BarCampMilwaukee, Part Two: The Sunday Sessions

While I semi-patiently wait for openSUSE Alpha 5 to drop, let’s talk a little bit more about the Sessions at BarCampMilwaukee.

When last we spoke, the formal (if you could call anything at BarCamp formal) Saturday sessions had ended. Now perhaps you thought a Bacchanal would break out, but it didn’t. You may also recall from previous postings that there was talk of a spontaneous acoustic-music session — that didn’t happen, either (though my bodhran was ready). From what I could tell, no one even left the building for non-caffeinated beverages (with the possible exception of the Cigar Loungers)!

I’m going to be mean here, and hold off on the mini-mashup camp story (because it’s a story), and skip straight to Sunday morning.

Battle Royal: Microformats vs. XML

It is moderately amazing that sessions actually began on time, as fatigue had definitely set in, and the massive collection of bagels did not appear until 9 AM (when the sessions also started) — but begin they did!

The Microformats session provoked the only real argument I saw the whole weekend. This pit microformat supporters Scott Reynen and Pete Prodoehl against a person who I’m incredibly guilty for forgetting his name. Anyway, he argued it was much better and more effective to convince web designers/developers to learn XML Scott and Pete said it was going to be much easier to persuade folks to use microformats than scale another learning curve. Microformats adapt to existing web structures (like address-book material in vCards) rather than enforce new standards. While I’m a big standards-backer, the argument for microformats is coherent. This was my first encounter with it, so I don’t have much more to say. I will say that I’ve often associated microformats with the Structured Blogging movement, though that didn’t get mentioned in the session. Shows what I know.

Adventures in Web Publishing

I was a couple minutes late for the start of this session (confused the Work Shop with the Wood Shop), but it was terrific nonetheless. This was led by Pete Prodoehl and John December, two prolific and successful web-based writers. John was also a Sams author back in the day (he got his start with The World Wide Web Unleashed, which shows you how long he’s been at this!). The subject (broadly speaking) was making a living on the web. Both offered some interesting strategies they’ve used to stay afloat. John especially sounded the alert for the value of a good domain name (I tweaked him a little bit about what a great name he had to start with).

These are topics I’ve often wrestled with, but it seems to be time to take action. You may well see some changes in this writer’s web presence in the near future. (Thanks, John!)

A Few Words on The Session That Stood Out

I’m sure it’ll be a great shock to learn that nearly all the sessions at BarCamp had something to do with technology. Then there was the Tantra session. I don’t think I got their names, but this was led by a late-middle-aged couple (well, really just the male half did all the talking) who were in attendance Saturday and Sunday. He posted this session at some point Saturday afternoon, and generated a bit of excitement. By the time I arrived (hadn’t really planned on it, but nothing else was happening), there was just one other guy there. He left about halfway through this dry lecture, and a newlywed woman left behind by her coder husband appeared. None of us had much to say, and no demonstrations were offered (it was 11 AM, not PM, of course). But now I can say I’ve been “exposed” to it.

Well, it’s about 9:30 PM, Central US time, and it’s not looking like openSUSE will make the 10/5 milestone (though I suspect that’ll happen before I leave for work in the morning). In our next chapter, I’ll tell some stories, and perhaps introduce you to some of the people I met.


3 thoughts on “BarCampMilwaukee, Part Two: The Sunday Sessions

  1. Justin Kruger was the one arguing for everyone to learn XML/RDF. Microformats are about “paving the cowpaths” not blazing a new trail, and in the past year I’ve seen more real-world examples of HTML authors picking up and using Microformats than I ever would have seen had I been pushing the XML/RDF Kool-Aid…

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