Frontend United, From Amsterdam to London

Last year, I was one of the coorganizers of Frontend United In Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I have organized dozen of events, DrupalCons, DrupalJams, DrupalCamps totaling a dozen of events. The best and most funny to organize of them all however was the Frontend United conference with good friends Jesper, Marek, Morten, Philippe and angel Isabelle. The weekly conference calls quickly became a selfhelp group and the best comedy channel available.

The fun we had organizing the event, clearly payed off and turned the event in to the best event I ever attended. Mostly because Fronten United is different. We have some rules to live by and these rules help us organize it and give the best value possible to the attendees. In fact, we try to be for Drupal what TED is for technology! Our rules are simple

  1. Outside in, not inside out
  2. Attendees first, not the sponsors (or mobile :-)
  3. Grow horizontally, not vertically
  4. Maximum value for attendees
  5. Nerds rule

These are simple rules, resulting in a great conference. Outside in means we will look at technology, design. The unimportant stuff and then but only then Drupal. We look at speakers who are architects, painters, people whose actions or ideas are completely irrelevant for Drupals community in the narrow sense but if mapped on our community, code or license of great influence. We value attendees above sponsors. We do *heart* our sponsors, they are the best. But in the end the sponsors and the organizers work for the attendees, not the other way around. We will never do a sponsored talk, an opening by a sponsor or a case-study, mixing content and sponsors is the best way to kill a brand in our opinion. We believe in growth, but not that a number like “attendees” has anything to do with growth. We aim at 250 people max per conference and grow in quality from there. We will never have 2.000 attendees but will have the best sessions available. As for the nerds part, the group photo was taken at 13:37 time.

We succeed in all of these rules last year. All but one. Despite the fact that one sponsor went belly up and did not pay our fiscal agency, the Drupal Association (thanks!), we still made money. And thereby did not give the maximum value for our attendees.
FrontendUnited Amsterdam

Or did we? If you look at this blog by friend Baris Frontend-United was awesome or at the blog of the king it looks we succeeed in givin the attendees the best con ever! It was great to hear jan Willem Tulp talk about data visualization and the story of how Jeroen Wijering sold his a license for his video player to YouTube for $25 is still great to hear. No matter what your question was (“$25 per server? Client? Month?”) his answer would be $25.

Here are some snapshots of the money we made with sales and the hat-round, the venue “Pakhuis de Zwijger”, the banner with the sponsors, the excellent t-shirt with the infamous astronaut and the drinking venue with the Druplicon as a logo.
Frontendunited cashFrontend United Amsterdam 2012

"Pull up, PULL UP"...bannerFrontendunited tshirt amsterdam 2012


So far for 2012. On with 2013. With the help of a great all-female team in the UK, we are pulling the best Drupal conference of once again, backed by the Drupal Association (thanks), in London, 13 and 14 of April, in Cargo. Ticket sales will start shortly, great keynote speakers are already lined up but we need you as a speaker and as a sponsor! So please earmark the date in your agenda, think about an inspiring talk Frontend related and download the attached sponsor brochure. And mail we if you are interested in sponsoring, bert AT boerland DOT com.

Now lets rock London!

Great art of Willy Verginer

Great art. Just great. See this work of Willy Verginer over at formfiftyfive

Willy's own site is showing of some great work of him as well, see

never miss a beat, be the beat (gestures based DJ)

Bert Boerland in 3d with the Kinect connected to my mac

One of the reasons I bought an XBOX and not a PS3 was the Kinect. "gestures are the new touch" and all that jazz. And it when comes to a cheap household device that can do wonders in Augmented Reality, the Kinect is -no pun intended- a Game Changer.

For example, coverflow is one of the first things one imagines when one talks about gestures, ever since iOS 3 or so it was on the wanted list. And windshield Augmented Reality is what everyone comes up with. Both are however not the best candidates. In the coming weeks, I'll give some examples of real use of the Kinect beyond those two.

My favourite and still working on it myself? Be a DJ, never miss a beat, be the beat. Take a look at this video:

I am still in the proces of getting all this to work on my Macs but will post before I am done some more Kinectar implementations.

A wooden ball playing Bach in a forrest

This is really a great video about a wooden bal falling on thousands of wooden blocks making music

a single wooden ball rolls down a stepped wooden ramp, continuously, for two minutes. At each step, it falls and strikes a wooden bar tuned to play a single note of the 10th movement of Bach’s Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147

via makezine. As a commercial for a NTT Docomo product called touchwood.

(video source: youtube)

Call for animators, design an animation to be displayed on a 100 m tall KPN building for the Drupal 7 release

When the new version of Drupal (7) will be released, we need as much publicity as we can get to make sure people know about Drupal as the alternative for their proprietary software. While there is no "go to market" plan for D7, everybody should dive in and organise local parties or start implementing other wild ideas.

(video link for RSS readers)

One of these ideas is to have an animation run for a couple of hours on a nearly 100 meters tall building, the KPN (leading telco / hoster/ ISP in the Netherlands) building. More information on the building on

Paul from KPN convinced people in his Fortune 500 enterprise to use the lights on the building for at least 4 hours long for a Drupal animation to celebrate the launch of D7. Thanks KPN! Thanks Paul!

Imagine a Druplicon dancing on a 100 meters tall building, watched by 100.000's of people!

So what do we need to get this happening? We need an animation. Mentioning the release of Drupal 7, the URL and anything you can come up with within the limitations.

What are the limitations?

  • It is a monchrome bitmap, the lights self are green. It will be displayed in the evening when it is dark.
  • Each cell in the animation should be 22 pixels wide, 41 pixels high
  • The animation is 46 frames

So we need one BMP file with the dimension of 41 high by 1012 wide in monochrome. Can you help make this and license your work under a CC license?

If you can help the Dutch by displaying a huge animation in the most modern city in the Netherlands promoting Drupal, please attach your work in this issue. This would rock! Let's make it happen; Drupal 7 release at large!

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