouse input. In what sense is it "not native"? The HistoryManager in Flex allows you to use the browser's forward/back button to move through application states. HTML5, Flash and Silverlight are in the same space, RIA, so direct comparisons seem like fair game to me.

As I recall in speaker chart HTML was claimed as nightmare handling of keyboard and mouse =)
Have you personally done a lot of Flash/Flex and HTML 5 development that was heavily tested for consistent behavior for things like mouse wheel control and tab order across all major browsers on Windows, OS X and Linux? Kevin is correct - it is problematic. We had to write all kinds of hacks to achieve consistent input behavior across all browsers and OSes for the projects I demoed. Kevin has spent the past four years knee deep in Flash development for Sprout, which is one of the more sophisticated Flash based programs on the market. He also knows something about web development in general having created image maps and contributed to the CSS standard ;-)
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 27, 2010 at 9:40am
Aloha Slava - I'm sorry to hear that. As someone interested in programming, did you pick technical sessions for programmers (RIA, HTML 5 lunch session, etc.)? I don't recall seeing you in the RIA panel where we discussed tools, platform choice based on capabilities and performance characteristics, etc. Regardless, we appreciate your feedback.

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