Did I forget to mention, forget to mention Memphis?
A gloomy, rainy September 11th in New York City. An eye doctor visit in the morning left my eyes dilated. For hours, I was overly sensitive to light. It was a perfect way to experience this city on that day.
In my apartment building, a woman boarded the elevator going down. About 60 years old, carrying someone else’s clothes to the laundry room. We were the only two passengers.
“Wet Tuesday,” she said. “Hot day, six years ago. Six years ago, my daughter was on TV, running for her life.”
In the doctor’s office, with dilated eyes, I siphoned bandwidth from an unsecured wireless network and read The New York Times on my iPhone, holding the handset close to my face. An article about Gen. David H. Petraeus’s testimony generated hundreds of comments. At least four of them were rational.
At 1:00 I braved a sudden monsoon in Curry Hill to meet a friend who was traveling in from Brooklyn. He told me he’d been somewhat concerned about coming into Manhattan on September 11.
At 3:30 I was home, hanging wet clothes from the shower rod and thinking about Iraq. I cannot stop thinking about it.
At 2:00 am I woke up. In my dream I had been trying to bring the soldiers home.
[tags]9/11, september11, nyc[/tags]
Had I known that there was an explosion in midtown Manhattan near where my wife works, and that my wife and daughter were out in the ensuing chaos, I would have been far more anxious during my train ride home from Philadelphia last night.
I had gone to the city of brotherly love on business. One of our party misplaced her iPhone, discovering the loss as we were about to board the train back to New York. The odds against her recovering it would kill a game in Vegas. But it is her only phone and she is about to leave the country, so she stayed behind in hopes of locating it. Anxiety on her account, and some guilt at having boarded the train without her, kept me plenty busy on the ride home.
One emerges from the current Penn Station as from a none-too-clean public bathroom.
On emerging from Penn Station as from a none-too-clean public bathroom, I overheard people discussing 9/11. That seemed odd. New Yorkers don’t talk about 9/11; we leave that to politicians. When I reached home, fifteen minutes’ humid walk later, my doorman was also muttering about 9/11. Odder still.
I expected to find my daughter asleep. Not so.
“Can you tell something happened?” my wife asked.
She had seen the explosion while standing about a mile north of it (just as, on September 11th, 2001, she had seen the twin towers on fire from a position on Fifth Avenue about two miles north of the disaster) and asked two firefighters who were also gazing in its direction if the intersection where it had occurred was known. 41st Street, they said. Reassured that our home had not blown up, she went on to the rendezvous where she was to pick up our daughter from her baby-sitter. Our daughter and her baby-sitter were not there. I can imagine my wife’s reaction to that absence. (I knew nothing about it, sitting in a crowded Amtrak car, discussing a client project, and worrying about a missing iPhone.)
Finally our daughter arrived; her baby-sitter was put in a cab; and my wife and daughter attended a birthday party for one of our daughter’s friends—a younger girl who had just turned two. Pizza and cupcakes were served.
At seven, the party ended, and, as at all children’s parties in New York, the guests were shooed out.
Philadelphia is 100 miles from New York. I made it in an hour. It took my wife and daughter two hours to traverse the single mile home. The subways were out, two avenues were closed, the whole world was taking buses or walking north, away from the disaster. Just below the cutoff and oblivious to it, I walked home knowing nothing except that I had had a good meeting in Philadelphia, and had perhaps overdone it on the huevos rancheros at Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat Restaurant.
A steam pipe installed in 1924 ruptured in a thunderous explosion shortly before 6 p.m. today, sending steam, water and debris shooting outward and sending clouds of smoke and dust billowing through Midtown Manhattan at the height of the evening rush. One person died of cardiac arrest, and more than 20 others were injured. The authorities ruled out any criminal activity, saying the explosion was apparently caused by a failure of antiquated infrastructure.
My body insists it’s 10:30 at night, but the sun tells a different story. That orb has barely begun to set over Puget Sound, whose ripples magnify and fragment its blinding whiteness. The sun and its watery reflection are all I can see from my waterside hotel window. This is Seattle and I’ve come here to put on a show.
An Event Apart Boston 2007 was the best attended show since Mr Meyer and I founded our design conference scarcely sixteen months ago. Attendees came from as far away as Singapore and India. They hailed from Bulgaria (2), Canada (12), Estonia (1), Finland (2), India (1), Ireland (1), Latvia (1), Singapore (1), Sweden (1), the UK (3), and the US (510).
In all, 546 web artisans descended on Boston for our two-day event. The engagement and commitment of this audience were electric. Rather than waste pixels on my impressions of the show, I submit these third-party posts and artifacts:
Viewing slides without seeing the speaker’s live presentation is like trying to understand world events by looking at a photo of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Nonetheless, here are the slides from “Web Standards Stole My Truck!”
Matt Winckler’s quick summaries and reviews of the presentations. “The goal is to provide a few-sentence summary of each talk, followed by my quick rating on a scale of 1 to 10, followed again by my brief explanation of the rating.”
“An Event Apart Boston was a great experience. Whenever I’m at a conference, I get an insatiable urge to drop whatever I’m doing with my life and become an expert at whatever the speaker’s talking about. Anyway, a few notes.”
Justin Toupin, co-founder and design lead for Aten Design Group, reviews the show: “The conference was amazing. Nine expert speakers presented on a range of topics from the conceptual to the practical. I’ve never been so happy to sit in one place for so long.”
Ed Higgins: “It was the first conference I’ve been to that I’ve been sad about it ending. Typically the last day of most conferences just drags… At AEA, every session was gold and I wish it could’ve lasted longer.”
Grapefeed’s experiences at An Event Apart Boston included a nerve-grinding, last-minute scramble to an alternate train station when the Back Bay station was sealed off because of a gas leak. (Same thing happened to me.)
“I’ve been answering questions all day at An Event Apart about the new CS3 products. Even better, I gave away … three advance copies of CS3 Web Premium to three lucky attendees. An Event Apart is a really great mix of disciplines all centering on site design and development. I’ve talked to educators, government developers, indie web production shops, animators and video pros- just in the last hour alone.” (Adobe was a sponsor of An Event Apart Boston.)
Event Apart co-founder Eric Meyer: “I see the attendees at AEA as the craftsmen and women of the web. Sure, there are shops mass-producing sites, the way a factory churns out cheap clocks. That’s fine if you just want something to put on your nightstand. But if you want an elegant, finely tuned work of art that you’d hang in a prominent place, a clock that is as much a point of pride as a timepiece—you find a craftsman. And that’s who came to Boston. That’s who comes to An Event Apart.”
Tickets for the two-day event, including meals, goodies, and a party, are $795 (until May 21st). Seating is limited, first-come, first-served; registration opens March 15th. Details are available at aneventapart.com.
I’m doing something different for this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival. Instead of giving a talk or participating in a panel, I’ll be sharing my mobile phone with anyone who asks. Call it a micro-meetup.
Dust off your memories. I proudly carry the Motorola StarTAC. One day it will be as collectible as a Bulova watch from the 1950s, or the first-generation iPod. I acquired it before September 11th, 2001 and have held onto it all these many days and nights.
Lots of sleeker phones with richer features have come along over the years, but their interfaces always reeked, and I’m particular about interfaces: I like them simple, clear, and functional. I never felt the need to replace my Motorola StarTAC until I saw the iPhone.
After SXSW I will retire my faithful servant and switch to Apple’s new device.
If you see me at SXSW, whip out your digital camera (or camera-phone), and ask to see my Motorola StarTAC. We’ll commemorate the micro-event with a photo, and share the photos in a special Flickr group.
Registration is now open for An Event Apart Boston 2007. Enjoy two amazing days of design and code plus meals, a party, and a bag of swag for a mere $795 (reg. $895) while early bird savings last. Attend for as little as $745 with a discount code exclusively for zeldman.com readers.
Learn by day, party by night
On An Event Apart’s website, you’ll now find a detailed schedule describing the presentations with which our superstar speakers hope to entertain and enlighten you. From “Web Standards Stole My Truck!” to “Redesigning Your Way out of a Paper Bag,” it’s two stimulating days of best practices and fresh ideas in design, usability, accessibility, markup and code.
Lest you be overwhelmed by learning too much too soon, we’ll help you unwind (and do a little networking) at the Opening Night Party sponsored by Media Temple. You might even win a prize, courtesy of Adobe, New Riders, or Media Temple.
Our Boston Events page also includes notes to help you book your hotel room at a specially negotiated discount price.
Located in beautiful and historic Back Bay, the Boston Marriott Copley Place provides in-room, high-speed internet access; laptop safes and coolers; 27-inch color TV with cable movies; luxurious bedding and linens, and more. Best of all, it’s the site of the conference. You can walk out of your room and into the show!
Save more with discount code
During the early bird period, the price for this two-day event is $795. But you can nab an extra $50 off with this discount code exclusively for zeldman.com readers:
Just enter AEAZELD in An Event Apart’s shopping cart to enjoy those savings immediately. During our early bird period, you’ll pay just $745 for the two days and everything that comes with them.
After February 26, 2007, when the early bird savings ends, the price goes up to $895, and you’ll pay $845 with the discount. Still pretty good for two days with some of the sharpest minds and greatest talents in web design. But why pay more? Book An Event Apart Boston as soon as you can.
Unlimited creativity, limited seating
An Event Apart Boston will be the best conference Eric Meyer and I have yet put together. It will also be this year’s only East Coast Event Apart. Don’t miss it.
Join Eric and me, along with Steve Krug, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Molly Holzschlag, Cameron Moll, Dan Cederholm, Ethan Marcotte, and Jason Santa Maria, for what we modestly believe may be the most exciting and enlightening show in modern web design.
Hurry! Seating is limited and early bird savings end Feb. 26, 2007.
Event Apart Austin attendees, this post contains important information about parking, laptops, snacks and lunch, the after-party sponsored by Knowbility, our Flickr photo group, and more. The rest of you, please move along.
Austin, capital of Texas, “live music capital of the world,” and the Southwest’s answer to Silicon Valley, is a lively and remarkable town, teeming with history and high-rises, high-tech and dirty low-down blues. Seat of a great university and a million funky taverns, it’s paradise for music lovers and Tex-Mex junkies. Our favorite activity: breakfasting and celebrity-watching at Las Manitas Florist, 211 Congress Avenue (when we can get in). Yes, it’s called “Florist.” No, it’s not a florist, it’s a great Mexican cafe. Welcome to Austin!
Location, Laptops, and Lunch
An Event Apart Austin takes place…
Monday, November 6th, 2006, 9am – 5pm
Alamo Drafthouse Downtown
409 Colorado St. (Corner of 4th and Colorado; Directions and Map)
Austin, TX 78701
Yes, you can bring your laptop. Yes, there will be WI-FI. Yes, there will be chow throughout the day, including vegetarian choices. (Lunch options include veggie pizza, veggie sandwiches and salads. There are plenty of meat options, too.)
An Event Apart Austin runs from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. We have a lot to cover, so the event will start promptly. Arrive early to get a good seat! Doors open at 8:00 am; for best results, plan to show up between 8:00 am and 8:30 am. If you’re driving, leave yourself extra time to find a good parking space. (See the next section for details on parking.)
Parking can be a hassle, so come early and give yourself extra time. The Alamo Drafthouse says:
With the ongoing construction and the increased popularity of the warehouse district downtown, parking can be a real challenge. Street parking is still available for the crafty and persistent; we also recommend the parking structure between 3rd and 4th streets on San Antonio. The neighboring restaurants also have valet parking until midnight.
Happy Hour and a Half
An Event Apart Austin will be chock-full of design and code pleasures. But the fun (and the networking) don’t stop at 5:00. Join us after the show for a Happy Hour and a Half featuring complementary cocktails and savory snacks, sponsored by our good friends at Knowbility:
Happy Hour and a Half 6:00 – 7:30 The Belmont
306 W. 6th Street
Entering the Belmont Austin, with its wonderful 60s period decor, is like cruising Las Vegas or Palm Springs with Frank, Dino, and Sammy. Okay, it’s not—but it will be fun, especially after all those hours of brain work. Pull up to a plush banquette, order a free cocktail, and hob-nob with your fellow attendees.
Freebies From our Sponsors
By random drawing, some folks attending An Event Apart Austin will win software, books, or free hosting donated by our wonderful sponsors: Adobe, New Riders/AIGA Press, and Media Temple. Thank you, sponsors!
Join our Flickr Group!
You know you want to! Bring your digital camera and snap away (just be considerate of your fellow attendees). Share your snapshots with other attendees on our Flickr group:
Our letterhead isn’t finished. Our aging website doesn’t provide a clue. Ordinarily an announcement like this one would wait until a site redesign was complete, new business cards were slipped into wallets, and expertly prepared press materials had been carefully seeded in the fields of journalism and the lonely rooms of the blogosphere. But for reasons which will become apparent soon, we can’t wait to relate the news that Happy Cog™ is expanding.
In addition to its original New York flavor, Happy Cog now also comes in a delicious new Philadelphia blend, under the leadership of Happy Cog Philadelphia president Greg Hoy. Both offices provide high-level design and user experience consulting services. They share a vision. They share methods. They even share team members (some Cog personnel divide their time between New York and Philly).
More detailed and more meaningful announcements—not to mention an expanded and redesigned site—will come soon. Meanwhile, welcome, Jason, Rob, Daniel, Heather, Jon, Mark, and Robert Roberts-Jolly.