Recap: Refresh the Triangle January Meeting

This past Wednesday (Jan 23rd), Patrick and I headed down to Durham, NC to attend and take part in the January meeting of Refresh the Triangle. This month's “Refresh” was hosted at Bronto's beautiful office space in downtown Durham. This Refresh we wanted to try out a new and different form of presentation known as “Lightning Talks,” brief ten-minute talks in quick succession. Wayne Sutton kicked things off with his talk about using Twitter to drive traffic to your site, as well as some creative ideas on how to have fun within the growing Twitter community. Our own Patrick Reagan showed us how we can clean up HTML mark-up within our Ruby/Rails projects using Haml. The crowd was all "oohs and ahhs" as Pat used his Keynote wizardry to transform messy mark-up into beautiful Haml code right before our very eyes! Josh Vickery took us through the often intimidating world of the Gimp, with the unique perspective of a hacker in need of the occasional web graphic. This was especially appreciated by us developers who lack the expertise of our designer brothers and sisters, but who still require the occasional simple image for our projects. Another Viget original, Peyton Crump, gave us a designer's perspective on using and implementing the Google Maps API. Additionally, Peyton provided everyone with a large array of resources and links for everything concerning Google Maps API, making his presentation an invaluable resource in and of itself for both designers and developers interested in creating Google Maps mash-ups, maplets, and so forth. Finally, Julia Kulla-Mader shared her enthusiasm and vast knowledge of the open-source PHP-based CMS Drupal. Julia is a contributor to the Drupal project and was very keen on expressing some of the reasons that make Drupal such a popular CMS in both personal and professional web markets. All this information and knowledge-sharing took place over the span of 90 minutes. The meeting was followed by a few beers and friendly conversation down at Tyler's bar, which shares the same magnificent red-brick building as Bronto's office. The January Refresh saw a mix of designers and developers coming together and sharing some of the technologies that we're really passionate about. While we're still settling into the rapid cadence of our lightning talks, we're also really coming into our own at the Refresh the Triangle meetings. If you are a developer, designer, or just simply interested in technology and its rapidly-shifting trends, I encourage you to check out a Refresh meeting. You’ll get an opportunity to expand your knowledge on design and development topics, as well as get to know the cream-of-the-crop talent in your local area.
Matt Swasey

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