Webstock: Aza Raskin, Design is the Beauty of Turning Constraints Into Advantages

This week I’m at Webstock, a lovely conference in New Zealand. I’m doing my best to write little blog posts about the amazing presentations. Please forgive any typos, etc. If you’re here too, come write a haiku at Automattic’s booth.

For the last couple of years, Aza Raskin (@aza) has been working on helping bring design to solving health challenges. Solving difficult problems happens by changing how you ask the question. The big meta problem of design is figuring out how to ask the right question.

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Webstock: Jason Kottke, I Built a Web App (And You Can Too)

This week I’m at Webstock, a lovely conference in New Zealand. I’m doing my best to write little blog posts about the amazing presentations. Please forgive any typos, etc. If you’re here too, come write a haiku at Automattic’s booth.

Jason Kottke is a blogger and a web developer. Kottke.org is a blog he’s been publishing since 1998. Today he’s talking about something else.

Continue reading “Webstock: Jason Kottke, I Built a Web App (And You Can Too)”

Webstock: Clay Johnson, Industrialized Ignorance

This week I’m at Webstock, a lovely conference in New Zealand. I’m doing my best to write little blog posts about the amazing presentations. Please forgive any typos, etc. If you’re here too, come write a haiku at Automattic’s booth.

Clay Johnson (@cjoh) started out with a comparison of knowledge. Most of the room knew the name of at least one Kardashian, but most didn’t know the child poverty rate in NZ. How can we build better communities if we don’t know these things?

In 2011, the obesity rates in America are so bad that they had to adjust the map for comparing states.

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#AANDigital: WordPress in the Newsroom

Since I’ve been involved in the news industry, I’ve been a huge proponent of open source software. In particular, this selling point: open source makes for much easier cross-institution collaboration. Open source software provides a legal framework for companies to pool development resources, and build mutually-beneficial products. However, as I learned the hard way, news organizations need to get to the point where they’re comfortable managing their own open source software before any collaboration can ever happen. We’ve made some strides, but we still have a ways to go.

Today, I was honored to speak about WordPress in the newsroom to the AAN Digital Conference. The alt-weeklies industry is in a situation very similar to what I saw in college media a few years back: one proprietary CMS dominates, editorial workflow is MS Word to InDesign to web, and most of the focus is on print. It was a bit of déjà vu. Fortunately, everyone is also super enthusiastic about the web — no curmudgeons in the audience.

The WordPress-powered sites I highlighted: Quartz, Metro, CBS New York, Rolling Stones, Online News Association, and DigBoston. Quartz is near and dear to my heart because I think they’re really at the forefront of innovation with an app-like product and responsive design. I can’t wait until they roll out their commenting system.

Features and plugins I pointed out include: distraction-free writing, drag and drop media uploader, Edit Flow and WP Frontend Uploader. If you’re looking for more publishing-related plugins, we’re slowly profiling our recommendations in the VIP Plugins Directory.

One parting note: this conference was the first time I’ve heard “dry humping” as a recommended way to show your appreciation to the organizers. Keep on rockin’, alt-weeklies.

#wcsf: The Zen of WP Development

The Zen of WP Development is being one with the code, and creating compelling web experiences with proper uses of the core API. It involves:

  • Focusing on the question at hand, and ignoring distractions.
  • Distilling complex situations into simpler parts.
  • Pulling from deep knowledge of the codebase to understand how APIs interact.
  • Striving for elegant solutions always.

Today, I was invited to present my perspective at WordCamp San Francisco. These are my slides. My notes are posted below them.

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Status

Flew down to San Francisco this morning in preparation for WordCamp San Francisco. I’m excited and nervous; my Saturday afternoon talk will likely be in front of the largest audience I’ve ever seen. That is, unless everyone ends up in the other track.

Mostly though, I’m looking forward to hanging out with the community. And, if it’s possible, find people using Edit Flow who’d like to get involved with an upcoming release!

WordCamp Portland speakers are announced

Announcing Our Speakers. WordCamp Portland speakers have finally been announced. I might be biased, but I think this is the first time I’ve wanted to attend every single session. Plus, we might even have one or two special guests show up for urge unconference track. If you’re feeling generous, we’re looking for volunteers too.