The first Worthing TweetUp

Last night at the Burlington Hotel, during the biggest thunderstorm so far this summer we had the first Worthing TweetUp.

Considering this is something that started as an idea I mentioned to David Rosam in passing two or three weeks ago I was pretty pleased with the turn out. David & I were there along with Jala68, Loudmouthman, Spidernix, Steaders and Clive Flint.

It was an informal event with everyone sat round a table chatting about everything from social networking to photography and the Russian Mafia! Loudmouthman managed to stream some of it to qik, and Clive has posted some photos to twitter.

We were also joined for a while by a lovely – very scared collie called bones who’d run away from her owner on the seafront during the storm.  She ran straight into the bar at the hotel & took up residence under our table.

It was really good to meet everone last night, I’m planning to arrange another meetup in a few weeks, probably at a different venue (hopefully somewhere with WiFi) so keep an eye on this blog and upcoming for more information.  Incidentally, if you are interested in sponsoring future events please get in touch.

dconstruct 08 compo

dconstruct 2008Those fine fellows at clear left are once again running dconstruct the peerless Brightonian one day web conference. I was there last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hopefully my boss read his email last week and remembered to book my ticket, but in case he didn’t I decided to enter the competition for a ticket.

So here is my slightly tongue in cheek offering. I hope that the clear lefties will take it in the spirit in which it’s intended & that Erin is able to forgive me when she’s old enough to be offended.

FOWD 2008 London – (the conference)

FOWD 2008 got off to a promising start when I met Jeremy Keithgetting off the Tube, we chatted as we waited in the monster queue outside Kensington Town Hall about a wide range of topics from DOM Scripting and Microformats to our new Macs.

I had intended to “live blog” throughout the day , but in the end I didn’t Jeremy has a pretty good summary of the days event on his blog. On the whole the sessions were very good – there were a couple of low points, namely the sponsors “little chats”.

Far and away the worst was buy some guy from an agency who had used Silverlight to develop a new “car configurator” for Aston Martin; He long overstayed his welcome on stage and by the end of it everyone was properly confused as to the point of the whole thing. When the Adobe rep got up in the afternoon to do his Flash / Flex presentation and produced not one but two car configurators we all had a good laugh.

Paul Boag did a great job of putting together and chairing the day, his “talky bits” could have been fleshed out a bit, I think Paul is a very good speaker on Web Dev and I’m currently missing his podcast which apparently will be back on May 6th. Not a moment too soon if you ask me. At one point Paul apologised to the lady that had been complaining on twitter after he’d got everyone to move up because there was now a “man mountain” blocking their view; the funny thing is that “lady” was me!

So Looking back at Thursday’s Events – here’s my recollection of the basic premise of each presentation:

  • Patrick McNeil (Design Meltdown) Finding Inspiration For Design

    Interesting chat from the guy behind Design Meltdown a site I hadn’t eared of before, apparently he’s reviewed >25,000 sites and categorised them. He advocates borrowing inspiration from various different sites to create new ones

  • Andy Clarke (Stuff & Nonsense) & Steve Pearce (Poke) User Experience v Brand Experience

    Having seen Andy (Mallarkey) Clarke speak several times, as well as reading his book & winning an iPod Shuffle from him I wasn’t dissapointed. Steve was a good speaker too What was billed as a fight ended (and started to be honest) with consensus: User Experience v Brand Experience are two sides of the same coin

  • Andy Budd (Clearleft) Designing the User Experience Curve

    I hadn’t heard Andy talk before, his session is one that really stood out for me uding real world examples of good user experience and applying them to the web, I look forward to seeing the slides so I can refresh my memory.

  • Larissa Meek (AgencyNet) Getting your designs approved: 12 Simple Rules

    I really wanted to enjoy this one, but design sign off isn’t something I have to worry about in my current roll. We probably didn’t need the recap at the end.

  • Live Photoshop Battle

    Pretty entertaining way to kick off again after lunch, Andy Clarke chatted to Jon Hicks (Hicksdesign) Elliot Jay Stocks (Carsonified) Jina Bolton (Jinabolton.com) & Hannah Donovan (Last.fm) while the madness happened on the big screen. Here’s the end result on Flickr

  • Elliot Jay Stocks (Carsonified) Print is the new web

    A good session on drawing inspiration from print medium from the (now ex) Carsonite.

  • Jon Hicks (Hicksdesign) From Design to Deployment

    What an excellent way to wrap up the day –Jon Hicks of Firefox logo rendering and perhaps more importantly Rissington Podcast fame talked through the whole process of launching a site “in a day” using the excellent Cheesophile.com as an example. I’m hoping Jon will get chance to turn Cheesophile into a real site – I think I could do with expanding my cheese horizons!

  • Paul Farnell (Litmus) Unconventional ways to promote your site

    This was an enjoyable session, but I think I was expecting a bit more radical. I’d hoped he might have touched on things like Facebook apps, he mentioned providing javascript widgets to access data on your site which I guess is a similar idea albeit on a smaller scale.

  • Daniel Burka (Digg & Pownce) Evolving the User Experience

    Daniel talked about some of the changes made in various iterations of the design of the digg site, fairly entertaining – but I’m not surprised he didn’t manage the billed 40 minutes

On Friday I attended a couple of the FOWD workshops, it’s late now so I’ll post about them another time.

Overall, I enjoyed FOWD 2008. It wasn’t the best conference I’d been to but then conference organisers have an incredibly difficult job; they’ll never please everyone with every session. I don’t think I’m going to make it to @media this year, but I really hope to be at d.construct in Brighton this September

dconstruct 07

I thought I’d write a bit about dconstruct before it became too distant a memory.

The conference was really enjoyable and I came away with quite a lot of ideas buzzing about my head. i particularly enjoyed Designing for a Web of Data by Tom Coates and Jared Spool on The Dawning of the Age of Experience. Jared’s magic tricks where a welcome bit of non techy entertainment too.

My only slight disappointment on the day was that I was absolutely knackered – I think I was actually a bit jet lagged – I only got back from Las Vegas two days before, so I wasn’t as awake as I would’ve liked to have been. I couldn’t face the after party – anyone who knows me will know it’s not like me to pass up on free beer. Any way, I’ll definitely be back for dconstruct 08; in the meantime I need to find some other conferences to attend – I’m toying with the idea of going to @media Ajax in November.

Adobe “Fully Loaded” Tour

I’m sitting in the Brighton Odeon Cinema in the “Fully Web” Session of “Fully Loaded” Tour it’s being presented by Steve B(something).

It’s basically Adobe trying to sell their suite of web development products. It’s not really holding my attention. There are two reasons for this: Firstly, all they have covered in any detail so far is Dreamweaverand Fireworks. These are the two tools that I use more than any others, I don’t think I’ve learned anything new. Secondly while the presenter may know the Adobe products inside out (and to be honest I’m not sure he does) his grasp of CSS and “hayche-tee-em-el” and frankly scary.
He must have said three or four times:

There are two main types of container in CSS, IDs and CSS

The implication being that the containing block (eg the html div) is the ID or Class, he never mentioned xhtml once. There where a few other “WTF?” moments I can’t think of any of hand

The second session

We’re in the second session now which is on Flash. He’s already said “in fact Flash is more accessible the HTML, if anyone disagrees I’ll prove them wrong”!
OK this is a bit better, I’ve just learned a couple of useful things. First of the “Ease” tool looks quite useful for changing the properties of objects on the stage. Also, the “zoomify” tool for flash looks quite interesting.

In the Q & A Session, people didn’t seem that interested in asking questions. I think most of had switched off by that point. I asked what the future was for Dreamweaver, how they are going to compete with Microsoft Expression. He said he couldn’t really comment but to look at labs.adobe.com so I’ll be doing that later.
All in all, this was not the best event I’ve been to, the freebies are not up to the standard I’ve come to expect. I used to rely on Macromedia events to provide me with all my note pads and pens, all I got this time was a lousy brochure.

@media 2007 announced!

Having thoroughly enjoyed @media 2006 a couple of months back, I was excited to receive an email today announcing @media 2007! And this time there are three conferences to choose from: San Francisco, Hong Kong or London

If you are involved in the web design / development industry and you are near one of the three venues, then I seriously recommend you book yourself a place when the tickets are released.

Some of My Highlights from the 2006 event included winning a book from Jeremy Keith in his session, Robin Christopherson‘s session on accessability and Chris Wilson‘s talk on IE7. But really, every session was excellent. I can’t wait to go next year. Now all I need to do is persuade the boss that I should go to San Fran.