wordcamp take-aways

Wordcamp to me was the right un-conference at the right time.

At work we’ve been going through some tough stuff after getting near 50% of our budget cut earlier this year. I’ve been re-evaluating everything we do and trying to gaze into the future and direct the IT side of our frail mothership forward. Slash-and -Burn and re-group kinda thing. We’d been through a few ideas and came to wpmu as a platform to drive us forward.

I wanted to get a feel for where we stood with wpmu and alaso take opportunity to plug my programmer colleague, Trent, into some of the WP network/community and give him some exposure to it.

The trip was definitely worth it. I gained some good strategic ideas and clarfied some of my thinking thanks to the sharing of experiences by those attending and those speaking. It was good to see examples of people actually using wordpress in the different ways I’d been thinking we could use it as well.

Trent got enthused about lots of things, microformats being one , and within a few days had implemented them on his own blog. We also tried to pimp the Flickr Manager Plugin for WordPress he’s written, which allows you to upload and manage and include your Flickr photos in your blog posts all from your wordpress – you can find a copy of Flickr Manager v1.0 Plugin v1.0 here.

So, thanks to all who made the camp happen and made us welcome. Look forward to more sharing in the future.

To top it all off I won a door prize of a iPod Nano.

Photos of me at wordcamp:

Trent n I after a hard days wordcamp and walk home in the wind

Back of my head at the panel

Me looking all serious at Chris Burgess at the Non-Profit roundtable 

Me at yet another round table – not so serious this time  (with @cait on my left)

All photos on flickr tagged wcm07

Videos etc over at Eight Black 


Flying with a wheelchair – not in Second Life

So, I’m back from Melbourne for wordcamp I’ll write more about wordcamp later but for now I wanted get these thoughts out about travel.

The flight was good. The staff at Qantas are becoming adept at using the lifting devices (Eagle lifter) that transfer you from wheelchair to plane seat and back and so while it’s a bit to go through, if you just relax, make jokes and give some calm instruction, all goes fairly smooth for such an odd circumstance.

Of course the flight there was chockers [that’s full for international readers] and ended up having a woman sitting in the middle seat next to me. She had to climb over me in her best skirt, and while it wasn’t the best situation, she was very gracefull – both in the execution of the manuevre and in her attitude – and we spoke quite a bit through the flight. She even helped me with a drink, seeing me and my carer friend and I had found our selves separated by the shuffle of boarding.

Which brings me to a thought I had while waiting and watching everybody shuffle on the plane. Why don’t they board passengers according to the position of their seats ACROSS the plane? Like all window seat passengers (in my 737 case, seats A and F) first, then centre seats, then those with aisle seats last? This would speed up boarding. Of course it wouldn’t help my situation – they always board wheelchair users first and alight last.

The flight back was much the same although I was seated in row 4, which meant more leg room and easier transfers and people climbing over me.

All in all I think things are generally getting better. When you get staff that are obviously trained in using the lifting devices it works well. Certainly getting straight from wheelchair to lift to seat is much better than those dinky chairs they used to transfer you onto and off again.

Word to the wise, know how much your chair weighs. You’ll need to know it before you travel anyways as you have to give dimensions and weight when booking. But you’ll also find everyone you come across wants to know the weight. Look it up from the manufacturers website for the model of your chair and commit it to memory. When asked say the weight <whatever> kgs directly and confidently and you’ll be right.


Second Life Recording of EEL Show and GGP Podcasts

So, while I’ve been at wordcamp I see Mike has uploaded our latest
special edition Extraordinary Everyday Lives podcast that we recorded
in conjunction with Dave Gray from Global Geeks podcast.

What’s special about this podcast is it was recorded totally in Second Life.

Dave Gray has recently come into SL and he and I hit it off straight
away. We were both in a funny spot with our respective podcasts and we
discussed the possibility of collaborating on a joint show.

We discussed the various ideas of how to record and tested some
skype/sl combos, nothing seemed to work well.

I then hit on the idea that what we needed really was just a separate avatar who’s sole job would be to sit in SL and listen to the conversation while we used the voice feature of SL to host our joint show, outputting what the avatar acting as a mic was hearing straight to a recording device.

I filled my co-host, Mike, in on the idea and being the adventurous
guy who usually does the sound recording feckery on our EEL show, went
about creating another AV for the occasion and putting my idea in
action. Some test were done between Mike and I and away we went.

Dave Gray did a great job of pre and post production. The whole shebang was a great experience working in a collaborative and creative way to push innovation.

The experience was surreal and a hoot all in one.

You can d/l the show from the extraordinary everyday lives show podcast network website.



Beetroot in Subway – are Subway now gonna charge extra?

Some recent comments on my Bring Beetroot Back to Subway meme so thought I’d update you all.

Jim loves Subway but not Beetroot.

  1. I love subway but beetroot sux. its messy and i hate it in my subway. adelaide has beetroot and never got rid of it but i wont be upset if it goes for good.Comment by Jim — August 7, 2007 @ 11:02 pm

Well at least Jim’s contributing. But I beg to differ. Subway did get rid of Beetroot from its’ stores for a period of time. That’s whe and why I started this whole Bring Beetroot Back thing.

Our anon-a-mouse friend BeetrootNowCostsExtra breaks the news to us that Subway, being the folks so in touch with their customers, are going to keep beetroot but start charging extra for it…..mmm…what a neat idea….make your customers pay extra to keep something you already get.

  1. From December 2007, Adding Beetroot to your subs will cost $0.30 extra on 6 inch subs and $0.60 extra on foot-long subs. At least in all the Subway stores I’ve been to have this “important” sticker about beetroot attached to their shop-windows.Comment by BeetrootNowCostsExtra — November 11, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

And Jim’s back, good on you Jim. While Adelaide *might* be only city with beetroot on Subways, I wonder why that is…hmmm?Anyway, good to see people having theconversation.
And I know from direct correspondence from franchisees that other states in Australia want it and have been asking.

  1. Subway is charging for Beetroot because all you greedy people have been asking for too much. The formula for beetroot is 3 cubes on a six inch and 6 cubes on a foot long. you all ruined it for every one….Now we have to pay. Also beetroot is only available in South Australia. No other city in the WORLD has it so you should be grateful we have it whether we have to pay for it or not.Comment by Jim — November 13, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

Well it’s great to see people having the conversation about even this relatively small topic in an open way..wow the long tail is long.

How much more fruitful it could be if Subway decided to wade in to the naked conversation. If they already aren’t as anon-a-mouse. Come on, get naked guys, we’ll respect you and your decisions a lot more for it.



Where we need to get back to

Real community and why we are building tools to connect to each other:


“One of the things that characterizes people living in difficult conditions is a very well-developed sense of how dependent we humans are on each other,” says Cockburn. “There’s a sense of community that is beyond anything that one encounters in the developed world. ”

“This is what allows people to survive their difficult circumstances and to support each other physically and emotionally, given the hard work and pain that they live with,”

Bruce Cockburn,

via the cockburn project

at cockburnproject.net


Photo via flickr from by Catman75