WordCamp UK 2011

Portsmouth had the honour of hosting the annual WordCamp conference – well, I call it a conference, it’s all rather informal – but a fantastic opportunity for WordPress developers, designers and users to meet, network, socialise and learn.

The event was broken into 50 minute sessions, with a number of prominent and well respected speakers talking about their areas of specialism across a variety of topics.

With a turnout exceeding 200 – the University’s WiFi couldn’t cope with the demand of the tech savvy delegates and the myriad of wireless devices were not able to get online at times throughout the event – that being said, a number of those who were well prepared brought with them their own wireless access points and 3G devices, and were kind enough to share access as well as they could with the other users – a true sense of community.

Events covered such topics as SEO, Theme Development, Starting your own agency and using WordPress in the enterprise.

Information about WordCamp can be found on their website.

Introducing Google+ (Google Plus)

Google, hoping to learn from it’s previous mistakes (Google Wave and Google Buzz) is going all out to try and launch a successful Social Media product that rivals the 750million user behemoth that is Facebook and it’s smaller but equally brilliant competitor Twitter. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s certainly got potential.

One of the best features, which tries to differentiate itself from Facebook is ‘Circles’. This innovative function allows you to separate your friends into a relevant ‘Circle’ so you can share content with only those who are in that group. This can mean great things for collaboration amongst teams, as well as discussing things amongst small, close-knit groups – just like real life social habits. The use of these ‘Circles’ ensures that the flow of information is controlled so that it can only be seen by those users specifically granted the privilege.

One could argue that Facebook has this feature already, in the form of lists – but this was a feature added to the network after it launched, and as such has not been widely embraced.

Google+ comes into its own with the Huddle and Hangout features – the first is a text-based group chat designed for use on a mobile device, with all the fine-grain control of Circles to ensure your group chat is only accessible to the Circle(s) you define. Hangout is a video based chat facility, allowing you to have a simultaneous video chat with up to 7 others. The interface allows you to carry out a voice chat by muting the camera, and also allows text-only by disabling sound too. This feature brings Skype-like video calling to a group – something Skype themselves only offer as a premium feature – since Google+ launched their initial offering, Facebook have announced a similar feature, partnering with Skype.

The service can’t even be described as a ‘beta’ product (something that’s not quite perfect, may have bugs and needs further testing)  – which is something Google often do when launching something new, it’s actually in ‘Field Test’. This mean’s it’s early days for Google+. The best is still to come.

Copyright © James Coleman-Powell, 2016