New features, 3rd birthday … but it’s about people!

Over the last few months we’ve released a whole bunch of new features. The main one which several people have been asking for is following an area in the same way you could already follow a group. This means you can go to the page for Edinburgh, select to follow it, then get email updates when it changes or when there are upcoming events.

We’ve also had our third birthday in July! It’s great to see everything still going strong after all this time.

The new features (and version 1.5 of the Open Source software) was as a result of a lot of work we did over the general election for a website that tracked 1,000 hustings around the country called MeetYourNextMP.com. Now that’s out it’s time to let it sit for a bit, fix minor bugs and check the new features are working well for people.

Let us know how you find the site – feedback always welcome!

Tell people your event has a Code of Conduct!

The tech industry currently has a problem with diversity, and the effects of this hurt us all. We have blogged before about this  and many other people have written far more eloquently than us on this issue.

We said before and still believe there is no one single magic solution that will solve this, but a lot of different work at different points by different people.

One of the things that can help however is events having a Code of Conduct on record and having staff well versed in that code. Then everyone knows what is appropriate and when incidents do occur, there is a clear route that people can take to resolve problems.

So today we are announcing that we are adding an “Code of Conduct” field to every event on Open Tech Calendar.

This field will be optional and can be free text or just a link to a web page on the events website. It will be shown with the event details on the event page. But there will be no filtering, or special markers in event listings – the purpose of this is not to harshly judge.

We simply want to prompt event organisers and attendees to think about the issue and for events that do have one, allow them to highlight this.

For instance, check out TechMeetup Edinburgh’s next event.

Any comments or thoughts, please do comment below or get in touch privately.

Vote for us!

Just wanted to quickly pass on a spin off project we’ll be very busy working on for the next 75 days. Meet Your Next MP is a site listing all the hustings events for the UK general election, supported by Democracy Club and others.

All the changes we’ve made to the base software so far have already been Open Sourced. A lot of them are to do with making the software more extendable, but one big new feature is this:

You’ll be able to make a user account to follow one area, like Edinburgh or Glasgow and then receive notifications of any upcoming events or changes in that area. You’ll be able to choose to receive these by email or not.

We know some people just export the whole calendar into their personal devices, and this gives people who prefer email a way to do that. This is similar to the way you can follow a group at the moment, if you are interested in receiving all updates from one organiser.

Keep your eyes peeled for more features coming in 3 months time after the election!

Welcome our new sponsors Kotikan!

Kotikan

Thanks to Kotikan for coming on board as our new Sponsors.

Kotikan is Scotland’s largest mobile app development company with a 55 strong team of mobile solution experts, making meaningful mobile products in a wide range of sectors. They work with growing SMEs such as Skyscanner and FanDuel, charities such as the Edinburgh Fringe and public sector organisations such as ScotRail, the SQA and the National Galleries.

In 2014 they were awarded the ‘Outstanding Business Growth’ award by ScotlandIS and awarded the ‘Native Mobile App’ award by the British Interactive Media Association for their work with The Fringe.

A big part of their company ethos is about creating an environment that people like to work in. They offer flexible working hours, MacBooks for all, weekly wakeboarding sessions and quarterly hack days, making for a happy team. They’re looking for mobile enthusiasts for all departments; engineering, design, quality assurance and project management. Their Edinburgh office is located centrally in CodeBase.

New design, and asking the tech community for feedback

Hello,

At Open Tech Calendar we’re trying to build up the tech scene by connecting, promoting and making more visible events. We’ve heard some great stories from people who found their way into events because of us.

We’ve recently launched a new design with some new features. As always, we will continue to work on this. We have features we want to work on next and more UI/UX testing we want to do with users. (More details to come soon!)

We’re always open to hearing feedback from both people who attend and people who organise tech events. What can we do to make it easier and more worthwhile to list events? What can we do to make it easier to find events?

Please answer in comments or contact us.

Thanks,

James

It’s our 2nd Birthday!

Thanks very much to everyone who has supported us over the years. It’s fantastic that a small weekend project has grown to this, and we look forward to the future. We’re also now providing our group calendar platform to other communities, and we look forward to celebrating birthdays with Jazz Musicians, Cyclists and more.

For this post, I wanted to update a chart from an old blog post, “We are building a community of contributors“.

In Oct 2013, this was the graph of the 126 users who had edited events on the calendar, and how many events they had edited (with the admin account removed):

EventsEditedToOct2013

And this is the same graph of the now 206 users:

EventsEditedToJuly2014

🙂

See you at an event soon – or if your in Edinburgh tonight join us for a drink.

New Features Released

We are pleased to announce new features!

These have been running on the server since friday evening to flush any bugs out – we see a big dip in traffic during the weekend which makes sense as most tech events are during the week, but it means that we are the one site that should go live on a Friday afternoon!

These will be released as version 1.2.0 of OpenACalendar in a week or two and full release notes are here. But read on for a tour of the highlights. Continue reading “New Features Released”

Welcome our new sponsors Amazon Development Centre Scotland!

Welcome aboard to our new sponsors Amazon, specifically their Scottish Development Centre based in Edinburgh’s central Waverley Gate.

amazondcs

Amazon Development Centre Scotland is responsible for devising, creating and growing major features and websites for Amazon worldwide. From interactive UI design to large-scale distributed systems and machine learning, they do whatever it takes to deliver great experiences. Their developers, designers and leaders are frequently seen at local tech events.

They are looking for outstanding Software Development Engineers, Machine Learning Engineers and Software Development Managers to join their centre. Positions offer the opportunity to really make a difference to the business by inventing, enhancing and building world class websites and systems and working on exciting and challenging projects. Examples include: all dynamic and personalised merchandising for Amazon worldwide, personalised advertising and real-time bidding on ad exchanges, the Amazon Storyteller app which creates storyboards from movie scripts and Intelligent Recruiting Systems where they search the internet for great job candidates, analyse their profiles and intelligently match them to jobs. The technologies they use include Amazon Web Services, Java, modern JavaScript frameworks, HTML5 and CSS3, R and Python.

Thanks to them and FanDuel for sponsoring Open Tech Calendar. We’re only going to have 2 sponsors, so that’s the lot. Their help in ensuring we have time to develop and grow this project is much appreciated.

On which note, more new features are coming very soon … but of course, because we’re Open Source any excitement about what they are is just ruined.

Welcome our new sponsors FanDuel!

Welcome aboard to our new sponsors FanDuel!

FanDuel

FanDuel specialize in one day leagues for American sports. Players can play against other users in any of the 12,000+ leagues offered per day, with entry fees ranging from $1 all the way up to $5,300. FanDuel pays out up to $1,000,000 per day in cash prizes.

FanDuel is a US company employing 82 people with most of it’s engineering, development, and design teams based in Edinburgh. Currently in TechCube, they are about to move to new offices in central Edinburgh.

Their development teams use agile techniques and continuous deployment with testing to create a fantasy sports engine that handles 3 million entries a week on average, with over 25 thousand of those per hour at busy times. The core technologies are normally Python, Java and JavaScript, but they look into whatever tool is right for the job and are currently rolling out native mobile apps.

To support a metrics-driven approach to the business, they are building a data warehouse using Hadoop and Amazon’s Redshift. This is all hosted on Amazon Web Services using automated configuration and deployment tools like Puppet.

You can find out more information about them here, and if you’re looking for a job and think this sounds like an interesting problem to tackle check out their Careers page here.

Thanks to our previous sponsors Toshiba Medical Visualization Systems who have helped us out from the start. We are looking for a 2nd sponsor – get in touch if your interested!

 

Show events on your WordPress blog!

We now have a WordPress extension to let you show events on your blog. You can filter these down to be from several cities or groups only if you wish.

Step 1. Install the Plugin

Download the “OpenACalendar” plugin from the official WordPress site and uncompress it into your wp-content/plugins folder. Or you can install it directly from your WordPress admin panel by searching for “OpenACalendar”.

Step 2. Tell it where to import events from

Go to the “Settings” menu and select “OpenACalendar.”. Create a new pool with the name “Open Tech Calendar”.

Add a new source to that pool with the URL “opentechcalendar.co.uk”.  Here you can select the filters you want – curated list, area, group, country or venue. You can get these from the URL of the page on the site. For instance if you want to filter Edinburgh events only go to the Edinburgh page at http://opentechcalendar.co.uk/area/62-edinburgh and take “62” from the URL to put into the events filter.

You can add several sources to the same pool – so if you are a big fan of 3 different meetups, you can filter by 3 different groups and events from all 3 groups will be mixed together.

When you add a source, there is a button to fetch events from that source immediately. Do so – but in the future that will happen automatically (if your WordPress cron is setup correctly).

Before you go, note the ID of the pool – it’s probably 1.

Step 3. Add a widget to the side bar

Go to the “Appearance” menu and select “Widgets”. Drag a “OpenACalendar – Events” widget into your layout. Put in the Pool ID you just created.

Step 4. Add a Short Code to any pages to list events.

On a page, you can type in

[openacalendar_events poolid=1]

to list events. You can add several other attributes (listed here).

 That’s it!

Any features you want or comments, get in touch! Version 2.0.1 was released from an open night at Edinburgh Hacklab – guess how they list events on the sidebar of their site?