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Some food for thought as web industry grows

By Jase Bell

I recently had the honour of presenting at Barcamp Derry, an ‘unconference’ in the sense that those who registered provided the talking points and schedule for the day.

I had the honour of being one of the first to present. The talk was about launching web and mobile start-ups with nothing and then a real quick question and answer session at the end. There were other talks on coffee, Crazy Frog — and more powerpoint slides than my brain could take in. It was a feast of information that I was glad I stayed the entire day for.

What struck me most of all, during the course of the day, was the amount of demos, industry talk and basic deals being done in between the sessions (and the large amount of pizza at lunchtime).

Best of all was the fact that some of the province’s home grown talent was on hand to dish out advice. A lot of these sites focus on the province and what it has to offer.

While Yelp! and Trip Advisor can claim to be the high priests of review based websites, Lee Munroe's Lookaly boasts a loyal following in all reviews for Northern Ireland, especially Belfast. So if you are looking for a range of businesses and what the residents of the province think about them this is the best place to look.

The portal website for ordering take away food has been coming on by leaps and bounds over the last 12 months. Obviously popular with the tech community who rarely see daylight, Nifty Nosh provides a single place to view takeaway menus and ordering.

If you want to collect that's up to you or if you are watching the X Factor then you can have the food delivered to your door.

One of the great failings of a lot of point of sale systems is the lack of synchronisation between true retail sales and online sales, usually the stock control is hardly ever linked together. Airpos looks to bridge that gap with a point of sale system that works in the cloud (or Software as a Service, SaaS for short), providing a service so anyone with a shop can keep stock control up to date and this is reflected in their online sales. No misleading customers about stock levels.

During the day there were many presentations from the academic community on an array of topics including selling in virtual worlds such as Second Life (my first life is fine for me) and a very popular talk by James Burke on the history of computer games and the work he is doing (with others) with gaming in the world of stroke rehabilitation. Everyday people doing some incredible things.

Digital Circle chairman, Davy Sims, recorded a podcast which is available on the NI Tech Blog ( ) with interviews with Mark Nagurski, Paul from Learning Pool and Martin Gilchrist. You can also see what everyone was saying about Barcamp Derry ( by doing a quick search on Twitter ( , try ‘barcampderry’ and you'll get a commentary of the day.

Jase Bell is a software developer and organiser of Open Coffee Coleraine. You can reach him via Twitter

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