Leader of Birmingham.pm [pm.org] and a CPAN author [cpan.org]. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006 and the 2009 QA Hackathon, responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys [yapc-surveys.org] and the QA Hackathon [qa-hackathon.org] websites. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores.
If you really want to find out more, buy me a Guinness
On Friday the Fight - UK LUG Tour came to GloucsLUG. Or more correctly MessageLabs. Being not too far away a selection of Malvern LUG also managed to make it too. It was a good night and very well attended. Despite being tired and the last gig of the tour, both Jono and Ted presented two excellent presentations about where the desktop was going.
Jono was looking more from the perspective of a user and how we should be merging ideas to make the user experience more enjoyable, providing the right tools for the solutions rather than just eye candy. While eye candy is great, it shouldn't be going off in different directions. Having a uniform standard on the desktop means that users don't have to think too hard about what button to click or where to find it, and that their applications have standard functionality in the same place. Jono made the point that many accepted that the Mac OS X desktop design is one of the best, but the fact that they haven't conquered the desktop market after many many years, perhaps means that user perception is that it hasn't changed. Certainly the Linux desktop of several years ago, even a few years ago, is very different from today. Is 2006 the year of the desktop? Perhaps not, but it there is more of a move towards it.
This neatly segued into Ted's talk, which while from a vendor perspective, did highlight some of the good things that are coming in OpenSUSE from Novell. Eye candy was definitely high on the list (Windows that wobble when you move them and virtual desktops on the side of a rotatable 3D effect cube, all thanks to Xgl), but it came following lots of research into the user experience. Novell took the time to get users in to try several tasks. A variety of users (beginner to experienced) were asked to do several simple tasks. Although only a sample of users, it was interesting enough for Novell to consider locations and naming of buttons and applications. It's perhaps not too unsurprising that a new user, when asked to shut the machine down, doesn't think to hit the 'Start' button on a Windows desktop. All these and more were thought about, and it's why I think finally many developers are starting to understand why they should be thinking about usability on the desktop, not just within their applications.
All in all the talks and the night were a success. There were plenty of questions and free stuff to give away, and I think everyone who came enjoyed themselves. Certainly the feedback so far has been good. The GloucsLUG have plenty of people offering to do talks, so hopefully now it's just a matter of organising some future meetings. With the success I've had with the Birmingham.pm technical meetings, I'm hoping I can keep the momentum going with the LUG.