Oh, what a good day. The BBQ was awesome. Hand-made dessert by Amy and Alex. Rib eye steaks and chicken (marinaded overnight). Plus kabobs.
Did I mention I'm stuffed? It's gonna be a good BBQ season at my pad. Now back to real life.
Speaking of flow, I'm glad to see that Chris Pirillo renewed his contract with TechTV. I occassionally get to see Chris do his thing and he, indeed, does enjoy teaching people about technology. I'll bet you $50 he's at his computer typing away. That guy lives in the best city in the world and it takes an act of God to get him away from doing what he loves to do.
One thing I'm wondering about. What should we do about September 11? (The conference itself is on September 9 and 10, but we have a workshop day on September 11.
Workshops are the most interesting thing to me. We get to chew on a single topic all day long with one or two speakers. That really lets you get into something in depth. I'm looking forward to having Molly Holzschlag give a workshop on XHTML. I need to learn that for my NEC job.
I'm a user of the Web. I buy things on it. I sell junk on it. I plan trips on it. I find my way on it. I track my friends while they are in airplanes on it. I learn about the world on it. I share my inane thoughts on it.
But, in some way, it all still sucks. We're still in the Model T age of the Web. I wanna help the industry make my life better.
Give me better navigation. Better design. New ways of looking at the world. New ways to share things with other people.
I'm not a builder (well, OK, I've done a site here and there) but I want to help people who really build sites do their jobs better. That's how we all win. It's how I can add some value to the world.
My gift? I know how to ask questions. I know how to find smart people. I know where the sucky parts of the Web are. I wanna improve those. Ever try to buy something and have the credit card form barf on you? I have. You probably have too. Let's solve that.
There's five billion people who don't have access to the Web. Or, who have governments who don't trust them with the Web. Can we solve that? Probably not in a two-day conference, but let's take a small step toward it.
I know that most of the money for training and conferences comes from corporations. Hell, I'm working at NEC right now. What's the problems that the corporate world is having with the Web? It's too expensive. It's too hard to get customers. Once you get customers, they leave cause the site sucks in some way. The Web is still too sucky. Can we work on that? Sure, let's find ways to make the average corporate site serve its users better. Serve users, you get profits. It's a pretty simple thing. I'm seeing that from inside the beast for the first time.
The Web still doesn't have the equivilent of wheelchair ramps everywhere. Can we solve that? We better.
The Web's best search engine (Google) still doesn't always find me the best sites. Can we solve that? Maybe.
How do I build a site that works well on Palms and PocketPCs? Can we solve that? With some work.
All I want is a better Web. I want to put the Web back to work. That's why I asked for this job. That's why I'm happy I've got it.
A look inside the conference planning process -- I have a unique view of inside a conference now that I'm helping plan one again.
So far, what's been done for the Web Builder conference?
I was handed earlier this week a proposed matrix (that's what Fawcette calls the conference schedule). Looks good. Three tracks (that's what Fawcette calls rooms). Two keynotes. One evening session (that's usually fun -- it's where we take attendees own Web sites and point out what's good and bad. I remember learning more in that session than in any of the others).
Jim Fawcette and team had already put together session titles that they'd like to see. I rewrote them, sent them back. Team added in another two cents, so now we're getting somewhere.
Basically, that gives me a guide for what kind of speakers I wanna get to speak. Jeffrey Zeldman and Molly Holzschlag and Bob Slote and Dave Winer wants to speak. Damn, I haven't even started yet and already this is looking like a darn good conference.
Last night I was passed a prototype of an ad. It needs work. I'd like to have the theme "Putting the Web Back to Work." That will acknowledge the tremendous economic pressures the Internet industry is under right now. I see it every day at NEC where the team is being asked to do more with fewer resources.
It's hard to argue against FrontPage when you've had to layoff all your Web designers. But, argue for writing maintainable cross-browser code is what we'll do. Heck, after all, we might have another browser war on our hands! (Has anyone noticed that AOL is getting rid of MSIE and going with Mozilla's code base?)
Add in the legal environment (Zeldman taught me what Section 508 means) and things get cooking.
Anyway, you can bet that this conference will have a Weblog component. After all, I'm a weblogger. Sit near me and you'll have 802.11 and a power strip, OK?
Hey, can we bring that stuff down to the blackjack tables in Vegas? I need to get back my money I lost at TechED. ;-)
Wanna join me at the blackjack table? Talk me into speaking at the conference. You'll have an audience of Web Builders. What would you do? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Gillmor, my former co-worker from Fawcette, writes a great piece about Silicon Valley vs. Hollywood. You know, I'm not too worried that Hollywood will try to take away my computer. The courts just can't stop the digital revolution. Be serious, do you really wanna see Star Wars on your computer screen? I don't. There's something about seeing it on a 50-foot-wide screen with hundreds of other people. Yes, I have a nice surround sound system at home, but I still want to go and see movies in the theater.
Paul Thurott reports that Microsoft will put McAfee Anti Virus into the next version of Windows. Yuch. All my MVP friends are anti-McAfee folks. My ex-sister-in-law worked there for a couple of months and quit because of the lack of morality that she saw there (they were subsequently taken to court, I believe, for cooking the books). I guess they outbid Symantec for the job. Oh well. Life goes on.
If you ever wonder if white men can dance, here's the answer: http://www.watchmedance.com/ -- urgh.