Month: July 2017

Southbank, After WordCamp Brisbane 2017

Southbank, After WordCamp Brisbane 2017

When The Doors Closed on WordCamp Brisbane 2017 –  Southbank Beckoned!

That bittersweet moment, when you are tired enough to want to go home, but inspired enough to want more. A sad farewell to old and new friends and a promise to stay in touch. Only then did our thoughts stray to dinner, and Southbank beckoned. In search of a quick and easy meal, and to ensure the early night we’d promised ourselves, three of us headed across the bridge towards Southbank, on Sunday night.

Crossing the bridge towards Southbank

Looking back at the Treasury Casino from the bridge

The lights shimmering on the river made us forget about food…

….just long enough to capture the beauty of this part of the city.

The Brisbane Wheel gives a birds-eye-view of the city, especially beautiful at night

The shimmer of lights on the Brisbane River was spectacular

Southbank, Brisbane, is a vibrant hub of activity, even on a Sunday night. In search of food, of the quick and easy variety, the splendour of this waterfront corner of the city opened up. Pop-up markets, with a vast array of Asian food, had enticed a large crowd. You would have to wonder if the crowds at the Night Noodle Market were locals having an easy night, or out-of-towners, like us? Either way, the relaxed atmosphere held us captive, for a while. But in need of a quieter atmosphere, we walked on. There are more permanent restaurants along the streets of Southbank, and we found the perfect place. Quiet, warm, peaceful, and enough choices to satisfy all our priorities – even Vegetarian options for me.

The beauty of the Brisbane city night sky

Taking the long way back to the bridge gave us another spectacular light-show

Fed, weary, and in desperate need of rest, we made our way back to our respective hotels.

If Australia WordCamp 2018 doesn’t come soon enough, we’ll look to foreign shores to get our WordCamp fix. The WordPress family comes together at WordCamp, and we can’t wait to meet again.

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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 2 comments
On A Cold Dark Night, In Brisbane

On A Cold Dark Night, In Brisbane

Compared to its southern counterparts, Brisbane’s winters are mild. But even Brisbane’s mild winters feel cold when you’ve been north of the border for a few years. Besides, I had just walked two blocks from Edward Street to George Street.

Even Brisbane's mild winters can feel cold

Brisbane on a cold, dark night

Why was I walking around Brisbane on a cold night?

Because WordCamp starts tomorrow and the Welcome Drinks were at the Stock Exchange Hotel on Edward Street, and I’m staying at a Hotel on George Street – two blocks away. But it was on the last block, on Charlotte Street, that I realised how nice Brisbane looks at night.

How did we ever manage before we had Smart Phones with great cameras built into them? And how many ‘Kodak’ moments did we miss because we didn’t have our camera with us? In an instant I was poised, iPhone in hand, ready to capture the moments of the night.

Could a tube of superglue be holding this together?

An old facade, cleverly incorporated into the new.

It’s Only A Facade!

I’ve walked along this street many times, and I’ve never noticed that sign on the wall. A quick bit of research has revealed that John Reid & Nephews was an engineering firm. The front of the old building is the only part that’s left, and it has been cleverly glued to the front of the new Telstra Building.  Now there’s a novel use for super-glue.

Open 24 Hours a day

The Pancake Manor

One of my favourite places in Charlotte Street is the Pancake Manor, which is housed in an old Anglican Church. The food is good and it’s open 24 hours a day. Great for  early morning brekkies, and midnight snacks.

The camera is drawn to the lamps like a moth to a flame

The line of lamps illuminate the dark laneway between the buildings

Lights, on a dark night, draw a camera to them like a moth to a flame. I couldn’t resist the neat line of lamps illuminating the laneway between the buildings, that I’m guessing are part of the Treasury Casino.

How long will these old relics survive?

The new and modern, dwarf the old and historical

And who could resist this? As I turned the corner into George Street, the beauty of the old buildings summoned me to go closer. The stark contrast of the old, dwarfed by the new, leaves me wondering how long these relics of the past will survive? Will our grandchildren and great grandchildren wonder what life must have been like in the old days? Will the only link be an album of aging photographs?  I hope not; but, I will capture as many moments as I can, on a cold dark night in Brisbane, just in case.

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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 0 comments
China – The Good, The Bad And The WOW!!

China – The Good, The Bad And The WOW!!

Reminiscing – The China Trip – October 2016

Let’s start with the bad

Days on the China trip were filled with great activities, and tours were not to be missed. The very clever organisers (Thanks, Julie and Suzy!) had planned alternating  ‘chill-out’, and ‘out-and-about’ days that provided just the right amount of rest, in between hectic tours. But the one thing that put a damper on our travels, whether it was an ‘in’ or ‘out’ day, was the weather.

Great Weather For Ducks…

It rained! And it rained. And it rained. Not enough to stop us from doing anything, but enough to cover a lot of the photos I took with ‘drops’. Some photos would have been fantastic – if you could have seen through the raindrops on the window of the bus, which is where I took most photos from. There wasn’t enough time to stop for photos at every bridge or building along the way, so I had to rely on my iPhone camera to capture moments as we sped by. This usually worked, but not when the windows were covered in raindrops.

The colours of Shanghai shone through the rainy night

Shanghai, through a rain misted window

But I learned a lot about umbrellas and weatherproof jackets on that trip. Did you know that Starbucks at Zhujiajiao have little bags to put your wet umbrella in? It beats the heck out of water dripping all over the floor because you don’t want to leave your favourite (or only) brolly in the container at the door.

Now That The Bad Is Out Of The Way, Let’s Move On To The Good

Our first big excursion was from Shanghai to Nanjing on the Bullet Train. Nanjing is the capital of the Jiangsu Province and is also known as the Southern Capital, with Beijing being the Northern Capital. The replica of one of Admiral Zheng He’s Treasure Ships, reportedly built in the 15th Century, was amazing. The beauty of the wooden structure conjured up images of ancient seafarers travelling the high seas, risking life and limb. I wonder what they would think of the luxury liners we travel on now?

Sailors must have been brave - back then

A replica of the 15th Century ship

Replica of the 15th Century ship

As old as it is, the design is still beautiful

Shanghai City

Another big day out turned into three big days (and two nights). Shanghai is a big city! There are more people living there than in the whole of Australia (2016).  We didn’t meet them all, but we felt like we’d seen most of them. They were driving on the highways. Nearly all of them! Well, it certainly felt that way as we made our way slowly through the traffic.

The population of Shanghai is higher than Australia in 2016

It was a slow trip through Shanghai traffic

Our accommodation for two nights, while exploring Shanghai, was at the Radisson Blu, a seriously nice hotel. The famous Bund was not far away and a coach was at our disposal to get us around the city, which is just as well because it rained!

Shopping Vs The Harbour

I’d heard the shopping was good at the Bund and was looking forward to checking it out, but we sacrificed shopping for a spectacular view of the harbour at night. The view was the better deal because the rain held off long enough for some great photos.

Window shopping in Shanghai

Shopping in Shanghai was sacrificed for a view of the Harbour by night

The colours of Shanghai Harbour light up the darkness of the night

The lights from Shanghai Harbour on an overcast night

And Now For The WOW!!

One of the highlights of the trip was a day in Suzhou, one of the most popular tourist towns in China. I thought that Zhujiajou was spectacular, but Suzhou was even more so.  A boat ride along the canals of this ancient town exceeded any expectations I had of what China had to offer. It was like looking over the back fences of the neighbourhood. Seeing locals going about their daily chores; kids waving from the pier; barges hauling their cargo. There is no better way to get up close and personal with Chinese culture than skimming past their back door on a boat. It was magic!

Water Towns of China are a must-see

We drifted slowly by the homes of local people

One of the Water Towns of China

One of the canals in Suzhou

There are eight significant Water Towns in China and my Travel Bucket List now includes visiting each one of them. But that’s another adventure, for another time.

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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 3 comments
WordCamp Is Nearly Here!!!

WordCamp Is Nearly Here!!!

WordCamp Is Just Over A Week Away!!!

22-23 July 2017

QUT Gardens Point Brisbane

I’m Attending WordCamp Brisbane 2017

The Countdown Is On!

Less than 2 weeks to go and I can hardly wait to get there!!!

  • transport is sorted
  • accommodation is booked
  • iPad and iPencil are fully charged
  • spare batteries – packed
  • camera – packed

Why is WordCamp exciting? Because WordCamp is a two-day conference filled with inspiring speakers, generous sponsors and lots of like-minded people, and because the cost of this amazing event is incredibly low! In fact, you won’t believe how low it is.

WordCamp is about WordPress, and WordPress is probably the easiest website building tool on the planet! WordPress has made the process so easy that even I could do it. You start by downloading the WordPress software script from WordPress.org, and you start building. You can have anything from a simple blog site  – to a money-making online business site. The choice is yours.

When I started on the journey of building a website in 2016, I booked myself into WordCamp Sunshine Coast (Queensland – Australia) for my first WordPress live experience. I was hoping to have a lot of questions answered over the two days – only to discover that I didn’t really have the questions clearly formulated – they were kind of swimming around in my head without any specific words attached. It’s kind of hard when you don’t know – what you don’t know. The one big question of ‘How do I Blog?’ was put on the backburner during the first few sessions at WordCamp, when I found out there are a lot more important things to learn before you get to the blogging stage. First I had to overcome my fear and just start building my sites and start my blog, even though I didn’t really know what I was doing. One of the outstanding presentations at the conference was a successful web designer who admitted her initial fear of building her first website, and how WordPress had helped her gain the confidence she needed to start building sites for others. I guessed the secret was to just roll your sleeves up, get in, and get it done, regardless of the fear.

WordCamp has its own cute Logo (Photo from 2016.sunshinecoast.wordcamp.org)

Why Would You Want To Go To WordCamp?

Because these days, it seems that everyone has a blog. And thousands of people read them! When we are looking for information about a specific topic, we type a word or phrase into our favourite search engine and Oila!, more information than you can poke the proverbial stick at. And somewhere in those search results, we’re sure to come across a blog.

Popular blogs include information about:

  • Shopping
  • Reviews – products/services
  • Travel – where to go/how to get there
  • Food – including cooking information/recipes/
  • ‘How To’ Guides
  • Money Making Ideas
  • DIY ideas
  • Fashion – what to wear/where to get it
  • Self Improvement
  • Health
  • Technology
  • Sports
  • Writing – fiction/non-fiction

Whatever it is that gets you fired up, you could be sharing it with the world, on your own website.

Once you’ve downloaded the WordPress Software, you’ll need a quirky name for your new website. I found the domain name for my site from GoDaddy, one of the sponsors of WordCamp Brisbane 2017, but there are lots of sites offering domain names. You simply type in a quirky name for your site, and if it’s available, you can (usually) buy it for a really low annual fee (you certainly can with GoDaddy). Then, you need to find a hosting company, and there are plenty around at very affordable prices. The hosting company puts your site out there, on the Internet. That’s not very technical, but you know what I mean. It’s what makes your site ‘findable’ on the Internet. There’s not much sense in building a fabulous website if it just sits on your desktop and nobody ever sees it, right? Right! There are lots of hosting companies to choose from, including:

What Does Building A Website Have To Do With WordCamp?

Lots!
When you buy your ticket to WordCamp Brisbane 2017, you are buying access to two-days of top-notch speakers (professional and newbies) who are well-versed in website building and sharing their stories about how they’ve progressed through the WordPress journey – the trials, tribulations and successes. The most inspiring are the ones who had no experience before building their first website and who, through WordPress, have gone on to build a successful blog or online business. Your WordPress site can be as easy, or as customised, as you want it to be.

Over a coffee or lunch, you’ll be able to meet and mingle with the speakers and ask any of those questions you didn’t get a chance to ask in the sessions. You’ll also meet other attendees who are on the same web-building journey as you. Perhaps they have the same interests and can share tips and tricks to save you time and effort in your journey?

You just need an idea of what you want to create and the time to ‘play around’ with the site until you develop what you need. The support provided by WordPress will have you sharing your web-address with family and friends in no time. WordPress online training will help you get started, and then lead you down the road of web-development until you reach your destination – your very own website for your blog – or maybe an online business. You don’t have to know anything about Code (HTML, CSS etc.) to build a website with WordPress. There are plenty of Themes, Widgits, and Plug-Ins that are built in or easily accessible. But I guarantee it won’t be long before you are wanting to tweak your site with a few extra quirky bits. I’ve recently discovered the value of adding a little code here and there, and I’m loving it. When  you know a few basics, it makes the job a lot more fun.

When you start building a website in WordPress, you become part of an extended family. While most earthly families get together over lunch on Sundays, or the family bbq, the WordPress family gets together at WordCamp.

WordCamps are held around the world and provide support and encouragement at every level of your development, in all things ‘website’. From humble beginnings at the novice level, to the most accomplished web-design tools for professional web-designers; there really is something for everyone with WordCamp.

Speakers include:

Just Do It!
Presented by Robey Lawrence
Basically a story about how opportunities can open themselves up to you when you make the decision to overcome your fears and anxieties and ‘Just Do It!’.
Starting from the beginning of how he got into the WordPress centred career he’s in today, by punching his fears in the face and putting himself out there.

HOW TO MAKE GOOGLE LOVE YOUR WORDPRESS SITE
Presented by Kate Toon
In this presentation, Kate will tell you the tips, techniques and tactics that she uses to help make sites 100% Google lovable, including:
The impact of hosting and domain choice
Integral set up steps that boost SEO friendliness
My top 10 Plugins to improve SEO
Easy peasy content formatting
What to consider when offering on going SEO packages

Normally, a conference with such qualified and informative speakers would cost a fortune, but not at WordCamp. Value for money puts WordCamp way out in front.

The Total Cost of WordCamp is just $50!   

What you get for your $50 is:

  • access to two days of informative speakers
  • a t.shirt and lanyard
  • lunch on both days
  • lots of coffee
  • after-party (yes, that includes the Saturday night party!)
  • networking opportunities – you’ll be surprised at the people you’ll meet
  • the opportunity to ask lots of questions of both speakers and sponsors over a cuppa, or something stronger at the After Party

Getting your Swag at WordCamp

Photo from Brisbane WordCamp website

Oh, and there are usually give-aways by the sponsors who proudly put their support behind this fabulous event.

Now, There Are Only Three Things Left To Do:

      1. Download the Free WordPress Software
      2. Start building your website
      3. Get a ticket to a WordCamp near you

      At time of writing – tickets to WordCamp Brisbane 2017 have sold out, but watch the site for a possible release of more tickets – no guarantees – but you might be lucky.

      See you online and at WordCamp!

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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 1 comment