Tags: seattle

11

sparkline

100 words 011

The time had come for Jeremy to leave Brighton. He was being called away to the far shores of the Pacific Northwest. What would have once been a sea voyage and overland trek lasting for weeks and months took him just nine hours in the belly of a flying machine. Having made landfall in Seattle he then had to stand in front of a room full of his peers at An Event Apart and speak to them about progressive enhancement. Jeremy tries to remain humble but as he stepped off that stage, two words went through his mind: “Nailed. It!”

100 words 009

Last year at An Event Apart in Seattle I was giving a talk about long-term thinking on the web, using The Session as a case study. As a cheap gimmick, I played a tune on my mandolin during the talk.

Chris Coyier was also speaking. He plays mandolin too. Barry—one of the conference attendees—also plays mandolin. So we sat outside, passing my mandolin around.

Barry is back this year and he brought his mandolin with him. I showed him an Irish jig. He showed me a bluegrass tune. Together we played a reel that crossed the Atlantic ocean.

100 words 008

Some sea lions bellow,
Some sleep,
Some crawl on top of others
As they crowd onto a raft
At the Astoria, Oregon
Municipal mooring docks.

What a beautiful poem! I found it captioning an image on the front page of The Seattle Times newspaper which was left outside my hotel room. The image illustrates a story about sea lions; how the sea lion population is doing great, and how that might spell trouble for the salmon population.

On a March morning,
Federal, state and university biologists
Clear space at the Astoria dock
For a day of research.

Animal news poetry.

100 words 007

I’m staying at the Edgewater hotel in Seattle, an unusual structure that is literally on the water, giving it a nautical atmosphere. The views out on the Puget Sound are quite lovely.

Inside, the hotel has more of a Twin Peaks vibe. It feels less like a hotel and more like a lodge.

The hotel is clearly proud of the many rock stars it has hosted over the years. As you settle into your cosy room, you can imagine what it was like when the Beatles were fishing from their balcony, or Led Zeppelin were doing unspeakable things with mudsharks.

100 words 006

We spent the day yesterday wandering around the Fremont neighbourhood of Seattle. Fremont is home to many sculptural landmarks. There’s a statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, a rocket ship, an apatosaur topiary, and of course, the Fremont troll.

Now that I’ve seen the Fremont troll, I can confirm that it is real. Which is a bit of shame. Just think about it: how awesome would it be if it didn’t actually exist but everyone in Seattle played along, encouraging tourists to check out the Fremont troll? Then when you got there, you found out that you had, yes, been trolled.

100 words 004

I’m staying with my brother-in-law Jeb in Seattle’s Green Lake neighbourhood. Right around the corner from his house, there’s a great little sandwich place called The Butcher & The Baker.

Yes, the mandatory ampersand is there setting off all the hipster alarm bells but, y’know, I’ve been thinking… if the label “hipster” means good food, good coffee, good beer, good music, or good bicycles, well I’m okay with that.

In the case of The Butcher & The Baker, the food is very good indeed. They could probably slap adjectives like “hand-crafted” or “artisinal” on everything they produce.

They make delicious sandwiches.

Hipsters.

Principles Apart

I was nervous as hell before my talk at An Event Apart Seattle. I don’t normally get quite so nervous but it was a new talk and also …it’s An Event Apart! They set a very, very high bar.

Once I got on stage though, I just started geeking out. I was talking about design principles, a subject I find fascinating. I’m hoping that some of my enthusiasm for the subject helped make for a compelling presentation.

It was a whirlwind tour, starting with a long-zoom look at design principles in history before moving on to the web, where I took an up-close-and-personal look at CSS and quite a bit of HTML, before pulling back again to talk about our planet, our solar system and our galaxy. Yes, there was a space elevator.

I mentioned a range of people, organisations and projects that have documented their design principles, but rather than fill up the slides with lots of URLs, I gave just one URL at the start (and end) of the talk:

principles.adactio.com

That’s where I gathering today examples of documented design principles. By “documented” I mean “published on the web.” There are some really interesting principles from disciplines like urban design but as long as they are locked up in books that aren’t addressable on the network, I can’t link to them.

This is a fairly small-scale project so I figured a wiki might be overkill but if you know of any good documented design principles that should be added to the list, let me know

Jeremy Keith, Design Principles, Day II, #aea Jeremy Keith, Design Principles, Day II, #aea

Baran

The first Event Apart of the year has just kicked off here in Seattle. Every Event Apart is excellent, but the Seattle instantiation has two extra things going for it:

  1. a great venue and
  2. a really great hotel with some colourful history.

Jeffrey opened the proceedings with a long-zoom stroll down memory lane, giving us a history lesson of technology, the internet, the web and web standards.

Reflecting on the history of the internet today seems especially poignant with the recent passing of . Which reminds me…

Ten years ago, the Zelig-like Stuart Brand conducted an interview with Paul Baran. You can read the transcript on Wired.

It’s fantastic! A mixture of cold-war history and eerie emergent network effects:

It didn’t take very long before we started seeing all sorts of wonderful properties in this model. The network would learn where everybody was. You could chop up the network and within half a second of real-world time it would be routing traffic again. Then we had the realization that if there’s an overload in one place, traffic will move around it. So it’s a lot more efficient than conventional communications. If somebody tries to hog the network, the traffic routes away from them. Packet switching had all these wonderful properties that weren’t invented — they were discovered.

Star Wars memories

It’s been a starwarsy few days.

I made the most of my brief time in Seattle with a visit the Star Wars exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. I took many photos. Needless to say, I loved it, particularly the robot show’n’tell that intermixed fictional droids like C3PO with automata from our own timeline like Kismet. The premise of the exhibition was to essentially treat Star Wars as a work of design fiction.

From Seattle, Jessica and I took the train down to Portland. No, it didn’t go under the ocean like the Eurostar, and having WiFi on board a train wasn’t quite as thrilling as having WiFi on a plane, but it was still a lovely journey through some beautiful scenery. Do not pass Go. Do not get groped by the TSA.

Portland turns out to be delightful, just as reports suggested. There are food carts a-plenty. There’s a ma-HOO-sive book shop. There’s excellent coffee. And then there’s the beer. From Wikipedia:

With 46 microbrew outlets, Portland has more breweries and brewpubs per capita than any other city in the United States.

After consuming a few beers in the company of Portland’s finest geeks, we relocated to a true Portland institution: Ground Kontrol. It’s an arcade. But it’s a bar. But it’s an arcade! But it’s a bar!

Amongst the many, many machines packed into the place was . Just seeing it brought back a Proustian rush of memories. I had to play it. I remembered a not-so-secret tactic that results in a nice big bonus…

When you get to the trench level on the Death Star, don’t fire; instead dodge and weave to avoid the incoming fire. After about thirty seconds, the music stops. You are now using the Force. If you fire just one single shot into the exhaust port at the end of the trench, you will be rewarded with many, many bonus points.

You’re welcome.

American Odyssey

I’ve been back in Brighton for just a couple of days and now I’m about to embark on a fairly lengthy trip away to the States.

Tomorrow I’m flying to a somewhat chilly Chicago. I’ve only been there once before, but I absolutely loved it. The architecture! The hot dogs! Cheeseborger! Cheeseborger! Cheeseborger!

I’m going there for Drupalcon. I’ll be leading an HTML5 workshop on Monday. I’d love to try to Abe Froman my way into the Web Science Workshop the day before, but I’ll probably be too busy finding somewhere to print off workshop materials (a service the conference organisers are unwilling to provide …it’s like the opposite of how Sophie runs UX London).

Right about the time that Drupalcon is wrapping up, I’ll head down to Austin for the annual geek pilgrimage to South By Southwest Interactive. I should really pay close attention Tantek’s SXSW packing and check list.

This year, I’m not giving a presentation or speaking on a panel so I can relax and enjoy myself. If you’re heading to Southby, I look forward to sharing a Shiner Bock or three—one of the reasons I like going is not just to see people I haven’t seen in ages, but also to meet new people who equally geeky about the web.

After the craziness of Austin, I’m going to unwind for a while with the in-laws down in Saint Augustine, Florida, which should be nice and relaxing.

After that, I’m off to Portland, Oregon; a place to which I’ve never been but about which I’ve heard plenty of good things. There’s geek meet up planned for March 24th. Come along for a beer and a chat.

Finally, I’ll finish up in Seattle for the first Event Apart of the year. I have no doubt that the conference will be excellent, as usual. I just hope that the presentation I’ve got planned can meet the high standards set by the other speakers.

If you’re going to be in any of those places—Chicago, Austin, Saint Augustine, Portland, or Seattle—I look forward to seeing you there.

Seattle Apart

Every instantiation of An Event Apart is a joy to attend, but it was particularly enjoyable to be back in Seattle. It’s where my brother-in-law Jeb lives so I had the opportunity to hang out with him, his wife Anne and their oh-so-cute dog, Mesa—owning a cute dog seems to be mandatory in the Seattle suburb of Green Lake.

After a couple of days with Jeb and co., I upped sticks to the centre of town; the Edgewater Hotel, erstwhile host to The Beatles and Led Zeppelin—the origin of the infamous Shark episode, which currently enjoys a Snopes status of sort of.

I digress. But what a digression.

Anyway, I was ensconced in the Lynchian surroundings of the Edgwater for its proximity to the Bell Harbor conference centre, location of An Event Apart and, for the first time ever, A Day Apart.

The conference was superb. An Event Apart is always superb but the bar was raised even higher this time—intimidatingly high if, like me, you’re supposed to speak after Eric, Dan, Luke and a constellation of other web stars have already blown everyone’s minds. If you were there, you know what I mean. If you weren’t there, but wish you were, you can redress your loss by attending An Event Apart at another location—Boston is up next.

The workshop day was also a blast. Dan handled CSS3 in the afternoon and I covered HTML5 in the morning. It was thoroughly enjoyable, although I feel bad about rushing it towards the end. People were asking such excellent questions that I neglected to watch the clock as well as I should have. The three hours flew by pretty fast.

Fortunately I’ll have more time to cover everything in more detail at my next HTML5 workshop. Come along to in Brighton on April 23rd for a full day of markup spelunking. I’ll see you there if you fancy learning about the design principles of HTML5, how to turbo-boost your forms, what the new structural elements mean for your document outlines, and what you can do with audio and video. Phew!