Conferences, etc.

San Francisco Flash Camp/Muir Woods

I am so excited that I got to come to California and San Francisco this time of year to go to the Flash Camp. I love being at Adobe, and these Flash Camp’s are always a blast. Lots on Multi-touch and devices. Of course, my favorite part is seeing my friends.

I stayed in the Moser this time. I hope this record reminds me that I don’t want to do that again. Super, super small. It is a quaint hotel though, right in the middle of Union Square, so it was convenient to take cabs to Townsend street. It is very deco-ish and I did have a room that had its own bathroom, however small. At least I wasn’t sharing a bathroom with the floor like other rooms did. So, I am grateful for that.

I was there a day prior to work on some articles, so I got to hang out at Adobe, which is always fantastic. The event itself was great. You don’t often besides MAX, get to see the Adobe peeps speak all in one night, so it was fun to see what was in the agenda. There was a ton of candy, and give aways, and great information.

The next day I went on a tour of Muir Woods and Sonoma Valley. Very cool. Well, I should say I loved Muir Woods but didn’t see enough of Sonoma. I apparently misread the brochure and we were just on a wine tasting tour. I don’t care for wine, so it wasn’t what I expected. I did manage to get some decent shots however with my brand new Canon 7D, which I’d marry if it were a guy. 😉

New conference in Kansas City

Last year was a great year for conferences. I even spoke at several. I am a user group manager so I speak to my group a lot, but also to other groups around the country via connect, which I love. I am a social butterfly, an instructor and apparently you can’t shut me up, so I like speaking. No, seriously, I really like sharing. I spoke at CFUnited in August of 09 and had 2 sessions, and even was one of the repeats for the Saturday crew. It was exhausting but a very rewarding experience. I did a hands-on CSS class as well as a Flash Catalyst session. Unfortunately, the Flash Catalyst session was the first thing in the AM after the Adobe pool party the night before. Luckily, I did the session again 2 months later for the St. Louis Flash Camp. That was a great conference. Thanks JP.

The next month was Adobe MAX. I had a few friends who were speaking so I volunteered to TA (teaching assistant) for them. Apparently I know too many people because next thing I know, I am a TA for 8 sessions. Craziness. Last day of MAX I TA’d 4 sessions and then was a speaker for the local LA group fro their Mini MAX that night. I was so tired, but what a great experience MAX was for me. My only regret was I wasn’t able to see anyone else’s sessions but the ones I assisted at. Only spent a while in the Community lounge, and if you happen to know me, that was torture. I am known for taking tons of pictures, and my networking. I wasn’t able to do any of that. I did meet a few new folks and of course I organized an evening event while I was there. It’s what I do after all. I am the social director of our Adobe community. I make sure people connect with each other. I’m Julie from Love Boat.

I went on to other conferences like BFlex|BFusion and didn’t plan on it, but TA’d the 2nd day for 2 all day sessions. OK, that isn’t physically possible, I did one on the morning, and the other in the afternoon. I wasn’t suppose to TA, there just wasn’t enough people to do so. I still had a blast and meet some fellow geeks whom I had only known online previously. You know, people you follow on Twitter and when you walk into the room you say, I know them, and them, and them, and them… but you’ve never actually met them in public before. Isn’t social media great! Finally I ended up at Brian Rinaldi’s RIA Unleashed. A 1 day event in Boston.

At this point, I realize to myself that I was finally, finally in a position to put my own conference on in Kansas City. I had been studying other conferences all year, and I had the technical network to pull together some of the best and brightest for a conference. But what kind of conference would I attempt? Developer, designer, workflow, what? That’s it! A designer/developer workflow conference. It’s what I had been talking about for 2 years. It’s basically the theme of my life. I am a hybrid. A designer who codes. I want nothing more than to have a better workflow between them, so why not center a conference around that premise.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you know there was a HUGE conference planned a few year back from I can’t remember the name but it was something very similar to mine. It didn’t happen. Not enough registration I think. So why do I think mine will be OK? For one it’s several years into the future. We’ve had some hard economic times since then. People have been forced to be more than just whatever they were before. Designer have to code more, developers are expected to do some design. If you don’t believe me take a look at a job description there days. They want the person to be an expert at Photoshop, Illustrator, print work, able to draw logos and branding, know PHP, Flash, AS 3.0, .NET, jQuery, ColdFusion and some Flex but would love if they also knew 3D and video. OK, so be an expert at everything apparently. Sorry, that isn’t how most of us were trained.

So in June, Kansas City will have the first conference we’ve had for years. We get passed up for everything. Concerts, tech conferences, you name it. Well, no more. For gosh sake, we have companies like Garmin, Sprint, Hallmark and 4 international Ad agencies here. We have some very talented folks in Kansas City.

The name of this conference is D2W and the URL is and 200 designer, developer and hybrids will ascend upon downtown KC the 19-20 of June, 2010. I can’t tell you how exciting this is. I have a post on the site, so if you might be interested being a speaker or volunteer, fill out a form there. I have an advisory board and a speaker board and will be deciding speakers soon. I’ll be sure and update this post when we have some selections.

I know that in as of itself isn’t the least bit remarkable, but I had a bigger purpose in mind than just attending.

CFUnited 09

I have been to several CFUnited’s in the past, an CFUnited Alumni if you will. I am typically there to help Fusion Authority Quarterly Update, as I am the Creative Director and weirdly enough now know more CF people then almost anyone else. I am a designer who codes, not a hardcore CF developer like Ray Camden or Sean Corfield. (I secretly would love to be, but not sure I have what it takes — a logical mind) I’ve learned a lot about CF from making sure it all looks great from inside the comfort of InDesign. I’ve also learned a lot going to the conferences and sitting in on the sessions. Sean’s last year actually made perfect sense to me. Of course, Sean is an amazing speaker, so that helped. If he can make me understand Edmund, hey, anyone will get it.  🙂

This next year though, I finally made the speaker deadline and submitted 3 sessions and 2 BOF’s (birds of a feather). They put it up for a vote this year for the first time. As a past attendee, I really thought that was great. You can’t complain about the sessions if you helped pick them. So I submitted a Hands-on CSS session, and 2 Flash Catalyst sessions. I assumed of course that Catalyst might be out by August of next year. Ya never know though about betas and when they’ll be released. I had hoped for a public beta by then at least. I am pretty excited about Catalyst and am hoping it will do wonders for bridging the gap between designer and developer which is my current passion.

I submitted the Hands-on session for CSS because you can’t really learn something you aren’t touching, and these are developers, they need to touch some code, right? So what will they learn? Since CF developers spend a lot of time with tables, for data consumption only of course, we’ll make sure they can style a table first. Then we’ll go into how easy it is to lay out a page with pure CSS then styling navigation. If we can’t finish, we’ll end up in the bar or the pool coding CSS on napkins. 🙂

My 2 Flash Catalyst sessions aren’t picked so far, but the CSS one is. Yippee. It might take awhile for people to see the true benefit for Flash Catalyst. For me, right now, it’s a fantastic wireframing tool. Use Catalyst to lay out the page, then it can be handed to the developer in Flex to make it function, then when the artwork is ready, brought back into Catalyst then back into Flex without missing a beat. It’ll save tons of time making sure the app works correctly, and the client is happy. Since Catalyst takes a design from Photoshop Illustrator or Fireworks (not yet, but it will), the designer will feel like he/she finally gets the pixel perfect feel to their designs. Sounds great, right?

Now I have 2 BOF’s I need to decide from. My first is a Personal Brand BOF. There are a ton of things to make sure your personal brand is up to date. Why should you care? Are you kidding, in this economy, having a good personal brand can make the difference if you are hired by an employer, or if you are freelancing, it’s even more important. Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more? That isn’t all to a personal brand, but that’s a part of getting your name out.

My second idea for a BOF, I’ve blogged about before. I see developers complain about designers on blogs all the time. Wondering why they don’t design properly in the first place. Many of us work or have worked where we are the last to see the approved design, making our job more difficult when it comes to implementing the design. Some designers do the craziest things expecting us to make it happen. Can’t you do anything I design? Yes, but done correctly, and in a timely fashion, maybe not.  So whar I want to do is start a checklist for designers and a standards document that can be shared on the web like Google docs, and Adobe Buzzword. Then the developer can alter to meet his/her needs and had the designer and their boss/supervisor the checklist, and ask to be brought in before the client sees the work. That way we can make sure things are done in a way to make it easier for everyone.

For instance, not all designers understand for Usability purposes that a search box should always be in the upper right corner, or at least somewhere where the user n to look for it. Hey designers, CSS is big these days, we can use background images for many things, now if they have never looked into CSS, they wouldn’t understand. Maybe a few links to some CSS sites might help them understand. Hey, CSSZenGarden at the very least.

So, it’s a current fight of mine to do all I can to bring designers and developers together.

I’m really looking forward to CFUnited 09 it seems. Another reason is I get to see all my friends. Since I am a User group manager and a Community Expert, I know a lot of the guys, and girls from our Summit in San Jose, CA. With the lay offs at Adobe recently, I am not convinced that we are having a Summit this year. We also increased the managers and co-managers to the point where logistically meeting in person might be hard as well. I just saw many at MAX NA 2008, so that was great, but Summit and other conferences like CFUnited let me see the ones I don’t see otherwise. Adam Bell always does a Mini MAX at CFUnited, and I’ve never got there early enough to see it, so looking forward to having a Manager 2 Manager meeting at CFunited this year as well.

More to come later, and congrats to all my friends whose sessions were voted on and accepted as well.

See ya soon!

Countdown to MacWorld

It’s Sunday morning and I am trying to remember why I didn’t start packing yesterday. At least make a list of items. I don’t think I even have Lisa’s cell number. what a drag. I do know she is, we are suppose to be staying at the Holiday Inn. I need to write down all the numbers today.

My goal is to make sure I get there soon enough, at the registration, to get my pass and hopefully they won’t be out of passses to the Power Tools conference, which has FlashForward. I’ll cross my fingers and hopefully get into the Apple User groups University which already starts before I get there. I just couldn’t get a flight sooner. Oh, well. Wish me luck!

I’ll be taking pictures, conducting interviews, and of course blogging all week. Fun stuff to come.



We (Ryan Hartwich KCFusion’s manager, Doug Boude, his coworker Scott, and myself, Dee Sadler) will be posting from the CFUnited conference. There will be several different levels of skills and interests represented. I will be there in a “press” capacity and be attending the tracks for the beginning level. I’m really excited about some of the CSS and Flash related sessions. I’ve had one CF lesson so far, just a taste really, and I am ready to learn more.

Some of you may know if you attended the last KCWebCore meeting about the CF magazine I just helped design, Fusion Authority. It’s a brand new magazine from the folks at House of Fusion and Fusion Authority. They classify it as a technical magazine and even I can say I’ve learned a little from reading it. I can imagine it’s very helpful for those who use it every day. Lots of CF 7 tips and tricks. So, Judith, the magazine editor is letting me go to the conference to help with their booth and write articles from a beginners perspective.

Hear the interview podcast from ColdFusion Weekly. I think it’s in the CF_Hotseat section. It just came out today.

We hope you join in here to get our thoughts on the conference. We will be posting every day, with pictures and the typical goings on, so feel free to post questions for us.

Dee Sadler
KCWebCore Manager