scott badgeConfConf as you might of guessed from the name is a conference about conferences (how meta!), specifically how to run them better! It’s a small single track conference based on professional event organisers sharing their top tips on making the best conferences.

Top 5 tips for running your first technical conference

At SWmobile (a meetup group which I co-run) we’ve talked a little about running our own conference. Here’s the top tips I picked up for others also looking to do this:

  • Independent and for profit – The conference should be independent financially from any non-profit group and the aim should be to make a profit with the conference. This separation helps focus the effort required to setup and run a conference. I thought a good suggestion was to aim to run it for 3 years and if it’s not profitable after 3 years to abandon.
  • Ticket price – The super secret but also simple ticket price calculator should be the total costs / total number of tickets. It’s important not to include sponsor money and so the focus of the marketing is ticket sales. Any money you get from the partners you get on board will increase the chances of it being profitable and allow you to improve things like swag, free beers etc
  • One day only – One day conferences have tended to be more popular recently as it helps keep cost down and it’s easier to convince bosses for the time off to attend.
  • WiFi – Get this right! don’t skimp or rely on the venue’s setup. Sure they’ll say they have a great network but remember this is a tech conference and most attendees will have multiple devices. Rule of thumb 2.7 devices per attendee. Great article from last years confconf.
  • Ditch lunch – Don’t bother with lunch, catering costs allot and is generally crappy quality. This really hit home for me as I cannot think of a conference I’ve attended where the food was good. It’s also one of the main things people moan about!  confconf’s lunch was fairly standard meeting food which was above average for a conference. However they did win the day by pulling out afternoon cream tea!

 

Top 5 tips for monthly meetups

This is geared up for monthly, free to attend meetup groups such as SWmobile. This list is geared more to the sorts of things I think we can improve on so your mileage may vary. 

  • Sponsors == Partners – referring to and treating sponsors as partners helps emphasise they are more than just giving money. By working together you can use their ‘reach’ to promote your events.
  • Improve speaker management – Be up front about talk timings, whether costs are covered, venue directions, uniqueness of talk, number of attendees, type of audience, who to call in emergency, and in general communicating better before and after an event. 
  • Open a CFP – have a Call For Papers [CFP] for monthly meetups where prospective speakers can easily submit talks. Allow them to indicate if they are new to speaking as this allow you to mix up evenings with pro and newbie speakers. As with the above point and speaker management, be sure to include things on the CFP things like the typical location of meetups, average number attendees, attendee skill/experience level. 
  • Create Code of Conduct policy – If you already have a code of conduct like we do at SWmobile, that’s a great start. But what happens when a complaint or issue is raised? this is where a policy comes in. Be sure to ensure all organisers/volunteers are briefed on this. 
  • Video promo reel – Recording talks are a good way to allow people who couldn’t attend to watch the talk. They also serve as a way to promote the group. However recording and editing can be costly and time consuming. A better use of video would be a promo reel to promote the group and ideally a separate video tailored to prospective speakers, members and partners. 

As in mention in my tweet above I had tons of notes and this is just a small portion of the knowledge gained. I’d definately recommend confconf.com to techincal meetup and conference organisers. Hope to attend next year! Also more tips can be found on the confconf blog.

 

Scott MCEI had a great time at MCE conference in Warsaw, Poland in April. I’d recommend MCE as a mobile conference I attended both Android and iOS talks and there were all high quality. Also all the people I met were very friendly and spoke great english. I was introduced to Polish vodka and some tasty polish food. Thanks to the organisers for inviting me and I hope to attend again.

In this presentation I share a story of a recent Android app I developed where app security wasn’t prioritised and how I still provided a minimal level of security to protect the app’s users and developer reputation.

For those wondering why my t-shirt has a mantis shrimp on it? check out this awesome oatmeal comic.

Last week I attended the first Blackhat mobile security summit in London. It was a great chance for us to learn from security specialists.

I co-wrote this article to highlights some of our favourite and key takeaways.

  • New Android Security Rewards Program
  • State of malware on Android/mobile
  • Samsung / SwiftKey Zip Traversal Hack
  • SSL validation (or lack of) still one of most common app vulns
  • “erase everything” = not everything?
  • Windows phone 8 exploits and security faux pas

gotocope_smI have been fortunate enough to be invited to speak at goto; conference in Copenhagen on October 6th. I’ll be giving a talk I one of my favourite subjects: Android app security. If you can make it please come and say hi.

 

Abstract:

Global mobile adoption is spreading like wildfire, pervasive government surveillance programs are coming to light and major internet security exploits are being uncovered. This results in increased awareness from users, managers and developers for the dire need for rigorous security in deployed code. While mobile device security can be helped via mobile device management (MDM) solutions it’s our responsibility as app developers/publishers to ensure our apps protect user privacy and critical business data. The problem is securing your Android app and data is not always obvious or well documented.

This talk will cover current Android app threats and look at how with freely available tools we can easily reverse engineer an Android app. After a brief introduction to Android platform security and how to protected app components, we’ll cover enhanced SSL validation, encryption, tamper protection and advanced obfuscation techniques. We will also focus on leveraging open source commercially viable libraries allowing us to increase our app’s security with minimal effort.

These best practise techniques will arm you with practical solutions that can help you survive in the Android security jungle.

I have released a new open source library to wrap a Google Play services API called SafetyNet, which has been completely eclipsed by the recent Google IO and WWDC coverage 😉 safetynet_framed

Here’s a blog post that explains a bit about what is it and why and here’s the code on github.

I’ve also released the Sample app on the Google Play store so you can run the Safety Net test on your own device.

 

Another blog on the Intohand blog, this time “How to publish your open source library to Maven central”

Have you created a great (or at least useful) Java/Android open source project that you want to enable other developers usmavene in their projects easily? have you wondered how to publish your library to Maven central? then this is the article for you!

http://intohand.com/blog/post/how-to-publish-your-open-source-library-to-maven-central

This is an extract for a blog post I wrote for intohand. Read the full article here.

Whilst emulators provide a function, nothing beats testing on real hardware. As a developer however unless you’re near a test wall of phones, have a very large bag or lots of colleagues/friends who are all running different software versions it can be a pain. It would be ideal if you could have a single phone that acted as a Swiss Army knife.

At the end of this article using a tool called MultiRom you’ll have a Nexus 4 with the option of booting into various versions of Android.

mulitboot-image09

After last nights SWUX meetup I figured I’d share some more links on Google’s Material design that I’ve found since the last meetup I attended.

Articles:googledesign

  • An exploration in Material Design by Arthur Bodolec @ Feed.ly  – good information about the Z order and a nicely polished example.
  • We Are Living In A Material World And I Am A Material Girl – Trello – Great article that shows before and after material, and most interesting thing for me was how Trello got rid of the navigation drawer.
  • Instagram with Material Design concept by Miroslaw Stanek – some great code samples.

Examples of Material apps – there are several of these kind of sights two of the best are:

  • pttrns.com – has a new beta section showing material/lollipop Android apps. What’s great is you can filter by the type of screen you’re looking for.
  • materialup – showcases material apps and websites but also material concepts and animations

Tools

  • Material Palette, pick two of the material colours and this site will generate palette of 8 colours ready to drop in to your app/project
  • Keyline Pushing – Android  app – when running draws an keyline grid on top of apps, useful for designer/developers to validate an app is ahearence to material’s metrics and keyline spec