Archive for ‘events’ category

Build Society, February 2nd

Clear your schedules, Boston-area web geeks! An extra-special joint event with fellow North Shore pals, Build Guild and the Markup & Style Society (new site coming soon) are co-hosting a meetup here in Salem on February 2nd. Special guest Eric “Rock Horns” Meyer will be in town—and when Mr. Meyer is in town, you gather up the troops and celebrate with frosty beverages and good times. You just do.

As usual, my M&SS cohort Mr. Marcotte has written up a far better summary of the night’s events. As has Mr. Meyer.

Hope to see you here in the Witch City for what is sure to be a wonderful night of markup, style and guilding. If that makes sense.

Upcoming Speaking Events

We’re at Day Two, and there’s already quite a bit on the calendar for 2009. I’m honored and thrilled to be speaking at the following events this year, microformatted for your convenience:

There’ll be more info forthcoming on the workshop in London next Fall, which will hopefully stem off of a new project that’ll be underway a few weeks from now.

I’m also excited to mention that Meagan will be speaking at Future of Web Design London in April. More about that over at Meagan’s blog.

Happy New Year, fine people.

Tokyo Express

I returned from Tokyo on Monday. I gave a talk at the Web Directions East conference. I’ve never had a simultaneous translation of a presentation before. I hope it went OK. I’ll be forever grateful to John Allsopp, Satoshi Kukichi and the rest of the WDE team for inviting me to speak, being incredibly gracious hosts and generally being awesome people. I’ll never get tired of traveling to faraway places, where (without fail) the quality of people in this industry inspire, impress and humble me. I feel lucky.

I don’t think I’ll travel that distance again without the rest of my family.
I’ll never forget walking through customs after spending the entire Election Day in the air. CNN was on in the airport lobby. ‘Barrack Obama Elected President of the United States’ it said. Twenty seconds later, John McCain started his concession speech. Relief after 14 hours of nail-biting anticipation.

I took a lot of photos. I tried packing as much into a few days as possible. I was amazed by the giganticness of the city. I caught a view of the cityscape at night, at the top of the hotel where Lost in Translation was filmed. They wanted a $20 cover charge, so we left.

I loved that every train station in Tokyo has it’s own unique short little melody (hear them all). I love how this aids accessibility with audio. I’m thinking we need more unique audible melodies for events that happen on the web or desktop. I was also impressed with the grooved sidewalk path found throughout the entire city, which would direct a blind person from station to station, uninterrupted.
I probably didn’t bow enough.

I sang Don’t Stop Believing in a karaoke bar in Shinjuku along with friends old and new. I’ve never sang karaoke before. I had the best doughnut I’ve had in my life in Harajuku, at Tamagotchi Donuts. I was amazed by the depth of the character culture in Japan. It permeates everything and everyone — not just for kids, but a part of general communication throughout the city.

I tried the eel (unagi) and ‘chicken knuckles’, but was less adventurous with the raw horsemeat. I loved the simplicity of the food in Japan. I have a new favorite snack in ‘onigiri‘, a triangle of sushi rice, seaweed, and (in my case) teriyaki-soaked seaweed inside. I’ll have to hunt for those here at home.

I learned two Japanese phrases. I should’ve learned more.

Discount Days

Sure, the price of oil may be at a record high, but the fine, friendly folks of the internet are here to brighten your day. Here are two ways the faithful readers of SimpleBits can save some dough:

Save $50 on the ticket price to An Event Apart San Francisco in August! Just enter the coupon code AEACEDE when you register (that’s in addition to the early bird discount).

If you’ve never been to an An Event Apart, make this your first. I’ll be giving a talk along with 11 other web luminaries. It will be the best of times.

I mentioned Luke Wroblewski’s Web Form Design book previously. Now you can save 10% on the cover price by using the coupon code CEDERHOLM when ordering from Rosenfeld Media. This code should work for their other excellent books as well.

Marked Up & Styled

We held the third gathering of the Markup & Style Society last night (a local Boston-area meetup for web geeks that Ethan Marcotte and I started a while back). This one was different and contained more awesomeness, for a variety of reasons.

The kind folks at Filament Group hosted the event at their downtown Boston studio. The incredibly generous Freshview donated 18 pizzas, beer and wine for all 50 attendees. Freshview are makers of Campaign Monitor, the popular email newsletter campaign app, as well as creators of useful tools and resources for newsletter designers. Thank you thank you, Freshview.

Adobe donated two copies of CS3 Web Premium that we raffled off along with a few books at the end of the night. So we knew at least two people would go home happy no matter what happened.

Markup and Style SocietyWhile previous meetups have all been about beer and socializing, we may have surprised people with four short talks. A free, mini conference if you will. Ethan gave a brilliant presentation on some tricks he’s enabled in his freakishly bulletproof, fluid layout (Ethan’s write-up). I rambled on about “Gridlasticness”: taking an em-based approach to a strict grid. Josh Porter talked about craftsmanship as it relates to the web — a topic near and dear to my heart. It was sprinkled with “right on” moments and quotes like this, regarding the Shaker design philosophy:

Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful, but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.

Scott Jehl closed the show with an excellent talk on how progressive enhancement plays a big role in the projects he tackles at Filament Group. Read more about Filament’s process over at their newly launched lab (Filament’s Maggie Costello Wachs’ write-up).

All in all, ’twas a great night, and it made up for seeing just one single panel at SXSW just days earlier. We’ll have to do it again soon. Blatently tooting our own horn here, Patrick Haney dug it, evidenced by his tweet:

Really felt like I got more out of the four short talks tonight at M&SS than I did at a week of SXSW

Thanks to the speakers, sponsors and especially Filament for the venue. We’ve also been planning on adding more formal workshops or full day conference-style events to the mix in the future. New England needs more of this, methinks. Stay tuned.

Update: Jenny Bergman has posted some wonderful photos of the event. Thanks, Jenny!

Quick by Southwest

Austin

I was originally planning on skipping this year’s SXSW, but finally caved and booked a quick, two-night visit to the land of a million geeks. Each year, the event seems to grow exponentially, and after 2007, I couldn’t imagine doing it again if the trend continued. But eventually I realized there are far too many people in one place at one time that I need to connect with. That, and JetBlue flies direct from BOS to AUS.

I won’t be speaking this year, and I’m quite happy about that. Instead, I’ll be trying to cram as much catching up as I can over 2.5 days. I’ll also be carrying as many Foamee coasters as I can, so be sure to say hi and ask for one (free!).

Markup & Style Society

Ethan and I are pleased to announce another meeting of The Markup & Style Society next month. It’s a semi-regular, casual meetup for New England area web geeks. This time, things are a little more interesting, and even more secretive. Here are the details:

We need to limit the number of guests due to space, and we’ll be keeping track of first 50 people who RSVP via Upcoming. Unfortunately only those folks will be able to attend, so mark your calendars early.

A fun and interesting evening is promised, with after-meetup drinks at a local pub to follow (that’s really the best part, isn’t it?). We’re also looking for a friendly sponsor to cover pizza during the event. Interested? Let us know and you’ll be forever remembered as “that awesome company that gave us pizza that one time at that thing a while back”.

Webstocked

I just returned from New Zealand, where I spoke at Webstock. I am tired. I had a tremendous time. I was amazed at the quality of the organization of the conference. I loved the branding that was found on everything from the t-shirt to the speakers’ dinner menus. I saw many old friends and met new ones. I think my talk went over pretty well. I missed out on a lot of the talks due to being obsessive about my slides. I found out I’m not the only one that does that.

I took a lot of pictures. I rented a car and drove up through the center of the North Island and back. I was scared to drive on the opposite side of the road. I loved the espresso in Wellington, in particular People’s Coffee which was free throughout the conference. I’d like to attend more conferences that dispense free, high-quality espresso. I wish I could’ve visited the South Island. I really should’ve enabled mobile roaming before I left the country. I think kiwis are extremely friendly people. I found out that the term kiwi comes from the bird and not the fruit.

I never had a February 11, 2008. I missed my family terribly. I’m calling New Zealand “earth concentrate”, where a two-hour drive can take you through 10 different landscapes. I saw a few movie stars at the hotel in Wellington. I left my iPhone USB cable at a motel near Lake Taupo. I paid $39NZ for a new iPhone USB cable. I am thankful and honored for having to the opportunity to travel so far to talk about web design. I’ll be forever grateful to the hard-working Webstock organizers, in particular Natasha Hall and Mike Brown.

I think I’ll post this, just as it is.

80 Percenter

Last week, I gave my More “Wow”, Please talk at Web Design World Boston. During the talk I mentioned a fantastic book: Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. Yvon founded the expensive-but-awesome clothing company, Patagonia. I’ve long been a fan of Patagonia’s stuff, and their dedication as a company to environmental causes (they co-founded One Percent For The Planet, of which SimpleBits is a member) , and so when Josh Porter recommended the book a while back, I ordered immediately.

book coverThe book covers the history of the company, Yvon’s philosophy on design, and being a reluctant business owner. It’s a great read, with a lot of insightful head-nodding.

One part stood out in particular, when Chouinard talks about how he sees himself as an “80 percenter”:

I’ve always thought of myself as an 80 percenter. I like to throw myself passionately into a sport or activity until I reach 80 percent proficiency level. To go beyond that requires an obsession and degree of specialization that doesn’t appeal to me.

I didn’t know it before reading that quote, but I think I’m an 80 percenter as well. For people that love to create things, whether it be a website or a t-shirt or even a beer coaster (ahem) — the web seems to tie all these things together quite nicely. And it’s reaching 80% proficiency (but not 100%) that I think makes it possible to handle all of that at one time.

Ever try talking to (or working with) someone who is 100% obsessed with a single task? The danger is that they’ll get bogged down in details. Every detail. Whereas an 80 percenter might eventually learn to know which details to focus on. And determining which details are important can be just as useful as knowing them all.

At least that’s my interpretation. Regardless, I recommend the book highly.

Markup & Style Reminder

Just a quick reminder of next week’s meet-up of the Markup & Style Society. Ethan and I have occasionally put together these informal gatherings in Boston for the past few years. They’re always a good time, and we’re always amazed by the turnouts.
So join us next Wednesday the 26th at Boston Beer Works on Canal. The format of these meetings is pretty simple: we meet and enjoy beverages for a few hours. That’s it. Perhaps we need a secret handshake or other ceremonial traditions. Those will evolve in time. We do have plans to expand this a bit in the future, and would love any ideas on a venue around town to hold a more structured meeting.
Lastly, there are a few more pinſ available if you don’t have one yet. Hope to see you fellow New Englanders there.