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I love Holland – it’s the nearest place to the UK that you feel you’re in Europe. OK, so there’s France, and I love Paris, but it always seems to me to be a Gauloise-scented Jean-Paul Satre museum, with its carefully curated skyline. Holland is a place where people like Lisa and Aldrick live; people who speak 6 languages, travel Holland, France, Spain, Bulgaria with equal ease and the equal feeling of being at home anywhere in the continent.
So it was with great delight that I went to speak on accessibility and web standards at mediaelements in Enschede. The hotel and hospitality was great, and the other speakers were coolness personified; Ola Bergner, Guy Watson, Sam Wan, Shane Tanner, Craig Swann, Billy Bussey, Keith Peters, Danny Franzreb, Sas Jacobs, Rob Chiu … Everyone got along well, which is great when you’re a long way from home and in each others’ pockets. We had a billion beers together at the Dancelements party (where I shook hands with a robot), congratulated each other over our sessions, swapped coding war stories and travelled around the Twente district of Holland in a hospitality bus the day after the conference.
And the conference itself? A couple of minor technical hiccups, a good crowd and I did a video interview for some glam Dutch students, and all was fine. I got pretty nervous, having never spoken at length before, and was rather worried that my rather dry and corporate presentation about separating structure and presentation with web standards would be pretty dull compared with sessions on Ola’s new film, Craig’s crazy sounds, or Keith’s funky maths. But the talk went well; twenty minutes of really probing questions at the end and a gratifyingly warm reception for my talk.
Feel free to download the zipped up pdfs of the powerpoint presentations. (yeah, yeah, pdf and powerpoint from a standards geek. So sue me). Feel even freer to send me money or pictures of yourself in a state of undress.
And thanks to all who came to watch me, all the other speakers who were veteran speakers and gave me encouragement, and to the organisers. At the top is a picture (taken by Lisa Petrova) of some of the cast at Twickle Castle in Holland. See you next year!