Day 4 | Microsoft Blogger Lounge

I can’t resist. i am in the ‘microsoft blogger lounge’, blogging. Here is something that microsoft has truly done right. A small oasis smack in the middle of macworld chaos. Round tables with back to back 17″ imacs. Groupings of comfortable soft black chairs and couches arranged around matching oversized ottoman tables. Powerstrips. Ethernet cables. Free drinks. I love it here. The noise fades into the background. Not fades exactly. More like becomes a blanket of white noise.

Today is the last day of the user’s conference. 1:15 is Mac OS X Wizardry and at 3:30, Automator for Creatives. I will probably come back tomorrow. I like it here. I really enjoyed the Web Designer and Programmer Bird of a Feather meeting last night. It is not very often that I get to be in a group of people who do what I do. It was an interesting mix of people. Some WYSIWYG users. Mostly Dreamweaver. The guy who makes Sandvox was there. I don’t know much about that. Seems to be competition for iWeb. I imagine it is better than iWeb. There were a couple of people who use iWeb for quick site building and then switch over to Dreamweaver for clean up. Interesting approach. It certainly is fast and easy to get a site up with iWeb. The rest of us were text-editor types. The usual BBedit vs. TextMate mix.

A few other people had a similar experience as me with not being able to figure out the hype about textmate. I shared my experience of speaking to the macromate folks the other day and asking one of them to show me why people love it so much. He did a great job. The tab button was the missing link. It never occurred to me to use the tab button for anything except tabbing when I was trying the program all those many times. It is the key that unlocks the textmate magic. Textmate is a smart program and is very good at telling what language you are currently programming in. For example, typing ifelse and hitting tab while you are writing PHP inserts a well formatted empty if else statement, complete with curly braces and semicolon, and leaves the cursor in the exact right place to start typing in code. Very nice! I don’t think I will be abandoning BBedit any time soon, but I will consider using text mate for certain projects where its bundles and tab features might come in handy.

I participated in the meeting more than I ever participate in any type of group event. I would love to be able to have a network of people like this that I was in regular contact with. It is a great way to share resources and have a look at how other people do things. The meeting was led by a woman named Dori who is an author of web and tech books. There were some nice folks there who I didn’t get much information about. One nice guy helped me ponder the idea of installing Parallels for testing on IE6 and IE7. There were two young guys who were running their own businesses. I was pretty impressed by that. One of them has a site launching soon called Quizlet.com. It looks pretty cool, so I will plug it here. He gave a demo at the end, but I had to go. I didn’t get the name of the other guys company.

I met K afterwards to get some dinner and drive back home. We hung out w/D when we got home. It was nice that she could escape from the cat-free zone for a little while. I really hope we can figure out a way to work together. Our skills are very complementary.

i suppose it is time to start considering leaving the happy bubble of the microsoft blogger lounge and heading back out into the crowd. Talk about irony!

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