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WordCamp Whistler coming up! October 30, 2008

Posted by Raul in WordCamp, WordCamp Whistler.
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8 comments

This all happened last night after I had gone to sleep, I’m pretty sure, but the best ideas are always those that just organically emerge. Duane thought of organizing a WordCamp Whistler and I’m SO in for that! I am not a winter sports guy, but I definitely love the WordPress platform, I plan to speak at WordCamp Whistler (I already did at WordCamp Fraser Valley) and I’ll help organize in any way I can.

I know that there will be a lot of us involved in organizing it, and I would encourage you to either drop a comment here or at Duane’s blog if you’re interested in attending and/or presenting. Should be a lot of fun! From what I saw on Twitter, Rebecca, Kulpreet, Lorraine, Duane and Colleen have been talking about the organization so far, so why not join us? Leave a comment!

WordCamp San Francisco 2008 August 16, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, WordCamp, wordpress.
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2 comments

No, I didn’t go to WordCamp San Francisco, but two friends of mine (Duane and Andy) did. As a matter of fact, Andy gave a great presentation on BuddyPress. I didn’t get to see it (obviously), but I know the project, as we’ve talked about it over beers. Duane liveblogged it (not sure if this is your first liveblog, but it was really good!) and apparently they’re now downing beers at the WordCamp SF social (why am I not surprised?). Congratulations to Andy on a good presentation and to Duane for a great liveblog. I’ll see you guys when I get back, and we’ll chat about all things WordPress.

Upcoming events in Vancouver – early Aug to early Sep 2008 August 13, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, local events, Vancouver, Vancouver Blogger Meetup, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver Sales Performance Meetup, Vancouver Young Professionals Meetup, WordCamp, wordpress.
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4 comments

Even though I’m not in Vancouver right now, I always try to provide link love for friends of mine’s causes. Actually, when people let me know about what’s going on, I feel much more connected (because let’s face it, I do miss Vancouver). Anyhow, without further ado.

CHARITABLE CAUSES

- Karen Parker is doing the Bicycle Trek for Life and Breath, and you can sponsor her here. I am not sure if you can still participate in a draw she was having, but trust me – 4 hours of her geeky tech support is equivalent to gold, so sponsor her and get a chance to get some tech help from Karen!

- Barbara Doduk and Keira-Anne Mellis are doing the SPCA Paws for a Cause on September 14th (the day that my flight back is scheduled, though not sure if I’m actually going to be back in Vancouver then) and you can donate to their causes here (Barbara) and here (Keira-Anne).

- Tanya Davis (aka NetChick) is joining Team Diabetes, and you can pledge her here.

LOCAL EVENTS

- The Vancouver Queer Film Festival takes place from August 14th to … Unfortunately, I am in Mexico and won’t be able to attend, but if you do attend and want to do a movie review on my blog, you can be Hummingbird604.com’s official correspondent :) Actually I kinda need an official correspondent. I could even find something to throw as a reward… how about a free beginners’ salsa lesson? Even if you think you have two left feet, I’ll teach you how to dance at least the very basic 2 steps, how’s that? Or one or two hours of conversational Spanish/Italian/Portuguese?

- VinoCamp is taking place on August 16th, 2008. I am not able to participate but you really should attend. Wine and geekery, what else do you need?

- Travis Smith just sent me an email about an upcoming event (the ExpressionEngine Road Show) that you can check out here.

VANCOUVER MEETUPS

- I am a big supporter of Vancouver meetups, particularly since I frequently organize them (Vancouver Bloggers Meetup), live-blog or recap them (Vancouver Young Professionals Meetup, Sales Performance Meetup and Real Estate Tech Meetup). And since I missed this month’s Vancouver Real Estate Tech Meetup (where Steve Jagger gave a presentation), I was feeling bummed. Fear not, Steve himself uploaded a recap!

- I will be missing the Third Tuesday and Net Tuesday meetups, but I’ll be linking to them as soon as I get any scoop. I am particularly bummed about Net Tuesday as I am a total non-Drupal geek, but I want to learn.

- Jordan Behan has been organizing impromptu, informal Tweetups sorta regularly (I hope you keep doing it at least until I can make it to one!) around the Gastown area. You may want to check on Twitter what’s going on (or search Summize for #GastownTweetup)

NOT SO LOCAL EVENTS, BUT STILL…

- WordCamp San Francisco 2008 is taking place this weekend too. Two of my Vancouver friends, Andy and Duane are going down. Andy is presenting on the status of his project BuddyPress and Duane is attending the whole Camp, although given that Duane and Dale’s BraveNewCode project, WPTouch 2.0 for the iPhone was just released, I would have thought that Matt would have invited Duane to speak. Next year, I’m sure. I will link to Andy’s talk if he (or anyone else) uploads video. Heck, who knows. If I become really proficient with WordPress, maybe I will be presenting at WordCamp!

IF YOU MADE IT THIS FAR…

And somehow I didn’t highlight your event, fear not – drop me a comment or send me an email or a tweet. And while I am sure that most of my readers follow her blog, Rebecca usually has the comings-and-goings in Vancouver, so if I missed something about an event here, I could almost bet she has it there :)

WordCamp Fraser Valley – The aftermath July 17, 2008

Posted by Raul in wcfv, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley.
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12 comments

After a really long and exhausting day (I had only 3.5 hours of sleep), I am at home, it’s past midnight on Thursday already and I really shouldn’t be blogging, but I should be sleeping. However, I think I need to take a few minutes to take stock of WordCamp, and ask my readers and the participants to give us feedback. Normally, I would also take some time to mention all the wonderful people I met and send them some link love (I did indeed lose the bet to Jodi), but I am really exhausted, so you’ll have to forgive me for that.

We are our worst critics and I think some of us who presented felt that we could have done a better job. Let me say that this is completely natural. With the exception of John Chow, who seems like he’s done dozens of these presentations and he is a natural, I think that we all thought we did an ok job but we wish we had done better. The funny thing is that the feedback that we all got was that our presentations were great. And you know, since the people who told us that were actually the audience, we should pat ourselves in the back.

I want to take a minute to thank Gary AND his team for superb organization (I saw Brady Valentino there as well, I am assuming as a volunteer). It was a real delight to share this experience with all of you, and the chocolates were definitely a very nice and classy touch. You guys did a great job. All of this work as well as that of Rastin, Jenn, Ash and Teresa when the first WordCamp Vancouver happened, only comes to show that we are indeed a great WordPress community. Gary and his team put together WordCamp Fraser Valley, Rastin and his team put together WordCamp Vancouver, now who is going to take the baton and organize WordCamp British Columbia or WordCamp Canada? Inquiring minds want to know… :D

Thanks to a wonderful audience as well. You guys were simply awesome, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people. Everyone was supportive, friendly and I am delighted that people came and introduced themselves to me.

Those of you who attended but did not have a chance to talk to us, I would really appreciate it if you left a comment on my blog regarding what you thought of the presentations. I’m going to speak to you as I would to my own students – just when you provide your feedback, be constructive and remember that we are human beings with feelings and that we did all of this in a total volunteer manner and we are not making money out of this.

We came and spoke because we are passionate about blogging, about the WordPress platform, and about sharing this with the larger community. I think I can speak for my fellow presenters when I say that this, same as WordCamp Vancouver, was a really wonderful experience. Thank you all. To my fellow presenters: Rebecca, Kulpreet, John, Gary – your work inspires me and I’m grateful to have shared this experience.

Also, thanks are due to Andy for recording pretty much all of my talk on my Flip camera and being such a good sport taking photos and videos (while I was busy giving my presentations). Thanks to Gregg for saving me with the battieries! Tyler, Gregg, Liam, Jodi, Dale, Lorraine, Ryan, Tom, and everyone whom I might have missed but I saw at WordCamp, thank you all.

WordCamp Fraser Valley – The tekkie part July 16, 2008

Posted by Raul in wcfv, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley.
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8 comments

I gave my presentation at the very beginning (Rebecca is being her usual awesome self and live-blogging – she even has video of my talk!) and even though I was nervous with my first non-academic talk in about a decade, people seemed to have a positive reception. Andy was kind enough to take photos and video with my cameras, since, well, it would be kind of hard to do it for myself while speaking :) (thanks Andy!)

I did lose my bet to Jodi but I’m glad that she thinks her husband should go directly to WordPress. I got a chance to hang out and meet Tyler, Jeremy, Gregg, John Berr, and other friends whom I have been talking to for a long while (Ryan, Jodi, Liam, Lorraine).

My laptop has been acting up but all I want is to have a chance to liveblog Rebecca’s talk, since I know that she will have notes on everyone else who is presenting. So, please, laptop, be kind and stay working (everyone laughs at the fact that it has so much hardware failure, but oh well – I don’t have the cash yet to shell out implement an upgrade to MacBook (or MacBook Pro)

REBECCA BOLLWITT – CUSTOMIZED PAGES AND SIDEBARS – TEMPLATES 101

Rebecca has used WP since 2006. An intermediate presentation – how to customize your theme. This doesn’t apply if you’re on WP.com.

Why would you want a custom page? If you want a custom sidebar, you can link to a new page. Rebecca has links on her sidebars. If you want to customize your sidebar, then this presentation is for you.

Say you want your “About” page to be blue.

How much code do you need to learn? Not a heck of a lot.

Page.php Code
THE LOOP – Displays your page and content
Header
Sidebar
Footer

You tell WP which sidebar to get. If you want the WordCamp page to have different things, she takes her Page.php.

She copied it and renamed it to WordCamp page (template Name: wordcamp-page)

For sidebar – she took the standard one and renamed it, so that WP will look for this sidebar instead of the other sidebar.

They show up now as WordCamp page templates on the Dashboard. It now has what Rebecca specified in the WordCamp Page PHP.

You don’t need to know a lot of PHP, but basically it’s easily customizable. You take what comes with the theme, copy them over, add the specific elements that you want and you can have custom pages and sidebars on WordPress.

John Bollwitt is showing something he coded. NoBoundaries.org

GARY – How does Miss604 get so out there and have so much exposure on media? Rebecca says that SEO is great for that, and she puts keywords in her posts and so on so that Google picks on that. WordPress does work great for that.

RAUL (me) – question – Themes and CSS – Rebecca explains that themes are the overall view of the blog, and the CSS is the style/appearance. She shows now different themes (the Theme Viewer). And how you can change your theme on WordPress.com, you can change your theme any way you want.

She showcases with the Brave Bull site. She is showing how the previews work.

TWITTER – Now Rebecca is showing Twitter. I’ll throw a Tweet back at her.

GARY – Are you finding that people go online more to talk about local stuff? Now Facebook – the blogosphere – what is your opinion on that. Rebecca – yes, Vancouver is becoming more of a hub for all these online things (we’re close to Silicon Valley). We’re known as TechCouver. There’s a lot of businesses in Vancouver who hit all these technologies.

How much time of the day do you spend blogging – 8 to 10 hours – now I am a social media consultant, so I write on my own site, an author on MetroBlogging (50 hyperlocal blogs). A few freelance gigs, an entertainment blog, a technology blog. I do dedicate time to

You can post-date posts. Time-stamping rocks!

Question – How long does it take for you to get your own WordPress installed, if you want to set your own design and so on (if you’ve never done it).

John is blogging on his site and on Sixty4Media, which is very cool.

Rebecca is now showing the WordPress CODEX, which is something everyone who wants need to learn about WordPress needs to check. Andy clarifies that the Codex is a wiki, so people can add to it. Wiki – website that everyone can add stuff to.

And I request that we plug Blogathon 2008.

After this, is John Chow and I am sure Rebecca will live-blog it so I can now stop worrying about my laptop dying.

Switching to WordPress from another platform: What do you want to hear? July 15, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, geekifying myself, random thoughts, wcfv, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley, wordpress.
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5 comments

I’m a bit of a keener (surprise, surprise!). I had my PowerPoint slides for Word Camp Fraser Valley (which is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday July 16th, from 6-9pm) prepared since last week. I know what you’re going to say and yes, I always sat at the front of the class, and yes my notes were written in very neat handwriting, and my distillation towers were designed with different color pens, and I was probably the only chemical engineer in my undergrad who chose to do his homework instead of going out and drink heavily (actually, I did my homework in between dance classes, language classes, going out with my friends, training for competitive volleyball, and martial arts).

But I digress… so the point is, even though I’ve already written my presentation, I would like to ask – if you are considering WordPress as a blogging platform, and/or are considering a switch from Blogger or (dare I say) Movable Type to WP – what kind of things would YOU be interested in hearing about?

In my presentation, basically, I’m going to tell you how I switched from Blogger to WordPress (after MUCH peer pressure) and the results I got from the platform switch-over. But I’m sure you have LOTS of questions that could help me prepare (this is like preparing for a final exam!), and I’d love to hear from you.

I have a standing bet with Jodi, and I have promised her that I will buy her a Dr. Pepper if, after hearing all the presentations at WordCamp, she is not convinced of switching from Movable Type to WordPress. I’m bringing the Dr. Pepper just in case. I have faith in my abilities and those of the fabulous team of bloggers and techies who will be presenting tomorrow, but JUST in case, I’m going to err on the side of caution :D

Accepting suggestions for my 1000th post July 11, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, friends, geekifying myself, personal life, random thoughts, Redesigning my blog, Vancouver, Vancouver Blogger Meetup, Web 2.0, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley, wordpress.
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3 comments

I’ve been polishing the presentation for Fraser Valley WordCamp and in the process, I’ve come to realize that I am REALLY close to 1000 posts on WordPress (I lost 132 posts in the importing process, which was kind of awful, but oh well). Since I’m at 922 (this post included), I have been thinking of organizing a MargaritaCamp + NachoCamp + GinCamp to celebrate my 1000 posts.

At my current writing rate, I estimate that’s going to fall somewhere around the week of Blogathon, so I might have a middle of the week RaulCamp (or simply combine it with the Vancouver Bloggers Meetup!) because, after all, it’s all about me (inside joke, you’ll have to see the t-shirt to know what I’m talking about).

So, I’m opening the floor for suggestions for my 1000th post. I was actually thinking of holding it at a wifi-enabled site (like the Blackwater Cafe) or a bar so that we can celebrate the actual moment of pushing the “Publish” button on my WordPress Dashboard. Any interest in joining for said RaulCamp?

I want to convert you… to WordPress! July 7, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, geekifying myself, upcoming events, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley, wordpress.
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4 comments

As I’ve posted before, I read pretty much every blog on my blogroll and then some. Thanks to a handy RSS feed reader, now I can do that in the blink of an eye, literally (I speed-read). However, I took some time to see who of my friends are still on Blogger (I am talking to you Barbara, Phaedra, Pat, Jennifer, Marina, Dan, Mitch, Sarah, to mention just a few).

If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you’ll know that I am speaking at WordCamp Fraser Valley, precisely on the topic of how I transitioned from Blogger to WordPress. I am in no way associated with WordPress, they don’t pay me a cent (although I do have friends who are indeed associated with Auttomatic).

The truth is that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing my blog on this platform. So, I’m basically plugging you to switch and since many of you Blogger friends are also my friends, friends, you should come to WCFV and hear me speak like Ulysses listened to the siren’s sweet voice “WoooordPreeeess…. WoooordPreeeess” (ok, that sounds better when I say it than when I read it).

So, join me and a roster of fabulous bloggers (Rebecca, John, Kerry, Kulpreet and yours truly) on July 16th, 2008 from 6-9pm. For more details, click on the link that says “I’m Speaking at WordCamp Fraser Valley“. And in case you didn’t know, the registration is almost full so, you REALLY want to register as in, like, right now.

WordCamp Fraser Valley and coffee/snack sponsorship June 27, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, environment, geekifying myself, link love, sustainability, upcoming events, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley.
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2 comments

On July 16th, 2008, a number of local, Metro Vancouver bloggers who use WordPress as their main platform will be descending on Langley’s The Cascade Casino (no, we are NOT gambling, just in case you were wondering) to present at WordCamp Fraser Valley, and according to the most recent update from BlueFur, they’re already at 33% capacity (and it’s not even July) so be sure to register, PRONTO!

At any rate, I found out that Gary Jones is looking for coffee and snacks sponsorships. Given that I work in the environmental field, ideally I’d like to see a reduced environmental footprint. One idea would be to contact local, environmentally-conscious producers to see if we can get some type of sponsorship (e.g. organic vegetable platters, or organic, ethically-traded coffee). I’ll see what we can do – I am sure amongst my readers there must be people who work in environmental issues and the food industry, so if you do (or know of someone), drop me a comment or send me an email.

The move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and self-hosting June 25, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, geekifying myself, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley, wordpress.
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4 comments

My blog is looking nice and the header has been very well received. I blame social media superstar Rebecca Bollwitt for my wonderful new blog look, as she did a fantastic job with the header and the new layout, and the changes to the theme (only the ones that WP.com allows you).

The discussion has been around with some of my geeky friends (of which, as Tyler Ingram very properly said, I now have A LOT) and Karen Parker suggested that I ask around all of you geeks who read my blog (particularly those who are self-hosted and/or WordPress Jedi Masters) about suggestions for self-hosting. With the new theme re-design, the increase in readership, my interest in being able to manipulate my own CSS, use plug-ins, customize my side-bars, etc., it appears as though the move to self-hosted would seem rather imminent. Which is kind of too bad since I already paid for the domain mapping. But whatever.

In the mean-time, while I decide what to do for self-hosting, etc., I’ve decided that I am going “self-hosting light” (as aptly named by Rebecca). I am going to buy the customization of my CSS. It’s been decided. That’s the only way I can change the color scheme in my blog.

To be quite honest, I am really enjoying the process of re-designing my blog and having a lot of fun while sharing it with the blogosphere, particularly because I have found that geeks are such a friendly bunch (of which I am now a part of, at least as a partial-geek – because, please do remember – I DO MY OWN STUNTS), and everyone is always offering to help. I am very grateful and very blessed.

And now on to the question…suggestions on the move? I know that everyone (and I’m not mentioning you by name because you know who YOU are) has been gently pushing me towards self-hosting, and giving me advice on the matter. I still have a myriad of questions – suggest providers/hosts? 2.6? *HELP!* :-) Or maybe I should just wait until WordCamp Fraser Valley and have this conversation after the event? At any rate, do feel free to drop a comment.

The WordPress Codex – Refusing to read :-) June 22, 2008

Posted by Raul in geekifying myself, random thoughts, technology, Web 2.0, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley, wordpress.
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3 comments

Sometimes I wonder if my friends (particularly the new friends I’ve made through blogging) just shake their heads in disbelief. For all my interest in blogging and platforms, and CSS, and themes, and geek-speak, I rarely visit the WordPress Codex. I talk about it. I enjoy having drinks and discussing it. Yet I avoid at all costs reading it. Why? Because I am a hands-on kind of guy.

I read blogs/news/books/journal articles/papers in a large, overview kind of approach, to help me understand the world. But if I want to use a piece of software, or a platform, my brain kind of shuts-off. It took me all of ten minutes to absorb what Rebecca did for my new theme (e.g. changing the header image, which is as far as WordPress.com will let you go). She showed me how to add text on my sidebar. Visually, it was a piece of cake. Andy helped me fix the centering problem I was having with my photos. It took me all of ten minutes to understand what exactly he had done to help me with a theme that overrides the center tags. Piece of cake. Show me once, I can do it myself. Kulpreet has also been always very helpful on Twitter giving me small bits of advice here and there.

However, the problem with me is that I am very visual when it comes to computers. I don’t like having to read to learn how to use a program or a platform. Show me how to do it. Don’t do it for me, let me do it myself. Do it along with me. So, if I could find someone who has digested the WordPress Codex and just sit down with him or her and get a tutorial (or two or three, however many I needed), then I’d be in WordPress bliss. But I am sure I am not going to get that pipe dream, so I am writing this post to encourage those of you who use WordPress and are in what I call the “intermediate” stages of geekification, to check the Codex.

And to my geeky friends whom I frequently ask questions re: WP – apologies in advance, but I’ll still keep asking you random questions about how to do this or that in WordPress. Hope you don’t mind :)

Thoughts on the re-design of my blog’s theme? June 21, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts, Web 2.0, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley, wordpress.
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13 comments

Dear all,

I have a LOT of posts for your reading entertainment, but at the same time, I also would like to pause for a moment and listen to feedback from all of you, readers, fellow bloggers, random visitors… what do you guys think of my blog’s re-design? Rebecca was kind enough to spend time changing the theme of my site as I told her that I wanted a change (thanks Rebecca!).

Here are the changes if you want them in a summary, point-form (e.g. the elements I told Rebecca that were important to me in the re-design):
- Narrower column for the text. Sometimes I write A LOT, and I don’t even realize it. I think that sometimes, readers may get tired from reading and that might not be a good idea. Yes, I know that content is everything and sometimes I need more space to develop an idea, but I think this looks crisper, cleaner.
- Cleaner layout and top, header-type page alignment. That is, the pages (my “About Me” page and the “Some of my most popular posts” should be on the top, right below the header.
- The header needs to have the hummingbird symbol that Rebecca kindly adapted for me.
- I wanted the header image to look ‘geeky‘ (although this element has already sparked controversy).
- I wanted to include the badge for WordCamp FraserValley 2008 on the side bar.

So, any thoughts on the theme re-design? Suggestions always welcome. Drop a comment. Thanks!

WordCamp Fraser Valley 2008 June 12, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, geekifying myself, upcoming events, WordCamp, wordpress.
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5 comments

Gary Jones from BlueFur invited me a while ago (after the very successful, and superbly organized WordCamp Vancouver 2008, by Tazzu) to speak at the first ever WordCamp Fraser Valley 2008 , and I was thrilled to accept. I really respect the work of Blue Fur and I’m very happy to contribute in any way I can. As a matter of fact, I owe a lot of the increase in my readership to WordPress-specific tools and tricks.

Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg in WordPress gear. Photo credit: Niallkennedy on Flickr.

The following is an abstract of the talk I’m going to give, hoping that it will be useful. I know for a fact that John Chow and Rebecca Bollwitt (aka Miss604) will be speaking too. This will be SO MUCH FUN!

Here’s the abstract of my talk:“I Switched to WordPress, and So Can You”

I started blogging on the Blogger platform for ease of use (and because several friends of mine were using it too!). On March 23rd, 2008, I took one of the best decisions in my burgeoning blogging career: I moved my blog entirely from Blogger to WordPress. Many bloggers seem afraid of taking the plunge and switching to WP. Currently, I blog primarily on the WordPress.com platform, and have enjoyed an increase in readership of over 300%. In this presentation, I will talk about my experience switching platforms, outline the advantages that I see in WordPress, and speak about the next steps I plan to take in the process of becoming a WP geek. :)

I am, of course, open to any questions or comments you might want to include. I am sure that some of you might want me to post some video, being the owner of a Flip and having attended a Reachd.com awesome seminar. I will try to do at least some vlogging – most likely, I’ll be live-vlogging Rebecca‘s as she will be too busy giving her own talk to be able to vlog it!!! (but knowing Rebecca, she might even be able to live-blog/vlog her own part of the WordCamp!)

Bar review – Flux Bistro May 1, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, dining out, drinks, friends, Gastown, social networking, tazzu, tazzuwordpresscamp, Vancouver, WordCamp, wordpress.
4 comments

Slightly hidden in the main gateway of Gastown (162 Water), Flux Bistro is a perfect example of where I’d definitely go for drinks (haven’t managed to eat dinner yet there, but Rebecca did, and she seemed to enjoy her salmon!). After Tazzu’s very successful WordCamp, we went for a round of drinks at Flux Bistro, generously sponsored by Automattic (creators of WordPress). Big shout-out and high-fives to Automattic!

So, what is Flux Bistro, you ask?

flux bistro is all about change, while remaining true to the best of the past. chef/owner vincent wong has developed a creative west coast menu rooted in classic cooking techniques, a perfect foundation for the best in global cuisine. A friendly team of knowledgeable servers offer guests a relaxed, enjoyable dining experience.

the restaurant’s décor deftly encompasses the history of gastown and the evolving nature of a diverse vancouver. warm brick and original beams reflect the building’s heritage status while the dynamic lighting design, sleek bar and splashes of red throughout, mirror the energy of this young coastal city.[Flux Bistro's About Page]

Salmon
Photo credit: Rebecca (Miss604) on Flickr.

I found Flux’s menu fairly good, and not unreasonably priced (particularly for this part of town – Gastown tends to be a bit on the pricey side). But what really attracted me to Flux Bistro in the sense that I will most definitely come back for either dinner or just drinks with friends was the drinks menu. Even though I consumed local (and organic!) beer, I found their cocktails menu varied and solid.

Duane seemed to enjoy his burgers, so if he drops by here, perhaps he could leave a comment and indicate whether he liked them. They seemed fairly good burgers! As for the drinks, I thoroughly enjoyed mine, and the folks from WordCamp seemed to have had a great time. Kudos to Rastin and Jenny for choosing Flux Bistro, it gave me a chance to have yet another bar review on my blog!

Burgers
Photo credit: Ianiv and Arieanna on Flickr.

Flux Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday link love – Post Tazzu WordCamp :) May 1, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts, social networking, tazzu, tazzuwordpresscamp, Vancouver, WordCamp.
1 comment so far

Still relishing the positive energy of the first-ever WordCamp Vancouver (WordPress Camp for the uninitiated), here’s some link love… just ’cause I felt like it.

* One of the funniest people I’ve ever read – Mostly Lisa. Had a chance to meet her in real life and she’s as awesome as she appears on her blog. And so down-to-earth! Check her blog, very much worth a read!

* One of the cutest geeky couples (in addition to The Carlsons and The Bollwitts and Rastin and Teresa) out there is Ianiv and Arieanna. Here are some awesome photographs by Ianiv on Flickr.

* Having lived in Europe, I can’t help but enjoy colognes. Want to learn about manscaping? Head over to Tris Hussey’s Manscaping 101. And if you want to learn about the process I took to arrive to my favorite cologne, you can read about that later (and if you were wondering what cologne I was wearing last night, it’s Envy by Gucci). But overall, my favorite cologne is Herrera for Men.

* And while we’re on the topic of cosmetics and grooming, have you checked the latest installment of Lipgloss and Laptops? No? What are you waiting for, then? Head over there NOW. Then come back and drop me a comment :) This week they discuss drugstore brands and… Madonna! :)

Ok, back to work for me. Will be dropping some more link love in the next few days, and while I am super busy with my own stuff, I plan to maintain the content. There is not a cloud out there, my apartment is filled with the sun rays and I’m happily working away, so I hope you are all having a great week!

Tazzu’s WordCamp 2008 Vancouver – A total success May 1, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Downtown, Gastown, social networking, tazzu, tazzuwordpresscamp, Vancouver, WordCamp, wordpress.
29 comments

First of all, kudos to the Tazzu creators, Rastin, Jenny and Ash (and Teresa) for a phenomenal first WordCamp Vancouver.

Secondly, a big shout out and standing ovation to Rebecca (aka Miss604) for live-blogging (I would’ve live-blogged your segment, just so that you know, hehehe). I’ve inserted my notes on her talk here, she’ll update her liveblog with this quick summary of Rebecca’s presentation. I wouldn’t want to go into a full recap of the evening, and instead would just like to point out my overall assessment of the WordCamp.

Summary of Rebecca’s presentation: INSERTING PHOTOS INTO WORDPRESS.

WordCamp 2008 Vancouver
Rebecca’s presentation (Photo credit: Raul on Flickr)
Two main elements of Rebecca’s presentation.

First, the insertion of photos into WordPress, when it is self-hosted (e.g. WordPress.org). There is a very neat plug-in from TanTan Noodles (linked here) that allows you to insert photos into your WordPress post. The advantage of using PhotoAlbum is that you can use it in a synchronous mode with WP-AddQuickTags (also linked here). If you use them both simultaneously, you can quickly select from your Flickr account any photo you want to insert and using the QuickTags, you can easily insert the caption AND link back to Flickr.

However, for those of us who aren’t hosting our own blogs, Rebecca did also a demo of how to insert photos into Flickr. You can see a teaser of the screencast here on her Blip.tv stream and also the full screencast that she did as a response of one of my requests on how to insert the photos.

Rebecca also showed the Flickr RSS feed that showcases a certain number of your recent photos on the sidebar (or as a widget). I am not 100% sure if this is just WordPress.org or my WordPress.com version can also do it, haven’t tried it yet.

Flux
Photo credit: Retrocactus on Flickr.

[As you can see, I inserted the photo location using the IMG button, and then I linked back to John Biehler's photograph, using exactly the method described by Rebecca]

Finally, Rebecca pointed out to the concept of Creative Commons and indicated several suggestions on how to credit (and/or ask the photographers). This is a pretty important pet-peeve of mine, as I am the son of two lawyers (one of them who actually has a very strong understanding of intellectual property law), so I seriously dislike when people don’t link back to a certain Flickr photo, and don’t provide attribution.

Rebecca’s photos (like mine) are licensed under Creative Commons as Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike (which means, if you want to use one of my Flickr photos, you should link back to me, DON’T download the photo AND DON’T insert it in your server, instead copy the photo location AND link back to it using the codes for link). In the screencasts (and while she did her presentation) Rebecca showed how to find the photo location AND how to link back using the Link button on WordPress.

This part of the WordCamp was very lively because everyone wanted to ask questions related to copyright AND photo attribution. Kudos to Rebecca for opening up the discussion, and to everyone who presented. All of you guys did a WONDERFUL job.

WHY WAS IT A SUCCESS?

WordCamp 2008 Vancouver
Some of the crowd at The Network Hub. (Photo credit: Raul on Flickr)

I attribute it to several factors:

a). Social media interconnectedness – Even though I’m not on Facebook, I *am* on Twitter (@hummingbird604). Therefore, I knew about WordPress Camp Vancouver almost the day that it was conceived as an idea. Facebook helped spread the word, and many other bloggers took it upon themselves to invite more people and/or just disseminate information related to WordCamp 2008.

b). Superb organization skills – I got to The Network Hub (on which I’m writing a featurette, upcoming later tomorrow) very early, close to 4.30pm. Rastin, Jenny, Ash, Teresa and the folks at The Network Hub were already setting up, and fixing things, organizing the audiovisual and getting the coffee and donuts. They were SO synchronized it was almost unbelievable. If I were to hire these folks to organize an event for me, I’d do it in a second. They were right on the money, seriously.

c). Excellent location – Again, I’ll be writing about The Network Hub later, but even though the space was reduced for >80 people who actually ended up showing up, it *is* an amazing concept. People work at The Network Hub because it provides a one-stop-shop for everything they need. I took a few photographs of the offices and open spaces and I was positively impressed. Besides, it’s so close to so many transit routes AND Skytrain.

d). Outstanding list of speakers – Everyone who spoke knew their topic inside-out. It was clear that they were very prepared. Nobody could find any gaps in the presenters’ slide shows. The most important thing – they kept a really strict time-keeping register. And the presenters didn’t go over their time limit. That was, simply outstanding. I’ve been to so many academic conferences and *this* kind of excellent time-keeping, free-flowing conference doesn’t happen often.

e). Phenomenal bunch of attendees – Everyone who went there was hungry for knowledge. The questions were very good (even though a couple were slightly offensive, in my own personal view) and I would say that the interactions between presenters and listeners were very pleasant.

f). Great outline of presenters’ design – The break in the middle of the presentations was excellent. Gave an opportunity for people to socialize, get to know each other and exchange ideas and tips, seek clarification, etc.

g). Outstanding choice of bar for afterwards drinks - Flux is *the* bar where we should all go and get a drink. Spacious, nice staff, great drinks. I think this was excellent. And thanks to Automattic for sponsoring the one round of drinks afterwards! UPDATE – Andy (who works for Automattic) was there too, socializing and handing out WordPress stickers.

h). Unparalleled list of sponsors, both financial, location, food and media sponsors. I don’t have the whole list with me, but I could recognize Phillip Jeffrey, Lisa Bettany and of course, Rebecca Bollwitt. I was also a media sponsor (last minute kinda thing, but hey here is my analysis of the evening!). Some outstanding photographers, including Amanda Abrams and Ianiv (from Ianiv and Arieanna). And of course, it was great to see Stephen Rees, John Biehler, Erika Rathje, and a lot whom I probably will miss!

WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENT NEXT TIME

As I told Rastin, this is an excellent precursor to what can be the next series of Vancouver WordCamp’s. These are my suggestions for the next WordCamp (or series thereof).

1). Divide in tiers – There are the recreational bloggers, the self-hosted WordPress.org and the non-self-hosted WordPress.com kind of users. It was hard for some of us who are not coders to keep our eyes on some of the presentations. For the people who code, it was kind of difficult to remain focused when talks were discussing basics.

2). Charge, even if it is a nominal amount - Hello? This was a three-hour, totally free event where people got coffee, donuts, even a free drink AND lots of good insights from fellow bloggers and developers. Even if there was a minimal cover charge (say $ 3.00) it would help offset some of the costs. I am just saying (if you’ve got anything to say against this, that’s where the comments section comes).

3). Make it a series of events – Maybe one monthly. It would be great. The format is excellent as it leaves time for socialization.

Big shout-outs to everyone who was there, I could attempt and wave hi to everyone whom I saw, but honestly, it’s late, I’m past my degree of consciousness here and I’d like to get some sleep, maybe grab a sandwich. I can comment tomorrow on how nice it was to see everyone, and to meet some of the folks I had just met through their blogs (like Lisa, or Phillip Jeffrey, or Ianiv and Arieanna). But that’ll come tomorrow. For now, I leave you with this. And of course, lots of pretty pictures. Just ’cause.

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