Monday, December 5, 2011

St. Louis User and Tech Group Bowling Holiday Extravaganza 2011

In case you were wondering what I meant when I said "plans are still coming together for December," here you go...

It's that time of year again, when lots of St. Louis tech folks get together to demonstrate their bowling prowess, or the lack thereof!

Festivities start at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 13th, at the same place as last year:

   Tropicana Lanes
   7960 Clayton Road
   Richmond Heights, Missouri 63117

This time around, we've got enough lanes reserved for about 25 people to bowl simultaneously, or more if people switch out. Of course, you're also welcome to eat, drink, and socialize without doing the bowling thing.

Go here to let us know you're planning to attend (or strongly considering it):

It won't actually be free to bowl; we're just not going to collect money during registration. If you're bowling, $10 will get you 3 games and a pair of shoes, which is a pretty awesome deal. (If you're not bowling, then hey, just show up. Hanging out is free.)

Bowling starts at 7pm, but we recommend getting there a little early to get shoes, pick out a ball, etc.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November and December schedule

Hi all!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we're skipping the November meeting, since it's scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving. Just think vimmy thoughts while you're eating turkey and we'll call it even.

Plans are still coming together for December, but one thing's already certain: we won't be meeting on December 28th. Watch for more information soon.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Markdown (and a little Vim) at SLUUG this Wednesday, November 9th, at 6:30pm

Scott Granneman and I are doing this tomorrow evening:
Introduction to Markdown
by Scott Granneman & Bill Odom
SLUUG St. Louis Unix Users Group
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 - 6:30pm
Graybar Electric Co, Inc.
11885 Lackland Road, Maryland Heights, MO 63146
John Gruber, one of the inventors of Markdown, explains that Markdown began as a way to "write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML)... The overriding design goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to make it as readable as possible. The idea is that a Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions."
Markdown has grown far beyond its HTML-centric roots, however, and people now use it to generate documents in a huge variety of formats. Even so, the clean, simple syntax remains -- Markdown documents are still good ol' plain text, and are still as human-readable as ever.
This talk by Scott Granneman & Bill Odom will cover the basics of Markdown's syntax, key variants of Markdown, tools for composing Markdown (including Vim, of course!), and ways you can easily transform a plain text file written in Markdown into HTML, JSON, TXT, LaTeX, man, MediaWiki, Textile, DocBook XML, ODT, EPUB, Slidy and S5 HTML and JavaScript slide shows, RTF, or even Word!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This Wednesday, October 26th: Files and Buffers and Windows and Tabs and More!

Confused by the difference between a buffer and a window? Ever feel lost trying to deal with multiple files? Bewildered by Vim's oddball implementation of tabs?

We can fix that! Come to the next Vim Geeks meeting, where Bill Odom (hey, that's me) will untangle all the details in his creatively-titled talk "Files and Buffers and Windows and Tabs and More!" Before you know it, you'll be :only'ing and :bufdo'ing with the best of 'em.

The meeting is this upcoming Wednesday (a.k.a. October 26th, 2011), and kicks off at 6:30PM:

Computer Room
3720 Green Mount Crossing Drive
Shiloh, IL 62269

See you soon!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Next Vim Geeks meeting is 6:30PM on Wednesday, September 28

Vim users, rejoice!  It's time again for another Vim Geeks meeting, in just two days - Wednesday, September 28!

It has been a busy month...  Between the Ohio LinuxFest and Strange Loop, Bill and I (but, let's be honest, mostly Bill) have been introducing a lot of new users to the wonders of Vim.

In addition to filling everyone in on those adventures, I'd also like to show everyone a short presentation on Vim that I came up with as an introduction to the awesomeness that is Vim, if for no other reason than to get some feedback from the group.  Hopefully we have some new people this month though, and it will explain to them why they want to hang around.  :-)

Of course, if any of you have questions, want to show something off, etc., we'll find time for that too.
As always, the meeting starts at 6:30PM at the usual place:

Computer Room
3720 Green Mount Crossing Drive
Shiloh, IL 62269

See you there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Slides for "Vim: From Essentials to Mastery"

Hi, Strange Loop and Ohio Linux Fest attendees! Here are the slides from my Strange Loop presentation and from the class that Steven Pritchard and I gave at OLF:

Vim: From Essentials to Mastery

I'm told there's going to be a video of the Strange Loop talk as well, although it might take a while for it to be edited and posted. I'll pass it along when that happens.

Update (2012-04-11) - And here's the video, at long last:

Thanks again to everyone that attended, and for all the great feedback!

--Bill Odom

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vim: From Essentials to Mastery at OLF 2011

Ohio LinuxFest 2011 is coming up next week, September 9-11. As part of OLF Institute, Bill Odom and I will be teaching a full-day class on Vim on Friday, September 9. If you're like I was a year or so ago, and you think you know Vim just because you've been using vi forever, you really need to come to our class. Some of the things you can do with Vim will just blow your mind. (And if you don't even know vi, the class will be life-changing. :-)

The main conference is on Saturday, September 10. At 2PM, we'll have a special Vim Geeks Columbus BoF session which, like the rest of the conference on Saturday, you can attend for free.

For more information about the Vim class, see

For more information about OLF 2011, see the web site:

The full class description follows:

VIM: From Essentials to Mastery

Instructors: Steven Pritchard and Bill Odom

Vim deserves its reputation as one of the most powerful tools in an admin or developer's toolbox -- but it's not exactly friendly and approachable. Even long-time users rarely employ more than a fraction of its capabilities, and new users are often left wondering why so many apparently-sane people won't shut up about how awesome it is. The stark UI, the steep learning curve, the host of idiosyncrasies... mastering Vim is a challenge, and that's putting it politely.

In this class, you'll learn why it's worth the effort.

We'll start by covering the essentials of Vim, like modes, motions, operators, and commands, with an emphasis on why Vim works the way it does in addition to how it works. With the fundamentals firmly established, we'll work our way through real-world examples of using Vim to perform astounding feats that poor souls using lesser editors can only imagine. We'll cover ways to integrate Vim with your environment, tailor it to your work, and generally bend it to your every whim. We'll discuss important settings, advanced techniques, useful customizations, handy scripts, must-have plugins, crafty tips, and sneaky tricks.

In short, we'll explore how to use Vim most effectively, so it lives up to the awesome reputation that you'll soon be telling all your disbelieving friends about.

Bios: Steven Pritchard has nearly two decades of Linux and Unix experience. A dedicated Open Source advocate, he founded the Southern Illinois Linux Users Group in 1994 and has been a volunteer developer with Red Hat's Fedora Project since it began in 2003. He is also an author of the award winning LPI Linux Certification in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed (O'Reilly & Associates). Steven currently offers his technical services through the Computer Room, a retail technical sales and service company outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

Bill Odom has over two decades of experience as a systems architect and software developer, working on everything from wiki software for Internet startups to global identity management solutions for Fortune 500 companies. He's also a long-time member of the Open Source community, an active member (and periodic leader) of several user groups in the St. Louis area, and served as president of the Perl Foundation from 2005 through 2007.

Steven and Bill are both long-time users and advocates of Vim, and are the founders of the St. Louis Vim Geeks. They've given several well-received presentations, tutorials, and classes on Vim to many Midwest organizations.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Yes, there is an August meeting!

Bet you thought we'd forgotten, huh?

Nope! We're all set for 6:30pm on Wednesday, August 24th. Here's what's on the agenda:
  • Nate Neff will demonstrate how he uses Vim to do test-driven development in Grails.
  • Steve and I are gearing up to teach a class on Vim at the 2011 Ohio LinuxFest, and we want to hear what you'd like to get (or like your co-workers to get) out of a full day of intense Vim instruction.
  • We're considering hosting the meetings somewhere less Illinois-ish. Come campaign for your favorite location!
And, as always, we'll end up discussing all sorts of stuff even slightly related to Vim (and we're pretty flexible on the "slightly related" part).

We'll see you at 6:30pm on Wednesday, August 24th. You know where we'll be (for now, anyway):

Computer Room
3720 Green Mount Crossing Drive
Shiloh, IL 62269

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Next Vim Geeks meeting is 6:30pm on Wednesday, June 22nd!

Ready for another chance to hang out with local Vim aficionados? Well, you're in luck, because the next meeting's Wednesday, June 22nd!

This time, we'll have not just one but two presentations:
  • Steven Pritchard will dispel the mysteries of Vim syntax files.
  • Bill Odom (a.k.a., yours truly) will explain the nifty stuff you can do with registers.
And, of course, there'll be the always-interesting Q&A and spur-of-the-moment demos and stimulating digressions -- you know, the usual good time.

It's 6:30pm on Wednesday, June 22nd, and you can already guess the place:

Computer Room
3720 Green Mount Crossing Drive
Shiloh, IL 62269

Don't miss it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Next meeting is Wednesday, April 27th at 6:30pm

Interested in adding Vim to your toolbox, but don't know how to get started? We can help!

At the next Vim Geeks meeting, we'll cover getting Vim installed on your system, configuring it to cater to your every whim, the essentials of using it effectively, and resources to take you beyond the basics. It's a combination of presentation, Q&A, and working session, so bring your laptop (all operating systems welcome — Vim works great on Windows, too) and join in the fun.

We'll be gathering this Wednesday, April 27th, at the usual spot:

Computer Room
3720 Green Mount Crossing Drive
Shiloh, IL 62269

See you there!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vim Geeks meeting this Wednesday, March 23rd! (Really!)

Remember that meeting we were going to have in January, that then got moved to February, and then didn't happen? Well, persistence pays, because we're back on schedule as of this week.

We'll be vimming it up at the Computer Room on Wednesday at 6:30pm. I'll finally talk about the Vim plugin, and I'm sure several other topics will get tossed around, too. If you've got something you want to ask, show, or tell, then be sure to bring it along.

As always, here's the place to be:

Computer Room
3720 Green Mount Crossing Drive
Shiloh, IL 62269

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tonight's Vim Geeks meeting cancelled - next meeting is February 23rd

Alas, it seems the January meeting just wasn't meant to be. After postponing it a week (and thereby turning it into an early-February meeting), we've had to cancel it entirely due to the insane weather.

But all is not lost! We still have a (real) February meeting planned in our regular (ha!) time slot: Wednesday, February 23rd, at 6:30pm.

Look for a full announcement a little closer to the date. For now, keep warm and stay safe.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We're having January's meeting late...

Or, to look at it in a more positive light, we get to have 2 meetings in February!

January's meeting has been bumped off a week, which means we'll be taking over the SILUG meeting on February 2.  A formal announcement will be forthcoming...