Posts Tagged ‘washington dc’

You know you’ve been around Washington DC too long when…

Last week, a bunch of people got kicked out of Washington. While those ones were removed against their wishes, I’m going to be leaving willingly in January. I’ve learned a lot through 5.5 years here, but it’s time to move on.

However, I’m doing more than just leaving DC: barring unforseen circumstances, I’m also leaving the country. Since there’s currently nothing preventing me from doing so, I’m taking the opportunity now. Last year, I visited Iloilo City in the Philippines with my church and met people doing amazing things! I’ve decided to return to Iloilo City and spend ten weeks doing a missions internship, after which I will be considering different options. I’d ultimately like to continue programming and writing, while training and mentoring other programmers. But first I’m going step back, spend ten weeks, and see where God leads it.

With that in mind, I feel it’s appropriate to reflect on signs that you’ve worn your welcome in Washington. So without further ado, you know you’ve been around Washington DC too long when…

  • You’ve been invited to multiple instances of the “Take Back America Conference” in different years, hosted by different parties.
  • Twenty minutes is a quick drive to a friend’s house.
  • You are completely unimpressed by rallies “filling the National Mall” that don’t make it past 7th Street.
  • You watch movies set in DC and can always point out scenes featuring places where you’ve worked.
  • You no longer ride Metro.
  • Before voting, you consider a politician’s stance on DC statehood.
  • You think $1,200 a month is a pretty good deal on an apartment.
  • You don’t think twice when you bump into a senator or representative.

DC PHP ’08 Highlights

Earlier this week, we had the 2008 DC PHP Conference at George Washington University. A lot of new faces showed up this year and we had quite a few speakers from the local community. Here are some of the sessions I found particularly interesting:

Automated Unit Testing. Mike Lively presented PHP Unit, which I will definitely be using the near future. His presentation on Monday morning was very helpful and made Unit Testing seem much more approachable. He had an afternoon session as well with more PHP Unit tricks (like mock objects and database testing) that I’ll have to look into on down the road.

Fed Up of Framework Hype? Tony Bibbs had a lot of straight-talk about how to choose a framework, why you might want one, and when you could stand to roll your own. He brought up the fact that you need to keep is flexible enough so that your highly talented programmers can stay productive, while keeping it consistent enough for less experienced coders.

SPL Iterators. A lot of Eli White’s presentations I’ve previously seen have been about scaling challenges he’s worked on at Digg. He seemed just as excited to talk about beautiful code :). One of his samples was so short and succinct, I ended up tweeting (forgive the 140 character formatting) it.

Security Centered Design. In his own words, Chris Shiflett hijacked a security talk to cover User Experience. However, he did a good job of tying everything back to security; people have certain expectations for how a web application should behave when they’re logged in. He also plugged myVidoop: the secure, passwordless OpenID provider that some friends of mine work for :).

Also, Keith Casey moderated an IDE/text editor panel. He asked a good set of questions and fortunately there was no physical violence, or even shouting. :D

This was also my first conference where Twitter was out in full force, except when it was down early on Monday morning. You can catch up on most of the tweets here.

Attention DC Tech Community: Represent!

In case I haven’t already invited you through Facebook, the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Business Plan Competition will be held 1pm Saturday at Georgetown University. All programmers, designers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and social media experts: clear your Saturday afternoon schedule and show up. Keith has the details.

Widget DevCamp Wrapup

Quick highlights from Widget DevCamp DC this past weekend:

  • Zvi Band did a presentation on creating Facebook Applications. When he was finished with his presentation, he created a Facebook App from scratch in PHP and FBML! It gave me a few ideas that I probably won’t get around to doing for a few months.
  • We had a roundtable discussion on making money with widgets. Some people proposed including Google ads, but others mentioned that this strategy tends not to work so well for such a small content set. It seems that the most viable route for “business widgets” is to use them for brand reinforcement.
  • Alex Eagle demoed an application (based on Metro’s website) he wrote for Google’s Android project during DevCamp. While there aren’t any Andriod capable phones out yet, Google has the dev environment available with a phone emulator. There’s built in support for GPS, if you have a capable device. Looks very promising, but what will Apple’s iPhone kit offer? We shall see…

Overall, Widget DevCamp was much more relaxed and open ended than last summer’s BarCamp. We had a smaller crowd and more flexible schedule. I personally think we could have done the session planning on the same day: we did this during a Friday evening happy hour instead. The time constraints of doing everything on the same day keep things moving and prevent talks from dragging too long. However, I definitely enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next camp hitting DC: eDemocracyCamp.

January-February 2008 meetings

Tech events in DC for 2008 are getting off to a fast start. First, there’s Widget DevCamp DC on January 25th (Friday evening) and 26th (all day Saturday). BarCamp DC was a great time last Fall where lots of web/programming techniques were shared. Widget DevCamp hints that there may be some actual coding going on! (of course, this depends on who shows up and what ideas are kicked around).

The regular DC PHP Developer’s group is scheduled to meet on February 13th. This will blow away all other tech events for the year, because we will be having a face-to-face text editor war! I’m so psyched! Go Textmate!

Finally, Web Content Mavens will be having an Open Source Content Management System discussion on February 27th. I’ll be representing Joomla!, Keith Casey will talk about Drupal, and other people will talk about Alfresco, WordPress, and Textpattern.

See you at all of these events!