The first thing that struck me at WordCamp Seattle was the inclusive sense of community. People from all walks of life, hobby bloggers and coders, grandmas, hairdressers, and hackers, came together to discuss WordPress, how to use it, and how to improve it. People were so friendly, no snobbery, no cliques, no standoffishness…
I have attended small scale blog conferences before, but this was the first time to attend an event of this kind for me.
What is WordCamp?
WordCamps are non-profit conferences that are organized and run entirely by volunteers. No need to break the bank on wardrobe or ticket prices. This is definitely a come as you are event – be yourself, no one is there to see your shoes – and the amazingly low ticket price of $20 is offset by the many sponsors who make these conferences possible. I spent some time speaking to reps from the sponsors, and these people really get the community focus of WordCamp, and WordPress as a whole.
Nearly 700 people converged on the HUB at the University of Washington for WordCamp Seattle this year. It was huge, and so well run. There were panels for rank beginners and seasoned developers, and everyone in between.
So many useful sessions
The schedule was packed, so many talks from which to choose! Here are the sessions I attended (slides used by the presenters linked below):
So many great talks, and of course, there were four different talks going through most of the sessions. But the slide shows and video of the events has been made public, so you can see what you missed at a later date. A note about the videos, there is one long video for each of the three rooms that covers all of the talks that took place in the room, so get yourself a really big cup of coffee before sitting down to watch.
This conference was just so rich with useful information and resources that two weeks later I am still processing everything in my head.
But that was just day one. Day two upped the community aspect in a completely different way…
I wasn’t really sure what they meant by Contributors Day, but it turns out they take the community built and open source aspects of WordPress pretty seriously.
Contributors day took place in a smaller shared workspace called the Impact Hub Seattle in Pioneer Square. Participants gathered together to contribute to the WordPress product. The group divided into teams to work on everything from documentation to help desk questions, to directly addressing bugs, to working on updates. No need to have advanced programming skills. People contribute as they are able to, and there is place for everyone who wants to participate.
OK, so obviously, I’m new to the world of open source, but the more I learn, the more I want to learn. I’ve been using WordPress since 2008, but until now, I never bothered to learn much about how it was built. Now that I’ve seen that process in action, I want more.
I love this world I stumbled into.
I learned that there are regular WordPress Meetups here in Seattle (also, around the world for those of you not in Seattle). I will be checking these out, so look for me at a Seattle WordPress Meetup soon.
Plants vs. Zombies
OK, I’ll admit I started reading Jorge Garcia’s blog because I’m a fan of LOST, and I just want to hug Hurley. But I love the blog too. It’s just a blogger.com blog. No fancy layout or assistant writing his posts for him. He writes about anything and everything, from having trouble getting his tomatoes to grow, to losing a shoe on a press junket and finding it later in a bag where he had stuffed everything in a quick-someone’s-coming-over-hide-the-mess move, to destroying my brain by introducing me to zombie games.
Made Me Think
Can You Save Money Renting Text Books?
I have not tried renting text books yet, but with the amount of money we spend on textbooks every quarter, it’s definitely worth looking into other options. It’s too late for this semester, but I’ll be investigating these sites further in anticipation of next semester.
The Healthy Americans Act
If the conservatives would discuss this bipartisan proposal I found on Republican Bob Bennett’s site, rather than sticking to their current tactics of trying to distort and prevent communication, we might have a real national conversation about health care. I wonder why conservatives are keeping this proposal under wraps.
Ode to Shel Silverstein
Thoughts on returning to school, with one of my favorite Silverstein poems.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. To further simplify that, RSS takes blog posts and news updates (called feeds) and broadcasts them across the internet. RSS readers (websites or programs also called feed readers or aggregators) can then collect the feeds to which the reader has subscribed and present them in one, easy to read location.
So how does all this affect you?
Well, if my blog were the only blog you read, you may not have much use for a feed reader. However, over time, most people who read one blog will start to accumulate more blogs, and news sources, that they like to follow. It used to be a chore for me to go from blog to blog to check and see if my friends had updates. It was even frustrating, at times, to check a blog and see that they hadn’t updated. The feed reader allows you to subscribe to the blogs and news sources you love, and then read the updates in one location.
There are a number of different feed readers you can use: yahoo, newsgator, bloglines, netvibes, and pageflakes just to name a few. But my favorite is Google’s Reader. One of the things I like about Reader is it gives you options in how you view the posts: there are a number of sorting options, you can categorize the blogs, and you can quickly browse all the headlines or have it open up to show each article in full like a magazine.
How to Subscribe:
First of all, you need to set up an account with a reader. Here’s the link again to set up with Google’s Reader. If you already have a Google account (blogger and gmail both count as Google accounts) you can just sign into Reader using that account.
To subscribe to CoffeeJitters (process should be similar for most other blogs as well) look for the RSS button in the upper right hand corner. Mine says “Subscribe via RSS,” most blogs should have something along the same lines. Click the button.
It should take you to a page that shows you a list of readers from which to choose. Click the button for the reader you chose.
If you select Google, it may give you the option to choose between Google Homepage and Google Reader – select Google Reader. Bam! You’re there.
If you want to leave a comment on a post, just click on the headline and it will take you right to that blog so you can make your mark.
Most days, the fact that Mr. H and I go to different schools with different schedules is not an issue. This week has been a different story. As I mentioned earlier, Mr. H graduated from UW on Saturday which has had him in party mode since he turned in his final paper on Friday. I, on the other hand, still have finals and papers due this week.
The party/not to party debate has been raging for the past five days.
Aside from the fact that I still have a serious amount of studying and writing to do, there is also the fact that Mr. H is a good five years younger than me and much less of a lightweight when it comes to partying.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party. It’s just so much easier to enjoy when I’m not stressing out about whether or not I will be able get my #$%& together and finish this quarter with adequate grades.
Obviously I lost that battle, because this is just one quarter for me and its Graduation for him. The last, and coolest, party we attended this weekend was on Sunday night and it was thrown by one of the students in Mr. H’s Persian program.
Those students in the Persian Studies program know how to throw a party.
I’ve been busy this week.
I have one final final and I’m done for the quarter. Then I can breath, sleep, party…