WordCamPDX Wrap-Up

Skipped the after-party to wander home (I don’t drink, and today was long enough as it stands, otherwise would have joined the crew at the Green Dragon). Hoping to collect my thoughts on the day while they’re still fresh.

The short of it: it was a REALLY fantastic event, and I’m very glad I went (it would have been worth coming down from Seattle for were I still in Seattle, let me put it that way). As can be gathered from my previous post, there was a virtual wealth of information regarding blogging, and thats not even getting into the deluge of tweets on Twitter regarding it — at several points in the day, we were anywhere from the number one to the number three item in Twitter Trends, even beating out the political stuff the day after the debates. And the attendance was just 150 people(ish), so that should be saying something on just how much everyone was tweeting. I about doubled my Twitter Follows/Followers.

On the quibbles side of things, I’d say it’d be nice if it was broken into two shorter days rather than one PACKED day. More chance to socialize and network between peers, and it would also give the opportunity to provide a bit more tracking options for sessions (as it was, there were a few that ran opposite each other that a lot of people wanted to go to both of). That said, the price was unbeatable, the presenters and topics were interesting, and the location was excellent. Overall, if you’re going to have issues, having too many neat things packed into the time is a pretty nice problem to have.

A few mental notes to myself:

  • I promised to look into more effective ways to migrate or batch edit categories in MediaWiki (the wiki software the Codex uses)
  • The WordPress Codex needs more volunteers to help write tutorials and document features, especially with 2.7 right around the corner! This is something that is worth at least a portion of my time, even if it’s just taking a few hours a week to fix typos and grammar.
  • Unrelated to WordPress, worth looking into the Information School at Berkeley, as their graduate program sounds like potentially a good fit. Thanks for the tip about goes to the lovely @snelson, one of the numerous awesome people I got to meet today.

I feel like the event made me excited about being a blogger again, which is a great feeling. I’m excited to put some of what I learned about into practice to make my blogs better and more effective. Some of these include the plugins that got listed, and implementing OpenID support and finding other ways to foster communication on the blog. I’m excited to update to 2.7, and plan to pull a nightly for local testing to make sure my theme development doesn’t break. I’d like to finish my new theme and get it implemented on the site, and maybe (shock of shocks!) share it with the community in case someone else likes what I did! Which, I think, is the biggest takeaway from this event: it’s not about the tool you’re using, it’s about the community that uses it.

Liveblogging WordCamp Portland

8:33am: We’re all set up in the main conference room at CubeSpace, bagels and coffee in hand… slide on the project points out that if you want to search on twitter or flickr or anywhere, the hashtag to look for is #wordcampdx.

8:38am: Giveaways of random things, like a free copy of Blogging Tips

8:40am: “Compost Compost Compost!” (Eva explaining CubeSpace)

8:42am: Automatic sent us a bunch of buttons and stickers and tattoos (temporary tattoos). Tattoo contest for creative use (PG-13 please!) over the day.

8:43am: Random silly little WordPress video done to “When You Wish Upon a Star” — cheesy but cute. It’s sort of a list of bloggers and developers and such who’ve managed to be successful using wordpress.

8:48am: Random interviews with various WordPress users.

8:53am: Lorelle just came in dressed as a Fairy Blogmother. “Has no one’s lives have been changed by WordPress here? What the hell am I doing here?”
Continue reading

The Fresh Pot

I’m down in Portland, Oregon at the moment, down on Hawthorne at a coffee shop called The Fresh Pot. One of the things I love about Portland is that they really “get” chai. It’s nice to go into a coffeehouse and be able to choose from multiple varieties of chai, in case you’re looking for a sweeter chai, or a spicier chai, et cetera. I’ve had the Dragonfly chai before and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I opted for the Pixie chai this time (these are brands of chai, by the by), which is a sweeter chai. I’m pretty happy with it, it’s good both on first sip and also as it rolls on the tongue… you can definitely taste TEA within it, rather than being overpowered by the spices. Another thing I like is that everyone is really friendly and mellow. Walking down the street, people are genuinely smiling and polite to each other, and everyone seems to be relaxed and enjoying the day. It’s a good thing. If you contrast this with, say, Hanover, where everyone is walking like they’re on a mission, avoiding eye contact with others at all costs, with a cell phone glued to one ear, the difference is palpable.

I’m due to upgrade my WordPress installation to 2.1, but I’ve paused briefly before doing so to consider exactly what I want to be doing with the site, and possibly redesign it so that there is a coherent theme for all aspects of the site (blogs, main site, gallery), and how exactly I’m going to do that. I still want to keep my personal blogging distinct from what I put up on Critical Games, but I would like a more unified “this is all one site” sense from it. It feels like I’m asking a lot, but I already have a few ideas on how to do this. Part of it comes down to reassessing the layout of the page. Every day, fewer and fewer computers run a square or square-ish ratio, with a trend towards a 16:9 (or similar) wide screen ratio. The most obvious at-a-glance example is Apple, where every single product they offer now is a wide screen (MacBook, MacBookPro, iMac, the Cinema displays), but they are by no means alone in this. So, if our viewing space is stretching in width rather than in length, why not design a layout that suits a wider screen? This isn’t a radical new idea, either, as is indicated by the promulgation of wider, 3-column sites. I’ll aim not to bore you with site mucking details, just giving a heads up that if you come here and the site looks different, don’t be surprised. I’ll be doing my mucking about on a test site local to my computer, so in theory nothing will break in the process. (Hah, how novel!)

Upgraded WordPress

I’m not yet sure how much I like the new admin interface, but sometimes that’s the price we pay for progress. I’m also not entirely sure what features were added to justify a major point release ( to 2.0). In either case, let me know if anything goes wonky.