Cloud Four Blog

Technical notes, War stories and anecdotes

Responsive Field Day Portland!

For the last two years, I’ve devoured the podcasts from Responsive Day Out—the conference that Jeremy Keith and Clearleft put on across the pond in Brighton.

I’ve encouraged anyone who would listen to subscribe to the podcast. It is my favorite conference that I’ve never been to.

That’s why I’m so thrilled to announce that we’re bringing the Responsive Day Out format to Portland!

Responsive Field Day

We’re calling it Responsive Field Day. It is a one-day conference on responsive design. It will take place on September 25 at Revolution Hall.

We plan to continue the spirit of the Brighton event where Jeremy famously said that “every expense has been spared.” So you can be certain the event will be affordable and inclusive.

Lyza, Aileen and I are traveling to Brighton for Responsive Day Out 3: The Final Breakpoint to watch the masters and learn how to make Responsive Field Day a success.

We’ve already got some fantastic speakers lined up. We’re not ready to announce the lineup yet though, so you’ll have to trust us when we say, “OMG! OMG! I can’t believe they said yes!

So mark September 25th on your calendar and start planning your trip to Portland. Sign up for email or follow us on Twitter to receive updates when the speakers are announced and tickets go on sale.

Finally, thanks so much to Jeremy and Clearleft for inspiring us and sharing what they’ve learned.

The End of Mobile Portland

In December 2007, Lyza, Aileen, John and I decided to start Mobile Portland so we would have place to talk about mobile.

After eight years, Mobile Portland is coming to an end. Tonight is the final meeting.

Over the years we’ve had some amazing speakers and topics. I’m proud of the quality of the talks and the community we built.

We also inadvertently started a worldwide open device lab movement. It’s been amazing to see device labs spread and know they started in Portland.

I’d like to thank everyone who attended a meeting and those who helped out in any way. Every small contribution lifted a huge burden off the shoulders of frantic organizers.

I want to extend a special thank you to my co-founders at Cloud Four for helping get Mobile Portland off the ground and funding it; Matt Gifford for organizing so many meetings; Seth Shikora for recording nearly every meeting we’ve held; and to Elia Freedman, Dylan Boyd and Rob Mills for being the best board members I could have asked for.

Tonight’s meeting

But before Mobile Portland rides off into the sunset, we have one final meeting tonight, and it is going to be the best one yet!

I can’t think of a better speaker and a more fitting topic than Josh Clark talking about Magical UX and the Internet of Things. This is the next frontier of technology and mobile plays a bit part in it.

This will also be our largest meeting ever. We’ve had to create a waitlist for the first time so if you’ve already RSVP’d and are unable to make it tonight, please update your RSVP so people on the waitlist can attend.

What’s next?

Since we announced the end of Mobile Portland, people keep asking me two questions. First, “Why end Mobile Portland when there is still a lot of interest?”

Because eight years is a long time to do anything and instead of the group gradually winding down and losing relevance, we made the decision to go out on top.

The second, inevitable question is, “What’s next?”

I’m pleased to say that I can finally answer that question. Let me tell you about Responsive Field Day.

Did you try to reach us?

I’m embarrassed to admit it. I screwed up and if you tried to contact us over the last few months, there is a chance your message didn’t get through.

Specifically, messages sent via the contact form on our site weren’t always reaching us.

In case this saves anyone else from making the same mistake, here’s what happened. We switched our mail to Google. Instead of having an email alias, we had to use a Google Group.

Everything seemed fine for a few months, but then at some point Google Groups decided contact form submissions were spam. And we didn’t have any moderators for the group.

I set up the Google Group so I must have screwed it up. Because things worked great for several months, we don’t know when the problem started and how many messages were missed.

The most painful part about screwing up something like this is that there is no way to know who you need to apologize to.

So if you tried to contact us and didn’t hear back, I’m very sorry. The contact form is fixed now. We’d love to hear from you.

How to handle software for small business employees in an app store world?

App stores have been great for consumers and developers. One-click purchasing is awesome. But as a small business owner, they cause us nothing but grief.

In the boxed software world, I knew that if we bought iWorks, that the company owned it. It became an asset of the company. And if we were really good, we could keep track of the serial numbers of the software we bought so that if anything happened to the physical media, we could still install the software.

The app store makes this much harder. All of us are on Macs here at Cloud Four. And while the computers we use are owned by the company, we all use our Macs to buy music, videos, and software that is for personal use.

In fact, it is much easier for everyone to simply use their personal iTunes account so that their purchases sync across multiple devices. It isn’t perfect, but it works well enough.

Until we need to buy some software for work. If the we buy the software using our personal account, it is encrypted and tied to our personal iTunes account. There is no way to transfer it to another person if we leave the company or if we simply no longer have use for the software and someone else does.

In truth, the software should be owned by the company. The company should be able to buy software and move it to whatever machine makes the most sense now or in the future.

But as far as I can tell, there is no way to do this. There is a business volume purchasing program, but that only applies for a minimum of 20 license purchases which doesn’t make sense for us. There is a similar business app store for iOS, but only certain apps participate and if they don’t, then you’re out of luck.

I’ve talked to another company that buys employees gift cards so they can buy apps. But whether it is gift cards or reimbursements, it doesn’t get around the basic problem that the software is cryptographically signed and associated with someone’s personal account instead of the company account.

Does anyone have a solution for this? Is there some obvious solution for small businesses that I’m missing? How do other companies handle this?

Mobile-First Responsive Design Virtual Seminar

When the kind folks at UIE asked if I was interested in conducting a virtual seminar with them, mobile first responsive design is the first topic that came to mind. It’s something everyone should be doing, but few are.

So let’s do something about that shall we?

If you’re already doing mobile first responsive design, awesome. Make sure you tell your colleagues why it matters and teach them so more responsive designs are built this way.

If you’re not doing it already, then I encourage you to join me for my Mobile First Responsive Design UIE virtual seminar next Thursday at 1:30 PM ET. The seminar lasts 90 minutes and costs $129.

I’ve put together a little slideshow with audio to give you a little preview of what the seminar will cover.

If the embedded slides don’t work for you (sometimes the audio takes a few seconds before the play button works) or you just want to see a larger version, try the original version hosted on SlideShare.

I hope you can join me next Thursday. Register today to save your place in the seminar!