Posts Tagged ‘seattle’

Heading Off To Web Directions Unplugged!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Web Directions Unplugged

I’m heading off to Web Directions Unplugged!

Well, not right this second. I’m writing this post right now. But in just a short bit I’ll be out the door, off to the bus station, and then I’ll be heading to Web Directions Unplugged. I’ve had the amazing fortune to be invited by John Allsopp and the talented people behind Web Directions to attend as the event’s Official Cartoonist. As such, I’ll be chronicling the going-ons in my typically irreverent but always adorably fuzzy fashion. I am humbled, grateful, and totally psyched.

What do you mean I can't draw directly on the monitor?I’ve attended Web Directions events in the past, and owe a bit of thanks to them in that regard. It was in the blustery opening days of 2008, while attending Web Directions North in Vancouver, that the first fuzzy sketches of CSSquirrel came to be. (This may or may not be while I was having a total man crush on Andy Clarke during his workshop.) As such, I am totally pumped to be attending yet another of their events, and to participate in this way.

If you’re going to Web Directions Unplugged, and you want to say hello, I’ve love to meet you. I’ll even make it a point not to make chittering noises and flee to the nearest tree. Also stay tuned for an announcement on how you’ll be able to help me exploit your labor chronicle the event as Squeee Correspondents.

Seattle, here I come!

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.

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!

Comic Update: An Event Apart, Misery Style

Monday, April 27th, 2009

In one week, An Event Apart will be in Seattle. Seattle is less than a two hour drive from Bellingham, which is where Mindfly Web Studio is located and where I live.

It’s a gorgeous town. It’s also a bit too small to attract the conference circuit.

Having never been to An Event Apart, I would love to attend one that is so close. But the conference budget was used to attend the fabulous Web Directions North 2009 in Denver, and I’m additionally in the process of getting ready to move to a new apartment, so I can’t justify the expense.

Poor me. As tempting as it would be to go Annie Wilkes-style and abduct a presenter as today’s comic suggests (featuring Eric Meyer in the role of victim), I think I’ll pass on becoming a kidnapper and just cope with the disappointment.

However, along with a couple other Mindfliers, I am looking to see what interest there is in the local web developer community in forming a wagon train and crashing whatever social events are occurring in the evening after the conference stops for the day. Details are sketchy on who, how, or with what vehicles, but if you’re local, and you’re interested, feel free to start tweeting me about it.

The real debate is what day, and what venue. Perhaps some Seattleites or AEA organizers could shed some useful light into this? Monday seems like the right night, but the MT Opening Night party is likely an attendees-only event that would take up a huge chunk of the available social time, resulting in us Bellinghamsters crouching outside in some sort of tent city, hawking “Death to IE6″ wares and playing the bongos.

Actually, your average Bellinghamster doesn’t need an excuse to start playing drums and making hand-made necklaces. Things get a bit granola-esque up here.

Of course, even if I miss the event and it’s pool of attendees completely, I plan to haunt the web’s stream of useful notes, presentations, and articles that will pop up in it’s wake. I love that part of this industry.

Speaking of conferences, Jeremy Keith put up a blog post discussing his presentation at Bamboo Juice, which helps illustrate his impression of thinking long term (which I touched on in my last comic update). I’d like to point out in particular the line: “Think about what you would put on attached to Voyager; now publish that material online.

As of yet, I can think of nothing that I’ve ever generated as content, online, on paper, or otherwise, that deserves to take up space on a probe’s first contact disc. That is, unless topical humor about web standards counts as memorable. Which makes me wonder, what was humor like in Sumer? I can’t help but feel that largely the jokes wouldn’t translate well.