My second SxSW is over, and all I have are some photos, fewer memories than I have photos, and an aircon throat.
I have mixed feeling about South By Southwest. There’s the torrent of emails they send you for months leading up to the event, requiring you to register to their different systems. Once there, I get little time to meet new people and little time to spend with old friends because the conference is too big.
I get pretty nervy for my talk, which this year went well (slides). I usually include a lot of humour but our American friends have a very different sense of humour than Brits, so I play safe and also add liberal quantities of what I call useful information, as SxSW has more than its fair share of circle-jerking panels heavy in “inspiration” but devoid of content. The trick seems to have paid off; I had a full house in Ballroom C and a hundred people lined up outside in case other people left.
The best thing about SxSW is meeting our users. Our PR folks kitted us out with a huge giant rotating Opera O, so it was easy to find our booth and, once there, developers and consumers asked us everything from how to edit a speed dial on a BlackBerry to how to do remote debugging with Opera Dragonfly, We had comfy chairs at the booth, too, leading to a steady stream of visitors from Our New Best Friends, such as chums from Adobe, Microsoft and Google.
I met a penguin
two Slappas (for those who don’t know, a Slapper is a woman of easy virtue, so making two booth babes wander around with t-shirts marked “Slappa” is unfortunate)
This will be a really fast-moving talk with tips and code snippets you can use right away. We’ll cover
mobile web philosophy: what is “mobile web”?
The three methodologies for mobile web development
Tips and tricks (code) to make your site faster on mobile
Apps vs Web and how the boundary is blurring
What’s coming soon, with hopefully a preview of what’s cooking in Opera Labs
I doubt many people will be there—it’s pretty late in the day, but do come along if you can. Otherwise, please come and say hi at the Opera booth in the trade show; there will be a giant red O suspended from the ceiling, so you can’t miss us.
The new HTML5 specification gives you 28 new markup elements to choose from. What do they mean? How do they work together? Bruce will answer these questions, and — most importantly — show how to apply them to real world sites. There are also many changes to HTML 4 elements, and even some obsolete elements, and you’ll find out the important differences. Finally, you’ll get a glimpse of the amazing things people are doing with HTML5 now, and an insight into the future of the web.
– Tokyo, Japan: Be an Iron Chef of HTML5
A one-hour talk with simultaneous translation into Japanese at the Web Directions East conference.
23 November – 1 December – Australia: The A Team: ARIA & HTML5
Five dates in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane) speaking with The Mighty Steve Faulkner of The Paciello Group. Organised by the Web Industry Professionals Association, the 3+ hour long workshops cost $60 for members, $90 for non-members.
I’ve also done an interview with Remy (the editors have edited me to call him “Sharp” throughout, as though we were both pupils at Eton or something) in which we say crazy things like “you don’t have to use canvas, and you don’t have to immediately switch to HTML5”. It’s called HTML5: The 900-Page Gorilla with a Wide Ensemble.
A nice review of our book was published by Peter Steen Høgenhaug, noting that we “relate every part of HTML5 to accessibility”, which is great as that’s exactly what we set out to do.
In the late eighties, I lived opposite a portakabin that was a Polish Club. Somehow I became a member and got to know the old Poles who would go drinking there at weekends. There was an old lady who had a tattoo on her arm from Auschwitz. Jan, the wizened old man who collected the glasses had a photo of himself in his wallet, taken in his Polish Air Force clothing, standing in front of a bi-plane. Over a few Okocim beers, he could be persuaded to tell the story of how, as a resistance partisan, he killed several Nazi soldiers. As we got more drunk, attempting to go across the 14 optics of vodka behind the bar, all the Poles would break out into patriotic songs and tell me how they were looking forward to seeing the homeland again once communism fell.
So, when I was invited to come to speak at the first SparkUp! conference, I jumped at the chance. With a freshly-minted presentation on Web Development 2.0, I arrived in Poznan on Monday afternoon with Remy, Ribot, Andy Budd, Yaili and Matt Biddulph.
Our hosts, Piotr and Krzysztof took us around the postcard-pretty old town of Poznan before a typical Polish dinner (pork-coma ensued) and a few beers.
The day of the conference was organisational perfection in a great modern venue (and this was the first time they’d done a conference!) and then it was party time: lots of Cheeky Bison (Żubrówka and apple juice) and murderous other shots.
Yesterday, I really meant to return to the old town with my camera. But a hangover the size of Gdansk forced me to spend hours in the beautiful 4 saunas, jacuzzi and swimming pool in my hotel.
So, thanks for having me, Poland. The vodka is amazing, the women are beautiful (please address your comments “dear sexist bastard”) and the locals friendly and clueful. I hope to see you again soon.
The hour-long workshop “How to build a HTML5 Web site” involved me coding in real time (with hilarious typo consequences like “Dictype” instead of “doctype”; frankly, I’d be better typing with my dic than my hands).
There will be a video available, and the Carson types have promised that they’ll publish a transcript simultaneously. It’s nice to see them taking accessibility seriously, and I was pleased to see that they had someone signing the sessions for hearing-impaired.
You can grab the slides and notes for my second session, The Future of HTML5, which I tweaked slightly to deliver on Monday in Glasgow.)
If you were speaking about at a conference about HTML 5, and some guy stuck a video camera in your face and asked you what the exciting parts of it are, you’d say canvas and video, wouldn’t you? I know I would.
I flew in, dazed and confused, on Tuesday night and only managed to see the first morning of OSCON before I had to crash for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but I did get to see Jono Bacon present on building communities around Ubuntu – very relevant to my line of work and very interesting.
Tuesday night saw me in an iridescent lime-green t-shirt at the Linux Fund party, where I drank more than I should have (but not as much as Stuart Langridge, so that was alright).
Then it was back to San Jose for dinner at the invitation of Google. It was odd to be surrounded by giants of the Open Source world, many of whom I’d never heard! Likewise, one guy I was talking to was developing a browser but had never heard of Zeldman—odd how two worlds coincide while rarely touching (Langridge is the only guy I can think of who passes easily between them). Swag was excellent at the Google party: an unlocked developer’s G1 Android phone. I can’t wait to get back to the UK to try it and download Opera Mini for Android.
Having woken up feeling fine, through the clever gambit of not drinking loads the night before, it was time to wander in and give my presentation. I felt fine until I was told that I was moved to the huge space where they do the keynotes because so many people had signed up to see me (about 120 expressions of interest).
My nerves were further shot when I tried to edit out a joke that I decided at the last minute wasn’t going to work, and Open Office crashed—2 minutes before I was due to start, leaving me to do ctrl-alt-delete and go into document recovery mode in front of an audience watching it broadcast on 4 huge screens.
Anyway, the talk went well, with some great instant feedback via twitter, and I didn’t do my usual trick of over-running.
I confess that I was nervous, too, about presenting to a lot of very active Open Source coders as the rep of a closed-source company, on a Windows machine. (In my defence, it’s a dual-boot Ubuntu/ Windows machine and I needed to demo Internet Explorer).
I’m delighted to say that I had nothing but friendship and courtesy from all attendees, who applauded the fact that Opera evangelises, develops and follows Open Web Standards. I’d like to thank all those who made me feel so welcome; it was an honour to meet you.
I wrote a piece for ZDNet that you might like, about learning through View Source and Open Web Standards called How openness unlocks the web’s power. (They edited out my final line: “Proprietary formats and closed standards are the enemy of the open web” for some unknown reason.)