I was an early adopter of Twitter. "How early?", you ask? Early enough to get DanWilson as my Twitter handle. Trust me, that is pretty darned early.
I used Twitter at first to keep up with the swarm at conferences. Many impromptu meetings, dinners, deals were organized over Twitter. When a particular conference ended, I'd turn off twitter notifications. Who needs the mobile going off every time someone posts "I'm waiting at a stop light" or "I like cashmere socks"... I'm sure you'll agree.
Twitter caught on. In a big way. Pretty much all large companies have Twitter accounts and social media strategies. This is just the evolution of the times I suppose. In spite of all of the growth, for me, Twitter is on the verge of jumping the shark.
Jamie Metcher, one of the wild and talented Aussies, is blogging now at http://lagod.id.au/blog/. If you, (like me), wondered what an lagod is, Jamie explains why he chose lagod on one of his pages.
Happy blogging Jamie.
My wife and I just returned from our honeymoon. We spent 2 weeks in Australia and really loved it. I've got a few gigs of photos and a bunch of interesting stories, but for the sake of this blog I'll just post a few of each.
Qantas AirlinesWe flew on Qantas Airlines the whole way and really loved them. Qantas was on time, organized and the flight crew constantly was bringing snacks, meals, drinks, socks (yes, socks), free headsets and pretty much anything possible to make us comfortable. Qantas even did a full meal service on a 1 hour domestic flight. Rather striking considering the weak, mealy-mouthed offerings from US based carriers... If you plan to visit, get the Aussie Air Pass, a package where you can visit a number of cities all for a single price.
BrisbaneOur first stop was Brisbane. Brisbane is located on a river system and is a really nice city with lots of nice things to do.
Where to StayWe stayed at The Marque a neat hotel centrally located to the docs and the Queen Street Mall area, a center of eating and shopping. The staff was great and they had our room ready at 9AM when we checked in. I can't tell you how nice it was to have travelled so much the previous 2 days and actually be able to check in to a hotel room at 9AM.
Lone Pine Koala ReserveWe only had a few days here and visited the Lone Pine reserve, one of the few places in the world where you can cuddle a Koala. The best part of Lone Pine was the Kangaroo and Wallaby open area where you can touch and interact with these animals without restraint. Here is Shannon petting a Kangaroo. If you go to Lone Pine, catch a 10 AM ferry from the downtown docks. You get a great view of the many interesting houses on the river banks as well as a running historical commentary. The south bank of Brisbane is rather interesting, having a man made beach which was very lovely to dip into on a warm spring day.
This year has been a year of turmoil and also a year of blessings. Most years are like that, though this one has been particularly full of highs and lows. I wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to the most courageous woman I know.
My cousin, Erika Bogan was badly injured in a terrible car crash in early 2002 when she was ejected from the vehicle, suffered major damage to her spinal cord and was in a coma for 10 weeks. When she woke up, she found she was paralyzed from the waist down. Imagine for a moment, what it would be like to be riding in a car one second, awake in a hospital the next second to be told 10 weeks had gone by, and by the way, you'll never walk again.
Erika had a long road ahead of her. She had a lot of choices to make and none of them were easy. You can read more on her story on her blog.
Erika became an advocate for people with disabilities and became active helping and inspiring others. This year, Erika competed for and won the Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2009 title. She then competed against tough competition to win Ms. Wheelchair America 2009 title. We are all very proud of her.
The mission of Ms. Wheelchair America is to provide an opportunity for women of achievement who happen to be wheelchair users to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 52 million Americans living with disabilities. In her short term as Ms. Wheelchair America, she's:
- Served as Participant, Mentor and Speaker at Camp Discovery
- Learned to Surf, through Life Rolls On (Yay for surfing)
- Honored as Guest speaker for the Real Economic Impact Tour Kick-off on behalf of the IRS and the NDI along with Robert David Hall from CSI, at the National Press Club in D.C.
- Visited the White House
As we roll (pun intended) into the Thanksgiving holiday, I'd like to pause and give thanks to Erika for her inspiration to me and to the many people she's impacted with her life.
If you are interested in learning more about Erika, the Ms. Wheelchair America competition or advocacy for the disabled, you can:
- You can become a fan of the Ms. Wheelchair America on their Facebook page.
- You can donate to Ms. Wheelchair America via Paypal.
- You can follow Erika on Twitter.
- You can read her blog.
Erika Crowned Ms. Wheelchair America
Erika Before Speaking to the IRS and the NDI
Erika with CSI's Robert David Hall
"Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew." -Guillaume Apollinaire
I'm from Florida, as you know. Florida is home to Alligators, a much maligned animal that generally doesn't deserve such an awful reputation. My brother wrote me to tell me of a recent gator encounter on the beach last night. I'll let him tell the story:
So the kids and I decide to go for a quick walk on the beach last night before homework and dinner...
As we are walking down the beach we see some commotion up ahead and decide to walk down there and see what's going on. As we get close I can see a 7 foot alligator and a guy with a cast net on the freaking beach! This is my second encounter with gators on the beach, the first was surfing on Vilano and a gator swam by outside the line up. This one is equally as weird!
We get up to this gator and you can tell it is very tired from swimming in the ocean, the wind and waves have just beat his butt cause he wants nothing to do with us unless we grab his tail, then he lets us know without question that he is pissed. Tail thrashing, hissing, chomping of the jaws, the whole bit. So a lifeguard comes up to us and while talking to him he says he has to call a trapper who will come and likely kill the gator because it will be seen as a nuisance to humans. So my kids and this other fellas kids start talking about how we should save the gator. So between the kids, tourists and hippy residents down on the beach this guy (Paul) and I become the "gator savers". It's at about this time my kids decide I'm freaking nutz for the plan we hatch.
We've just finished up the CFinNC conference and by all digital accounts, it went rather well. Most things ran on time, lunch arrived promptly and the facility at NC State College of Textile was top notch.
I've been an attendee, speaker, teacher and a sponsor before, but this was my first time from the OTHER side of the registration desk. I have a newly found appreciation for conferences and conference staff.
Since this was our first time planning a conference, we learned a lot. I've heard rumors of other groups wanting to put on a similar conference and I want to share a few things we learned along the way.
- It helps to have a whole bunch of committed volunteers that see the vision and will take responsibility for completing tasks.
- It helps to have a very generous sponsor providing facilities, manpower, AV and Video recording, which if we'd had to procure on our own would have blown our entire budget.
- It helps to have committed financial and contributing sponsors that help provide the budget. There will be more expenses than you may think at first.
- It helps to reach out to the illustrious conference diva Liz Frederick and get timely help and advice along the way.
- It helps to get an information organization strategy in place, so the team isn't having to dig through mountains of emails, twitters, mailing list and other channels just to get status on deliverables. Maybe use a forum or a collaboration system with ticketing or something for this. Email and Excel are not the answer!
- It helps to periodically test your Contact Us form. Or Bad things can happen.
- It helps to put out the menu and the schedule as early as possible so you can help folks know what to expect and how to arrange their travel plans.
- It helps to overcommunicate with speakers, sponsors and attendees. Seriously.
- It helps to go ahead and just make mediocre decisions earlier than wait and try to make great decisions later.
- It helps to understand that if you are running the conference, you will not have a single moment to socialize. You probably won't like this and neither will all your friends.
- It helps to understand that there will be problems and snags and must be fixed, regardless of how much planning you do. Fix them quickly and no one will know they even happened.
There is plenty more we learned also, but we'd like to hear from you. We put out a Post Conference Survey to get a 360 degree view of the conference and find ways to improve, should we do this again in the near future.
Thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, speakers and attendees who made this event special. We thank you all for honoring us with your presence.
As you've probably seen, I'm giving Free Model Glue training this weekend at BFusion/BFlex in Bloomington, Indiana. This will be the last Free Model-Glue training before we start the MG Training Roadshow, which won't be free. (Unless I win the lottery, which could happen).
BFusion is a super-mega-low cost event ($10) that has excellent content by excellent speakers. Held on the campus of Indiana University, the vibe at the conference is very open and inviting. If you come, you can get lots of hands on training in ColdFusion and Flex basically for free.
Did you know, BFusion was the inspiration for the CFinNC event this past weekend? Yep, good things happen at BFusion/BFlex. Folks get inspired, improve their skills and careers, and forge lasting friendships with really great people.
So cancel your weekend plans, get in the car, bus, plane, or train and head down. If you aren't totally impressed with BFusion/BFlex, I'll personally refund your $10.
I'm glad I'm able to go to this conference because the schedule is packed with quality material by highly decorated speakers. Having interacted with a number of Australian developers through mailing lists and chat, I'm very pleased to meet some of the legends in person and to meet the very vibrant, entertaining ColdFusion community from Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Seats are limited and there are less than 4 weeks until the conference. Register today! I hope to see you there!
When we started talking about planning the CFinNC conference, we knew we wanted to provide the best possible training and education for zero cost. This goal was ambitious and required a large dedicated, experienced conference planning team with a large budget.
Since we were a small, volunteer, inexperienced group of programmers with zero budget, I've been entertained and surprised at times by the proceedings. For those who don't know, the CFinNC planning team is pretty much the entire Triangle Area ColdFusion User Group. This is the premiere ColdFusion User Group on the planet and anyone who thinks differently can come to CFUnited for a smackdown in the Sumo Ring.
Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and the creativity and dedication of our planning teams, we are set to have the very best Adobe Platform ever, in the state of North Carolina.
The good news for us, and the bad news for those who've been delaying their registration, is we are close to sold out. (Editors Note: Can a free conference really sell out?)
Conferences generally have two periods of rapid registrations, generally around the first two weeks of registration, and the last 2 weeks of registration. CFinNC starts Oct 17th, so we are definitely in the last 2 weeks. Though interestingly enough and based on highly complicated computer models, we'll have to close registration ahead of schedule. If you've been postponing registration for CFinNC, do it now.
As my 9 year old Nephew so eleoquently put it, Snoozers are losers.
This blog hit over a million total views today. Well, I think it was today, I can't be sure.
Last week I noticed the page count was somewhere near 990k and I wanted to get a screen shot of when the site rolled over to a cool million. It looks like I missed it by a few hundred. Oh well, I guess I can try to pay better attention when I hit a billion. (Heh.)
So thanks to those who come and read articles from nodans.com. I hope you found them as helpful to you as they were to me when I wrote them.