Archive for ‘photography’ category


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.

Middle West

I’ve been meaning to write up some thoughts on last week’s “An Event Apart Chicago”: It was my first trip to the city in the middle west that sits on a big lake. Hot dogs were eaten. “Cheezborgers”: were inhaled. Deep dish pizza was shoveled. I was inflated. Chicago is without a doubt a food city — but how the heck does anyone stay under 300 lbs. there?
The event itself _was excellent_. Of course it was excellent. Whenever you get a bunch of great speakers and cool attendees under one roof for a few days, that’s the way it’s going to go. But there are other reasons why this particular show was a success.
In my opinion: one track continues to rule. It rules because you don’t have to decide where to go and what to miss. But it also rules because the conversations in the hallways and pubs can be centered around the same sessions. There’s no “ah, I missed that one because I saw ______ instead”. There’s a complete shared experience between all attendees, and that’s a very good thing.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is SXSW, which will have approximately 23,867 panel sessions next year. Maybe we’ll be able to talk about one of them together. Maybe we’ll also bump into each other at that party on Sixth. Or more likely, we’ll leave feeling like we’ve missed the _real_ conference.
Another key to the single track at AEA: breaks. And a lot of them. An hour is a long time to sit, and a nice break after every session really helps. It also helps in that it gives more opportunity to chat with people. And you can chat about the session that just happened while it’s fresh. It seems obvious, but not every event is structured like this.
I’m bummed I missed “Liz Danzico”:’s The Seven Lies of Information Architecture talk. But I was busy freaking out about my session that immediately followed, going over slides up to the last minute, as usual.
“Derek Featherstone”: wowed us with a “semantically rich crossword puzzle styled with CSS”:
A highlight was Coudal‘s closing keynote, where he talked about the balance between work that pays the bills and the personal projects that are exciting, fun and if you’re lucky can also pay the bills. A lot of what he was saying hit close to home — the idea that maybe we all don’t have short attention spans. We get inspired and have those moments of sheer excitement when diving into something new. I liked that Jim said this was OK. See the hilarious “aforelinked film”: that supplements this.
It was a quick trip, but luckily was able to squeeze in a river boat tour of downtown Chicago with friends old and new. The architecture is incredible, and sitting on a boat floating through the city is my kind of sightseeing. From the river, one can take in the hundreds of skyscrapers that pepper the riverside. Just amazing.
Photos were “taken by me”: and “by many others”:

Webvisions 2006

I’ve returned from Portland, successfully capping off the little Summer Tour. It feels really good to be back, save for the immediate dive into a pile of work. I had a great time at Webvisions — my first time attending the conference (and the state of Oregon).

It was a fun event, and one that feels more intimate despite the full schedule over several tracks. I left feeling like I missed a lot in terms of the panels and presentations, but am looking forward to the podcasts.

My own presentation went well, I think. It was early on Day 2 (8:30am), but the turnout was excellent, and I felt _slightly_ more relaxed this time around. For those that attended, the Bulletproof Web Design slides are available (18MB PDF). They are slightly cryptic without the commentary, but possibly interesting if you’re feeling adventurous. Thanks to those that came out and listened.

The Design Panel (the actual title, which I love) went well, too, in lieu of myself being a bit drained after the morning’s session. There was a great turnout, many of whom brought interesting questions. For instance, after talking about the importance of good copy (a rareity) as interface design, one attendee pimped her own copywriting business (multiple times). Now normally this would be bad practice — but she managed to pull it off humorously. Bryan Veloso did a bang-up job as moderator (excellent meeting him for the first time) and Mike and Keith were spot on.

As with any post-conference rambling, you’ll often hear that the social aspect is just as (or more) important than the program. Very true for Webvisions as well, where it was fun to meet many folks that I hadn’t met before. And it being a smaller conference, that gave way for more time to chat in-depth on things.

Non-Webvisions highlights of visiting Portland included:

* The amazing Japanese Garden (with a free bonus view of the city and Mt. Hood). I was really blown away by it, and the location way up in a rolling hill above the city gave more of a hint at Oregon’s landscape.
* Stumptown Coffee. I had the best mocha I’ve ever tasted here, complete with marked foam.
* The Doug Fir Lounge. Like a pancake house that was turned ultra-hip and cool by the use of giant fir logs, fur-lined walls and crystal moose heads.
* Greek Cuisina. This is where the wrap-up party was, and I’ll let the photographic (and probably videographic) evidence speak for itself. Crazy place.
More photos of Portland (and mostly the Japanese Garden) are over at my Flickr stream. Thanks to Brad Smith and Nick Finck for the invite — they and the rest of the team put on a great show.

Two Photos of a Cabbage Leaf

While Kerry and I were making stuffed cabbage for dinner, I suddenly had the urge to try a new camera that was purchased just before the holidays. Artistic attempts at capturing edible objects ensued.
Here are two of the results:
cabbage leaf closeup
cabbage leaf closeup
As you can see, a cabbage leaf makes quite a nice, natural bowl — a perfect receptacle for more food to be placed within. You could even serve soup out of one of these. Never underestimate the receptive qualities of a good cabbage leaf.