Úll 2014

A couple of week ago I attended - and very briefly spoke at - the Úll conference. Here are my thoughts after a little time has passed to reflect on the conference, and below that my slides and some links I referred to in my lightning talk.

The Conference

This year Úll was held in Kilkenny - which makes it as far South as I have ever been on the island of Ireland! I really enjoyed Kilkenny, seems like a lovely little town. I got horribly motion sick on the bus on the way down there from Dublin but luckily the journey was half an hour shorter than I expected so I managed to get a lie down in the hotel before I had to head out to the speakers dinner on the Sunday night which was excellent and ended with (essentially) a lock-in at the nearest pub.

Moving the conference out of Dublin is a bit of a controversial decision but I think it worked. The slight extra travel pain is more than made up for by having everyone in the same place for a few days. So many excellent discussions happened by chance meetings in the halls and atrium.

The talks on Monday were fantastic - a great introduction to the area was both informative and funny and the work being done by Paul Young and the folks at local firm Cartoon Saloon is amazing. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Paul at night and it was interesting how similar his experience in dealing with the Hollywood movie industry was to mine, in short - things take ages and involve a lot of lawyers :)

Then we had some of the best talks I have heard, honestly, covering various aspects of designing apps for people with special needs, apps for children, apps with style. Very inspirational stuff from people who really know what they are talking about.

On Tuesday I had to present my lightning talk so I was a bit rushed getting round all of the exhibits (especially as a certain group of people press-ganged me in to wine tasting for an hour when I should have been rehearsing - Dermot, Don, Alice, Monique ;) I managed to get round all but one of them, however, I felt a bit more structure here would have been helpful - I couldn’t help feeling I was always missing out on something round the corner. I didn’t get to the cinema part, or beer tasting, for example. I would like to say a big thank you to the guys who put on the exhibits/features as they certainly worked harder on the day than they would have if they had to just present a talk for half an hour - fair play to them for doing it.

Overall I thought the event was a great success - I had a fantastic time with some old friends, great chats with new friends, learned a lot, and was inspired. Couldn’t really ask for more.

Highlights:

  • The talks on Monday were all fantastic
  • Jim and Linda’s features I LOVED.
  • App Camp 4 Girls, wow! What a job Jean is doing there.
  • Talking with Brad about astrophysics at 2am was enlightening :)
  • Introducing Don, who invented Safari, to Amit, who did a talk called “Fuck Web Browsers”, was a spark of genius by me :) In fact Guy was there and I should have suggested he have them both on a podcast to fight that out!

Want some photos?

Here you go those amazing photos are by Ben

My Lightning Talk

Standing Desks - Fad or The Future

The Tuesday afternoon had a session where 13 people did 13 five minute talks. I really enjoyed all of the talks (especially the talks by Aaron Quint, Jim Rutherford and André Arko and my pal Paul of course), I hope people enjoyed mine. I talked about my struggles with my disability in getting comfortable at a desk job and how the standing desk was really helping with that.

You can find the slides for this talk here.

Part of the talk was a short video:

My Standing Desk from Baz Scott on Vimeo.

What I didn’t get a chance to do was present some articles about this, so here is a list of articles that you might want to read if you are interested in standing desks:

BBC: Calorie burner: How much better is standing up than sitting?

BBC: Could offices change from sitting to standing?

Corporate Wellness Magazine

Economist article

NY Times article