MN.swf Camp Liveblog

9:35 a.m.

I am at MN.swf Camp 2011 and have had some great conversations with many of my old pals, Chuck S., Chuck, P., Mark G., Danny P., Dustin T., and others. I look forward to chatting some more with those folks as the day goes on. It is especially good to see Mark, who lives in Australia and is only in town for a short while longer.

I am typing this at Leif Larson‘s presentation, which has a fabulous name: Mastering the Art of Gwar.   He is including some interesting anecdotes about GWAR’s business strategy. I didn’t know that GWAR turns its audience into cat food every night! Awesome!!

He is demoing his company’s chat technology right now, and it is actually pretty cool.  Why didn’t he start with this?

One interesting concept that Leif keeps mentioning is the “pivot”.  That is, changing direction as often as is necessary.  He is right on here.  In fact, I am considering pivoting my biz at present from what is primarily a WordPress theme development business to a WordPress plugin development business.  My reason for this is that I do not believe the future of WordPress is in theme development.  There will always be some room for custom designs and development, but the real hard work (i.e. harder to find developers for) is in custom plugin development.

I am thinking my biz might benefit from Leif’s chat application.  All it is is a little, live, text-chat window that appears in the lower-right of the website – similar to Facebook chat.  I bet I could generate some business from live chats like this.

10:23 a.m.

I am at Ross Teichner’s Life Patterns session.  He is talking about something that I have thought about in the past – a ticket system for my work and life responsibilities.  I have a system for tracking my work responsibilities, but it isn’t quite as organized as a ticket system like Trac.  What my current system lacks is a comprehensive way to prioritize things.

Ross is talking about Scrum, which is basically a “where do things stand” meeting.  He makes a good point that it is a good idea to have a scrum session with myself at the end of every day and in the morning in order to help myself prioritize and communicate better for the day.

Another thing that Ross mentions, which I need to improve upon is setting expectations for responses.  i.e. “I will look into that problem and give you an idea of how long it will take to fix the problem by tomorrow afternoon.”

10:59 a.m.

I am at Anton Friant’s HTML5/javaScript/Flash session.

<rant>Again, I don’t know why presenters rely on PowerPoint (or its Apple alternative).  Presentation software isn’t the problem, people are…but still, pretty much everyone misuses the technology.  </rant>

Not surprisingly, one of the first things mentioned is the fact that older browsers (ahem…Internet Explorer 8) do not support HTML5 and might cause issues.

Anton has been pleasantly surprised at the power and speed of javascript/jQuery (me too!).

“Don’t memorize this stuff; visit”

I agree with Anton’s comment above 100%.  Every now and then I run into a developer or designer who is either too proud or too shy to admit that he visits external resources for solutions.  In my experience, EVERY developer and designer relies on external sources of information to do their jobs on a day-to-day basis.

11:49 a.m.

Gregory Steimann’s HTML5/javascript animation session is teaching me that drawing on the canvas element in HTML5 is similar to drawing in Flash.

Mouse interactions are “frustrating” in HTML5 according to Gregory.

1:07 p.m.

I will be investing the duration of the afternoon in Dustin Tauer’s Android Development course.  TTFN!


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Toby Cryns

Toby Cryns is a freelance CTO, expert WordPress consultant, and teacher.

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