Electromagnetic Field 2014

Last weekend I went to Electromagnetic Field 2014 in Bletchley, UK. EMF is a hackercamp - there were over 1000 makers and hackers camping on a field. You could get electricity to your tent, and there was fast Internet connection.

It was a pretty cool event. I met some nice people, attended some cool talks, and generally had a good time. The Arduino Duo -compatible event badge, TiLDA MKe, was cool too, even though the radio network never really worked.

There were several really good talks. Here are my favorites:

  • Walt Disney World: This was supposed to be the future by Dan W, was a talk about the history of Epcot, which is part of Disney World in Florida. Turns out it was Walt Disney’s attempt at utopian city planning. A fascinating story.

  • Where Games Break by game designer Hannah Nicklin was a personal talk about how and where various games (understood very broadly) break. It was gripping and poetic talk, more like a performance than a lecture. Unfortunately I can’t really summarize it in words. Text of the talk here.

  • bach.js, an unhistory of how the great Baroque composer pioneered Javascript, 250 years before Netscape even existed by James Aylett was a wonderfully silly talk about the exploits of Johann Sebastian Bach as an early JavaScript programmer. I’m not sure if it made much sense, and half of the jokes went over my head because I don’t know much about Bach, but hey.

  • Surreal Numbers And Mathematical Games by Tom Hall was a talk about how all of the certain kind of games are actually games of Nim. Even though it was fast-paced, Tom ran out of time. It was so fast-paced that I’m not sure if anyone in the audience was able to really follow the talk, unless they had previous knowledge of combinatorial game theory. Slides here.

I usually don’t get much out of talks in this kind of events, because I’m superficially familiar with a lot of stuff and the speakers tend to not go very deep. Probably one of the reasons that these talks stood out was that I was new to all of the topics and couldn’t properly follow the talks.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I will certainly consider coming back for EMF 2016.


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