Our First Project: WordCamp Videos

It’s been pretty quiet around here, but it’s been busy behind the scenes as we worked through budgets, tax requirements, legalese and reviewing the ways in which the Foundation could be of most use in helping to promote WordPress and provide education to the WordPress community. Our first program is centered around making it possible for all interested parties to benefit from the presentations and workshops given at locally-organized WordCamps around the world.

WordPress.tv hosts all WordCamp video free of charge as a community service, but not every WordCamp is able to record sessions, as organizers and volunteers don’t have access to the proper equipment. Moving forward, the Foundation will be working on making it possible for every WordCamp to publish their session videos by providing video kits.

We used WordCamp NYC as a test drive, and bought a handful of Flip HD Slide cameras and gorillapods, thinking that small, easy-to-use cameras would be the easiest for volunteers to operate, as well as the safest to ship back and forth between WordCamps. However, we found that the Flips had four serious problems:

  1. Though the Slides were chosen because they can record up to 4 hours of continuous video, the fact is that the battery does not last more than 2 hours. They didn’t put that in the ads! WordCamp NYC was a nightmare in this respect, with Flip operators constantly needing to trade out cameras so they could be recharged, because….
  2. You can’t plug a Flip into an outlet while it is in use. We bought a couple of wall chargers, but plugging the USB connector into the outlet charger still means the camera can’t be recording at that moment (and when it’s plugged into a computer’s USB port, it’s obviously out of rotation).
  3. The USB connector that flips (ha) out is not as sturdy as other Flip models, so that when it is plugged into a computer port or a wall charger, it is precarious, wobbly, and stops charging (and downloading video) when the connection is interrupted.
  4. The sound is terrible unless the camera is right in the front row during a presentation, and you can’t connect an external microphone.

Because of these issues, we’re going to go with a slightly more complex, but vastly more reliable solution. We’re buying kits containing a Canon Vixia camcorder that records onto SD cards, a compact, expanding tripod, an external microphone, and a hard case to hold it all. The cases will provide protection for the electronics during shipping, and we’ll put together a simple user guide for the volunteers to learn how best to record the sessions.

We’re ordering the first of these kits now, and once we confirm that the components we’ve chosen are definitely the best ones for the job, we’ll buy more kits so that we can cover multiple tracks at the larger WordCamps and/or multiple smaller WordCamps. For now we’re going to begin with WordCamps in the U.S., but hope to expand this to support international events in the future. Since WordCamps are some of the best educational WordPress events around, it will be awesome for people around the world to be able to watch the sessions whenever they like for free on WordPress.tv, overcoming the barriers of geography, economics and time that might prevent them from attending a WordCamp in person.

WordPress Trademark in the House

WordPressWe are pleased to announce that Automattic has made a remarkable and generous donation by transferring ownership of the WordPress trademark to the WordPress Foundation. We’re honored to accept this donation, and to preserve and protect the trademark in the years ahead as a keystone part of the Foundation’s mission to ensure that WordPress is around and thrives for generations to come.

It is highly unusual (to say the least) for a company to give away a trademark worth millions, and this move by Automattic is extremely generous and community-minded.

Matt has posted about the decision to donate the trademark on his blog, and our official trademark policy is posted here on this site.

Thank you, Automattic! The Foundation will do its best to safeguard this legacy.

Our First Donation

Exciting news: the first official donation to the WordPress Foundation has arrived! WordCamp NYC found themselves with a budget surplus after the November 2009 event, and decided that the best way to put the money back into the community would be a donation to the new Foundation. Their donation of $28,069.25 kicks things off with a bang.

No, it’s not a typo. $28,069.25.

Specific programs have not been identified/set up yet, but it is the hope of the WordCamp NYC organizers that the majority of the funds can be earmarked toward initiatives to extend the reach of WordCamps. There are a few different forms this could take, so we’ll be looking at possibilities over the next few weeks to find the best use of the money. One idea is to fund streaming and recording video of WordCamp sessions so that people can reap the educational benefits of attending a WordCamp even if they are not able to attend in person.

Whatever is decided about how to utilize this donation, we’re very grateful for the generosity of WordCamp NYC in deciding to use their budget surplus to give back to the community.

Please visit the WordCamp NYC site for more information about WordCamp NYC’s decision to make this donation.

Getting off the ground

Hello, world.

The moment we’ve all been waiting for: the WordPress Foundation is now public. As they say, slow cookin’ makes good eatin’.

We finally have all our ducks in a row, proper tax status, and the beginnings of a non-profit mission to work toward.

So, welcome! Please have a look around the site to learn a bit about what this first iteration is going to set out to do. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them — but read all the pages on the site first. 🙂