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.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see your post - I wrote a post Wordcamp post myself. We actually sat very close together and would have been more than happy to meet you!