Saturday, May 30, 2009

WordCamp Review

It took me three years, but I've finally gotten to WordCamp. Considering how much I love this bit of Open Software, and all the opportunities it has given me, and how many hours of complete engrossment in coding and design, no wonder I wanted to go.

--it was harder to meet people, much less networkish than BlogHer.
--but then, I was much more an outlier to the apparent demographic. Crowd was definitely young and majority male; good looking, and dressed like they came from the same clique. Mostly I introduced myself to other women who looked like they might be at least 30 years old.
--there was a smattering of conversations in foreign languages, which always makes me feel happy and at home.
--It was fairly easy to get a front row seat. Maybe the networking was better in the back. I just wanted to see. Matt Mullenweg introduced most the speakers, and mostly his shoes were ten feet from my eyeballs.

Here's who I heard speak. I was unfamiliar with all the presenters beforehand.

Tim Ferriss. He's not a gimick. I am now definitely interested in the four-hour workweek. Figures he went to Princeton. That's a land-on-your-feet education. Interesting pointers: put the date at the bottom of posts in archive. Check out slinkset.

Matt Cutts. Straight from Google, how PageRank works, mostly all familiar ground to me (does this mean I know something?) Interesting pointer: use Keyword Tool to suggest related popular search terms that you might want to work into a post.
pop flotsam: fake Steve Jobs, Katamari, embiggening

Tara Hunt. Whuffie. Cory Doctorow term--ah, I recognize the idea in Charles Stross' Accelerando. Basically, it's your reputation and credibility, connects to a gift economy. Pop flotsam: automagi, lilgram, tripit, throwing sheep, Dopplr, witty 404 pages.

Philip Greenspun. I don't know this guy from Adam, but my sense of him after this presentation is that he's a living treasure. Did you know someone's putting a hyperlinked OED, but from Malagasy, online? He had an amazing night sky metaphor for how the many posts, many users problem could be solved. And I'm totally going on the graph paper diet.

Steve Souders optimized an Alex King theme for quick loading live while we watched. I didn't understand it all, but I got enough to follow up on it.

Douglas Hanna illustrated the Wordpress Showcase. Of course I sat there thinking about which of my past projects or favorite sites could be submitted.

John Lilly impressed me. If open source were a religion, he would be a true-believing evangelist with a comprehensive and subtle knowledge. Great idea: litmus tests based on mission statement. Pop flotsam: chaords. He told about the guy who made the 60-minute video criticizing Mozilla, which was 1/3 now acknowledging they were working on it or had solved it, 1/3 crazy, and 1/3 insightful and freshly formulated. Lilly was frank that emotionally it was still somewhat painful to even recollect being on the receiving end of that kind of video rant from someone with cred in the community. To me, this was a story about where the rubber meets the road on group projects, or virtual communities.

I talked to Matt Mullenweg and got a picture of him and me with my iPhone. He introduced Alex King during his State of the Word.

I wanted to go to the Anniversary Party, but when I checked in with the kids they needed me home to drive them around.

Edit to add: Mike Mueller wrote a nice summary with good links.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

PTA training

So I'm going to be PTA Treasurer.

Today I had treasurer training at the district offices. We met together first, all presidents and officers and treasurers. In this town, almost everyone, by which I mean almost all the women, have worked as lawyers or have MBAs or other such job. So as we checked in for our training, I was noticing the clothing, all very I'm-not-at-work, but take-me-seriously,

Somewhere in the introduction time, the chair asked for the former PTA presidents to share advice, what they wish someone told them when they started off. Quickly I noticed, that the women dressed as slackers--no makeup, zip sweatshirts instead of blazers, practical hairstyles--these were the PTA presidents.

I felt a whole lot better about where I fit in.

I rode my bike to the meeting. I hate parking at district offices. And any time I get to ride my bike is a win.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Aaron Eckhart with Martin Short

One of the many things there is to love about Aaron Eckhart is that he's so classy about the fact he's not Mormon anymore.

Martin Short, as Jiminy Glick: and you're a catholic boy
Aaron Eckhart: No, I was raised Mormon
Martin Short: Mormon! a-ha-ha, that's what is so wonderful about America. If you're Muslim, be Muslim. If you're a Buddhist, be Buddhist. If you're a Presbyterian, well hide that. ....Were you supporting Mitt?
Aaron Eckhart: I've been working [on location as an actor]... I'm really oblivious to the campaign, to all the races. I don't know who I'm supporting yet.

though all the ridiculous things Martin Short/Jiminy Glick then goes on to say, never once does Aaron Eckhart duck the mormon jokes by clarifying that he's not mormon.

Ah, sigh. So gallant. Excuse me while I go watch Conversations with Other Women again.

Stephen Carter's kid book recommendations.

Stephen Carter says:
I’m totally with you about testing work in the cleansing fire of reading it aloud to kids. I read a book each day to a group of 3rd and 4th grade boys for a few months and quickly found out which authors had the chops. Dan Gutman emerged gloriously as did Eion Colfer. Jon Scieszka did well too. The best read-aloud I came across, though, was The Giggler Treatment. It practically read itself.

Note to self: find these books and provide them to my children.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Audiobooks: the key to getting housework done.

Cheaper than a cleaning service is a subscription to

I can personally, and enthusiastically, recommend these titles for your listening pleasure:

Very Valentine, narrated by Cassandra Campbell
Rococco, narrated by Steven Hoye
Lucia, Lucia, narrated by Cassandra Campbell

I love how Cassandra Campbell reads. I got The Beach House (by Jane Green) just to have her tell me more. Unfortunately, the Beach House was at points too dicey for when my kids were around. And I don't like to wear headphones all that much.

I tried Big Stone Gap read by the author. Love the author Adriana Trigiani, but did not want to hear her read to me. Go with Cassandra.

Steven Hoye's an entertaining reader too, and the material by Adriana Trigiani great fun. Unfortunately, I haven't found another book he narrates that I want to hear. I'm looking for light narrative that will keep me working.

I've got a load of laundry waiting to be folded, and nothing to listen to right now. I'm going to try _The School for Essential Ingredients_ because Cassandra Campbell is reading it.