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The feedback we've got has been extremely enthusiastic, and we've never seen such an uptake of tickets, so we really recommend you don't put off registering only to be disappointed. Our new venue means this will almost certainly sell out. And to make it easier, you can register right now at the lowest price, and pay us later. In 2004 we put on one of the very first conferences anywhere in the world specifically for the Web industry, and, if we're being a little self-congratulatory, created the template for so many events that have followed. For 10 years we've worked incredibly hard to stay that one step ahead, unearthing speakers who've gone on to speak all over the world, including Nicole Sullivan (OOCSS debuted at Web Directions North 2009), Lea Verou, Rachel Andrew, Pasquale DeSilva, and Australia's own Dmitry Baranovskyi among many. And of course, we've brought extraordinary speakers here to Australia for the first and often only chance to have seen them. Along the way, our program has constantly changed with the needs of our industry, and we've partnered with W3C Australia, and international research conferences like the International Semantic Web Conference last year to bring a diversity and depth of content you'd have to go a long way to find anywhere else. But this year to start our second decade we really challenged ourselves to do something special. With a brand new venue, we have wiped the slate clean, and asked ourselves "what does our industry in Australia look like, and why does it need to be thinking deeply about?" Our thinking coalesced around two main areas of focus, Engineering, and Product. And so we set out to put together the best program, not just in Australia, but the world for those designing, managing and building digital experiences (with of course as always a strong Web focus). Whether we've succeeded in such a lofty ambition is ultimately for you to judge, but we don't think we could have done much better. Some of the particular highlights for us include:
  • Enticing the recently departed long time Creative Director of Twitter, Douglas Bowman back to our shores. Douglas spoke at our first ever conference, when he was a well known Web designer, having recently helped ignite the Web standards revolution with his redesign of the Wired website. His career trajectory, Visual Lead at Google, and then Creative Director at Twitter, in many ways follows the trajectory of the Web over the last decade, from a static text heavy medium, to a platform for delivering rich, engaging, sophisticated experiences and applications.
  • Being able to lure the Senior Director of Business Engineering at PayPal, Bill Scott to our shores. Bill's vital role at a company that demonstrates the importance of the Web as a platform reinforces how mission critical Web engineering has become for delivering business services.
But in truth, there are 24 extraordinary, world-leading speakers, working in the near future, each one of whom we're extremely proud and excited to bring to you. All you have to do is clear two days of your time in late October. This year too, we've experimented a little with pricing. We're still offering the same amazing two days of speakers, fully catered, with world class coffee, and parties, for the same price it's been for years. But we're offering some additional benefits for those with a little more budget to spend. It's all explained at the conference site, but do drop us a line if you have any questions at all. If you've been to a Web Directions event before, you know we're passionate, independent supporters of the Web and all it can do. We promise you all this and more. If you've not been to one of our events before, leave your pre-conception as to what a conference is like, and what it can do for you, at the door. We promise something special, that might even transform your life. Check out all the details, at our rather spiffing conference site, and see you in October!" ["post_title"]=> string(19) "Web Directions 2014" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(25) "web-directions-south-2014" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-06-26 11:06:50" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-06-26 01:06:50" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.webdirections.org/?p=5792" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#292 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(5740) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-05-07 12:41:04" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-05-07 02:41:04" ["post_content"]=> string(5587) "The Web, and what we can do with it has come a long way since the first conference we were involved with back in 2004. Each event we do represents a sort of milestone, and hopefully reflects the sorts of challenges, opportunities and concerns we face as we design and develop for the Web. That's certainly the aim as we put each program together. In 2004, Web Essentials (that's what the event was called back then) featured no JavaScript. The term "Ajax", had not been invented, jQuery was still more than a year away from public release, Firefox was still in beta. And 10 years later? Well, the program for Web Directions Code, which took place last week in Melbourne hopefully captures a lot of that. JavaScript as an increasingly high performance, sophisticated modern language. Device APIs that allow us to create ever more sophisticated experiences on all kinds of devices barely dreamt of in 2004, including Robots. If you were there, you'll hopefully agree with us it was inspiring, exciting, challenging, and highly educational. If you weren't, well, the next best thing are the slides and other resources available online that we'll list below, and the upcoming videos (to hear about them, first, why not sign up to our low noise, high signal, once a week mail out of all things awesome about the Web)

Slides and other resources from Web Directions Code 2014

Raquel Vélez's You Can Do What With Math Now? was an awesomely inspirational start to the show, looking at what we can do with JavaScript, Mathematics, canvas and robots. Ryan Seddon showed us how Web Components are the Future of Web Development. Fiona Chan took us on a 15 minute deep dive into The Declarative Power of CSS Selectors. Rob Manson of BuildAR let us in on The Easy Way to Create Augmented Web Experiences. Andrew Fisher took us on a Device API Safari. You can check out the code from his examples here. Allen Wirfs-Brock showed how ECMAScript 6 is a Better JavaScript for the Ambient Web Era. On the Friday morning, Alex Feyerke inspired us all to take a look at the Offline First approach. Rod Vagg exhorted us to Embrace the Asynchronous. Ben Birch showed us some of the new native data structures available in modern JavaScript. Mark Dalgleish continued the JavaScript thread on Friday morning and taught us all about Taking JavaScript out of Context. You might also want to check out a tutorial on this from Axel Rauschmeyer that just came out. Then we took a veer towards security and Mark Nottingham let us in on What's Happening in TLS (that's what the cool kids call HTTPS). Paul Theriault continued that theme with Taking Front-end Security Seriously. Damon Oehlman showed us how Streaming the Web is not what we think. Alex Mackey told us to Harden Up Our Ajax! Lastly, Tantek Çelik inspired us all by closing out the show with The Once and Future IndieWeb. Here's the Dan Gillmor article Tantek mentioned, and here's where you can get started building your own little corner of the IndieWeb.

Missed out?

If you don't want to miss future events like this, then sign up to our weekly newsletter, a roundup of articles, videos, and more we've discovered that week, and follow us on twitter" ["post_title"]=> string(15) "Code '14 Wrapup" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(14) "code-14-wrapup" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(55) " http://www.webdirections.org/sign-up-to-the-newsletter" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-05-08 11:14:04" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-05-08 01:14:04" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.webdirections.org/?p=5740" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#293 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(5723) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-04-07 11:33:12" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-04-07 01:33:12" ["post_content"]=> string(5734) "

Was great to wrap up another What Do You Know roadshow last Thursday night in our home town of Sydney, with what turned out to be an incredibly diverse and entertaining collection of presentations, covering off everything web from knitting to Brunch.io. Let's see what it was all about! And while you do that, brighten up your Monday by tuning into our playlist from the night:

WDYK April 2014 by Maxinesherrin on Mixcloud

Christopher Hunt (@huntchr) got things off to a fine start with a new approach to building applications, The Reactive Manifesto.

Regular Expressions - can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em. Elle Meredith did a terrific job, as always of explaining Regular Expressions With Ruby.

Imad Sader was next, showing us how to integrate SVG support in our build scripts.

Then Rose Matthews (@rose_matthews) took the stage to telling us all about the different types of great UX people and how to NOT keep them on your team.

Arnaud Bieri introduced us to Brunch - and that's not the "not quite breakfast, not quite brunch, but it comes with a slice of cantalope" variety! No, we're talking Brunch.io, the ultra-fast HTML5 build tool.

Leading us into the half-time break was Shane Weddell (@shaneweddell) of SilverStripe, who shared with us the secret of how they have built a very successful business in the open source space, by doing the opposite of conventional wisdom.

Straight after the break we took one of those wild segues for which What Do You Know is famous: Kris Howard (@web_goddess) showed us how knitting really is code in a great presentation that I'm sure will have inspired many of us to dig out the needles and yarn, I know it worked for me!

Next up Simon Swain (@simon_swain) told us to sharpen our pitchforks for 5 minutes of heresy, a motivational presentation for any developer, make sure you read the transcript.

Long time Web Directions friend Ben Buchanan - he first spoke for us in 2006, yikes! - was up next. Half of the next thing was some more motivational words for developers, on how to keep learning. Here's those two Ueli Steck videos he mentioned - The Swiss Machine and A New Vision.

Now I must admit I was a little concerned when I set up Simon Rodwell's (@s_roddeh) laptop on the stage and noticed he had 56 slides, for a 5 minute presentation! I don't know how he did it, but So crypto, very currency, how website was all done in maybe 7 minutes, and we all felt a lot smarter about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by the end of it!

And that about wrapped it up, not just for Sydney, but for the whole What Do You Know Fall 2014 season. We hope you made it along, we hope you had a good time, and we hope to see you at Web Directions Code in just a few weeks now!

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There's something about the Melbourne What Do You Know that "just works". I think it's maybe something about the venue, which has a slick AV setup, and is perfect for a reasonable sized crowd to be able to be there and see the presentations, while still feeling like a pub type atmosphere. This Wednesday was no exception, with everything running "smooth as", and eleven great presentations shared with a rowdy but good natured crowd.

We also had some great music in the breaks, if I do say so myself!

WDYK April 2014 by Maxinesherrin on Mixcloud

We kicked off the evening with longtime Web Directions mate Matt Allen (@mattallen), who has recently moved to Melbourne to open the local office Lookahead, the good guys in the recruitment biz. Matt taught us something we can all learn from: that awkward job interview.

Next we had Tammy Butow (@tammybutow), organiser of the recent SheHacks Melbourne and absolute champion for getting more women involved in tech events. Tammy asked what's your favourite thing online?

Peter Wilson (@pwcc) talked about "Deciding to be wrong". He's written a great blog post about it: to avoid stagnation, you need to reconsider your standard practices and the code they produce.

Next up in true What Do You Know style we took a sharp turn with Beth Skurrie (@bethesque), teaching us how to use Pacts and throw away our integration tests.

And then Mario Visic (@mariovisic) showed us the why and how of building a faster web.

Taking us into the break was Shane Weddell (@shaneweddell), who told us the SilverStripe story, also known as "how to build a successful business by doing the opposite of what everyone tells you to do". Which was convenient enough, because next up we had a quick break for refreshments with drinks and food courtesy of SilverStripe.

Straight up after the break we had @basarat who gave us 5 reasons to start using TypeScript. You might also want to check out Playground (the tool he used to do the demo), the TypeScript source, and if you really want to get into it, here's the language specification. Get going!

Bikeshedding and the Vicious Feedback Cycle was the intriguing title of Drew Schrauf's (@drewschrauf) presentation. He had some great thoughts on better managing relations with your clients.

Alex Mackey (@alexjmackey) was on next, here's the code and slides from his presentation, Just Add WebGL.

Design by Community - it's not design by committee! Damir Kotoric (@damirkotoric) did a great job of telling us what it really is, all in just 5 minutes.

Then we closed out the night with Lars Klint (@larsklint), a true passionate user, telling us 5 things we didn't know Windows Phone could do. Well done Lars, you get a lot of real iPhone fans at any Web Directions event, I thought it was pretty brave of you to get up there and share your passion!

And that wrapped it up for another awesome Melbourne What Do You Know. Thanks for coming along if you were there on the night, and hope you can make it next time if you weren't!

" ["post_title"]=> string(48) "What Do You Know Melbourne, April 2014 - Wrap-up" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(45) "what-do-you-know-melbourne-april-2014-wrap-up" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-04-07 10:35:25" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-04-07 00:35:25" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.webdirections.org/?p=5718" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#295 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(5715) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-04-04 09:04:31" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-04-03 23:04:31" ["post_content"]=> string(2533) "We've just wrapped up another series of our What Do You Know nights, this time taking the show to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. If you haven't been to a What Do You Know, it's an evening of lightning presentation on anything and everything web. Think of it as speed dating for ideas, where 10 speakers stand up and take just 5 minutes to "tell us what they know". It's the perfect formula for the whole web community to be able to see what makes each other excited, what makes us angry, what makes us sad. But it's more than just the presentations, there's plenty of time for hanging out and making some new connections, so to create a bit of atmosphere this time around I created a "playlist". The best news is, you don't even have to have been there to tune in because I've shared it all below on Mixcloud, for your Friday listening pleasure. Enjoy!

WDYK April 2014 by Maxinesherrin on Mixcloud

" ["post_title"]=> string(42) "The music of What Do You Know - April 2014" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(40) "the-music-of-what-do-you-know-april-2014" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-04-04 09:04:31" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-04-03 23:04:31" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.webdirections.org/?p=5715" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#296 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(5704) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-03-31 10:51:08" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-03-31 00:51:08" ["post_content"]=> string(1626) "One real pleasure of doing what we do is to see so much of the excellent work Australia's Web Industry does. Often ground breaking, entertaining, engaging, beautiful, inspiring. And one of our missions here at Web Directions, is to champion great work being done here in Australia. It's a big reason why we started the McFarlane Prize, which now has a home with the Australian Web Industry Awards. To this end too, we try to keep folks in the industry abreast with what's happening here in Australia by maintaining an ever growing list of meet ups and groups related to the Web Industry. If you run one, make sure you let us know, and we'll add it. And in the same vein, today we're launching something that has been on our radar for far too long, a directory of Digital agencies with a strong Web focus. We've started with Agencies we know, mostly in Sydney and Melbourne, but if you're not there, don't take it personally, just give us your details, and we'll get you up there as soon as possible. If you're already in the directory, and want to update some details, just use the form as well. This is just a first step, and in time we hope to add a showcase of the work that's really grabbed us, conceptually, visually, or technically. Let's show Australia, and the rest of the world, the depth and breadth of our industry here." ["post_title"]=> string(28) "Australia's Digital Agencies" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "australias-digital-agencies" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-03-31 10:51:08" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-03-31 00:51:08" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.webdirections.org/?p=5704" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#297 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(5705) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-03-31 10:47:26" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-03-31 00:47:26" ["post_content"]=> string(5869) "

Thanks so much to everyone who braved the elements and came along to the biggest Brisbane What Do You Know so far! Last Thursday was a great night with eleven lightning presentations on anything and everything web, from Sproute to narcissism, and now we are well and truly pumped for Web Directions Code in Melbourne in May.

Things kicked off from 6pm with drinks and nibbles courtesy of our most excellent sponsors, SilverStripe. A couple of people asked me about the music on the night - it was the playlist from Web Directions South last year, which you can listen to anytime right here.

First cab off the rank on the night was Andy Fitzsimon (@AndyFitz), who introduced us to the idea of generative design and showed how it is being used at places like Redhat. This is a trend to watch for sure! Andy's slides are here.

Sarah Bock's (@bock_sarah) presentation on Narcissism and the Web seemed to strike a chord with a lot of the audience. Sarah has been good enough to write a blog post based on her preso - it certainly is a fascinating subject, and one we need to be aware of as not just participants in the Web, but also its creators.

Next, Jilly Magee (@chinkystickens) showed us how Data is the real king (and yes, content is data!). As well as her slides, Jilly has also shared a write up of her presentation.

Louis Stowasser (@louisstow) then took us through a live coding demo, using Sproute to re-create Hacker News. You can dive deeper into Sproute here, and here is a tutorial that does something similar to what Louis covered in his demo.

Then we had Katie Miller (@codemiller) who told us all about Beer in the Cloud with Node.js and OpenShift. Here's the app she built, and here's its source code.

Leading into the break we had Shane Weddell (@shaneweddell), who told us the SilverStripe story, also known as "how to build a successful business by doing the opposite of what everyone tells you to do". Which was convenient enough, because next up we had a quick break for refreshments with drinks and food courtesy of SilverStripe.

After the break Luke Brooker (@lukebrooker) continued the beer theme of the night with an interesting and inspirational presentation called Craft as in Beer. Check out the slides, as well as a write up of the presentation for some insights into how Luke approaches web design and development as a craft. Oh and here's the documentary he spoke about, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, it's well worth the watch!

Next up we had Ash Kyd (@AshKyd) who talked about the world of maps post-Google. If you're looking to do cool stuff with maps, make sure you check out his write-up.

Ben Cull (@benjii22) showed us The State of Payments in Australia, and I'd have to say, compared to a few years ago, things are looking pretty good. Check out his preso for an overview of some of the more interesting options around out there these days.

Anna Gerber (@AnnaGerber) then showed us the ins and outs of building an open web of things - here are her slides if you want to follow up on this exciting new area.

Then to finish off the night Brandon Sheppard (@BrandonSheppard) showed us how to optimise for ecommerce.

It was a fun night! Hope you were able to make it along, and hope to see you next time we're in your town!

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If you work in tech the news of the day isn't the reintroduction of dames and knights here in Australia, though that is certainly good for a quick giggle. No, words on everyone's lips this morning have been "Oculus Rift" and "Facebook" and "end of the world as we know it". For your edification in case you have in fact been hard at work all morning ...

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It was lovely to receive an email from an old "friend of Web Directions" the other day, Donal O Duibhir. If you've been to our events you may remember Donal as that guy who was absolutely passionate about networks of all kinds, and in particular about the wifi network at the event, which he always managed with great professionalism, diligence and care. Sometimes in trying circumstances! Anyways, Donal has fled our shores for greener pastures, at least for now. And I mean greener pastures quite literally: in his new life he's thrown himself into something else he's always been passionate about, sustainability and permaculture.

The really exciting thing though is that he's combining all his passions into his latest venture, Podomere, where he's on a mission to bring permaculture to the world of I.T. I was lucky enough to get him to share a few thoughts with me.

Maxine: So tell me Donal, in 25 words or less :), what exactly is this latest venture, Podomere?

Donal: Podomere is synthesising permaculture's design thinking and ethics within I.T. We build networks yet our focus is that of earth care, people care, and fair share.

Maxine: Podomere's strapline is 'scale the edge' and 'permaculture for I.T'. Do you want to explain what that might look like?

Donal: Scaling the edge is about 'edge thinking' and the 'edge effect' which maximises edges and interactions. The richer, more diverse, productive, and innovative environments are normally found at the connecting edges of two or more ecosystems. Today we find ourselves playing in multi-disciplinary environments where it's not just about packets and web apps but everything above and below! It's also about increasing the service edge from a technical perspective by allowing our clients and customers to scale their networks and web presence organically rather than requiring forklift upgrades or large punctuated jumps in CAPEX or OPEX. We have templated wired and wireless 'cloud managed' pod architectures and assembled service providers that can distribute content globally while staying as lean, green, and environmentally friendly as possible!

Donal in full offgrid mode when he was studying permaculture at The Channon in northern NSW.

Maxine: Tell us more about the GreenQloud story - how did you connect up with them? And have you had to do some amazing site visits in their beautiful homeland? What was that like?

Donal: Personally I've been performing network architecture, data centre, and information security roles in large multinationals like Cisco, Ericsson, and ABN AMRO since 2000 where well run global networks and systems demand a very high level of security, instrumentation, and management yet continue to consume vast amounts of dirty power. When I started Podomere in mid-2013 after having completed a Permaculture Design Certificate under the tutelage of Geoff Lawton, I set about searching for a way to build our new assets and services on an infrastructure provider with deeply green fundamentals. We also sought a great privacy and data sovereignty stance, positioning for low latency access to EU and US markets, and predictable energy costs (which translate to consistent and lower pricing for compute and storage over time). During my search I found GreenQloud in Iceland and set about testing them out. Subsequently we have joined their Startup Program and are now part of their Ambassador program too! They're growing quickly and we've been in frequent contact with all levels of their organisation. We do have an open invitation to visit them and tour their data centres. Albeit I'm currently in Europe, I've yet to lock in a date to visit the wonderful team in Reykjavík‎, but it'll happen this year and I'll report back on our blog For the moment we're trying to generate more awareness and gather feedback about what a sustainable digital supply chain might look like here.

Maxine: What are you focussing on at the moment?

Donal: Albeit we integrate systems while doing micro-consulting, we're focussing on how we can get better at telling our own story and finding our niche. We really want to reach social enterprises, SME's, B-Corporations, and any other 'greenfields' socially conscious organisations to help empower them to go green from the ground up whilst being more secure. We're working on a mixture of both free and paid digital recipes for organisations including D.I.Y. pod kits with accompanying designs so they can build our pods for themselves without relying on expensive system integrators. Finally we'd really like to see the philosophy and ethos of the FLOSS(Free/Libre/Open Source Software) movement take hold within network design and system integration communities of practice. We'll be releasing free design patterns soon!

Maxine: And where do you see this going? Tell us your wildest dreams! :)

Donal: Perhaps as somewhat of a pragmatic optimist I see an ongoing journey for humanity as we build a complex synthetic 'overlay' network only to subsequently realise fully the extent of the existing and underlying natural network that binds and connects us all. My dream is for a new generation of kids who will in the future somehow be born with an aggregate and long term societal memory (akin to the Bene Gesserit reverend mothers in Frank Herbert's Dune!). Within the confines of mortality I believe this future race will have a chance to establish peace utilising their new found empathy, oneness, and altruism.‎ Other than that I'd love to live on a houseboat like Alan Watts and produce all my own energy and food!

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee says yes, we do, if we are going to protect and enshrine the independence of the medium he created. He spoke of his concerns in a recent Guardian interview:

Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what's happening at the back door, we can't have open government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of culture. It's not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it.

He was speaking exactly 25 years after he wrote the first draft of the first proposal for what would become the world wide web - the first page of which we shared in the printed program for Web Directions South last year, including that wonderful annotation there at the top from his boss "Vague but exciting ..."

Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Information Management Proposal

Hard to believe too that we held our first ever event for people who work on the Web just 15 years after this proposal was published!

Sir Tim Berners-Lee went on to say that the issues of privacy, free speech and responsible anonymity have crept up on us.

Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years.

Which I thought was a nice echo to some of the words in this magnificent angry rant by one of our keynotes from Web Directions South last year. Maciej Ceglowski. Maciej's rant, actually from his recent Webstock presentation, is well worth the read in its entirety, but here's the bit that especially caught my eye:

What upsets me, what really gets my goat, is that we did it because it was the easiest thing to do. There was no design, forethought, or analysis involved. No one said "hey, this sounds like a great world to live in, let's make it". It happened because we couldn't be bothered.

Making things ephemeral is hard.

Making things distributed is hard.

Making things anonymous is hard.

Coming up with a sane business model is really hard—I get tired just thinking about it.

So let's take people's data, throw it on a server, link it to their Facebook profiles, keep it forever, and if we can't raise another round of venture funding we'll just slap Google ads on the thing.

"High five, Chad!"

"High five, bro!"

That is the design process that went into building the Internet of 2014.

For myself, the more time I spend in places like Facebook, the more the values of the open web ring true for me, and come into focus as an ideal worth protecting. Oh, and if that means something to you too, don't forget we have another of the great advocate of the open web doing the closing keynote at Web Directions Code: don't miss Tantek Çelik's return to Australia this May!

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After months of hand wringing, today Web Directions cut the Gordian knot and published a code of conduct for our events. You can check it out here.

Seems like a good idea, you say, why all the hand wringing?

Well, it's a terrible cliche but John and I have long subscribed to the view that actions speak way louder than words. Indeed, words are often just ways for bureaucrats and "jobs worths" to show that "they care a lot". So instead of focussing on churning out policy docs over the years, we've focussed on producing great events where people learn heaps, get inspired about the web, connect with their peers, have a good time, and don't harass or upset other attendees in the process. A project I'm proud to say, with only a couple of small exceptions, we have succeeded in for nigh on 10 years.

If you just use a bit of empathy and common sense, trust me, much as I'd like to blow our trumpet here, it's not rocket science.

But as the old adage goes, the thing about common sense is that it isn't that common. Many events do fall way short of the mark in terms of ensuring that all their participants feel welcomed and included, and free from harassment and alienation. We feel that when it is undertaken in good faith, going through the process of developing a code of conduct can lead to some genuine introspection on the part of the organisers, which in turn might help switch on a bit of that empathy and common sense. So we've published the code of conduct hopefully as an example that others will choose to follow.

On a practical note, we based ours on The Conference Code of Conduct: you're not on your own with this!

So if you're thinking of running an event, I really would advise you to get the team together and have a free and open debate about how you all feel about codes of conduct. Just having that conversation will go along way towards ensuring you run cool and safe events for everyone.

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tl;dr

What do you Know is an evening of fun, fast presentations on all things Web, drink or two from our sponsors Silverstripe, and a room full of your Web professional peers. And we're always looking for speakers, so if you want to take the next step with your presentations, just drop us a line!

What Do You Know?

A couple of years back, Maxine and I were trying to come up with a format for presentations that was fun, as unintimidating as possible particularly for new speakers, and offered something for everyone in the audience, be they a designer, developer, Interaction Designer, IA, Product Manager, or even growth hacker![1] Formats like pecha kucha and Ignite were a little restrictive, and lend themselves to a specific kind of slide driven presentation. Somehow we came up with What Do You Know. Each speaker has 5 minutes (and we mean 5, Maxine is a mean timekeeper) to tell the audience about something they know. It might be functional JavaScript, it might be bezier curves, it might be designing wearable devices, it might be guerrilla user testing. But it will be Web related (well, most of the time), and there are even sometimes mystery guests, like the Oatmeal (my wife still hasn't quite forgiven me for not telling her he was speaking) or whoever else we can get our hands on. Oh, and there's a drink courtesy of our fine friends Silverstripe. And best of all, you get the chance to share what you know. Quite a few of the speakers who grace the Web Directions stage first spoke in public at What do You Know. And don't worry, it's a very welcoming audience, plus as MC I make sure they stay that way! So,what are you waiting for? Drop us a line, and let us know you're interested. We'd love to have you! [1] Actually, not growth hackers." ["post_title"]=> string(19) "What Do *You* Know?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(16) "what-do-you-know" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-03-06 13:34:52" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-03-06 03:34:52" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.webdirections.org/?p=5634" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [13]=> object(WP_Post)#304 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(5587) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-02-26 14:30:57" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-02-26 04:30:57" ["post_content"]=> string(7114) "

For some years now John and I have included working through the anonymous feedback as part of our "retro" after an event. Painful as it can sometimes be (we have feelings too, and no one likes to hear that their baby is ugly! :), there are always a number of themes that emerge that help us make sure the next event is even better.

This year for Web Directions Code we've decided to "open the kimono" and share our thinking with you. We want you to know that we take all feedback into consideration and really try hard to make each event we do even better than the last one.

So what I've done below is grab a few representative quotes from the actual feedback, and given my thoughts and ideas on how we will be responding to them.

A word of caution though: you know the old adage about seeing how sausages are made! But if you've got the ticker for seeing some of the inner workings of my mind, read on!

"It was cold in the hall at some times"

Getting the temperature right in any large space seems to be one of those problems that just won't go away. It's always either too hot or too cold. Last year what happened at Melbourne Town Hall was that through some mis-communication the doors to Collins St were often left open, resulting in a particularly sneaky draft chilling us to our bones, especially if you were sitting toward the back of the room. The people at the venue have assured me these doors will be kept closed for us this year, but just in case, I'll be bringing along some of the famous Web Directions blankets so we can snuggle up.

patented Web Directions cold avoidance devices

"My eyes are pretty rooted, but I think the data projector was crap"

Join the club! My eyes aren't what they used to be either (age shall weary us!), but I didn't think this projector was so crash hot either, in particular when we are trying to follow code walk-throughs! I spoke to the AV guys immediately after the event last year, and they will be making sure we have a better projector installed this year, no one need upgrade their spectacles!

"I'm not a fan of the seating arrangement. Would prefer traditional rows."

Only a few people made this comment (3 to be exact), and at the same time there were plenty of people who said how much they liked the seating arrangement as well. But I still think it's worth noting, and looking for a compromise, as it is pretty critical to the overall experience.

Cabaret style seating (as we call the round table seating arrangement in the business) is way more conducive to getting to meet a few of your fellow conference attendees. It's way too easy just to come and go and never make eye contact with, let alone say hi to, anyone when the room is set up theatre style, with rows of chairs. But connecting with other people who share your interests (ie, they love code too!), hard as it may be sometimes, is surely one of the reasons you pony up and come along to something like Web Directions Code in the first place. Trust me, I'm a shy person too and I totally feel jelly every single time I sit down at one of those tables with people I don't know, but I do it anyways because I know the rewards are there.

Having said all that though, I do want everyone to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible, so this year we will be making sure there are a lot of extra chairs around the walls and in rows at the back of the room, so if you come in late, or just don't feel up to being with other people on the day (I have those days too! :), then this option will always be there for you.

"Coffee machine was distracting"

We did in fact put quite a bit of thought into this. See what happens is, there are always queues at the coffee stand at the end of any break. So I thought that if we put the machine in the room, right up the back, at least those who were still queueing can still see the beginning of the presentation. And I thought that if we put it far enough back, in that big space, the incessant noise of beans being ground would not drive anyone to distraction. I probably made the wrong call on this, it really was a bit noisy, especially if you had come in late and were sitting in the rows of chairs mentioned above. This year I'm going to firstly see what the baristas say about having the coffee pre-ground (though I am sure they will turn their noses up at this), and if that doesn't work out the coffee machine will have to be out in the foyer area, so you'll just have to make conversation with me while you're waiting for your brew :)

"Very small plates, unknown supply, and cold food made it feel like airplane food"

I should have been harder on the caterers about this at the time, and certainly noted it with them that as a pre-condition to us coming back this year, I needed their assurance that they were going to put more resources into getting this right. This year I'll be making sure we have a menu that is appropriate to the way in which the food is being served, and also that pretty much all the food is set out at the beginning of the break, so those polite people who miss out in the initial rush to the buffet don't have to wait for it to be replenished. This will fix the problem.

"Having no other beverage than tea, coffee or water at morning and afternoon tea was a little disappointing"

An oversight - we'll be putting out soft drinks at all the breaks this time around, not just at lunch time.

"After party venue was overcrowded"

I was deeply disappointed in our treatment at Baroq House (the after party venue), and complained so bitterly that I think I got a $500 credit towards our next event, which if course will be "never" :). This year I'm on the lookout for something a litter bigger and a little less "bling", I'm sure Melbourne can rise to the occasion!

"Accessible Wifi is a must. While it was claimed that 'most of you use 3G' for my part I only use 3G when there isn't wifi, I don't like paying for data!"

There's a perception out there that somehow "wifi is free", when really, it is not. Somewhere, somehow, someone is paying. Just like clean water. We made the call that we were going to spend money on our speaker line up (and looking after our speakers really well I might add), having an awesome, centrally located venue, and some rockin' parties, and that in this context, asking people to use their 3/4G connections if they needed to, was ok. At another venue, where the infrastructure was better, we may have been able to provide a network, but the downside of the Olde Worlde Charme of Melbourne Town Hall is that the information superhighway hasn't quite got there.

Whew! Thanks for bearing with me on this - if you got this far you are a real trooper!

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He's now up to Issue 7 of this beautiful print magazine that's all about people who use the internet and technology to be creative, solve problems and build successful businesses. It was great to have Kai and Offscreen at Web Directions South last year, so we were super happy when he said he'd like to be there at Web Directions Code as well. Afterall, Melbourne is one of his home towns! So you'll be able to grab yourself a copy of Offscreen at Code and have a bit of a chat to Kai. We're also going to be giving away a weekly copy of Offscreen 7 for the next 6 weeks, to some lucky person who registers for Web Directions Code that week. So don't hold back, get that registration in today so you can get into this week's draw and have your copy of Offscreen 7 in your hand post haste!" ["post_title"]=> string(55) "Offscreen Magazine: in the house at Web Directions Code" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(54) "offscreen-magazine-in-the-house-at-web-directions-code" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-02-24 09:33:04" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-02-23 23:33:04" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.webdirections.org/?p=5584" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#291 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(5792) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-06-26 11:06:00" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-06-26 01:06:00" ["post_content"]=> string(4685) "Late last week we took the wraps off our 10th Anniversary conference, Web Directions South, taking place October 30 and 31, at the brand new location of the Seymour Centre, located in the heart of one of Sydney's most vibrant, creative, and definitely up and coming areas, Chippendale (only a kilometre from the CBD for folks from outside Sydney). The feedback we've got has been extremely enthusiastic, and we've never seen such an uptake of tickets, so we really recommend you don't put off registering only to be disappointed. Our new venue means this will almost certainly sell out. And to make it easier, you can register right now at the lowest price, and pay us later. In 2004 we put on one of the very first conferences anywhere in the world specifically for the Web industry, and, if we're being a little self-congratulatory, created the template for so many events that have followed. For 10 years we've worked incredibly hard to stay that one step ahead, unearthing speakers who've gone on to speak all over the world, including Nicole Sullivan (OOCSS debuted at Web Directions North 2009), Lea Verou, Rachel Andrew, Pasquale DeSilva, and Australia's own Dmitry Baranovskyi among many. And of course, we've brought extraordinary speakers here to Australia for the first and often only chance to have seen them. Along the way, our program has constantly changed with the needs of our industry, and we've partnered with W3C Australia, and international research conferences like the International Semantic Web Conference last year to bring a diversity and depth of content you'd have to go a long way to find anywhere else. But this year to start our second decade we really challenged ourselves to do something special. With a brand new venue, we have wiped the slate clean, and asked ourselves "what does our industry in Australia look like, and why does it need to be thinking deeply about?" Our thinking coalesced around two main areas of focus, Engineering, and Product. And so we set out to put together the best program, not just in Australia, but the world for those designing, managing and building digital experiences (with of course as always a strong Web focus). Whether we've succeeded in such a lofty ambition is ultimately for you to judge, but we don't think we could have done much better. Some of the particular highlights for us include:
  • Enticing the recently departed long time Creative Director of Twitter, Douglas Bowman back to our shores. Douglas spoke at our first ever conference, when he was a well known Web designer, having recently helped ignite the Web standards revolution with his redesign of the Wired website. His career trajectory, Visual Lead at Google, and then Creative Director at Twitter, in many ways follows the trajectory of the Web over the last decade, from a static text heavy medium, to a platform for delivering rich, engaging, sophisticated experiences and applications.
  • Being able to lure the Senior Director of Business Engineering at PayPal, Bill Scott to our shores. Bill's vital role at a company that demonstrates the importance of the Web as a platform reinforces how mission critical Web engineering has become for delivering business services.
But in truth, there are 24 extraordinary, world-leading speakers, working in the near future, each one of whom we're extremely proud and excited to bring to you. All you have to do is clear two days of your time in late October. This year too, we've experimented a little with pricing. We're still offering the same amazing two days of speakers, fully catered, with world class coffee, and parties, for the same price it's been for years. But we're offering some additional benefits for those with a little more budget to spend. It's all explained at the conference site, but do drop us a line if you have any questions at all. If you've been to a Web Directions event before, you know we're passionate, independent supporters of the Web and all it can do. We promise you all this and more. If you've not been to one of our events before, leave your pre-conception as to what a conference is like, and what it can do for you, at the door. We promise something special, that might even transform your life. Check out all the details, at our rather spiffing conference site, and see you in October!" ["post_title"]=> string(19) "Web Directions 2014" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(25) "web-directions-south-2014" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-06-26 11:06:50" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-06-26 01:06:50" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.webdirections.org/?p=5792" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } ["queried_object"]=> object(stdClass)#287 (17) { ["term_id"]=> &int(1) ["name"]=> &string(4) "Blog" ["slug"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["term_group"]=> int(0) ["term_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["term_taxonomy_id"]=> int(1) ["taxonomy"]=> string(8) "category" ["description"]=> &string(0) "" ["parent"]=> &int(0) ["count"]=> &int(626) ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["cat_ID"]=> &int(1) ["category_count"]=> &int(626) ["category_description"]=> &string(0) "" ["cat_name"]=> &string(4) "Blog" ["category_nicename"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["category_parent"]=> &int(0) } ["queried_object_id"]=> int(1) }

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Web Directions 2014

Late last week we took the wraps off our 10th Anniversary conference, Web Directions South, taking place October 30 and 31, at the brand new location of the Seymour Centre, located in the heart of one of Sydney’s most vibrant, creative, and definitely up and coming areas, Chippendale … Read more »

Code ’14 Wrapup

The Web, and what we can do with it has come a long way since the first conference we were involved with back in 2004. Each event we do represents a sort of milestone, and hopefully reflects the sorts of challenges, opportunities and concerns we face as we design and … Read more »

What Do You Know Sydney — The Season Finale!

Was great to wrap up another What Do You Know roadshow last Thursday night in our home town of Sydney, with what turned out to be an incredibly diverse and entertaining collection of presentations, covering off everything web from knitting to Brunch​.io. Let’s see what it was all about! And … Read more »

What Do You Know Melbourne, April 2014 — Wrap-​​up

There’s something about the Melbourne What Do You Know that “just works”. I think it’s maybe something about the venue, which has a slick AV setup, and is perfect for a reasonable sized crowd to be able to be there and see the presentations, while still feeling like a pub … Read more »

The music of What Do You Know — April 2014

We’ve just wrapped up another series of our What Do You Know nights, this time taking the show to Brisbane, Melbourne and … Read more »

Australia’s Digital Agencies

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  • March 31, 2014
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One real pleasure of doing what we do is to see so much of the excellent work Australia’s Web Industry does. Often ground breaking, entertaining, engaging, beautiful, inspiring. And one of our missions here at Web Directions, is to champion great work being done here in Australia. It’s a big … Read more »

What Do You Know Brisbane — Wrap-​​up

Thanks so much to everyone who braved the elements and came along to the biggest Brisbane What Do You Know so far! Last Thursday was a great night with eleven lightning presentations on anything and everything web, from Sproute to narcissism, and now we are well and truly pumped for … Read more »

Facebook acquires Oculus Rift — The Tweets

If you work in tech the news of the day isn’t the reintroduction of dames and knights here in Australia, though that is certainly good for a quick giggle. No, words on everyone’s lips this morning have been “Oculus Rift” and “Facebook” and “end of the world as we know … Read more »

Can this web we love be sustainable too?

It was lovely to receive an email from an old “friend of Web Directions” the other day, Donal O Duibhir. If you’ve been to our events you may remember Donal as that guy who was absolutely passionate about networks of all kinds, and in particular about the wifi network … Read more »

The Web at 25

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  • March 13, 2014
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As you have almost certainly seen, (not least in Maxine’s post yesterday) in a sense the Web turns 25 today (though it’s really more the anniversary of its conception rather than birth). 25 years ago today, Tim (now Sir Tim) Berners-​​Lee presented his then boss at Cern … Read more »

Does the web need a bill of rights?

Sir Tim Berners-​​Lee says yes, we do, if we are going to protect and enshrine the independence of the medium he created. He spoke of his concerns in a recent Guardian interview:

Unless … Read more »

The Road to a Code of Conduct

After months of hand wringing, today Web Directions cut the Gordian knot and published a code of conduct for our events. You can check it out here.

Seems like a good idea, you say, why all the hand wringing?

Well, it’s a … Read more »

What Do *You* Know?

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  • March 4, 2014
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tl;dr

What do you Know is an evening of fun, fast presentations on all things Web, drink or two from our sponsors Silverstripe, and a room full of your Web professional peers. And we’re always looking for speakers, so if you want to take the next step with your presentations, … Read more »

Web Directions Code 2013: responding to your feedback

For some years now John and I have included working through the anonymous feedback as part of our “retro” after an event. Painful as it can sometimes be (we have feelings too, and no one likes to hear that their baby is ugly! :), there are always a number of … Read more »

Offscreen Magazine: in the house at Web Directions Code

Web Directions has been an Offscreen Magazine subscriber from the get-​​go, coveting our well thumbed collection here at the office, and, I’m not ashamed to admit, I believe we do in fact have an extra full set … Read more »