WPCandy WordCamp Chicago 2011 Liveblog


WPCandy is attending WordCamp Chicago this weekend, so naturally we’re running another one of our WordCamp liveblogs.

The Internet is lacking a bit at the start of the event, so bear with us. We’ll update (likely from our phones) as often as we can.


13 thoughts on “WPCandy WordCamp Chicago 2011 Liveblog

  1. Hi everybody attending the conference,
    I wanted to issue a sincere apology to you all for the wireless issues you experienced today. I know that sorry doesn’t put the internet back into the first day of your conference. I know that many of you are techie folks, so I thought I’d provide a brief explanation. It appears that our network registration system wasn’t prepared for the concentrated load that occured this morning, and it crashed. So hard, in fact, that we were unable to remotely manage it and sent a tech to campus to hard reboot it. We’ve got a plan to make this system more robust so this won’t happen again. I know that this had a negative impact on your conference experience and we take this very seriously. I do hope that you enjoy the rest of your time at the conference and we’ll do our best to ensure that you don’t have any further technical difficulties.
    Josh Luttig
    Director of Infrastructure, DePaul Information Services

    • Thanks for this apology, Josh. It does mean a lot. As one of the organizers of the event, this was a rather tough blow. But I do appreciate you helping spread the word (and confirming the word we were attempting to spread) about the story behind the issue.

      And to all of the WordCamp attendees, the lead organizer Mary Duquaine and I would like to apologize also. We took follow up from this also, namely to ensure that we have a technical resource from the facility on site or on call during our event. We had asked if there would be one, but accepted the “no, they don’t work weekends” way too easily.

      Hopefully you all still got a lot out of WCChicago. Personally, I never even turned on my computer the whole weekend. I ate up the time talking with more experienced folks and learning, and helping newer users and devs with their issues. And, yes, working typical conference issues.

      Until next year…
      Heather Acton
      WCChicago Co-Organizer

      • Having been to more than a few of these, I can tell you that ensuring network will be available is always a toughie. However, that’s a venue thing. Hopefully now that they know that there’s an issue, maybe they can adapt.

        Best way for the sysadmins to deal with this for a conference: Just setup a guest network, fully open access, for the duration of the event. Trying to give everybody logins and such always, always, always fails miserably. Remember that you’re dealing with a couple hundred people who are going to be at your venue for a day or two and don’t need to be installing software and dealing with your VPN stuff. Set up a restricted subnet that only gives internet and zero internal connections, and open it up on a separate SSID, and let it go at that.

        Heck, if you need to toss a half-dozen cheapo Linksys routers around the place to do it, that’ll work too (just install DD-WRT on them and it’ll handle the load fine). Trust me, you’ll save yourself much pain and everybody will thank you for it. The security issue is easily dealt with by simply blocking all “internal” access for this temporary network. After all, it’s only for a single weekend. It doesn’t have to be perfect or even particularly fast. And it’s quick and easy to go around afterwards and remove the crap routers or delete the temporary subnet. Security issues solved.

  2. Thanks for including my VERY INSIGHTFUL tweets in the live blog!

    Looking forward to your updates tomorrow — now that we finally have wireless!

  3. Hope everyone is connected to the DePaul WIFI successfully. It is up and working. If you have problems, i would be happy to help. I am a 6 foot tall guy with a shaved head and T-shirt stating “no, I will not fix your computer.” Probably in the user sessions. Would be happy to help.

    • Steve – you absolutely rock. The way you stepped up to solve this issue was a perfect representation of community. You saw us struggling, but instead of putting up a fuss, you stepped up big time. You were professional, respectful, and went above and beyond to help us out. Mary and I really can’t say thank you enough.

      So…on the organizing team next year? 😉

  4. This is great, I think we were in opposite sessions part of the days so you might find my writeups on Google+ complement your post here: Day 1 and Day 2 are posted publicly and I may get them over to the conference site sometime soon, since I got an invite from Mary DuQuaine to do that.

    I agree that JJJ was a bit disappointing to some of us in the room – not because he isn’t great at his job, but just because he has such an engineering approach for something that’s “community” focused. It’s necessary, especially given the scope of the challenges he’s taken on, but I think that’s why “Buddypress.org is probably the worst implementation of buddypress that you could have.”

    Buddypress is ideal for all kinds of small-scale niche audiences who want to set up their own corner of the internet to do their thing. But not all of those groups have programmers and developers and designers available – I barely count as any of the above, I know, and that’s my main challenge in implementing it.

    I agreed that I’d love to have themes that highlight individual features, I agreed that we probably don’t always need to turn all of them on at once. I’m really needing a group activity search function and want to pull group activity into widgets ASAP, so anything in that direction would be great. I love that 1.5 will be addressing so many issues in the theme too- but I want to have a way to talk to people who are using Buddypress right now and see what they’re doing. He talked about user needs driving innovation, e.g. Twitter’s incorporation of the “retweet” function. If they aren’t using their own site to encourage networking and discussion around user needs, though, where else should we go?

    If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear them – or find me on Google+ using those links above and send me more info there. 🙂

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