I’ve been doing so much lately, and neglecting to blog about it all, so here’s a quick catch-up on some of the places and people I’ve had the recent pleasure of visiting.
Refresh ’06 Conference
Way back in November, there was a tiny conference held in Orlando, Florida (about 3 hours drive north of Fort Lauderdale). I decided to attend, partly due to the speaker list and of course because of its proximity to my hometown (it’s nice to get to a conference by car, rather than flying). The conference itself was fine (not stellar, and well under-attended, but the single track was a nice change – I didn’t have to worry about missing one session because of another), but as usual the people made the (short) trip worth making (for more complete coverage, check out Andy’s and Jeremy’s write-ups). Garrett and I always have fun at the bars, and Jina/Patrick/Jeremy/Andy/Faruk all kept up fairly well (check out the Flickr stream for some pics of the Howl at the Moon dueling piano bar), and I got to meet Paul Boag, Cindy Li, Nate Koechley, as well as finally meet Cameron Moll in person (this whole web thing is sometimes a little too solitary for my tastes…).
For a short conference, I had a blast, and I think everyone else did too.
Refresh D.C. Guest Speaker
After meeting Cindy Li at Refresh ’06 in November, I was offered the chance to speak at the Refresh D.C. meeting if I was going to be in the area, and as luck would have it, I was going to be returning from Boston the day before their January meeting. After a simple adjustment to my travel plans (which actually saved me money on the trip), I was all scheduled for my D.C. visit.
The meeting (held at the Motley Fool office in Alexandria, VA) had a great showing (a little over 50 people), and I had the chance to give my first presentation since Pro CSS Techniques started shipping (that’s the book I haven’t really promoted but will be). See Cindy’s write-up for all the details (and her Flickr set to follow my travels around D.C.). Suffice it to say I think it was very well received, especially by designers wanting to learn more about retaining control over their ideas through the use of CSS (something I want to talk more about in the near future).
The rest of the trip was a whirlwind, thanks in no small part to the good graces (and seemingly limitless energy) of Cindy. In a short 4 days, I attended a Wizards game (sitting in the AOL box suite), played with a Wii for the first time (and became hooked, so much so that I bought one a few weeks later), went swing dancing (again, first time ever), visited the National Cathedral, went to the top of the Washington Monument, saw the WWII Memorial, attended the D.C. Mayor’s Inaugural Ball (had to buy a suit for that…), and experienced Cindy’s Hello Kitty Waffle Breakfast. Phew!
I’m certain I’ve left out a few things, but you get the idea… what a great way to start the year!
Web Directions North
What’s the next logical step after starting the year off traveling to Boston, D.C., and a quick business trip to NYC? Well, another trip, that’s what, and where else would I want to go in the beginning of February than Vancouver, B.C. for another conference?
My trip started with a brief visit on Friday to Seattle to check out the city and hang with Mike Davidson. Just enough time to grab lunch at The Red Mill (terrific burgers, cash only), work for a few hours in the Newsvine offices, grab dinner with Mike and Tom Watson (of BlueFlavor), then meeting up with D. Keith Robinson and a few other folks for drinks, before catching a few hours of sleep and hopping the train up to Vancouver early on Saturday (if you ever get the chance, take the Amtrak Cascades line – it cost me $28 and was a beautiful, easy trip).
I was a bit late deciding to attend WDN, so I wasn’t in time to get on the speaker’s list (next year perhaps), but I could still lend a hand as a volunteer, which I’m always willing to do (many years of service as a Boy Scout trained me well…). I had the pleasure of stuffing bags, sliding name tags into badge holders, running (literally) to Staples to buy last minute supplies, live blogging, and even introducing a session (by the Flickr’s lovely George Oates and Yahoo!’s Paul Hammond… or, “Paul & Oates” ;) Want pics/write-ups? Check out Flickr, the live blogging on the WDN site, and Jeremy’s summaries (one, two, three). The week also gave me the chance to spend a little time with my friend Jeremy Hubert, who was kind enough to let me use his apartment in North Vancouver as a crash pad for the week, even when I was sick.
Many thanks to John Allsopp, Maxine Sherrin, Dave Shea and Derek Featherstone for putting on one hell of a conference, and allowing me to lend a hand.
What would a trip to Vancouver be if I didn’t also hop up to Whistler Blackcomb? Well, luckily for me that was part of the plan for WDN, and along with about a 3rd of the conference participants, I made my way to Whistler (informally voted one of the worst web sites many attendees have had to use, ever), and though sick as a dog (with whatever was going around that week – if you were at WDN, you probably caught it) I managed to get through a 3+ hour lesson on Friday without too many bad falls (my tailbone will be sore for years I fear…), and did much better on Saturday, even attempting/completing a short run without spending all day trying. Jeremy was kind enough to post videos of me and Cindy trying to board (Cindy did much better than I when faced with the pressure of a permanent recording), and photos on Flickr cover the mountain quite well.
I also got the chance during the week and at Whistler to spend time with some nice folks from Microsoft – aside from the free drinks from 12pm-6pm at the Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill both days, and the few dinners I was privileged to attend, Angela Baxley (project manager for Expression) and Pete LePage (project manager for Internet Explorer) were both excellent ambassadors for Microsoft, and I think they made the same impression on everyone.
I’ve nearly nursed myself back to health since returning from Vancouver, so now it’s time to continue preparations for SXSW (including some small changes around this site), and get back on top of the current workload.
This item was posted byon Tuesday, February 20th, 2007.
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