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Web Conferences 2004

December 17, 2004

As the year comes to an end, I’m pretty pleased with how the year went personally and business-wise. One area I’m not happy with (actually quite disappointed, really) is the professional development side of things: I haven’t been to a conference since 2001. When you run your own business, it is sometimes difficult to attend some of the face to face events that are vital to your own professional growth — quite often it takes a back seat to pretty much everything else.

Having said that, there were a number of conferences that I “attended” this year from the comfort of my own home office. Here’s a rundown of the events that I was able to experience remotely.

Please note, I’m not advocating that everyone sit at home instead of actually attending these conferences – that would clearly pale in comparison to the real thing. But for those that can’t get to the conferences for whatever reason, these events might figure into your plans for 2005.

SXSWi 2004, March 2004
Austin, Texas

I tuned in to watch the SXSW Web Awards (2004) on the live webcast from the comfort of my own couch – I was pleased to see the preamble to the awards ceremony actually had over an hour of live interviews before hand. The interviews were conducted in the lobby of the Austin Convention Center, and included many web developers who were interviewed about their web sites and the technology/creativity behind them.

The Web Awards were great as well, and I recall sending Dave Shea a note of congratulations after he won the awards for Best Developer’s Resource and Best of Show. He responded within an hour or so. I’d have sworn I was there.

Web Essentials ’04, Sept/Oct 2004
Sydney, Australia

From what I understand, Web Essentials ’04 was simply an outstanding event. I was able to catch updates on the Web Essentials ’04 blog and was able to link to many of the presentations/slide shows. The live keynote was delivered by Dave Shea, however there was also a remotely delivered keynote from Jeffrey Zeldman. Zeldman’s WE ’04 keynote is available, as is a captioned version of Zeldman’s WE ’04 keynote, courtesy of my friend Patrick Lauke.

OZeWAI, December 2004
Victoria, Australia

My attendance for the OZeWAI 2004 Conference was a little bit different — instead of a live web cast, I was able to join this conference via IRC (internet relay chat). I’m not a regular on IRC so the commands and conventions took a little getting used to. The timing was completely off for me, given that the conference was in Australia. It seems I ended up catching sessions near the end of their day (3pm onwards) , which was invariably around the end of my day (10 or 11pm).

IRC is interesting in that it utilizes “bots” to automatically log all the messages that are added to the channel, and automatically parses URLs and adds references when the transcriber uses certain commands. Participants took turns transcribing the presentations which meant I was able to follow along with the flow — I was even able to ask questions on the IRC channel, which were then relayed to the presenters. The IRC bots automatically created a full transcript of the OZeWAI 2004 Conference.

Web Design World, December 2004
Boston, Massachusetts

I knew about this conference but only discovered this absolute gem yesterday: 7 full hours of presentations from WDW 2004 are online. The video archive allows you to hear the presenters and view their presentations. I attended two sessions last night, and I’m planning on a few more over the weekend.

Each presentation is about an hour long. You’ll get access to:

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2 Responses

Comment by Russ Weakley — Dec 18 2004 @ 3:54 pm

WE04 also had live captioning throughout most of the sessions. The captioned content was then made available after the event on the WE04 resource page – under “transcripts”:

We had intended to have more sessions available, but due to technical hitch on the first day, some of the sessions were not fully captioned.

Comment by Derek Featherstone — Dec 28 2004 @ 3:15 pm

Many thanks for pointing that out, Russ. I hadn’t realized that transcripts were available. Too bad they aren’t all available, but some is better than none!

I’m looking forward to the next Web Essentials conference – whether I attend in person, or remotely!