January 2008 Web414 Meeting

The January 2008 Web414 Meeting was held last night, and it was fun. Someone yesterday said it didn’t look like very interesting topics, but hey, it’s as interesting as you make it, I always say.

We had about 23 people in attendance, even with the snowy weather conditions. I think the community is really beginning to gel. We’ve got a lot of great people involved, doing a lot of really cool things, sharing their knowledge, working together, it’s a nerdy love-fest…

Jeramey on Greasemonkey

Jeramey showed off Greasemonkey, and showed how he uses it on Flickr. I mentioned the Greasemonkey script I wrote for WebGrader. (If you are unfamiliar, Greasemonkey basically lets you re-write web pages in your own browser, so you can add new features, or disable things you don’t like.)

Game Software

Next up I demoed the Asus Eee PC, the little laptop that runs Linux. I showed the default interface, the full KDE Desktop running on it, Firefox, Penguin Racer, and Potato Guy, which was quite the hit. I then passed it around the room so everyone could get a chance to see how light and small it is, and give the keyboard a try. By the time I got it back, it was running Ubuntu and streaming video of the meeting. (I’m just kidding.)

Kevron checks in via video

There was some video streaming and such though… Thanks to Media Master Gabe for setting up Ustream (though it silently failed a bit, that’s ok, it was the first attempt.) Gabe and Tracy also showed off Seesmic and the silly video conversations they have there. (KeVroN missed it!)


Oh, and there are a ton of photos in Flickr’s Web414 pool thanks to Tracy Apps and John December.


And the Eee PC was not the only little Linux device, as Tracy brought a Chumby, but sadly, we could not get it on the wifi because we could not authenticate it to the network.


Elias Holman of Distance Software gave a “running a business” talk Pecha Kucha style, which involves showing 20 slides for 20 seconds each and talking over them. I thought it turned out really well, and we should consider the Pecha Kucha thing again.

The new v. the old

Wait… more? Oh yeah, held a Book Swap &amp Loan, where people could bring in a book and let someone borrow it, or just give it away. Sadly, I brought like 80% of the books, but it looks like we just started a Web414 Library.

(Cross-posted to Web414.)


Eee PC Demo Missed

Hey folks, sorry I couldn’t demo my Asus Eee PC at the December Web414 Meeting, but I had some personal issues come up that were unavoidable.

I’ll plan to demo it at the January meeting, unless everyone gets one for Xmas, and no on is interested in it any more…

In which case I’ll just help Jeramey talk about Greasemonkey.



I wanted to test out SlideShare, as I’ve seen a number of people I know post their presentations there…

I did a short presentation for Web414 in early 2007 called Lightbox JS (and Friends). I used S5 because I like S5, it’s XHTML/CSS, it’s standards-based, it lives on the web and gets indexed. Anyone with a browser can see it. It takes no special software to create or consume.


I managed to convert this to a format I could put into SlideShare, but it wasn’t easy. (See Lightbox JS (and Friends) on SlideShare.) This is what SlideShare has to say about formats:

We accept PowerPoint (ppt & pps), PDF, & OpenOffice (odp) files. If you are on a Mac and use Keynote, export to “PDF”.

So my complaint here is that anyone who plans put their stuff on SlideShare will most likely start with a proprietary and/or binary format. I know, I’m one of those crazy people who actually prefer HTML, but if SlideShare becomes the standard for sharing slides and presentations, it could be a bad thing.

The conversion process I went through involved doing screen captures of each page of my S5 presentation, which on the Mac created PNG files. I then converted those to PDF files, and combined them into a single PDF I could upload to SlideShare. This was a short presentation and it still took me way too long to do. What SlideShare needs is an S5 importer (or really, just an HTML importer) just give it a URL and let it import your existing presentation. That would be cool.

SlideShare is a nice service, and yes, they even support Creative Commons, which is a good thing. Hopefully they’ll continue to improve it, and eventually become supportive of us HTML-presentation freaks…



Kelly and Jeff Fitzsimmons just launched ComicWonder, which is a competitive arena for joke-tellers. Their mission is to “scour the earth looking for the best joke-teller in the world and crown that person the Comic Wonder of the year.”

I was hoping to get one of them to a Web414 meeting to talk about ComicWonder, but you know, they’ve been a little busy lately. :)


Web414 Meeting: Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Milwaukee web nerds and graphic designers… Join us at 7PM on Thursday, April 12th, 2007 to hear Mike Rohde talk about the Importance of Iteration in Design…

Web414 - The Importance of Iteration in Design

Mike just had an article published on the subject that may be a good preview: Embracing Iterative Design

If you haven’t been to a Web414 meeting yet, and are interested in building the new web (as a designer, coder, whatever) stop by and check it out. (I’ll also talk about Lightbox-type libraries a bit if there is time.)

Note that we will still be at MSOE, but in the The Brady Corp. Conference Room this time. Details are at