Ramon Thomas and friends27Dinner for the uninitiated are meetings arranged by and for bloggers or people interested in social media. They take the form of an informal dinner with a few speakers and have been a hit across South Africa. In Johannesburg and Cape Town these dinners have drawn sometimes as many as 100 people at a time. At least half the audience tends to be geeks or technically oriented people, while the others are a mixture of marketing, public relations, journalists or spectators. Last year I had the opportunity to speak at the 2nd 27Dinner in Durban, hosted by Marc Forrest and was excited once more to be a speaker because it’s may way of giving back to the community from which I have learned so much.

Now I’d like to give this some context because Port Elizabeth is often ignored by people running events, whether they be entertainment (music) or business related events. And I have taken it upon myself to find ways of bringing more important events like 27Dinner or Women4Women to this beautiful part of South Africa. After all I will be spending more time here from June 2008 while I take a mini sabbatical. The biggest thanks has to go to Alan Straton from MyPE for organising the venue, and doubly so for persuading the restaurant to open on a public holiday (27 April – Freedom Day). Greig Timkoe, my friend, and client did the introduction and delivered very short talk on handling workplace conflict created by email. This is a topic of tremendous importance that I would like to see expanded on in future talks or articles on his Peacemakers blogs.

Mark Bloomfield & wifeThe first speaker for the evening was Mark Bloomfield, South Africa’s only Adobe Community Expert. He gave an overview of the Adobe AIR platform which I have used to run the StomperNet Scrutinizer. The AIR platform sounds like a good idea in principle, especially if you are technically minded and understand things like bandwidth, processing power, database calls, etc. Most people don’t, not even people working in the broader technology sector. And therefore this has a limited market potential. Java is similar because it’s platform independent, however it’s different because it’s become more of a middleware application. Adobe AIR created beautiful application which run on your Desktop and reduced the dependence on bandwidth to some extent. Mark closed off with an introduction of a new development platform from Adobe who already owns Dreamweaver and Photoshop. There’s not much I can say about this software because it has not been launched yet. Now to go by the quality of Adobe’s other project this will be a boon for developers professional and amateur alike.My own presentation was an updated version of my Blog your way to becoming and Expert presentation.

Overall this was a smaller event with maybe 20 people attending. There were several who listed their names on the 27Dinner wiki page but didn’t show and that could be because of the week ahead filled with 3 public holidays and I know for a fact many people have chosen to go on holiday somewhere else.