WordCamp New York City 2009

November 14–15, 2009
...was awesome!

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Accessibility Update: Thanks Again, Microsoft!

You may remember that a while back we were very excited to have secured the donated services of a CART provider to enable a deaf attendee to experience WordCamp NYC in person. Sadly, that donation fell through and we had to start our search again. I’m very happy to announce that we’ve got a new plan in place now, and that a new sponsor will be picking up the costs: Microsoft to the rescue again!

When we were unable to find another CART provider to donate services to the event as a sponsor, we decided the best course of action would be to simply hire a local provider and find a sponsor to cover the costs (around $1600). As Microsoft had already decided to become a sponsor of WordCamp NYC, it made sense to work with them around sponsoring accessibility, especially given their own extensive work in this area. Their position:

Microsoft Accessibility logoAccessibility makes it easier for anyone to see, hear, and use a computer, and to personalize their computer to meet their own needs and preferences. For many people with impairments, accessibility is what makes computer use possible. At Microsoft, our mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. We consider our mission statement a promise to our customers. We deliver on that promise by striving to create technology that is accessible to everyone—regardless of age or ability. Microsoft leads the industry in accessibility innovation and in building products that are safer and easier to use.

When people think of disabilities or accessibility, it usually summons images of wheelchairs or references to screen readers. However, there are a number of disabilities that require accommodation to ensure accessibility, including hearing disabilities. According to the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 34 million Americans have a significant hearing loss; of these almost six million are profoundly deaf (current U.S. population is estimated at 304,059,724, so that’s about eleven percent with significant hearing loss, and just under two percent with profound deafness). Within the web community, the numbers are a bit higher, possibly owing to how much computers have helped the deaf to communicate with the broader population. According to Microsoft’s Accessibility division, among adult computer users in the United States:

  • 1 in 4 has a vision difficulty
  • 1 in 4 has a dexterity difficulty
  • 1 in 5 has a hearing difficulty

Hearing difficulties can range from slight hearing loss to total deafness. We have only one deaf attendee in need of assistive technology services at our WordCamp, but clearly hearing disabilities need to be considered, especially with the proliferation of video and audio content on the web (to be accessible, information must be delivered visually as well, such as with transcripts).

Please join me in thanking Microsoft for their commitment to accessibility and for sponsoring assistive services for WordCamp NYC. Thanks, Microsoft!

Footnote: Yes, we will have a deaf attendee who will be accompanied to sessions by a transcriptionist. Because the live  transcription process requires special equipment, I’d like to make certain that our deaf attendee and her transcribers can get a seat in each session attended. So if you see two women looking around a crowded room holding computers and trying to find a seat, please consider offering yours if you’re able to stand or cop a squat on the floor. Thanks!

New Platinum Sponsor: Microsoft!

Microsoft logoWe are very happy to announce that Microsoft has stepped forward as a Platinum Sponsor for WordCamp NYC. Their generous contribution will allow us to focus more on the content of the event (and less on whether or not our checks will clear) as we continue to solidify plans. As platinum sponsors, Microsoft will have a table in our registration area, where they will be on hand to demo some of their products and service offerings and answer questions. Their interest in supporting WordPress and its open source community has been seen at previous WordCamps, such as the recent ones in Portland and Seattle, as well as in their dedication to developing for the WordPress platform with Live Writer and other initiatives. We are very grateful for their support. When you see them in a week and a half, stop and say hello (and thanks!).

Thank you, Microsoft!

Individual Sponsorships: Instant Karma

If you check out our sponsors page, you’ll see we’re doing pretty well with getting sponsors to help support WordCamp NYC. I’m surprised, though, that hasn’t been more traction on the lower-cost Individual and Consultant sponsorships. (While I’m thinking of it: Thank you, Baruch, Media Temple, WP e-Commerce, Margaret Roach, Shopp, EasyToBook.com, Sun, Tierra Innovation, WebDev Studios, Mojofiti and Slipfire for your support!)

At $250 and $500 respectively, these sponsorships are still cheaper than any of the conferences most people working with WordPress are likely to attend. In comparison, Future of Web Design (in NYC the 2 days after WordCamp NYC, one workshop day and one conference day) is $695. Web 2.0 Expo (in NYC the week following WordCamp NYC, lots of panels) ranges from $845 to $1995, depending on how much of it you want to attend. South by Southwest Interactive (in March in Austin, lots of panels) is $450-$550, depending on how soon you register.Have you taken a look at our program? The Saturday schedule alone is on par with those conferences.

The goal of WordCamp is to raise enough money that we can keep ticket prices low (and $40 for 2 days in NYC with the breadth of content we have is a damn good deal… a lot of our speakers are even speaking at those higher-priced conferences), but if WordPress is contributing to your success, maybe you should think of yourself as a potential sponsor rather than just an attendee. New Yorkers know how expensive our town is: food and beverage especially. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had enough money in the coffers to do something special food-wise, or put some money toward a bar tab for an afterparty?

If you sign on as an Individual or Consultant sponsor between now and November 10th, we’re upping the ante in terms of reward.

  • You’ll be listed on our sponsors page here on the site, with a link to yours.
  • We’ll thank you by name at the event.
  • You’ll be listed in the program, and can include your contact information so WordCamp NYC attendees looking for WordPress consultants/designers/developers can easily reach out to you.
  • If we have at least ten of these sponsors, we will have a special display at the event in the registration area thanking you for stepping up. You will be able to have an 8 1/2 x 11 sign listing your services and business cards at this display.

There will be a lot of people at WordCamp NYC looking to find developers and other WordPress gurus. Make yourself stand out by becoming an Individual or Consultant sponsor today, and show the community how much you love and appreciate WordPress!

To become an Individual or Consultant sponsor, just head to the Tickets page, scroll down, and select the sponsorship you would like to purchase. After your PayPal transaction is confirmed, we’ll get in touch with you about the publicity materials.

So come on, what are you waiting for? Celebrate your success by giving something back to the community that makes WordPress possible, and let us celebrate you in return.

*If you have already purchased a ticket but would like to upgrade to a sponsorship, email us at wordcampnyc/gmail/com.

Thank You, Media Temple!

Media Temple logo

I’m very pleased to announce that Media Temple has come on both as a Silver-level sponsor for the event and as the hosting sponsor for our Newbie track. What does this mean? Well, the cash means we can cover more expenses like food and printing costs, so that’s very appreciated. The hosting sponsorship is also seriously great, though: everyone who signs up for the Newbie track to learn how to use WordPress and get their first WordPress blog set up at WordCamp NYC will get one free year of hosting with Media Temple! Their 1-click WordPress install makes Media Temple the perfect hosting sponsor for us, and we are thrilled to have them on board.

The room we have reserved for the Newbie track can hold 78 people, and so far 30 of those slots are filled. That means that those 30 people and the next 48 newbies to sign up will get a major bonus! Not only will they be walked through how to use WordPress by some serious experts and walk out of the workshop with a fully functioning blog, they won’t even have to pay for their first year of hosting. Once we’ve had 78 people sign up for the Newbie track we’ll remove the option from the signup form, and create a waitlist in case anyone drops out.

Note: Newbie track attendees must bring their own laptops (wifi-enabled) to the event in order to participate and take advantage of this offer. If someone shows up without a laptop, their slot will be given to the first person on the waiting list (assuming they have a laptop with them, of course).

Media Temple will also be contributing several one-year hosting packages for our door prize raffle, because they love all WordPress users, not just the n00bs. : )

Thank you, Media Temple, for your support of WordCamp NYC!

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