Monday, August 09, 2010

Recap of Blogher 2010: Speaking, Sessions, Anxiety, and Parties

I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, this year’s BlogHer was vastly different from last year’s conference in Chicago.  It was bigger, more packed, more sponsored and even more overwhelming than ever. As a second-timer, I felt like I was able to make a more focused attack-plan to get everything accomplished that I wanted to. But as a speaker in two different capacities, one as an entertainer (Voices of the Year Keynote, singing my “(Wicked) Popular Blogger” song) and the other as a speaker presenting hard information on how to manage and edit your photographs for blog use (Geek Lab: How To Edit Your Photos and Make Them 10xs Better), I found that I couldn’t really focus on much until those duties were fulfilled. Which was frustrating as hell, but made for the best Saturday night ever, as I could finally relax and kick up my heels for a night of extreme dancing and merry-making at the Sparklecorn and CheeseburgHer parties. 

The posts that the selected readers perform for the Keynote are kept a secret until the night of the event, so not very many people knew that I would be singing the “Popular Blogger” song I wrote a few months ago, but I was keenly aware of the fact that I had never performed before such a large audience (about 2000) and was feeling major nerves.  I was such a wreck Friday morning that I actually burst into tears over not being able to get the opening address from the founders of BlogHer and had to get myself put back together so I could get to a meeting with the Windows 7 team, which were sponsoring the Geek Lab track of the conference and were meeting with me to demo their new free photo gallery software that I had not had a chance to use because I am a Mac user, but wanted to be able to show as an option to the attendees of my session. 

My anxieties disappeared for the next hour, as the Microsoft people rocked my world with their Window Live Essentials beta software.  Trust me, when I tell you: If you are PC-based you are going to want to go download this software. Now.
Ben Rudolph, Janelle Poole, and Lisa Worthington (whose card I cannot find, so I hope I got that right) started their demo by saying, “We are going to change your life today.” And my Mac-lovin’ self said (in my head) “Yeah, right.”

And then they did.

I am going to be testing out the Windows Photo Gallery software and, more importantly, I will be posting from the new Windows Live Writer software for the rest of the month and will be posting on what I discover. The Windows team was planning on loaning me a laptop just for the two days of the conference, so I could try it out and then use it during my talk. I was so impressed with what they showed me that I begged convinced them to let me keep the laptop for the duration of my stay here in the States (I head back home to England August 31st) so I could do all my blogging from it. The ASUS they loaned me is freakin’ awesome, as it has a 12 (you heard me, TWELVE) hour battery life, and weighs about a pound and a half less than my MacBook, and so far Windows 7, from what I can tell, absolutely blows doors on XP which is the last PC operating system I used before switching to Apple. I will keep you posted on everything, but so far I am completely in love with Live Writer and can’t believe that I’d never heard of it before.

In a nutshell, this is what Live Writer does: You link Live Writer to your blogging account (Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, etc.) and it goes over, checks out all your formatting options, and then imports your specs to the program… that means when you are typing up your posts off-line on Live Writer, you are seeing exactly what the post will look like when you put it on your blog. You can add photos from your computer and then add borders to them, control how much space you want around them when insetting into the text of your post, and ~get this~ you can add a watermark to them. You can also resize the photos, crop them, and do basic effects on them. It is beyond awesome.  And exactly the kind of program that I wanted to highlight in my ROYO session, so I did.

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Here are the ladies from the Windows team that changed my life.  This guy was integral to the new-found Windows love, too.blogher 2010 095

IMG_3234After the meeting, all my nerves about the ROYO were put to rest, so I just had to make it through the KeyNote.  With all the other awesome speakers lending moral support while we waited our turns in the wings, though, it ended up being kind of one of the best parts of the weekend.  Metalia, Jason, Jill and Marinka get special shout-outs for being especially laid-back or making me laugh back there … because it could’ve been downright ugly. 
Will be posting more on the conference and parties in the following days, but had to start somewhere.

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