BarCamp Milwaukee 9: Another Useful Day

Last month, I went to BarCamp Milwaukee 9 for a daylong exercise in stretching my mind. I’ve written a lot about BarCamp over the years (I’ve only  missed two of the  nine events), and I’ve always found it useful (the attending AND the writing about it). Let me share some of what I learned. These are some notes on the sessions I attended with about 70 folks, a nice crowd.

Open Source Ecology

Some days before BarCamp, I received an invitation to join a new Meetup in Milwaukee called Open Source Ecology. It was the first time I’d heard the term, but as an “open source guy” with an environmental bent, the idea was pretty attractive. I needed to learn more before signing up, so when a group of folks showed up and introduced themselves as from Open Source Ecology, I was very pleased, and said so when it came my turn to introduce myself.

Here’s the elevator speech description of Open Source Ecology, from their website:

We’re developing open source industrial machines that can be made for a fraction of commercial costs, and sharing our designs online for free. The goal of Open Source Ecology is to create an open source economy – an efficient economy which increases innovation by open collaboration.

It’s an intriguing idea, and begins with what they call the Global Village Construction Set, a set of 50 machines designed to build other industrial machines to reconstruct civilization independent of today’s global capitalist economy.

English: Depiction of the 50 machines composin...

English: Depiction of the 50 machines composing the “Global Village Construction Set” by the “Open Source Ecology” project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here in Milwaukee, they are working to build a machine that can turn buckets of ordinary dirt into bricks that are strong enough to build housing that meets modern building codes. Someday, instead of the old rural barn-raising festivals, we could see brick-house-raising parties for genuine Habitats for Humanity. Community building at its finest!

The Milwaukee group is also trying to partner with local educators to create a course focused on building the LifeTrac tractor, which sure sounds cool!

The discussion focused on the practicality of realizing this idealistic vision of building a new economy beside the existing institutions. Side note: they’re keen on finding better technical writers to help non-engineers build these machines.

These are good folks, and I’ll be following their progress. You can too, on their Facebook page.

Qt on Android and iOS (And windows, mac, linux)

Qt Logo

Qt Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BarCamps are by and for various types of geeks, but inevitably, there are sessions about programming. Sometimes I get attracted by these, despite not being a programmer. I actually tried one session about building a boot loader (software that allows you to run multiple operating systems on different hard drive partitions), but found myself drowning fairly quickly. I wasn’t the only camper who invoked The Law of Two Feet on this session, I’m afraid. This is the BarCamp principle of “if you’re not getting what you need from a session, walk away and find something useful.”

In the next session window (what turned out to be my last of the day), I was excited to learn that someone was giving a talk on using the Qt development framework to build applications for multiple mobile devices. Why get excited? Well, among the mobile devices that has adopted Qt as its default platform is Ubuntu. Technically, I’m writing a book on Ubuntu mobile devices (on hold until such a device appears in the US), and finding what programmers find cool, useful and unique about this framework is very helpful for writing that chapter.

So I watched this talk with keen interest, and learned much about how to work with the Qt Developer integrated developer environment. This young man had written an app to deliver dynamic schedules for Chicago Metra trains using Qt’s QML language (as does Ubuntu), and shared his process. If the book project resumes, I think I’ll be in pretty good shape.

After that session, I was dismayed to learn that I’d developed an ear infection and needed to get home. But BarCamp Milwaukee did help me yet again. I’ve always said that I would not be who I am if not for BarCamp, and look forward to next year!

Big Linux Day: openSUSE 13.1 and Ubuntu Dev Summit

Tux, the Linux penguin

Tux, the Linux penguin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy to report that I’m typing this little missive from my freshly updated Firefox web browser on openSUSE Linux 13.1. While I do that, the YaST Software Management module is busily adding an array of new software from community repositories located all over the globe. As I’ve noted 1000 times before (most recently in this post), YaST stands for Yet another Setup Tool, and remains the most wonderful thing about openSUSE.

Release News

Here are the inevitable set of links:

And here’s your download link

Meanwhile, Ubuntu Developers Meet Virtually

While most of the excitement may have surrounded the new openSUSE release, Ubuntu developers gathered around their computers for the November Ubuntu Developers Summit (UDS). I missed most of Mark Shuttleworth’s opening keynote, but hope to catch up with it later. It appears that he took some probing questions from attendees (when I came in to the feed, Shuttleworth was “denying the premise behind your question;” but I don’t know what the question was.) You can see the video (link above) at the UDS site.

I also lurked at the Documentation team round-table, where some planning got done. I will likely have more to report on this in the coming days. The Summit goes through Thursday.

Got questions about openSUSE, or Ubuntu Touch? Always happy to answer them here. Have you attended a developers conference (or hear Shuttleworth ranting)? Feel free to share your experiences!

Big Week for openSUSE in North America

Geekos!

Your humble scribe is slightly exhausted as the week comes to a close, but I note these items with great joy:

WordCamp Milwaukee 2013: Links and Stuff

Aside

WordCamp Milwaukee 2013 Logo

WordCamp Milwaukee 2013

Had a fabulous time at WordCamp Milwaukee 2013 Saturday. There’s a full summary and review at MichaelMcCallister.com, but here’s a link to my slides, and another to (nearly) every other presentation this weekend.

Hope your weekend was as fun and educational as mine was!

Getting Ready for WordCamp Milwaukee 2!

WordCamp Milwaukee 2013 Logo

WordCamp Milwaukee 2013

My goodness, it’s less than a month till the second WordCamp Milwaukee!

<puts on organizer hat>

During and after last year’s inaugural event, veteran WordCampers were telling us that WordCamp Milwaukee was one of the best and most informative camps they’d been to. So, of course we had to make it bigger and better for 2013!

First off, we added another half-day to the extravaganza: Foundation Friday (June 7, 2013) is going to be a set of workshops aimed at WordPress beginners: We’ll have WordPress 101 classes for new users — bloggers, business folk, anyone who is making content for the web using WordPress.

But that’s not all! <see, I’ve got my organizer/promoter hat on!>  If you’ve been using WordPress for a while, and wonder what it might be like to design themes or develop plugins for WordPress–come to Foundation Friday! We’re having a development track too!

After Foundation Friday, you’ll still have two full days (June 8-9) of WordPress learning to enjoy! Plus a repeat of the fabulous Saturday After-Party, lunch both days, the Happiness Bar (to get your specific problems addressed), and still more wonderfulness!

<Putting presenter hat on>

Right after lunch on Saturday (June 8), I will be offering a mini-preview of my next book project, talking about “Building Authority – and Audience – with WordPress and Google Author.” Building your reputation and demonstrating your authority as an expert in your particular niche can be a difficult task. Google is trying to help you, though. I’ll show you how to put your high-quality content at the top of the findability charts, with WordPress and the Google Authorship program.

Learn more about WordCamp Milwaukee, and buy your tickets at the website. And hey, if you need some help with the price, type in ‘McCallister’ for a discount when you register.

Look forward to seeing you June 7-9 at Bucketworks!

Blatant Self-Promotion: New About page, WordCamp MKE coming

English: Flag of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

English: Flag of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey folks,

There’s more information coming to Notes from the Metaverse soon, but this is a short piece to tell you that I’ve updated the About Notes from the Metaverse page to tell you a little more about this blog and its author.

I can also tell you that WordCamp Milwaukee 2013 will be coming on June 8-9 at Bucketworks. The organizing committee is hard at work to bring you the best weekend of WordPress information and discussion possible. Make your plans now, and I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Attend WordCamp Milwaukee 2012 for Just $10

If you read WordCamp Milwaukee 2012this blog at all, you probably already know that WordCamp Milwaukee is coming up real soon now. June 2 is just a week from Saturday, and the weekend after a big US holiday.

Maybe you also know I’m working on a presentation for Sunday, June 3 about what YOU can learn about WordPress just by wandering around WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

A bunch of other WordPress gurus, nearly all from Wisconsin and Illinois, will be putting on a terrific program for both extraordinary users and extraordinary WordPress developers (and by “extraordinary” I just mean YOU).

Anyway, if $20 for a whole weekend’s worth of inspiration and practical help for your WordPress site is still a little tough to justify in these hard economic times, what if I can make this weekend cost just $10? Did I forget to mention that includes lunch on Saturday and Sunday, and a fabulous after-party on Saturday night?

So how do I get this deal? Go visit the WordCamp Milwaukee ticket window, and type (or paste): wcspeaker in the Coupon Code box. And you’re in!

I really hope to see you at Bucketworks in Walker’s Point on June 2-3. You don’t have to thank me for the sweet deal, but I’ll be happy to talk to you anytime over the weekend.

Spring Conferences Galore!

Busy month ahead, with much to say and much to learn. This time of year is usually when I can go to professional conferences, but I seem much more involved with organizing them this year. In particular, I’m talking about (and at, truth be told) these two, separated by just two weeks!

Flag of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Flag of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday, May 19: WriteCamp Milwaukee 4

This “traditional un-conference” (if there can be such a thing) is for everyone who writes: Fiction, nonfiction, with multiple books and/or bylines or just a blog or a novel cooking in the word processor that no one’s ever seen. No matter what sort of writing project you’re interested in doing, there’s a place for you at WriteCamp.

What’s traditional about this un-conference? Well, the biggest thing is that there’s no set schedule. You’ll come in to the Hide House in beautiful Bay View, in the southeast corner of Milwaukee and encounter a blank wall with time slots and rooms demarcated with tape. Want to lead a session about something? Take a Post-It note and slap the topic in one of the blank slots. You’re in! Of course, some of us have posted some ideas for sessions on the website already. You can add some there too. There are no guarantees that any of them will be presented–but if you post a comment on the ones you want to see, the people with the idea will be impressed (believe me!).

I have learned more than a little at previous WriteCamps, mostly about social media and freelance practices. I’ve led sessions on the future of journalism and held WordPress clinics. This year, I’m planning sessions on getting into technical communication and “WordPress for Writers.”

The other traditionally unconference-y thing that WriteCamp Milwaukee adheres to is that it is free to attend (though if you’re in Milwaukee tonight, April 26, check out the comedy benefit at Stonefly Brewery!), and you get lunch, a mid-day poetry slam demonstration, and a tote bag with assorted goodies besides the education.

WordCamp Milwaukee 2012

Things are really heating up for the first ever WordCamp in Milwaukee, set for the first weekend in June, and that’s terrific!

We have a spectacular lineup of speakers  for both the User track and the Developer track. These WordPress gurus are mostly from the Greater Milwaukee area and from that city of big shoulders a little south of here. You even get two authors of WordPress books: I’ll be the one standing in Lisa Sabin-Wilson‘s shadow.

What am I talking about? All about the amount of help any WordPress user can get just by kicking around the WordPress.com and WordPress.org sites.

There’s an un-conference track, where people will be running informal sessions on topics yet to be determined (and yes, you can get in on that too). And we’re working hard to staff the Happiness Bar for the full conference. This is where users and developers can get answers to their particular problems.

We’re working on some fun stuff too, but it’s not ready to unveil yet.

Unlike WriteCamp, WordCamp Milwaukee costs, though not much (just $20). Buy your ticket before May Day to guarantee your commemorative t-shirt.

All this activity is forcing me to miss the annual Technical Communication Summit sponsored by the Society for Technical Communication in Rosemont, Illinois. But you can follow news from the summit via my pals at TechWhirl.com.

Hope to see you at one of these swell gigs!