Tags: webdirections06

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Sydney to Melbourne

Jessica and I will be leaving the confines of Sydney to explore a little more of Australia. We’ll be coming to Melbourne next week.

We’re leaving Sydney on Wednesday at 11am, arriving in Melbourne at 12:30. We’ll stay until Saturday, when we’ll fly out of Melbourne at 11am to arrive back in Sydney at 12:20.

Melbournites, get in touch. I’ve met plenty of you over the last few days, and I figured a quick blog post would be easier than a mass mailout. Sitepoint people, WSG people, general geeks, leave a comment and let me know about places to stay, places to eat, and places to drink. See you all soon in what I’ve heard is the culinary capital of Australia.

Wrapping up Web Directions South

Web Directions South is over for this year. It was a top-notch conference.

The bar was set pretty high on day one, but day two turned out to be equally inspiring. That ol’ smoothie Malarkey got the crowd all fired up with his talk about design inspiration. His slick slides were matched by his equally slick outfit.

Kelly deserves a medal for her presentation. She had almost completely lost her voice, but she went ahead and spoke anyway, holding the lapel mike up close to her mouth so that her whispered words would be audible. What a trooper!

My second talk of the conference went better than I anticipated. I thought that the code-heavy, no-nonsense approach, so different from my first presentation, would put a lot of people off. Not so, apparently. I had a lot of people come to me at the party afterwards and tell me that they really enjoyed it. That surprised me. I thought it would be useful, but I didn’t think it would be very enjoyable.

In fact, I got the best piece of feedback that a presenter could ask for. A woman, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten (sorry!), told me that she was watching my presentation with her colleague as she frantically scribbled notes. At one point, she scribbled down a message and passed it to her colleague. It read, “this code is making me horny.”

Now, that’s my kind of audience.

As always with conferences like this, the presentations are only part of the experience. It’s the people that really make or break an event like this. I’m happy to report that the people at Web Directions were the salt of the earth. I’ve met so many nice, friendly, amusing, knowledgeable peers at this conference. It’s always great to finally meet people in the flesh after reading their blogs or looking at their Flickr pics for so long beforehand. And I was able to put faces to the names of some of my fellow microformateers, Dmitry Baranovskiy and Ben Buchanan.

Extra kudos must go to the Sitepoint gang who threw an excellent after-party, replete with free booze.

Keep an eye on the website for the forthcoming podcast. In the meantime, you can read synopses of the presentations from written by Andrew, official liveblogger of Web Directions South.

Halfway through Web Directions South

The first day of Web Directions South went superbly. The quality of the presentations was exceptionally high (the quality of the post-presentation schmoozing was also high, thanks to the copious amounts of wine, beer and nibbles provided).

It was interesting to see some overarching themes emerge. In particular, I think just about every presentation I saw mentioned the importance of user testing.

John did a great job with his talk on microformats. He’s such an enthusiastic and passionate speaker, he never fails to get me (and everyone else in the room) excited.

Derek was the last speaker of the day and man, was he on fire! I’ve seen him present a few times and he’s always good, but this time he blew me away. The presentation was almost like a keynote, full of “what if?” questions and creative ideas. I found it really inspiring: it made want to whip out my laptop and start hacking stuff together straight away.

Of course, the lure of beer put paid to that idea.

Day two is about to kick off. If it turns out to be anything like day one, I’m in for a treat.

One talk down, one to go

I’m having a good time in Sydney. As illustrated in my Flickr photostream, I’ve been visiting all the usual tourist locations: the Opera House, filming locations from The Matrix, that kind of thing.

The Web Directions South conference is now motoring along and thus far, everything is going swimmingly. The pre-conference workshops have been going on for the past couple of days. I did a workshop on DOM Scripting and Ajax, which was good fun. The audience were a savvy bunch and they had some great questions and suggestions. The whole thing is online over at the DOM Scripting site.

Today the conference proper kicked off with the inimitable Kelly Goto, who gave a terrific and inspiring keynote. Then I had to follow her.

I wasn’t sure if I had prepared enough material. When I was practising my presentation back in my room, I was done in twenty minutes. As it turned out, I had plenty to say. In fact, there was only time for one single question from the audience at the end, which is a bit of a shame.

Overall though, it went well. There were no technical hitches (phew!) and some people came up to me afterwards and said they really enjoyed it.

You can take a look at the slides but they won’t make much sense without the context of the presentation. Fortunately, the whole thing has been recorded. I’ll be sure to get the audio transcribed and post it in the articles section of this site.

Now that I’ve got the first presentation out of the way, I can start fretting over the next one. Today I was talking about Ajax in a very broad hands-off kind of way. Tomorrow I’ll be delving into the actual code for building Ajax apps. As usual, I’ll be riding my Hijax hobbyhorse. I’m going to condense a lot of stuff down from my workshop so I’m hoping that the people who were at the workshop will go to the presentation by Thomas Vander Wal which is on at the same time as mine.