Tazzu’s WordCamp 2008 Vancouver – A total success
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.
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.
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?
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.