Tech Seminar

Vida Vegan Tech Seminar Round-Up

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Hi guys!

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Whoosh! A huge THANK YOU to every one of you that attended our first-ever one day tech seminar in Seattle on November 3 at the Seattle Public Library.

When you put together a first-time event, you never know how it’s going to go. We were thrilled to have such a inspiring and talented line-up of speakers agree to present, and a close-knit group of eager-to-learn bloggers and almost-bloggers.

Some of the awesome recaps flowing in from around the web:

  • Vegtastic.Net Helen Pitlick wrote a great recap of the event. She  presented with Dawn Quinn on the subject of social media. They left their presentation up  if you’d like to check it out.
  •  Sisters Legume Angel Barclay wrote about her speaking and her impressions of Seattle on her blog. She presented about video and captured the hearts of every single person in the room with her short videos set to music. She made making videos seem attainable by anyone, even someone with no prior video skill (*cough* me *cough*).
  • Serenity in the Storm Katie attended the seminar wrote a fun recap about the Social Media class and what she learned.
  •  Foggy Vegan was an attendee and wrote about his favorite parts, including learning about podcasting.
  • And of course, we at Vida Vegan live-blogged the event and what we learned (and ate) throughout.

If you spoke or attended and blogged about your experience, send it our way and we’ll add it to this list.

Thanks everyone who came out. We each learned a lot and had loads of fun drinking coffee, live-blogging, and eating the heck out of Veggie Grill sammwiches.

Live-blogging from the Vida Vegan Tech Seminar

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Hey guys!

We’re coming to you live from our Tech Seminar at the snazzy Seattle Public Library. We’ll be taking turns updating this throughout the day, so stay tuned!

Our first class is up RIGHT NOW, and the Nuts ‘N’ Bolts of a Webpage are being explained by Colin Barringer.

 

Mighty-O Doughnuts: breakfast of technical champions.

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We’re may not be live-streaming, but we’ve got plenty of appropriate social media action to follow along with.

Check out:

@Vidavegancon on twitter
Hashtag #vidavegantech (for everything)

and

@VidaveganHQ on Instagram for up to the date peaks from our attendees, speakers and the organizers. 

Live learning & official seminar notebook

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First class: The Nuts ‘n’ Bolts of a Webpage with Colin Barringer

Next up: Blog Design in an Ever-changing Landscape.

Have a big question about one of our class topics? Tweet at us and we’ll try and throw it into a Q&A round.

See you guys on the flip-side!

SESSION TWO: BLOG DESIGN IN AN EVER-CHANGING DIGITAL LANDSCAPE, with Tim Maudlin…and Liz Miller via satellite!

Michele here, taking over for Jess. How do I feel after the first class? Well, when I see HTML and CSS code I’ll know much better what I’m looking at. Colin gave us a link to a page he put together with lots of great references for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Thanks for being smarter than us, Colin!

Our blog design team together in Seattle — thanks, technology!

So…as technology gets better, so must we. Back in the day, when the Internet was a baby, a boring-as-hell Website was still pretty awesome. Now we have to think about pissing people off if our site doesn’t look good on their iPad, phone, laptop, and giant televisions. This is where responsive design comes in. Check out Responsinator to see how yours (re)sizes up!

And now you’re back to thinking about how long it takes for your page to load. Sure, everyone’s browsers and machines at home are pretty fast now, but phones are still struggling to keep up with our demands. They’re moving fast, but don’t take the chance of using elements that aren’t supported or just take forever to load. If your page takes more than a couple of seconds—seriously, like TWO seconds—you’re gonna lose some people.

A word on choosing a hosting provider: Use free trials and cheap no-contract services to try stuff out. If you spend $5 for a month and can back out, then you really haven’t lost too much. And beware reviews. Read ‘em, sure, but a lot of them aren’t genuinely from customers. It’s often bought ink.

If you’re doing a lot of coding, check out YSlow for tips on how to speed up your loading.

Favorite sources for fonts? Font Squirrel and Google Web Fonts.

Annnd, Veggie Grill has started bringing in food, so that’s lunch!

SESSION THREE: PODCASTING ON A BUDGET, with Barb Troyer

Back from lunch, which Janessa selflessly volunteered to cover.

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Jess here, a formerly semi-regular podcaster, and it has been far too long since I’ve known what I’m doing.  Here’s what we’re learning from Barb Troyer with Podcasting on a Budget.  Barb hosts All Things Vegan, a community radio show based out of Bend, Oregon, and calls it her “labor of love”:

Ask me good questions, and I will throw you vegan candy – Barb Troyer

“If you have a community radio station, take advantage of it….that’s why I started the show…some unique content you won’t find at other stations” – Barb (who all the following quotes will be from).

Here’s the directory for public broadcasting organizations to find what’s available in your area. You can receive support from experts and local DJs who want to be involved, get involved with your community, hear yourself on the radio and be involved in a learning experience.

Pros:

  • Get information directly your local community and beyond (through syndication).
  • Support from an eclectic bunch of local DJs

When you’re on your own, with zero to no budget, pick up or find a cheap headset/mic combo, such as one you might use for gaming, or put together two separate pieces. Make a DIY pop screen with a nylon stocking to help your audio. Skype is free, and most people use it for radio interviews. Get to know audio editing software, like Audacity and Garage Band.

Sources & tools for little to modest budgets of DIY audio recording:

If you’re looking to save money, check out older versions of software.

Barb recently upgraded to a Blue Yeti microphone and is raving about it, but there are cheaper alternatives she’s spent time with – it’s all about reliability, and trial and error.

Similar to graphics, make sure you always save an uncompressed version of your audio file. You’ll lose quality, if not. With a PC, save it as a wave file and then save it as an MP3.

You want to hear if there’s feedback in the room. Are there other sounds? You do not want any other sound being picked up in the room.

“It’s like garbage in, garbage out”.

Check out student discounts on software, if applicable.

“Getting organized if half the battle….you have no idea how much time I spend on this show”.

You will spend time…..gathering content, being up to date with the news, and any scripts you can prepare in advance on top of ad-libbing.

Fun fact: As for her own notes, Barb now finds Evernote easier to utilize than Google docs.

More folks and the labor of love: “We have a common goal of educating the public….you want to get the information out there….talk to those people [other vegan podcasters]“.

Favorite vegan podcasts:

Get Prepared: What type of format do you want to have? What do you want to listen to?

An hour is a fairly standard length of time for a podcast. You will find out what your station requirements are if you’re on a station, if not, you can really do whatever you like. Consider breaking up the podcast into segments, if it’s super long.

Edit out the lip smacks!

“Remind yourself, this is supposed to be fun.”

“You’ll be amazed that you are not as articulate as you thought you were.”

You don’t need to write your RSS Feed from scratch. Itunes will tell you exactly what you need to submit your feed there. If you use WordPress, it creates one automatically.

Find out who’s downloading with Feedburner. Get to know your audience and community.

So inspiring! Get talking.

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SESSION FOUR: SHOOTING, EDITING & INTEGRATING VIDEO, with Angel Barclay

Tag-teamin’, liveblogstreamin’. (That’s a thing, right?) Michele here again, for what is the most intimidating subject for me: video. But Angel’s gonna show us how easy it is.

Angel Barclay making video easy

So, yeah, it’s not has hard or expensive as you’d think it would be.

A point-n-shoot camera can do the job. Your phone can do the job. Don’t have a tripod? A nice, sturdy pile of books can do the job. There are free editing programs and hosting sites that can help you get the job done.

A drawback of some cameras: crap microphones. You can supplement with a separate microphone.

Angel’s first tip: “Resist the urge to pan.” Unless you’re super sure of your sturdy hand it can just make people sick. If you are panning, shoot a little longer than you’d like to use; the first and last bits are gonna be extra wobbly.

Camera quality: “Quality versus quantity issue.” Since memory cards are getting so cheap, just go for it and get the biggest ones you can so you can use the best/highest settings. Delete the bad clips—it can be tough if you get attached to pieces, but you’ve just got to do it or you end up with a giant collection of memory cards.

Transitions? Like so many things, less is more. Not only will transitions cost you editing time, but they are also taxing to the viewer. You might be really excited, if you’re starting out, about all the cool stuff you can do. “Pace yourself.”

Templates are a neat cheat for an easily polished look. Angel uses iMovie; file types are not an issue, and everything is easily customized. She showed us a video she made with a photo album theme—it could be cool for a little montage in the middle of a longer video.

Time for a quick break, then Next-Level Social Media time!

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SESSION FIVE: NEXT-LEVEL SOCIAL MEDIA, with Helen Pitlick & Dawn Quinn

Step One: Figure out your goal—why do you blog? Why do you want to expand your readership? As with any project, starting with a goal is going to give you focus.

And be genuine. If you’re just trying to get more followers on <insert network here>, it’s going to be suuuuper obvious.

Connecting with others: As Helen says, if you tell someone you like their shirt and they say nothing, walking away, that’s pretty rude, right? Reply always. Also, share others’ stuff. If you think it’s relevant information, your followers are going to want to know it. Dawn says a good ratio is 1:7; for every post about your own stuff, share seven others’.

Steer clear of autofeeds. Sure, you can share Instagram on Twitter, or tweet the same subjects on Facebook, but use the social networks the best way for each one. There’s a reason they’re separate networks; why would someone want to follow you on all of them if you’re posting the exact same post everywhere?

Brand v. Person: If you want to stay sort of private, using your blog title as your handle on the social networks is the way to go. If you’re trying to really sell yourself, like to get a cookbook deal, you might want to use your name. (Also, personal can give you a little more wiggle room as far as politics/other interests.) There’s no “right” way, but it’s something you should put some thought into. Try to keep consistent with your handles across networks, for simplicity and repetition/familiarity.

Tagging #veganfoodshare on Instagram is a great way to get noticed; they pick out users who’ve tagged them to highlight on their feed. Looking for new folks to follow? Check out their feed.

Pinterest is just so dern popular. Not necessarily a social network like Twitter or Facebook, but you can still build relationships/community through repinning. Having a Pinterest button on your blog posts is helpful because you can get a huge spike in views if the right person pins it. If you have a Pinterest account, share a board on one of your other social networks every now and then. (Again, not all the time!) Note: This is highly visual. The better your photos the more you’ll get pinned!

Just because a new network pops up, you do not have to join it. Think about your audience and your content. Focus on the ones that fit what you do. Remember, you’re coming up with original content for all of them, so best to be really good at a few of them than half-ass all of them. Stay current, though, so you know when the next big thing is coming and can figure out early on what would work for you.

What’s growing? Not just Pinterest and Instagram, but <surprise!> LinkedIn. Especially if you’re looking to work on projects or guest-blog for others, it’s becoming a more relevant network.

What to take away: There’s no one perfect strategy for all. You just need to do some research, try out some stuff, and find your groove.

Tech Seminar Live Blog: Veggie Grill Lunch

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Hi guys!

We’re just about halfway through our seminar.

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You know what that means…………………

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Lunchtime!!!

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From the one and only Veggie Grill, naturally.

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It wouldn’t be a blogger’s seminar without taking pictures of lunch.

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And we’ll now resume our regular programming.

I just need ONE more piece of carrot cake….

Seattle Spotlight: Seattle Central Library

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We at Vida Vegan HQ love the Seattle Central Library. It’s oddly-shaped and weird and just so so unique and cool.

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When we visited in April 2012 to research the best venue for the one day Tech Seminar, once we toured the library, we knew right away this was the right spot for us.

With stunning architecture and a central location, The Central Library is gorgeously awkward. Just our style!

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The coolest part, for us, is the Red Room on the fourth floor.

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This is where the meeting rooms are located.

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The Tech Seminar this Saturday will be in a conference room on this red level, so for those of you that are coming, be prepared to get all “Red Room Red Room” up in here. (It’s Halloween season, so this The Shining reference totally fits. Apologies for the creepy link!)

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Our bright and cozy meeting space!

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See some of you this Saturday! Any last minute suggestions for places to eat?

Seattle Spotlight: Pike Place Market

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Possibly what Seattle is known best for (unless you follow sports; I bet Seattle has some famous sports team or something), Pike Place Market lives up to it’s reputation. With a beautiful view of Puget Sound, Pike Place is filled with cobblestone streets, little specialty shops, and a big market filled with fresh flowers, fresh pasta and fresh produce (Nevermind the ‘fresh’ fish; ugh).

There’s also the little thing known as the Gum Wall nearby.

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A cute shop sells authentic grenadine. Grenadine is traditionally made out of pomegranate, but now most brands just use red coloring and sugar water. I loved finding this.

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A cozy little bookstore located in the market center.

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The famous Gum Wall:

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Yep, all gum.

 

 

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We love Pike Place Market. What are some of your favorite spots in Seattle?

24-Hour Tech Seminar Sale

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Hey, everybody!

We’re trying to get final numbers (ordering coffee, printing coursebooks) for the Tech Seminar, so for those of you waiting to register, here’s a little push to do it now:

For the next 24 hours you can use this link and save $25! That went fast! You can still register at full price.

Find more information about the November 3 Seattle seminar here.

And, of course, email us at VidaVeganConference [at] gmail.com with any questions!

Vida Vegan Tech Seminar Schedule – November 3rd in Seattle, WA

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We are one month away from the next step in Vida Vegan learning – our first ever seminar!

Here’s the official schedule, hot off the press:

9:00am-9:30am ~ Arrival, coffee & welcome from VVC 

9:30am-10:30am ~ Nuts ‘n’ Bolts of a Webpage, Colin Barringer

10:40am-11:40am ~ Blog Design in an Ever-Changing Digital Landscape, Tim Mauldin & Liz Miller

11:40am-12:40pm ~ Lunch by Veggie Grill

12:40pm-1:40pm ~ Podcasting on a Budget, Barb Troyer

1:50pm-2:50pm ~ Shooting, Editing & Integrating Video, Angel Barclay

2:50pm-3:20pm ~ Break & more

3:20pm-4:20pm ~ Next-Level Social Media, Dawn Quinn & Helen Pitlick

4:20pm-5:00pm ~ Networking & Closure

Will the All Hail Kale salad make a lunchtime appearance? Be there to find out.

With that, read more about our classes and speakers over here. Tickets are still available.

Stay tuned for tech, blogging, Seattle tips & more throughout VeganMoFo!

VeganMoFo: Tech Edition

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Happy VeganMoFo 2012 Kick-Off, everyone!

We don’t have a single theme (oh, by the way, did you notice our new theme?!), but we’re gonna have theme days. In preparation/celebration of our Seattle Tech Seminar, we’re diving in to blogging tech (mostly). We’ll have tech tips brought to you by people way smarter than us, Seattle funspots, speaker spotlights, Food-Friday Fundays…and once a week, we’ll have a Q&A day.

Q&A? Yes, so we need some Qs! Shoot us your questions and we’ll dig around/ask around to get you the answers! Tweet at us, throw it up on the Facebook page, or email us at VidaVeganConference [at] gmail [dot] com.

But before we get started, we just wanted to give you a glimpse into our weekend! We’re in Chicago for location scouting and VeganMania, Chicago’s vegan-only veg fest, with vendors, nonprofits, a hefty food court (featuring Chicago Diner, Upton’s, and Native Foods as well as a lot of smaller restaurants and bakeries), and classes. Check out the crowd shot:

We all went to Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese demo, where we tried some of the quicker, unaged cheeses, including ricotta-stuffed shells and a next-to-instant but tasty nacho cheese. I’ve never seen so many people get super excited to try vegan cheesemaking before. It looks like this book is actually worth the hype. I know what I’m doing when I get back home to Portland.

Tech Seminar Classes & Speakers

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It’s here! It’s here! We’ve got class descriptions and instructors for our Tech Seminar. And they’re some brainy folks.

Every step of the way, developing this seminar has been so exciting—not just getting Veggie Grill to sponsor lunch, either. We really wanted to put together classes to answer questions we heard from the VVC comment cards, in the Facebook group, and, quite honestly, what we face every day. Should I pay the $30 to be able to edit my CSS code in WordPress? Can I just use the free YouTube video editor? How do you link your social media platforms (and should you)?

With glee and joy and all things that are good, we present to you the lineup for Vida Vegan’s very first seminar: Tech.

(Check out this page for further information and registration!)

Blog Design in an Ever-Changing Digital Landscape

What should you be doing when your blog starts getting heavier traffic? Do you know what responsive design is? Is your blog’s theme or layout ready for mobile, tablets, and other screen sizes and resolutions? Are you interested in changing your theme, updating your fonts, or learning a little CSS to help with design?

Learn how to choose the correct platform, blog theme, hosting solution, and design strategies to make sure visitors have a smooth experience and keep coming back. We will provide examples during class with a take-away sheet of helpful URLs.

Tim Mauldin is Software Architect and Technologist who has done projects for companies large and small. He is an expert in software optimization and loves to solve performance problems. He currently resides in Austin, TX, and has a vegan taco problem.

Elizabeth Miller is Design Lead as well as Senior Front-End Developer for Squishymedia, a medium-size web development agency in Portland. Elizabeth’s 10 years of design experience includes projects for Ralph Lauren, Sony, and Mercedes-Benz. She designs beyond surface appearances to create lovely and usable interactive experiences. She loves vegan mac-n-cheese burritos the most.

Next-Level Social Media

How do you connect your blogging goals with social media? This intermediate-level session for people already active with Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks will explore the use of these tools to build community and craft your personal vs. blog identity. We’ll look at identifying and utilizing emerging social media platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest. We’ll also touch upon best practices for sharing content across these different platforms

Helen Pitlick is super excited to be speaking about social media. She has a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington, teaches lawyers how to blog at LexBlog, and previously managed social media for Foodista.com. In her spare time, she writes Vegtastic! and probably tweets too much about cats.

Dawn Quinn is fascinated with social media and the ways communication is constantly changing. She began the MCDM program at University of Washington this fall so she could further study these changes. Dawn is a copywriter, blogs at Vegan Moxie, eats lots of Brussels sprouts, and lives with her partner and two cats.

The Nuts ‘n’ Bolts of a Web Page

In this class, we will walk through the basics of creating a simple web page that will introduce three core web technologies: HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Starting with the simplest possible valid HTML code, we will incrementally make the page more interesting by adding: content (HTML), style (CSS) and interaction (Javascript).

By the end of the class, we will have created an informative, pretty and dyncamic page, as well as developed a basic knowledge of web development.

Colin Barringer works for athenaHealth, Inc., developing medical billing software. He has an M.S. in computer science, has been working as a web developer for 4 years, and has extensive knowledge of a variety of computer programming languages. When pushed, he might admit that the Internet was a mistake.

Podcasting on a Budget

Whether you’re looking to get involved in community radio or want to independently produce a podcast, Barb will show you tips and tricks that will bring your podcast activism to the next level, no matter what your budget. Topics include choosing recording equipment and software according to your needs, finances, and operating system (Mac or PC), getting your show into iTunes and other podcatchers, integrating with your blog, and managing related web and social media efforts. You’ll also learn mic technique, editing shortcuts and best practices, and tips for managing interview notes and information overload.

Barb Troyer is the technical producer and co-host of All Things Vegan radio, a low-budget labor of love, broadcasting for 2 years on community radio in Bend, Oregon‒and podcasting to the world. An IT consultant by day, Barb tweaks software and graphics and teaches end users, who she rewards with vegan candy.

Shooting, Editing & Integrating Video

You don’t need to be intimidated by video. We’ll look at choosing equipment and shooting video, editing programs, and adding extras like titles and audio. We’ll also cover hosting and embedding these videos into your blog or website.

Angel Barclay is an Environmental Studies major at the University of Oregon. She enjoys exploring all the natural wonders Oregon has to offer, riding her bicycle, and documenting her adventures. She began creating videos in 2010, to share her exploits with friends and family residing 2,000 miles away in the state of cornfields and fireflies: Illinois (where she called home, until 2009). She blogs at Sister Legumes, and you can find her on her Vimeo channel, when she’s not hijacking her boyfriend’s YouTube channel, BreadBikeBlog.

Who Needs a Tech Seminar Scholarship?

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Is this you?

You need help getting over some technical hurdles with your blog because you thought college was a place to learn and think and explore the universe and its deeper mysteries…so you’ve got a worthless B.A. and you really can’t afford the classes you need now to make up for the classes you didn’t take when you were a kid.

Well, we’ve got two seats reserved for the likes of you. We’re offering two registration-only scholarships for November’s Tech Seminar in Seattle. The rules are simple—we won’t hold your bright-eyed idealism against you—so check it out here.

See you in Seattle!