Posts Tagged ‘aea’


Monday, February 6th, 2012

I’m not at An Event Apart: Atlanta. Which is a shame because by all accounts I missed some wicked banjo playing by Dan Cederholm. And I love listening to some good banjo.

However, I am following along via Twitter, and saw this announcement by Jeffrey Zeldman, web design godfather and co-founder of An Event Apart:

.@simplebits just unveiled Pears, an open source web design pattern library/WP theme. #aea looks like a convenient little tool for web designers to bookmark, a library of sorts where commonly needed HTML/CSS patterns for common page elements like navigation, lists and such can be quickly grabbed and used. I’m sure you’re all so amazing that you don’t need it for your markup, but I also think for prototyping some page elements this might be a good resource to go-to to quickly grab and paste. You might also find a few new ideas on how to arrange your markup or CSS, too.

Check it out.

Comic Update: Push To Dispense Free Cheese

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Today’s comic continues the storyline started by the last episode in a display of continuity rarely tolerated here. It continues the celebration of my attendance at An Event Apart: Seattle by showcasing many of the speakers of that groundbreaking event: Andy Clarke, Nicole Sullivan, Jeremy Keith, Eric Meyer, Aarron Walter, Jared Spool, Luke Wroblewski, Jeffrey Zeldman and Dan Cederholm. Also making a noteworthy appearance is Naepalm, the chinchilla alter-ego of Mindfly Web Studio co-worker Janae.

It also is my response to Jeremy Keith’s challenge (made at the event) to create an icon for “Push to Dispense Free Cheese.” I dare anyone else out there to do better.

No, really. I want to see that.

For the past couple of years I’ve followed the going-ons of An Event Apart through the Twitterscape. The inaugural comic of CSSquirrel featured AEA: New Orleans 2008 (and Andy Clarke’s underpants.) This year was the first opportunity I had to attend in person. It blew me away.

Let’s start with the speakers. They are top notch, cream of the crop, cutting-edge members of our website-making industry. They aren’t just paving cow paths (HTML5 philosophy notwithstanding). They’re kicking down the door of the future and lighting up places we’ve never been before. Even better, they’re sharing these cutting-edge thoughts with the rest of us.

I am fully incapable of transcribing in a single blog post what I learned there. It took me eight hours of working alongside Janae to figure out how to compress this information into what became four hours of presentation for our esteemed Mindfly colleagues, and that was with access to informative slides. So instead, let me point you towards some online writings that sum up the event and the lore contained within:


As awesome as the speakers were, another amazing component of the conference was the attendees. I live in lovely Bellingham, WA. It’s about two hours north of Seattle, is nicely sandwiched between mountains and the bay, and is a great place to live. It is not, however, literally crawling with web designers in the same fashion as large cities like Seattle or New York. So to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of invested, devoted website-making peeps is a heady experience. With people coming from design studios, universities like UW, and even sites like I Can Has Cheezburger, it made for a great opportunity to talk shop with people of all different web design backgrounds.

At some point in the recent past I saw someone ask on Twitter if it was worthwhile to pay for a conference for information they could get later on a blog. I can say for certain that yes, it is. There is a quantity of data being that is shared in live meetings that any attempt by myself or others to fully regurgitate in writing is incapable of matching. Speakers absorb earlier comments by their fellows, incorporating ideas into their own presentations. Crowds at lunch and after-parties discuss the merits of the ideas discussed, bringing the focus of several hundred minds to the same issues in one short period of time. Friends known online become real concrete people with a firm handshake, a booming laugh, and other qualities that engrave the real feel of who they are.

Note to self: I forgot to actually acquire one of Dylan Wilbank’s excellent business cards. Dang it.

There’s one more comic that will finish this year’s AEA storyline. But knowing the quality of this event, having finally experienced it firsthand, I can tell you it won’t be the last time AEA gets the squirrel treatment.

Meyer, Zeldman and everyone else that made my two days in Seattle so awesome: Thank you.

Comic Update: A Little Usability Game

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Today’s comic features An Event Apart San Francisco 2009 speakers Jared Spool and Luke Wroblewski in a compromising situation involving imprisonment, a squirrel dressed like an evil doll, and an impossible usability task. It also follows my habit of making kidnapping-related comics during An Event Apart to compensate for my physical absence.

My very first web design conference, Web Directions North 2008, featured a lot of speakers. One, who’s listed topic of usability seemed boring to my new to professional web development mind, was Jared Spool. I had no intention of sitting in on the seminar, but the Javascript one next door completely failed to engage me, so I snuck in to see what was up.

Let me say now, Jared, I was sorry I ever doubted you. Your showmanship is stellar, and the topic suddenly became relevant to my interests.

I’ve not heard Luke speak, but I’m currently reading his book Web Form Design. Its first sentence: “Forms suck,” engaged me with the honesty and humor implicit in that statement. Starting a book about forms with such a pair of words is perhaps ballsy, but it’s exactly what I think, so it drew me in. I can only hope by the time that I’m at the end of his book, my forms suck less.

Like many others, I’m not at AEA this time. As such, I can’t hear these gents eloquently expounding on their subjects of interest. But thanks to A Feed Apart, I’ll be listening into the Twitter stream. So to those of you attendees out there, please be charitable and tweet up the good bits.

An Event Apart Seattle In Absentia

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Bellingham is not too distant from Seattle. In fact, it’s less than a two-hour drive for most of my friends (who may or may not be driving like maniacs. I’m not sure how long of a drive it is for people obeying traffic laws.) So when I learned that An Event Apart would be in Seattle this year, I wept openly (but in a manly fashion, like an action star weeping over the death of his partner in an explosion-filled cop movie.)

Why? Because I knew I wouldn’t be going, mostly due to finances. The budget allotted to conferences already had been committed to Web Directions North. Now, WDN was worth it in every way, and a great experience. But as it lacked the notable Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman, it left me craving.

As AEA: Seattle drew nearer, I concocted a plan. I would not be going to AEA, but if I arranged a road trip with some Mindfly co-workers, I could attend one of the fabulous evening parties, perhaps, rubbing elbows with important web folk and picking up some new CSS tricks by osmosis. I discussed this in a post last week (having contemplated abducting speakers in this comic) and managed to round up a full squad of Mindfliers to roll south with.

Then, on fateful Monday, things started to go wrong. Like the Fellowship of the Ring, things seemed peachy at first, but then like Gandalf toppling into a pit the first person canceled. After a brief pause people started jumping ship left and right, with Boromir stepping in front a few arrows and Samwise and Frodo ditching on the group. I felt like Aragorn, stuck with an elf and a dwarf, and instead of Seattle decided to head to Isengard… er… home.

The Twitter stream of AEA attendees that night was like a punch to the gut. However, it’s presence illustrated the next best thing to attending: cyber-stalking.

Thankfully due to the presence of web-geeks at a web standards conference (surprise surprise) a great deal of the material and experiences of An Event Apart Seattle are present for downloading and consuming. You can’t taste the lunches or feel the giddiness of standing in a crowd of people as far down the rabbit hole as you are, but you can learn quite a bit about what was said and how it went.

Here’s a skimming of offerings from the hearty soup of the Internet:

Zeldman’s AEA:Seattle After-Report

Warren Parson’s Massive Photostream of An Event Apart: Seattle

Think Brownstone’s AEA Sketches

Twitter Stream of AEA (With All the Numerous Hashtags Used)

Dan Cederholm’s Presentation Slides

Dan Rubin’s Presentation Slides

Aaron Walter’s Slides

Tara Hunt’s Presentation Slides

There’s probably many more sources out there. If you know of ones I missed, feel free to link them in the comments, please. As for you, AEA, maybe next year!

The Web-O-Tron Learns Me Good

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

I love web people conferences. I’ve only attended one so far, but the joys of web-related careers is that web people have a tendency to blog about pretty much any aspect of their existence (in Mindflykateer Karina’s case, her typical topic of bowels might be a bit too much disclosure for most, but she’ll be damned if she’ll let that stop her). Conferences tend to be on that list of typographical diarrhe.

The reason for my commentary is An Event Apart: San Francisco. Did I attend? Alas, no, although I need to get around to visiting that city without my ex-girlfriend, since my only post-childhood visit to that metropolis was ruined by her refusal to check out the Chinatown lunar festival that was going on mere feet from our hotel in favor of a swing dance event (note, I can’t dance. At all. She was going to dance for her).

However, thanks to awesome attendees, I can get a lot of the guts of the event via awesome summaries such as this one by Jeremy Keith, discussing Day One of the event. His post on the subject manages to capture the digestible, ethereal essence of the conference while shedding the malign, useless husk of buzzwords and coffee cups that pile up in such events.

This is excellent. It makes me feel like I’m learning useful things despite this week’s obsession with drawing robots with vector graphics. Hooray!