Today was much, much better than yesterday. I drove today, MAX was too slow yesterday. MAX can be nice if you live close to it, but Sherwood is just too far away. Great sessions throughout the day with one exception. It’s interesting going to conferences in your hometown. I think you tend to miss out on a lot of the socializing because it’s more like a day at work.

It was a hot one in Portland, but you’d never know being in the convention center. Did you know there are two (not one, but two) Starbucks in the convention center? I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising though. They were already getting setup for OSCON too. Here’s my review of the day’s events:

  • Designing for Community Interation

    • (notes) This and Mullenweg’s were my favorite sessions. I actually was looking forward to Dan’s session (Bulletproof web design), but thought this one would be better for me since I’ve seen Dan’s slides and can use the book. Mike was one of the first people I read when I discovered blogs a couple years ago, and this was my first chance to hear him speak.
  • The Evolution of the Music Industry

    • I think this was probably the least attended session of the conference. Too bad though, because it was really interesting talking about how the web (with MySpace a common thread), p2p, and other technologies are really changing the way music is produced, distributed and consumed. The long-tail really comes into play with the decrease of the mega-hits and the rise of more bands with fragmenting audiences (or niches) and the “explosion of choice”.
  • Design Panel

    • (Brian’s notes, and more notes) I expected this one to be packed, and it was. Good session all around. I’m not a designer, but I do a lot of site deveopment/construction using web-standards (I’m very anal about markup). I appreciate good-design and like to be reminded about why it’s important and all of the aspects that go into design. Some light moments with a copywriter in the audience pitching her services not once, but twice. But, it was a woman at a predominantly male event, so all is forgiven.
  • Beyond Just Content: Websites as Interactive Applications

    • Waste of time. I wasted 30 minutes at this damn thing and all we got was a history of the internet and communication and (gasp) html forms. I passed up part of a keynote for this? I had thought this was going to be one of the better sessions to apply to my day job, talking about wikis, forums, blogs, etc. I’ll never know, because I left to catch the second half of Luke William’s keynote.
  • Keynote: The Naked Interface – Liberating Brain, Body and Digital Interactions

    • Ahh, this is a presentation. Even though I was in the overflow room, it was still cool. I’ll link to some notes when I find some, it was too dark to take any. But, in general it reminded me a lot of BJ Fogg’s presentation last year, as far as making things simpler (wine bottles don’t prompt you to upgrade). Though this was more abstract.
  • Scaling for Your First 100k Users

    • (Brian O’s notes, notes, and more notes) Great session, almost as good as Mike D’s. I can see why Scoble likes Matt so much. The guy’s extremely bright and it’s obvious that he’s going to make things happen in this industry whatever he works on. He just started programming when he began on WordPress and the platform rocks. Here I am a .Net dev primarily, but I love WordPress. It’s just so simple and clean. There’s a lot to be said for not devolving into a super complex object oriented architechture that tries to do much (ahem Community Server, DNN, SharePoint?). I think there’s great opportunity with WordPress MU in the corporate space. If someone packaged a nice web-based feed reader along with WordPress MU on an appliance, I think you could sell that to companies as an “instant internal blog server,” nodbody would have to install a thing on their desktop for reading feeds and every employee could have their own blog.
    • As Adam points out, it wasn’t really about the technical part of scaling, more about how to grow your product. However, there were a couple of technical points brought up in the Q&A.
    1. No use of session state, all session-related/auth stuff is in a cookie. This reduces the complexity of adding web nodes.
    2. start with 2 db servers, figuring out how to partition data up front because going from two to three and more is much easier than one to two. Also rather than one $150/month server, get 2 $75/month servers.
    3. uses Round-robin DNS, no load balancing.
    4. if you have a lot of tables ( has into the millions, with a separate set of tables for each user) use ISAM because InnoDB claims a bit of a memory every time a table is opened, that is never released.
  • Keynote: The Dawning of the Age of Experience

    • (scroll down here for notes, Brian O’s notes) Jared’s the anti-designer. Never designed a web site and it’s his life goal to not do so. Usability/research guy. Extremely funny though and a great speaker. I was sad I had to duck out early.

That’s all. If you’d like to continue the discussion in the Portland area, check out the PDX Web Innovators group. We love talking about this stuff when we get together.

Tags: webvisions, webvisions06