The first thing going through my mind as I think back on my weekend spent at WordCamp Chicago, I wish my flight home wasn't so early! I am really bummed I ended up missing the sessions after lunch on Sunday. This is terrible planning on my part.
This was my first time attending WordCamp Chicago. I had heard nothing but good things about last year's event, so was expecting more of the same. They definitely delivered. There was a great mix of speakers ranging from content to design to development. There was a little something for everybody, no matter what level of user.
This was also the first time I traveled to a WordCamp event without bringing a laptop. I wasn't sure how I was going to deal with the lack of connectivity, but the iPad served as a great replacement in this setting. I used it to take some notes, stay updated on Twitter and check email. I have to say, the extended battery life of the iPad is awesome! I used it off and on all day long on Saturday and was still had over 50% battery life when I got back to the Hotel in the evening. I am pretty sure that this will be my new way of attending events, unless I need the laptop for a presentation.
I sat in on some great sessions this weekend. Aaron Jorbin‘s talk about creating child themes was great! He covered a bunch of things I knew pieces of, but expanded on them to give me a greater understanding of how a child theme could save us and our clients time and money. Jane Wells showed off the new menu system arriving in WordPress 3.0 and it was a blast to hear the entire room go “oooooohhhhhhhhh” when she would show off some of the fancy new functionality. Pete Mall presented on building a plugin. This is a presentation I have given at other WordCamp events, but still I picked up a tip or two from his talk. Scott Robbin‘s talk on making WordPress faster reminded me of several things I
want NEED to do for a couple of my own sites.
There were plenty of other great sessions, but these are a few that really stuck out.
For me, a huge value in each of the WordCamp events I attend is the networking opportunities that happen between session and at the after parties. This one was no exception. I met some great people and cant wait to collaborate on some new projects. There is much to be learned from each of them!
Thanks to Brian Gardner and the rest of the organizers of WordCamp Chicago. You did a great job and I hope to attend again next year.