Sou’westerly

Posted by Steve in the wee hours on Thursday the 6th of March, 2008

Given that I’m sitting [or was, at the time of writing—Ed.] in a large, metal tube at about 35,000ft., and Ben is writing for his blog, I’ve been gripped by the desire to write for mine, too. Miracles, apparently, will never cease.

For the third year running, now, I’m on my way to Austin, Texas for SXSW.

Past

The first year (2006), travelling with Fatty (whom I had met but once before), was an incredible experience. I got to make lots of new friends and, generally, learn a huge amount and have a brilliant time.

Fast-forward a year to 2007 and Fatty and I were joined by Ben, and I got to share a room with the inimitable Faruk. There were lots of complaints, from others, of the conference becoming too big for its own boots, of too many panels with too little content, and so forth; generally, there seemed to be an air of malaise about SXSW.

Socially, for me, it was bigger and better than my first year: I went to more parties, spent time with more people, and generally made more friends than in 2006. It was good.

Present

I fully expect this year to continue that trend given that, at the airport this morning, Ben and I (alas, no Fatty this year) bumped into Stuart Colville before we had even checked in, Paul Duncan over breakfast, Cyril Doussin and Tristan Turpin (who, along with Stuart, are on the same flight as Ben and me) just after breakfast, and Gareth Rushgrove in the departures lounge.

All this, mark you, before we had even left Gatwick Airport.

Granted, this was aided in no small part by the magic of Twitter (and generally being better acquainted with more people in the web scene), but there was also a certain amount of serendipity thrown in for good measure, too.

Near-Future

Compared to the last two years, my aims have ever-so-slightly changed, too. Rather than, as last year, placing the focus on attending sessions and parties, my focus this year will simply be on “am I making the most of this time?”. I intend to be rather mercenary about this, in fact: last year and the year before, there were times when I stayed at a party for fear of not knowing anyone at another. That shan’t happen this year.

Further, I intend to be very much, to use an NLP phrase, “in the moment”. Also, in a change to normal programming, I shall be drinking alcohol (although hopefully not to the levels of excess seen at d.Construct 07).

The biggest change, though, is that I shall, finally, be attending SXSW music. The past two years, I’ve lusted after that extra week of partying and gigs (and envied Keith horribly when he’s stayed on); this year, I get to partake myself (along with Ben, Alex Lee, and Lindsey Mooney). Not only that but, thanks to contacts in Yahoo! Music UK, I may have wangled access to closed recording sessions for Yahoo! Music with Ben, Alex, and Lindsey.

I’m looking forward to it all more than you can possibly imagine.

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Unrelenting

Posted by Steve just before lunch on Thursday the 22nd of February, 2007

Where did the last six months go?

It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I was getting excited in the build-up to Reading, BarCampLondon, and d.Construct ’06 (all three of which were incredibly fun).

Since then, I’ve managed to get a job at Yahoo! Europe as a web developer, become a regular at Pub Standards, launch a new design for this site (and let it languish, despite my best intentions), and attend a second BarCamp, as well as going to various gigs (to name but a small fraction).

I had thought that I’d experience a quick flurry of activity before things returned to normal. How wrong I was: my definition of normal has been altered to include working with some of the best, brightest, and most influential people I could ever care to work with, having an influence on potentially thousands of people’s browsing experiences, almost 4 hours of commuting every day (most of which is spent on public transport), and a general feeling of awe at everything my life has become in this short period of time.

Everything seems to be happening at an unrelenting pace now: SxSW07 is just around the corner, @media won’t be far behind that, with d.Construct ’07 sure to follow. BarCamps will probably be plentiful this year, too, and I’m going to try to go to Reading again, as well as (hopefully) taking an Outward Bound ‘adventure’. Because of this I’m making loads of new friends and seeing old ones more often, too.

I’m busy as hell, but I couldn’t be happier.

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Camp

Posted by Steve over lunch on Thursday the 10th of August, 2006

When I was progressing through education, September was, naturally, a very busy time of year, with new starts and changes to the way my time was squandered: more homework, less homework, more socialising, less socialising, more free time, less free time. Generally, Septembers would set the tone for the rest of the year.

Since entering the real world, these flurries of activity seem to occur far more irregularly but this year is refreshingly different, with September being marked once more by a flurry of activity, much of which is an indicator (hopefully) of how the coming year will shape up.

The back-to-schoolcool build-up starts with Reading, over the last weekend of August. Whilst I’ve been to a fair few gigs, I’ve never been to Reading Festival before and I’m getting pretty excited about it now. Granted, some of the acts I’d been hoping to see have pulled out or simply weren’t going this year, but it still looks like there’s a decent line-up.

Then we enter September, and the web-standards conference year kicks off with a quick one-two punch of BarCamp London and d.Construct 2006. d.Construct 2005 was my first web-standards conference and, if last year – along with the line-up for this year – is anything to go by, this year should be stellar.

What is BarCampLondon? Think of it as a way to get the tech/geek community together in London at the end of the summer. What will happen during the event? Only one thing is certain: It’s up to you to decide. The most important thing you should take away from the event? Relationships with other geeks!

This openness permeates every facet of the ‘conference’: rather than a formal gathering at a conference venue, with all the attendees staying in the local swanky hotel at great expense, BarCampers are expected to bring a sleeping bag and pillow, and all find somewhere to camp at the venue. This, to me, is incredible: I’ve often said (although obviously not on nascentguruism, what with not posting much) that the biggest reason for attending any conference is the social aspect.

Add to that the idea that first-timers are expected to contribute (usually by way of presenting something or leading a discussion), and things really start getting exciting. This entirely demolishes the established ‘get an industry figurehead to talk from a pedestal’ approach: everyone is equal, and everyone has something to contribute.

And so I’ve landed my first public speaking gig.

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@media 2006

Posted by Steve mid-evening on Wednesday the 14th of June, 2006

Muchos notes… These links will become less broken throughout the course of the conference.

Leave a comment if we met!

Update: I had an awesome time meeting lots of people… My notes are now up in plain-text format.

Day 1

09:00: Keynote Presentation (Eric Meyer)

10:45: Good Design vs. Great Design (Jon Hicks, Cameron Moll, and Veerle Pieters) or Using DOM Scripting to Plug the Holes in CSS (Jeremy Keith)

12:00: IE: 7 and Beyond (Chris Wilson) or Fine Typography on the Web (Dave Shea)

14:00: The New Accessibility Guidelines: WCAG 2.0 (Andy Clarke, Patrick Lauke, Gez Lemon, and Ian Lloyd) or Bug Hunting (Andy Budd)

15:30: Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps (Jeffrey Veen)

Day 2

09:00: Bulletproof Web Design (Dan Cederholm)

10:30: DOM Scripting: The Next Level (Cameron Adams, Peter-Paul Koch, Stuart Langridge, Dan Webb, and Simon Willison) or Beyond a Code Audit (Robin Christopherson)

11:45: Mobile Web Design (Cameron Moll) or Internationalisation: Awakening The Sleeping Giant (Molly E. Holzschlag)

13:45: Strategic CSS Management (Rachel Andrew, Andy Budd, Roger Johansson, and Dave Shea) or Yahoo! vs. Yahoo! (Nate Koechley)

15:00: The Fine Art of Web Design (Andy Clarke) or Microformats: Evolving the Web (Tantek Çelik)

16:30: ‘Hot Topics’ Panel

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Suckswee

Posted by Steve mid-evening on Tuesday the 7th of March, 2006

Apparently it’s nearly time for Fatty and me to make our way to SXSWi ’06. Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, we’ll be leaving my house at some ungodly hour and heading to Gatwick, to fly with Continental to Austin, via Houston.

As Fatty mentioned, we’ll probably be spending some of the flight working out how we’re going to spend our time in Austin. Thanks to the wonders of SiteSucker, I have details for all the goings–on throughout the week direct from the SXSW site and loaded onto my iBook. The only certainty at this point is that we plan on spending Monday night fiddling with some shiny balls with the likes of The Molly (who is our team’s official cheerleader, apparently), Faruk (our team captain), Da Keith (a team–mate), and many, many more.

If you’re going to be at Suckswee, take a look at my about page, remember my face, and either try to avoid me like the plague (which I’d heartily recommend, if you value your sanity) or grab me and say ‘hi’.

I’d prefer the latter.

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Carson Workshops Summit

Posted by Steve mid-evening on Monday the 28th of November, 2005

My d.Construct write-up is coming, honestly: it’s taking a bit longer than I expected, but it is on its way.

Another month, another conference booking. This time, The Boy WonderBen and I will be attending the Carson Workshops Summit on the 8th of February, 2006, with The JokerFatty in tow.

Rumour has it that Jeremy, Andy, Richard, and The Jon will be there, not to mention the speakers: Mister Mint, a Signal, and someone predictable, to name but a few.

Add to that the fact that it’s Ben’s birthday the day after, and it should make for an altogether good day/evening.

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All booked up for SXSWi

Posted by Steve in the early afternoon on Sunday the 23rd of October, 2005

Radisson Hotel, Austin, Texas So that’s it – Fatty and I are all booked up for our sojourn to the veritable geek-fest that is sxsw interactive (which I am hereby christening ‘suckswee’).

We’ll be be arriving in Austin at about 4pm local time on the 8th of March 2006, having left Blighty (that’s Britain for those of you that didn’t know) at 9:30am on the same day.

We ended up getting a room together in the Radisson; I know everyone says that the Hampton Inn Downtown is where all the cool kids stay, but they were all booked out (save rooms with double beds, and I don’t plan on sharing a bed with Fatty anytime soon). This either means that there are going to be far too many truly cool people in Austin next March, or that the Hampton booking system somehow knows when people who it deems uncool are trying to book rooms, and simply lies to them.

I’m hoping it’s the former.

We’ve then got a day or so either end of sxsw to enjoy the sights and sounds around Austin or, better yet, to get more acquainted with our fellow sucksweers, and we leave at about 4pm local time on the 16th.

I can’t wait.

PS: Let me know in the comments if you’re going too and we can meet up or something!

Also, recommendations for where we can go for breakfasts would be good, too, as such things appear to be unheard of in the Austin Radisson…

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