IWMW2007 Day 2

Paul Boag - he is making it all up!

Amazon Web Services

Day two kicked off with a fascinating presentation by Jeff Barr, who is the Senior Web Services Evangelist for Amazon. While the presentation wasn’t particularly relevant for the kind of work I do, it was very interesting and did remind me that I want to order the new Danzig album from Amazon when I get home!

(Read more on IWMW2007 Wiki)

Can your website be your API?

Next up was Drew McLellan from Yahoo! who gave an excellent presentation on Microformats.

For those who don’t know, Microformats are quickly becoming a web standard that allow you to mark-up calendar and contact information using simple HTML classes so that these details can be automatically entered into your calendar or contacts applications (such as Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.).

We already have a few Microformats used on the University of St Andrews website, and I have them on the contact page on this blog too.

The Firefox add-ons that I recommend that will show the presence of Microformats on a web page are:

Apparently Firefox 3 and the next version of Opera will natively support Microformats.

(Read more on IWMW2007 Wiki)

The promise of Information Architecture

Keith Doyle from Salford University gave an excellent and very accessible presentation on Information Architecture: why it is such an utterly essential activity and it should be the concern of all Web content authors.

“What if a web designer designed a house?” he asked. The front door might be made of Flash! It would change every few seconds, and entering it would transport you to a different room each time!

Another quotation that I liked:

The net is like a huge, vandalized library…

(Read more on IWMW2007 Wiki)

Trends in Web Attacks

Arthur Clune from our hosts, the University of York gave a fascinating talk about Web security. Afterwards I heard loads of folk chatting especially about SQL injection and Cross Site Scripting (XSS).

(Read more on IWMW2007 Wiki)

Marketing man takes off his tie: Customers, Communities and Communication

Peter Reader from the University of Bath’s presentation was accompanied by a very impressive electrical storm.

It was early afternoon, post-lunch and I was struggling to stay awake, to be honest. But I did enjoy his talk, very much so. I just wish that I could now remember what it was about!

(Read more on IWMW2007 Wiki)

Social participation in student recruitment

Paul Boag finished the day’s plenary talks with one about social participation. Very Web 2.0! His presentation was slick (it’s a Mac thing!), his delivery passionate and entertaining, and one of my favourite slides (no bullet points in sight!) was of a screenshot of a Google search for “why doesn’t social participation produce better results?”.

There was a good plug for Get a first life, a parody of Second Life.

(Read more on IWMW2007 Wiki)

Contextual Accessibility in Institutional Web Accessibility Policies

The workgroup that I attended after the coffee break was led by David Sloan from the University of Dundee, who turned out to be the older brother of a friend of mine from Melrose. The session was a good balance of chat from Dr Sloan and input from the punters.

(Read more on IWMW2007 Wiki)

Drinks reception at the National Rail Museum

Mallard - the sleek blue locomotive

In the evening, after a couple of hours’ break, we were bussed into town for a drinks reception at the National Rail Museum.

Now, my dad was a massive trainspotter (in the good sense) and so most of our family holidays would invariably revolve around some steam railway landmark, so I was actually quite excited to be amongst the locomotives in the Grand Hall (formerly Shed 4).

I walked into the hall with a friend Mark. “Is that Stevenson’s Rocket?!” I exclaimed. And it was. Standing next to the legendary, world speed record holding 4-6-2 A4 Class Pacific, 4468 Mallard.

I’ve not been this excited since they released Firefox 2, I was overheard to say.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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