Cologne.js is this little user group that a few people founded in June 2010. Michael Bumann, offered to host the event at Cowoco, and has been regularly around since then. After half a year, we crowd-funded a projector and donated it to Cowoco, which meant that everything we needed was right on site. For quite some time, Matthias Luebken ran most of the time, recruiting speakers and advertising the events through Twitter and the mailing list. Its probably been a year now since Frederic Hemberger and myself took fully over. It has been challenging and frustrating at times, but especially our latest meetup in December was a very special success, and I wanted to write some more about that.
For the second time this year, we arranged a sponsored speaker to come to our event and speak there, with a local company paying the travel expenses (big thanks to Railslove and Denkwerk). We had Felix Geisendörfer come from Berlin to talk about NodeCopter. He told us how the idea came together, how it went from a singular event to a whole series with more planned for the summer next year. He live demoed his nodejs based library to program the drone, then went on to even write a custom firmware to execute directly on the drone itself. It was a lot of fun, mixed with learning about binary encodings to write a drone firmware.
As a kind of warm-up, Sebastian Golasch, by now a regular at our event, talked about what he dubbed Dirty Little Helper. Walking us through various hardware-browser setups, including his MakeyMakey based Simon-Says clone, he eventually presented his custom home automation setup. Remotely turn off lights and use your laptop camera to check on things, all DIY-style with cheap and simple components. I’m ordering a MakeyMakey!
The third talk, with which the evening started, was by Jan-Christoph Borchardt talking about Unhosted and Remote Storage. His colleague and founder of Unhosted told me about the ideas behind Unhosted last year at a beer.js event in Berlin, so it was quite interesting to me how far they came along. The remoteStorage specification, along with a reference implementation, can be used today to build applications where you control where your data is stored, instead of having to buy-in to editors attached to storage like Google Docs forces you to. Its unclear how much mainstream traction this will be able to achieve, but its an important idea worth spreading.
Those were the three talks that we advertised with. We ended up with a record number of visitors of 50! A lot of people also followed our beer.js invitation and stayed around after the talks, forcing Bumi to refill the beer fridge, since also a record number of drinks were consumed. Thanks to 5apps for sponsoring that.