Help geeks find God by supporting Kim Diebolt at RIT

During my tenure at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), while getting my undergraduate degree, I was stretched physically, mentally, and emotionally due to the intense nature of the academic load that was thrusted upon me. One of the things that got me through college was the community that I surrounded myself with.

One of the primary sources of that community for me was the RIT chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. It was a group of 30 to 40 college students who were also walking through the academic trenches but had a common Christian faith. When our noses weren’t in the books or in front of our computers, we spent time together supporting each other and showing the love of God to one another. It was exciting community to be a part and watch grow.

One of my best friends Kim Diebolt is a very talented photographer and graduated at the same time I did. Last year, instead of going on to what I’m sure would be an illustrious photography career, she decided to stay RIT as an intern for the RIT chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ.

It was fun over the course of the year to hear from her about all of the incredible stories that were coming from what the RIT Campus Crusade for Christ chapter was doing.

Again this year, as a part of this incredible leap of faith, she has to raise her own salary for the year. It’s something I’m not sure i’d have the faith to do. She is currently in the process of finding donors.

I don’t post about these kind of things often here but I figured I’d ask because this is a cause which I’m passionate about and it has helped me personally. Would any of you be interested in supporting Kim Diebolt and her mission of serving the students at the Rochester Institute of Technology through Campus Crusade for Christ???

If so, go here –

Her mission is a cause that I’m proud to support. Would any of you be willing to join me? Even if its just $20, that’d rock! That’s skipping a weeks worth of lattes at Starbucks.

Even if you’re not Christian, this group will help to get geeks in college out of their dorm rooms to do fun social things. This is a good thing.

I appreciate you all of your for reading this blog and this post. If you have any questions, please get in contact with me or send Kim an e-mail at Kimberly DOT Diebolt AT uscm DOT org .

Translating W3C HTML5 for the rest of the community; a possible role for the Web Standards Project

One thing is for sure. There are a lot of smart passionate people that care and are involved in the advancement of HTML 5. The kicker is that there a lot more people who want to be involved but W3C technical specification-speak isn’t one of their native languages.

If you’re unfamiliar with what I mean by W3C technical specification-speak, just start reading any W3C technical specifications and you’ll quickly get an idea of what I mean. If you’re not familiar with the nuances of technical specifications, it can be daunting, even for someone who is a seasoned professional. I understand that it is necessary for technical specifications to be written the way they are but you have to cede that this barrier to entry for the community is a problem.

For a Web Developer, HTML is something that we interact with on a day to day basis. When you start talking about the future of the Web and the future of HTML 5, it’s something thats near and dear to our hearts. When we feel like we can’t participate because of the learning curve its saddening, easy to just not care any more, and shut yourself off from the discussion.

This makes it necessary to have people who are going to write good supplementary documentation, supporting material, blog entries, presentations, and much more. We need people who are going to do this for HTML 5. This will be necessary for the success of the specification.

I was excited to read this from Roger Johansson:

Looking forward I think my energy will be best spent helping to produce documents that are useful to and readable by people who create websites. By the looks of things the actual HTML 5 specification will be extremely difficult to read, and basically created for browser vendors only.

I thought Alejandro Moreno’s comment on that post interesting:

I am not experienced enough to join and participate, so I sure am glad you have decided to stick around the HTML5 WG.

Your “translation” efforts will be appreciated!

I have a feeling that this perspective is pretty common.

If the Web Standards Project (WaSP) is looking for a way to stay relevant to the needs of the community, this would be a place they could step in. WaSP could have a HTML 5 Task Force whose mission it is to help act as “translators”, communicators, and ambassadors to the community.

HTML 5 Reading Parties?

With the W3C working on HTML 5, many times I have wondered how I could get more involved. Do I want to get work to add me to the working group and get the 1000 emails a month? Should I start reading the spec and post about it on my blog? Reading the HTML 5 draft spec by myself interests me about as much as trying to read War & Peace. (I think they’re about the same size.)

What about HTML 5 reading parties? We could really do it for any of the W3C Specifications like WCAG 2.0 or CSS 2.1. We could get 5 to 10 people together with a couple cases of beer or nice bottles of wine. If people didn’t want to drink alcohol, we could meet at a coffee shop. We’d each take part of the spec and start reading it.

It’d be a fun and whole lot less intimidating way of jumping head first into the future development of the lingua franca of the Web, HTML.

At the end, we could have some collective notes that we could post on our blogs or maybe one big blog.

So… any of you interested? I’d buy the wine or the first round of coffees.

Staying In Touch With All Washington DC Tech Events

Continuing on the “Life after BarCamp DC” meme and echoing Russell’s comment, I really think that you all should check out Ross Karchner’s site DC Tech Events Weekly.

It’s a weekly overview of all technology events that are happening in the Washington DC area.

Ross does a really great job of being clued into what’s going on with the DC technology community and listing it on the site.  He will often have events on there that I’ve never heard of.

There is a RSS feed for syndication.  Hopefully there will be hCard support sometime soon.

So there is really no excuse to be bored at home.  There is always something going on for you to check out.  This site is a key resource.

How To Survive Life After BarCamp DC

BarCamp DC was such a blast. There was an incredible energy in the room that I hadn’t felt in a while. It was great to see people getting excited about what the Washington DC technology community had to offer.

But now that BarCamp DC is over (until the next one), the question is how can you keep the energy going.

There are some great meet ups and groups that I love that you should check out:

Refresh DC – It is a gathering of Web development and design professionals who want to learn more about their craft. Every month there is a speaker who shares their knowledge about a topic. There is a great time of community and hanging out after words at a bar. Sometimes there is even free food. It is organized by one of the BarCamp DC lead organizers Jason Garber.

Social Media Club – It is a gathering of technologists, marketers, and online strategists who enjoy discussing all things Social Media. It meets every month and is a source of great community.

Wash. DC Web Standards Meetup – This is more of an informal group of folks who have an interest in Web standards. The attendees range from people who read W3C specs for fun to novices who are eager to learn more. It is a great opportunity to pass on Web Standards knowledge and get in discussions about the future of standards.

What groups do you attend? How do you suggest we keep the energy and excitement going from BarCamp DC? Do you have any suggestions for new events that we can have? I’m already thinking about FacebookDevCamp and WidgetDevCamp.

Update: Oh oh oh…  I forgot to mention that Startup Weekend DC is coming up.  This is will be a great follow up some of you who were at BarCamp DC.

What Does The Web Standards Project Do?

After Molly H.’s  Call To Action and follow up post (read them) on her blog, I started wondering what the Web Standards Project (WaSP) actually does.  I’m not saying this to be mean.  I’m genuinely curious.

If you look at the blog posts on their Web site,  most of them are updated very infrequently and when they are its very rarely meaty stuff.

What happened to the banner of radical transparency that we all hold so high?

I ask this question because as a Web Standardista I’m told that the Web Standards Project is where the best of the best come to hatch master plans to help conquer the world for Web Standards.

If the organization isn’t transparent with what’s going on… if they aren’t transparent with their discussions, how can they ask me to trust them as an organization?

What Bloggers Had To Say About BarCamp DC

This is what bloggers had to say about Saturday’s BarCamp DC:

Brian Williams

“If anything, I think it was too full — or too short. There were so many great topics to cover and good people to lead discussions, I felt like we could have filled 3 days.”

Jared Goralnick

“Not since the heyday of Netpreneur have there been so many people in one DC room so excited about what’s happening online. This was evidenced by the high level of conversation, the community-willingness to share, and the pure geekery of the attendees (everywhere I turned were MacBooks, iPhones, live bloggers, and people uploading photos to Flickr).”

Russell Heimlich

“There were so many interested attendees that many had to be turned away at the door. Wow! I guess the DC tech community has been secretly yearning for a BarCamp to pop up in the area… I had a blast at BarCamp DC and can’t wait until they hold another one (I think I heard the next one would be in January), hopefully in a bigger space. I already know what my next topic will be.”

Jesse Thomas – “BarCampDC was awesome!!!”

Tom Bridge

“This weekend at the downtown offices of Fleishman Hillard, 100 or so geeks gathered for BarCamp to talk about matters technological. I know what you’re thinking already, “Geeks, inside on a weekend? Shocking!” But it’s more than that. So many things are happening on the web these days, the advent of the true mobile web, the adoption of portable identities, people creating content and sharing, and a lot of that is happening here in our backyard as well as out on the west coast.”

Zvi Band

“Attended my first (as well as DC’s first) BarCamp. It was an awesome experience. Not only did I learn a lot, but I met a great crowd of people. It was fascinating to discover a small but thriving community of similar web-heads…”

Leslie Bradshaw

“This weekend, Jesse and I attended the [first?] BarCamp held in DC. Met some super cool people, learned some very useful things (namely, at the: Google Analytics session, the widget session a la Clearspring and the Grids/systems session)… “


“Overall, there were about 118 people attended. It was intimate. I’m proud to say that 200 OK were one of the sponsors…”

To celebrate our success, a bunch of went to get Maryland crabs for lunch today.