First off, thank to WA government for having the foresight for ignoring the actual birthday of the Queen and making today a public holiday – my couch has been-a callin’. So what has been happening over the past couple of days?
After getting in early morning on the Wednesday, I toddled along to Stories for one of their famous egg and bacon rolls with Simon, Lachlan and Nick. Oh how I’ve waited for that. I could have gone home at this point a happy man, but then there was work to do! Spending the day tweaking my presentation, next it was up to the Kirk for memories of last year (Yes, they still only have five pint glasses) and then on to Port80 Sydney: Wednesday edition. We had a fantastic turnout, with over 80 people – most of which were new faces. Big ups to Clever starfish, radharc and Saasu.com for throwing dollars on the bar. I’m seeing a definate pattern here in regards to free beer.
What I learnt:
- Seeing cool stuff is inspiring.
- When giving a presentation, find out about the audience – it’s better to pitch a bit to high than to low.
- Don’t try to squeeze in 2 hours of material into 55 minutes
Next up was WebJam8. The one big disappointment of this trip is that I didn’t get something entered in WebJam, but having a Web Directions talk to do and a stupid amount of work took priority… Some really cool stuff was shown: Dmitry came third with a live code, that added reflections and animation to images on a web page, Diana came second with a crazy funny fast presentation about governments and bike helmets and the winners, Mr Speaker and Henry Tapia did a awesome YouTube remixer. In a moment of unlike-me-ness, I wentback to the hotel at a reasonable hour…
…and for the first time EVER made it to the first session of the second day! So no one can joke that I missed the best talk of the conference (as happened the past couple of years) and I wasn’t dissapointed. Jeffrey Veen is a brilliant speaker, and I wanted to pull my laptop out right there and then and cut some code. This is the sort of stuff that makes these conferences. After lunch, I gave my presentation on OpenID, OAuth and webservices (Available on slideshare here), and I think it went pretty well. The backchannel was only positive, so I count that as a win. Next I headed over to Douglas Crockford for a good old fashioned Computer Science lecture, god that takes me back! Whilst a little dry, and technical (Who am I kidding – I wanted that) it generated some great discussion.
What I learnt:
- Great talks bring in personal experience
- You need to get the audience to think
- Dual monitor Powerpoint never works properly when you need it to
With all of the festivities over, it was time to let the hair down at the Shellbourne, for a quick shandy. Had a debate about designers vs UX experts (We were actually arguing the same point, it turns out), and had many an indepth conversation, including one with Charles from Opera, about webservice brokering. So much so, my plans to build one may now be possible (Huzzah!).
What I learnt:
- Finding random “locals” to go out with doesn’t mean they know where they are going
- Peanuts 2u is actually a brand of salted almonds
- There is a “No redheads” policy in NSW pubs
- Bats are weird and scary
So that was my Web Directions experience in a nutshell! Roll on Edge of the Web – only five weeks until we get to do it all over again!