Why is Bulgaria Web Summit 2015 so different from any other event?

When I talk to sponsors and even to friends about the Summit, they always ask me what makes our event different.

So here’s the secret:

We started this event 11 years ago (under a different name) as an effort to create something amazing and affordable for IT guys in Bulgaria. At the same time we never compromise with quality. The main purpose of the event is for our attendees to learn new things, which they can apply in their work on the very next day and to return the “investment” they have made in the conference.

Speakers

In most of the conferences I’ve been in Europe, well-trained company folks talk about their success at Fakebook or Playpal and how to clone it to your company – This doesn’t work and you will not see it at our event and in the same time you have to spend tons of money just to listen to the guy.

In the most conferences I’ve been in Europe, well-respected gurus talk about some programming art – they do that all the time, they just talk, they don’t code anymore – You will not see this at our event – We invite only professionals and they share their experience with you and on the next day, they will not depart for another event, but they will go back to do the thing they do the best.

We have had amazing speakers over the years. Some of them became friends of the event and they can come again and again, even without paying them a dime. We build relationships with our speakers, because we are Balkan people and this is what we do.

Many people still remember Monty’s Black Vodka, Richard Stallman‘s socks and many other stories that must be kept secret :)

 

The audience

We do have the best audience ever! I mean it. We have people that haven’t missed an event since 2004. They are honest and if you screw up they will tell you and they will give you kudos if you do something amazing. In most of the years, the tickets are sold months before the event, even without a schedule and even without the speakers yet known, because we proved the event is good.

We have people who met at our event and got married, we have people who met at our event and started business together, we have companies that hired great professionals because of our events; we have kicked off many careers by showing the people great technologies and ways to use them.

 

The money

Of course it’s not all about money. We do need them to make the event great, but our main goal is not to make money out of it. As you can see the entrance fee is low – for the same event in Europe (same speakers) you would have to pay 5-10 times more. We realize that we live in a different country and the conditions are different, but we are trying to find a way to keep the fee low and at the same time to still keep up the quality of the talks and emotions. We can achieve this only thanks to our sponsors. Thank you, dear sponsors!

 

Experiments

We do experiment a lot. We are trying to make a stress-free event, full of nice surprises, parties and interesting topics.

We are not one of those conferences where you get tons of coffee in the breaks (sometime we even don’t have breaks, nor coffee for that matter, just beer!) and a schedule 3 months in advance or you can sit and pretend you are listening, because someone paid you the fee. With us you are a part of the event all the time: we have games, hackathons and other stuff you can take part in. We give you the bread and butter, use your mind to make a sandwich. :)

 

We grow

We failed many times at many tasks, but we are learning and improving. We are not a professional team doing this for the money. We are doing this for fun and to help our great and amazing community. We count on volunteers. Thank you, dear volunteers!

 

Marketing?

We are one of the few events that don’t have history of the event on their website. Duh! We do believe that if you visit us once (because a friend told you about us) you don’t need a silly website to convince you again to come :) We do not spend (a lot of) money on marketing or professional services. We count on word of mouth and you. Thank you!

Join us and see for yourself!

FOSDEM 2015 – hotels, information and facts (updated)

If you are going to Fosdem 2015, here is some useful info.

Co-working spaces

Work together with other hackers in Brussels for free before and after Fosdem.

Hotels and Hostels

  • Hotels near to Grand Place and to the Delirium Cafe. This location is near to all sights and it’s good idea to stay here instead near to the FOSDEM venue;
  • Cheapest hotels in Brussels.
  • Hotels near to the ULB – the venue

Personally I can recommend CitaDines apartments, because there is a small kitchen included into the price and you can make a dinner or breakfast. If you are more than 2 people, they can offer you a really great offer and it’s near to the bus stop for FOSDEM bus. At the moment they have “Up to 36% off ” offer. Go grab one.

Beer?

Just visit this site. I highly recommend the pub crawl tour for just 15 euro.

 Food?

There is no food in Brussels. :)

 

Free walking tour?

Yes, it’s available. Click here to learn more. It’s every day from 11 in the morning and 2 afternoon. Pre-booking is welcomed :)

 

FOSDEM

FOSDEM is a free and non-commercial event organized by the community for the community. The goal is to provide Free Software and Open Source developers and communities a place to meet to:

  • + Get in touch with other developers and projects;
  • + Be informed about the latest developments in the Free Software and Open Source world;
  • + Attend interesting talks and presentations held in large conference rooms by Free Software and Open Source project leaders and committers on various topics;
  • + To promote the development and the benefits of Free Software and Open Source solutions.
  • + and to SHARE knowledge with each other

Sharing the knowledge and ideas is the most valuable think you can get during FOSDEM and it’s free. There is no excuse not to be there.

If you are worried about anything, just feel free to ask me and I will help you, especially if this will be your first visit. If you are living for Free software or Open Source – you must be there.

(cc) Image is under CC lisense by bertogg

Optimize your GitHub Issues and 4 tricks and facts you should know about GitHub

I wrote an article, that can be found here about the new GitHub Issues, web development processes, using visual feedback and some facts about GitHub:[‘bigdata’,’github stats’,’xkcd comic ban’,’more”].

Actually I am using one old bug from input.mozilla.org project (a.k.a) Fjord. It’s a good 4 mins read full of useful stuff and fun.

If you are interested in the tool I am using to optimize your GitHub Issues processes, it is available for free for F(L)OSS projects from here, but you should read the article first.

Any thoughts?

Developers Will Never Need To Leave Vim Again, especially under Fedora

As a proud Fedorian, vi user under Fedora and as a developer (well from time to time) I  must share this news that combines my two worlds.

The problem

The truth is everybody needs to do multitasking today. The real cost of it  is hidden, but you’ll definitely lose at least 40% of your productivity if you are constantly switching between apps. Let’s try and do some other stuff in between. :)

40%: This is too much!

The solution

Developers keep on switching between their editors, emails and bug trackers. What if you can get bug reports right where you will fix them? Imagine the immediate gain in productivity!

Continue…

There is one place to share ideas about the web and its name is @WebExpo – Prague

No kidding. Prague became one of the finest European technology and start-up hubs and I believe there is a great future and potential, which we will see coming true in the next couple of years.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons I moved here a couple of years ago. If you add the beauty of Prague and the fine quality of the Czech beer, you will not be surprised that I want to invite you to an unique event.

[note]This is one of the few places in the world where developers, designers, product managers, marketing ninjas, big data nerds, content management racoons, hackers and even normal people can sit together and discuss a lot of things together and even to start something..[/note]

I know, you will say that you have such events in your country, but this is international, have a look at the speakers and do not forget the beer and the city.

Trusted companies and awesome startups are happy to be here and to turn their dreams into reality and most important, into profit.
[highlight]13 different subjects, many speakers, 3 days of fun and beer + something you can take home with you – knowledge and inspiration. That’s priceless.[/highlight]

 

Join the event:

 

$you->is_geek(): apply

 

We are looking for ambassadors in every European country. Prime directive – to spread a word about the event and to become a super geek star. In exchange we will give you free entrance and will make you famous – this is a long time deal.

[highlight] Interested?[/highlight] Follow the link to fill a secret form. Shhh!

 

? buy_ticket();

 

Another option is to buy a ticket and join the magical Prague, beer and awesome knowledge.  Invest in your future.

 P.S This is still a secret, but all sessions will be in English this year. Visit the website to find out more, because this is just the top of the iceberg.

P.P.S Oh, did I mention the parties. We will have couple of parties that will blow your head away :)

Marketing Kanban Style for Tech Startups

Oh no, there is no mistake. It’s not Gangdam Style!

I am always trying to mix software development methodologies into community and marketing management.

Last year I gave a talk at Fosdem about using Agile methods, and especially Trello, to engage your community. Currently I implementing a similar approach into a project I am involved in.

Warning: The following paragraphs may contain a mixture of different software methodologies, usually not compatible with each other.

What is a modern marketing world?

Marketing now, especially online marketing, is a mixture of Community Management, Brave Content Management, Strong Business Analysis, Good and Awesome Metrics, knowing the hacker attitude, fast problem solving and many, many tasks every second.

I am talking about using new technologies, methodologies and fun in the marketing world. I know there are marketing departments with 100 or more employees, busy with a little tiny boring segment, but with an exciting title. But also, there are startups and small, but very successful companies, having teams with up to 4 members that can do better marketing than those 100 using Marketing Kanban Style.

 

That’s why we need Marketing Kanban Style.

I am an internet enthusiast – maybe one of the few left in the world. I really want to test and hack amazing web tools. Sometimes I find a great tool like Trello and I start using it and talk about it without having been paid a single cent, sometimes it turns out to be a negative experience, like my Facebook story. But I love being an enthusiast.

Yeah, so let’s focus on the step by step go-through:

trello.com 2013-1-31 13:14:42

0. Plan Your Sprint

  •   Sit on a table with your team and define the 3 main tasks you want to see implemented this week. Yes, I am not talking about months or years here. Of course this should be in line with the marketing plan, budget and other documents, tables and graphics …
  •  Define what resources you will need – guys from IT dept, Customer care service, Sales dept, etc.

1. Visualize

  • Tasks may look good in your brain or in a paper or event in your notebook, but they must be placed on a board and here comes Trello.
  •  Start: All tasks start from “To Do” or you can call it “Repository” or “The Dungeon” or even “Death Start” but this is your starting point
  • Define your flow process. It can be simple “Doing” – “Done” or you can add additional steps like “To be approved” or “Testing needed”. Please do not work with more than 5 steps. It’s a waste of time a energy.

2. Make Policies Explicit

  • Define who will do what. If you want you can let people choose what they want to do. This works perfectly for community based marketing and it depends on how cool is your team.
  • Resolve conflicts before they appear. Define the collaboration flow – for example – for this HTML newsletter you must talk with Mike and Petra from Dev department. Add this as a note to the task.
  •  Do not add other department members to the board.

3. Marketing Stand-ups

  • I know the developer stand-ups are real – the people actually are standing up, but the marketing people are allowed to sit down :)
  •  Do a stand-up every day for 15 minutes and be sure you have feedback loops. Every member of the team should report what he/she is working on now and what troubles he/she is having.
  • – This is not a problem-solving meeting. Afterwards you can sit down and try to find a way to resolve the problems.

4. Be а Brave Marketeer

  • Your team must not be afraid to test new techniques in order to achieve the weekly goal.
  • Try to find the boundaries of your team and push a bit outside of them. The marketing world travels with light-speed and you must be very fast as well.
  • Explore the Trello functions and use them for your work. It’s a really useful piece of code.

This is just the beginning of a journey for you if you are taking this path. This is the easiest part but believe me you will be more flexible and successful than the good ol’ huge marketing slow moving company.

This will allow you:

  1.  to achieve results every week.
  2.  to plan your work better
  3.  to easily define metrics and goals
  4.   to do more work for less money
  5.  to build your team and let them evolve together with the company
  6.  to have fun.

Let’s do some Marketing Kanban Style. Shall we?

Learn more?

If you want to learn more about Marketing Kanban style and some more amazing ideas – subscribe to my mail-list from here. No spam guaranteed.

 

How To Throw A Smashing Fedora Release Party

I am into organizing Fedora 18 release party in Prague this month and I though it’s time to share my ideas about a smashing Fedora release party.

Fedora 18 on Techbeat.com

Engage

I know most people are busy, especially in big cities. Start your engagement process at least 3 weeks before the release party.

Whom to target:

  • All Gnu/Linux users – we are on the same side of the “war” :)
  •  Journalists – create a mini-press release and send it to all journalist friends you know and ask them for help. Most of the time they react really quick. This is a news, anyway and a good one, though :)
  • Your colleagues – common, you can find at least 3 people to share the news with and they can find 3 more people to share it with. IM tools are powerful these days. Your colleagues are spending a lot of time in jabber or skype during the work time :)
  • Programmers and Designers (yes, Fedora is not just for geeks)
  • Try your local Hackerspace
  • Try your local GNU/Linux and FLOSS related websites. In exchange for the news you can promote them as “media partner” or just call them friends :)
  • Create an identica/ twitter/ FB account and #hashtag and use to spread the word about your party.
  • Create simple badges and ask people to put them on their blogs
  • Create a mini-website (you can use wordpress.com for a free blog for example)

Schedule and timing

  • Try to find out what groups you are targeting – hackers. teachers. programmers, designers … and put at least one topic for every group. Keep them under 20 min.
  • Ask people to RSVP to the event and to share it at least 2 weeks before the event.
  • Good idea is to use name tags. Just provide some empty white stickers and a pen – let them to the rest.
  • Start with asking every person to introduce himself/herself shortly. What’s your name, what you do, and why are you here today…
  • Start with an introduction – “What is Fedora and Why all we are here today”. Some people may not know anything about it.
  • Combine the talks with free discussions – let people to talk to each other, let the knowledge flows. Ask if someone wants to share how they are using Fedora in their work, life, device or just for fun.
  • Have a beer and pizza in the venue if possible. It helps! Especially the beer.
  • Bring something to giveaway: buttons, stickers, DVD, brochures.

Collaboration

  • Don’t do anything alone, find friends/fans/ambassadors to help you out
  • Use agile tools like trello to plan and execute your event. Create tasks and ask people to take the ownership and to do it. Community, community, community

Goal

  • Define your goal. Why you are doing this? If you spread 50 DVDs what will be the impact?
  • What about if you ask your attendees to do something? For example in the next meeting to bring someone with them or in one month to share their story about Fedora 18.
  • Give knowledge and freebies only in exchange for something else – a blog post, an action, an idea, a possible non-free OS replacement.
  • Track the success of your event. Definitely attendees will be happy after 3 beers, but what will be the impact for the community in1 month.

Have a smashing Fedora 18 release party and share some pictures and ideas.

Fedora 17 on Raspberry Pi: Mission Possible

Just after Christmas my Raspberry Pi has arrived in a tiny-tiny box :)

Fedorize it!

How to install Fedora on it? Easy? Since I don’t have SD card writer, shame on me I used my wife’s Windows machine build-in writer, but for good. Unfortunately all Fedora instructions are for Windows 7 and Vista, but here’s how to do that in Windows XP:

  1. Download this GNU-licensed program:  Win32DiskImager.
  2. Download Fedora 17 PI disk image from  here
  3. Burn it on your SD card
  4. Plug it in your Raspberry Pi and turn it on

Ready

Installing #JRebel on #Fedora and #Eclipse Helios

Since we launched free version of JRebel for non-commercial products called JRebel Social I was curios how fast I can install it on my Fedora 15. I thought it will be a hard task, but I was surprised how easy I done it.

What is JRebel?

First of all this is a must have tool for every Java developer. Why? See this cool PDF for an great answer to that question. or watch this video.

0. Let’s install Eclipse HELIOS first via yum.

#yum install eclipse

Note: It does install and JDK also, so you don’t have to be worried about that anymore :)

1. Install the Eclipse Market place

Eclipse market place is not installed by default on Fedora’s version so you will need to do that.
1. Click on Help >> Install new software
2. Choose “All available sites” and write “marketplace” like shown here:


3. Install it

2. Install JRebel

Click on Help >> Eclipse Marketplace and choose/ search for JRebel and click on install:

Select all of these, if you are not sure what to do or read more about them here:

Read and accept the JRebel License and click on Finish button

3 Configure

Go and login to https://social.jrebel.com/ in order to get a FREE (yes no money charged) license for JRebel

JRebel Social login page

Register and follow the menu to activate your license

Start the eclipse and choose you will use JRebel Social:

Jrebel Social and Eclipse

Working with it

Read more how to use it here with screenshots and instructions

Announcing the Kolab Server 2.3.0

“For the plane in the fog, the mountain is unforeseeable, but then it is suddenly very real, and inevitable.”

Simon Forster, Minister for foreign relations

WHAT IS KOLAB?

Kolab is a personal information management solution, also referred to as groupware. It can provide and manage your information including email, address books, calendars and tasks.

The Kolab server acts as the central information repository and thanks to its uniquely powerful design can host up to tens of thousands, theoretically even hundreds of thousands of users.

All these users can freely share email, address books, calendars and/or tasks with all, some, or none of the other users. This allows Kolab to provide the support base for a wide variety of activities, such as coordinating appointments, working on common projects and ensuring consistency in customer contact.

FEATURES

The new Kolab 2.3.0 server includes a lot of new features, namely:

  1. Z-push synchronization for mobile devices
  2. A reworked webadmin
  3. The possibility to have multiple accounts with the same name.
  4. Modular packaging of the webclient
  5. Many updated core components
  6. Tons of bug fixes

A detailed list of changes is available here

UPGRADING

Because of the changes in LDAP, upgrading from 2.2.4 is not trivial and requires manual intervention. Please make sure you read and follow the upgrade instructions in http://files.kolab.org/server/release/kolab-server-2.3.0/sources/1st.README

Documentation and OpenPKG packages are available from here as shown on http://kolab.org/download.html.

DOWNLOADS

Binary packages for Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 (Squeeze/stable) and 5.0 (Lenny/oldstable) on x86 platforms can be found next to the sources.

Support for Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (etch/oldstable) was dropped because it is no longer supported by Debian ether.

As soon as they have synced, you can also use the the mirrors listed on http://kolab.org/mirrors.html

You can check the integrity of the downloaded files by importing our file distribution key and verify the OpenPGP signature and SHA1 checksums:

$ wget https://ssl.intevation.de/Intevation-Distribution-Key.asc
$ gpg –import Intevation-Distribution-Key.asc
$ gpg –verify SHA1SUMS.sig
$ sha1sum -c SHA1SUMS

NOTICE

This release marks the end of a long development cycle. After over 2 years, the master and the stable branch are (more or less) in sync again. We
introduced many new features and fixed a large number of bugs. We tested the release intensively but due to the massive code changes, we might have missed something or even introduced new bugs.

Before you use this release in a critical environment, we’d like you to test it. Please report any problems you encounter in our bug tracker: https://bugzilla.kolabsys.com/

Depending on the number and severity of bugs, we will issue an updated release soon. We already have a number of fixes in the queue such as the today’s Z-push 1.5.2 release, so Kolab 2.3.1 will come soon.

CREDITS:

I’d like to thank a few people for their help, namely and in no particular order:

Paul and Georg, for giving me the chance to work on a great project like Kolab
– Bernhard for his coordination
– Thomas and Sascha for their support, especially during this week
Bogo for the awesome new look of the webadmin
Jeroen for his input and providing me the infrastructure I need
Gunnar for responding so fast to the issues we spotted

Without these people the Kolab Server 2.3 would not be possible. Thank everybody for your hard work!

Regards,
Christoph

OpenCamp Sofia 2011

In June a 2 day event will take place in will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, under the title ‘OpenCamp Sofia‘, addressing open government, PSI re-use, Open Web, Free Software and Open Source, Open Knowledge and other important topics.

On the first day a workshop/camp will be held. Both presentations (a growing list of presenters is on the site) and discussions are planned on topics such as Open Web, Open Government, Open Knowledge, and Open source software. In that context PSI re-use is sure to be part of the discussion as well.

On the second day a Mozilla-related event will be held. At the same time in Sofia will be next Balkan’s Meeting of Mozilla Communities.

website: http://opencamp.talkweb.eu

hashtag: #opensofia

OpenSite initiative is live

We are offering a free website/blog, based on a free platform, a training on how you can create content, related to your activity (text, images, video) and consultations for different issued concerning your online presence. The project aims at gathering in one place people and organizations working on human rights protection, digital rights protection, ecology and improving women’s visibility and gender equality, who can help each other.

This project provides open web tools such as WordPress, integration to the free micro-bloging application identi.ca, as well as a number of projects of Mozilla’s Drumbeat initiative (Universal Subtitles at the moment).

Read more about the project here, apply for an open website here or join us as a partner

ingredients