Tags: refresh06




Whereas the first day of Refresh Orlando had a lot of good inspirational talks, day two had a lot of good hands-on practical advice. The mobile Web, accessibility, JavaScript, and UI design were all covered thanks to Brian Fling, Jared Smith, Nate Koechley, and Cameron Moll. Excellent stuff all ‘round.

The conference has now drawn to a close. It’s been a funny little event. It started off looking like it might be your typical formal, somewhat stiff hotel-based mini-conference. But then it also had an ad-hoc grassroots feeling to it, too. On the one hand, there were good facilities provided (Wifi, power sockets, etc.), but on the other hand, it felt like it was kind of self-organising. The organisers took a very hands-off approach, which generally worked fine although there were times when a little more guidance would have been good.

This was the first Refresh Orlando conference so I guess it’s still finding its feet. I suspect any future events will be more clearly geared towards being either more structured and slick, or go the other direction and become more like a Barcamp.

The nice thing about this conference was its intimacy. Like Barcamp, there was a limited number of people (between fifty and sixty) gathered together in the same place for a couple of days. The crowd was smart, eager, and relatively diverse (for a Web conference). As always, it was the conversations that were had after the presentations were done that really made the trip worthwhile. That’s where I usually find most of my inspiration and this time was no exception. Impromptu geek lunches and dinners were the order of the day.

Now it’s time for me to leave the sunshine state. I’ll be catching a flight back to Gatwick later today. I’ve met some great people — some for the first time, some with the pleasure of reunion — and I’ve topped up my creative juices nicely. Time to get back to work.


Day two of Refresh Orlando kicked off with a talk by yours truly on microformats. I think it went pretty well. I made sure to allow time for some questions and some great questions were asked. I hope I managed to answer them okay.

I put together a list of resources that gathers together a lot of the tools and implementations that I talked about. The whole thing has been recorded (touch wood) so I’ll be sure to create a transcript of the audio once it becomes available. Then you’ll be able to hear how I managed to squeeze in the word “crunk” at the behest of Jina.

I don’t know why I should be accommodating to her. She’s the one responsible for my ritual humiliation last night.

A very large crowd of us descended on a Japanese restaurant. At one point, Andy turned to me and said, “By the way, if anything happens to you tonight, it’s not my fault.” My suspicions were immediately aroused but after a while, I forgot about the strange remark.

Sushi was consumed. Conversations were had. Then the drumming started, the costumes appeared and the singing started. “Oh”, I thought, “it’s somebody’s birthda… waitaminute!”

Needless to say, it wasn’t actually my birthday but Jina thought it would be amusing to watch me endure the birthday ritual. I spent the rest of the evening — at Howl At The Moon — trying to get revenge but she remains resolutely impervious to shame or humiliation. All I ended up doing was staying out too late in a noisy bar the night before giving a presentation first thing in the morning.

On the plus side, I got a nice card out of the whole thing.

My 'birthday' card

Or Land O

The Refresh ‘06 conference is underway here in Orlando, Florida.

I flew in with Andy, Paul on Monday (and boy are my arms.., etc.). The next day, we went on a pilgrimage to the Universal Studios theme parks. Seeing as we’re a bunch of big girl’s blouses, we steered clear of the scary rides like The Hulk but we did enjoy the cool simulations, especially the immersive three-dimensional Spiderman experience. This must be a pretty good time of year to visit. There weren’t any big crowds and we never had to wait too long for a ride.

With the fun out of the way, the business begins. Yesterday was workshop day. Andy did a half-day on CSS, which was really informative. I followed up with a half-day on Ajax. I felt a bit bad about jumping right over the JavaScript and DOM stuff and diving straight in with XMLHttpRequest, but time was of the essence.

With that out of the way, the socialising could begin earnest. The geeks began to arrive from all corners of the country. Now those geeks are gathered together in a room listening to words of wisdom from the speakers.

The WiFi is kind of flaky so I may not be able to upload any pictures to Flickr just yet, but there are plenty of power strips which is always a good sign.