Web Directions North

I’ve returned from several days in Vancouver, and the first-ever “Web Directions North”:http://north.webdirections.org/. It was a great trip, a great conference, and my second attempt at snowboarding in the last 20 years.

VancouverI’ll first say congrats to Maxine, John, Dave and Derek for putting on what was an outstanding show. The four keynotes were especially entertaining, while often hilarious and inspiring. I presented _Microformats for Designers_ as part of a three-pack of talks on microformats, following Tantek Çelik and John Allsopp (intimidating!). The initial feedback seemed positive, and I hoped that I could offer a different perspective on microformats, focusing on the visual side of things. I’m just glad I could sneak a mention of Guided by Voices somehow into a presentation (while referencing the “independent spirit” of microformats that has always interested me, as well as comparing their prolific 4-track recordings with the “use what works today” microformats principle).

On Friday I took advantage of one of two days of snowboarding at Whistler mountain, about a 2 hour bus ride from downtown Vancouver. The bus ride though giant peaks was worth the trip alone, but I also managed to travel down part of the mountain along with a few other bunny slope beginners during a two-hour snowboard lesson. This is a serious ski resort, and future home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. I still have some training to do.

Anytime I blog about a conference, it always ends with “it’s all about hanging with old friends, making new ones, meeting with fellow geeks, etc.”. WDN was no exception, and the crack organization team did a fantastic job at putting together two days of social/conference balance. I hope I can get back to Vancouver at some point to see more of the city, next time bringing the whole family out (it’s getting harder and harder to travel without them).

I also had good fun meeting folks from Adobe and Microsoft (both sponsors of the conference). I come back feeling more positive regarding the future of Internet Explorer as a result of some off-the-record conversations. It’s clear that there are smart people there that understand the way things could/should be and actually care. And no, that’s not the free après ski party talking.
Next stop: Austin. And then back home for An Event Apart Boston, which appears to be selling like hotcakes. I’m putting together a brand new talk for this event and I’m excited to start whipping it into shape.