August 6, 2011
I’ve just got to the weekend on the end of one of the busiest weeks of my life, and one of the most satisfying. A few months ago I ran across Young Rewrited State (I’ve previously been involved with Rewired State), and decided that an event had to happen in Newcastle (the closest one to here was Manchester). There’s an excellent write up of the whole thing over on The Journal.
This post completely fails to capture just how blown away I was not only with the young developers who attended the Newcastle event but with those whom I watched present on the live stream too. It’s the most amazing and humbling thing to watch a bunch of people more than half your age knock spots off you not only technically but also in their ability to learn and adapt.
YRS is a week long event when volunteers (known as mentors) help a bunch of young developers (not kids, never call these guys kids) to use open data to build stuff. Many of those taking part have never programmed before, some are already (at 15) old hands and show me up. At the end of the week they all truck down to London for a big show and tell (with prizes).
The Centre for Life here in Newcastle hosted us for the whole week and moved mountains to get the internet access we needed (slow connections are the bane of every developers life). We were based out in the middle of a science museum too, rather than locked away, which was very cool.
Over the course of the week 7 guys under the age of 18 formed teams and with the help of 7 mentors, formed teams and build 4 stand alone projects, either in completed form, or as worked through and credible mockups. We had a location aware iPhone app to help people make smart choices about their renewable energy decisions, a platform game where the display and the difficulty were influenced by weather and crime data, a fully working Google Earth implementation that mapped school results against voting records to look for correlations and a fully working Google Chrome QR code plugin (built by two guys who’d never programmed anything at all).
Sadly I couldn’t make it to London to watch the pitches but I watch the live stream for as much of the day as possible (the recordings are online). I’m never been so flabbergasted in my life. Most of the teams presenting knocked the spots of several start up companies I could name, and seeing an 8 year old hand a government official his ass on a plate for the state of their public data was priceless.
Today I’m a judge at the #yrs2011 event where school kids pitch apps based on gov/open data (link) It does RT @timROGERS: @mikebutcherThis has got to beat judging that Apprentice crap… #yrs2011 (link) Loving #yrs2011, see live streamhttp://t.co/pCfkiiB wish I’d been before. Every European country should do this (link) I was a judge on The Apprentice. #yrs2011beats the crap out that cc. @lordsugar(sorry, but it does) (link)
YRS 2012 is open for registration now, and you can could me in.comments powered by Disqus