Sunday, 3 December 2006

Firefox 2 London launch party: people, (other) products






I went to the London launch party for Firefox 2 last night, and all I got was this red XL Firefox T-shirt (oh and a Firefox sticker too)...



Actually I also got another one, a blue French Firefox T-shirt...


Long story, but I was moaning that the Google T-shirts at Minibra [deliberate sic] (not!) were way too big for women, and it was suggested - I won't say by whom, in case they get any flak, aren't I the considerate one - that the French Firefox contingent, who were over just for the party, had brought some smaller Firefox T-shirts to give away.

So I made it my goal for the evening to get one, and by hook or by crook I did - with apologies to the poor guy I elbowed aside as I made a death-defying leap to grab the last T-shirt thrown into the crowd by the European Firefox CTO. I have rarely moved so fast, maybe I could try out for the "basketball for shorties" team now.

And guess what - the French T-shirt, which turned out to be XL too, is in fact bigger than the English XL, here's a direct comparison:


Who knew? Well, I tactfully make no comment about that...

So enough about the T-shirts, what about the party?

The party

There were security personnel on the door, ticking your name off a list as you entered - so you had to have signed up in advance, none of this just tipping up stuff. Very organised, and oh so exclusive dahling.

Supplies of free beer and red/white wine were generously provided by the sponsors, though after that ran out you had to pay. But no free soft drinks. So I got some tap water - on the house! It would be great if organisers of future geek parties laid on some free soft drinks or fruit juice too, for those of us (admittedly in the minority) who can't/don't drink alcohol, e.g. because they're driving, or for religious reasons. Hint hint pretty please?

An oddity - Firefox integrator Glaxstar (who produced the Firefox extension for social bookmarking site Delicious) paid for the event, I noticed from a comment by organiser Ian Hayward on the Upcoming.org page, but unless I missed it this fact doesn't seem to have been mentioned on the main pages for the event i.e. the Firefox Party page or the Netimperative page, or indeed with big posters at the do itself. Well, I say, all credit to Glaxstar, and thank you!

There was a big projection screen hooked up to a Mac laptop showing a counter with live downloads/upgrades of Firefox since the party started at 6pm, and by the time of the speeches at about 9pm, there had been over 20,000 downloads - impressive and heartening. Ironically, the counter seemed to be displayed via Internet Explorer 7. (I also thought it mildly amusing that when you visit the Netimperative page via Fox you get an error message from Checkm8.com, whose service Netimperative are obviously using, but not if you visit it via IE...).

The people

Now, on to the meaty stuff - the people (not that I'm trying to do a "Hello!" magazine of the London geek world, you understand). Most of the people I met were from start ups, interestingly. So I've done some mini-reviews of their products/sites too, which I checked out today (see later).

The first people I chatted with were Claire Watson and Michelle from PR company Immediate Future, who are currently working a lot on games and were there with a bunch of others from their company (and who, eagle-eyed, spotted and even liked my way cheaper than it looks radio-controlled watch. No longer on sale, sadly). People who just came along with friends for the evening included Jason, XML bod for a bank.

Old faces, and new

Old faces (as in, of course, extremely-youthful looking people I've met before) included:
Blog egosurfing/checking digression/musings: John's comment prompted me to check out my own blog's position. Well I've fallen in Technorati's top favorited blogs list from 50 (when I first noticed, anyway) to no. 59 (as I write), and my blog's traffic rank is only 129,335 on Alexa and my blog's 1-year "reach" from my traffic details has been up & down (particularly down when I had a period when I was too busy to blog properly). But at least my Google PageRank's crept up from 5 to 6 over the past year, and on Performancing, who compile a list of BlogRank Top Blogs, this blog is (as I write, it keeps changing by the minute!) ranked no. 4 for blogs tagged Blogging and no. 18 for blogs tagged Technology. Hmmm, maybe I should be giving out free T-shirts...??

I also met:
  • Raymond from Glaxstar with HR person and blogger Brandy
  • the lovely and multi-talented Pascal Chevrel, who not only runs his own furniture supplies company, as well as working for Firefox France, but also blogs in two, yes two, languages (French and Spanish) - mainly on Mozilla and tech-related things. Incentive enough to learn French? Sorry, I didn't take a pic of him to post here, but I don't think Eurostar would be able to handle the surge in bookings for Paris... Modestly he just told me he did bits & bobs for Firefox (not his words, mine!) but I see that he's in fact Secretary General of the board of Firefox Europe.

The startups (and -ish)

Those I met from startups and similar included:
  • Jay from ecourier.co.uk, only briefly at the bar - his company claim to use technology to provide more efficient courier services
  • Zebtab
    Rob Eberstein of Zebtab, who I met just in passing. Since had a look at Zebtab: here's my mini-review.

I chatted for rather longer with a few other people:

TrustedPlaces

Sokratis Papafloratos of trustedplaces.com. (I've now done a mini-review of Trusted Places.)

ConnectMeAnywhere

Belinda Gallagher of ConnectMeAnywhere.com (CMA), a very useful sounding service for cheap international phone calls. And here's my quick review of ConnectMeAnywhere, which I also took a first look at today.

Working Program

I also had a good conversation with the interesting and entertaining Anne Currie (who told me they did have girl-sized T-shirts at the last Geek Girl Dinner, which I sadly missed - can't seem to get on the mailing list, will try again) and David Drysdale of Working Program (great name), a Microsoft Outlook Journal-type program which aims to do right everything that Journal should do but doesn't.

As a Journal hater myself (if anyone knows how to disable it so the Journal folder never shows up in Outlook and take over everything if I ever accidentally tab or move to it I'll be a happy bunny), I wish them the best of luck - but it's really meant for tracking work on your PC (no Mac version yet), which I don't do in my personal life (the tracking that is, not the work), so I don't think I'll be trying it out at home... Looks worth downloading the 30 day trial though, if you're after time tracking or time management software for the office.

All in all, an interesting evening (though my vocal cords will need some recovery time, my idea of "quiet" background music clearly differs from the DJs!).

7 comments:

john dodds said...

How do you remember all this Information? My pocket is full of business cards with no way of my connecting them to those who gave them to me! Good to see you again after so long.

Improbulus said...

Hi John, great to see you again too. Has it been that long? Guess it has, how time flies.

Well I tend to chat for a few minutes with a few people, rather than a short while with lots of them. Plus, my concentration and memory are pretty good when I focus, and the business cards are a helpful reminder (I've not been secretly recording chats, I promise!). Maybe it's better to meet more people for a shorter time though... might try it another time.

john dodds said...

your blue t shirt is much nicer than my red one

Improbulus said...

John, I'm sure yours looks perfectly nice on you. If you don't think so, where's the photo of you wearing it to prove your point, eh? :D

galloglass said...

On the conference T-shirt front, you might be interested in Kathy Sierra's recent blog post.

(Good to meet you the other week, by the way).

Improbulus said...

Hi David, thanks for that link, my sentiments precisely! Hope to meet you again some other time.

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