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On the matter of something inspiring

Awesome, my white elephant giftWithout inspiration nothing gets done, nothing good at least. And although good things are subjective its easy to notice when you see them.

My inspiration is talks, I love listening to them, reading slides and see what people are working on. Their passion inspires me, their love for their projects and leading edge work makes me want to further my work. Its not to compete with them its just their pure passion they are pouring out to the crowd makes me inspired to pour my passion into my work and hopefully be able to present my work to an interested crowd.

Secondly inspiring blog posts really get me going and ready to work on something that will change the world. I have a philosophy that if something you are working on will not change the world your time as a living thinking human is being wasted, might sound a little harsh but i am not an absolutist. Of course things like shopping or cleaning are not what I am talking about but all interactions with people and work. The thought of expanding the human race always needs to be a motivating factor.

We are all human, we all have the same goal in mind, lets not loose sight of that.

Your not told what your not suppose to know.

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Back to basics, focusing on essentials

Old School v New School

So I decided it was time to update the look of my site. I knew I needed more room for content, code snippets just don’t fit in 300 pixels. This update was primarily inspired by my recent decision to move from Palm to Blackberry.

Back to basics, getting rid of the clutter and flare, my site is not here to sell a product but instead teach ideas and present research. One thing the Blackberry does that Palm lacks is the back to basics text driven menus and single application screen and single method of traversing the phone.

The Palm reminds me of Java, over the years it has grown to try to fit everyones needs without realigning or saying no to features which only fit one category of customer. Clunky interfaces and random restarts often happen because of the lack of integration.

In addition to the actual functionality improvements the screen on the BB is a tiny bit smaller but RIM has way better font support and smoothing so making the text quite small increases the amount of text on the screen by 25% over the Palm. I didn’t make my text size any smaller but what I did was increase the space for each entry and went to a fully em controlled layout for more flexibility.

Realigning the content with the right column in my mind was the best decision of the realign, before all my “personal” data was scattered at the top, left and bottom. I decided to concentrate it all on the right column to a clear separation from the article and personal items.

Another thing that bothered me about SimpleLog is that it did not natively validate. The Archives and Search page had some terrible nesting issues. Diving into the core code I changed these to produce a better POSH structured site. Before I was experimenting with the Blueprint CSS framework, well lets just say it was thrown out the window in this version, way too much overhead and not enough benefit.

The design will transform as time goes on as all things but as of right now straightforward is in and I am sticking to it.

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Shrinking a Big World.

Working on a promotions add-onTaking something large and packaging it into something short, sweet and understandable is a designers passion. Taking a step back it is also a programmer and teachers passion.

Yesterday I had the honor to give a top down talk and tutorial of a web site manager to my Senior Seminar group. This included all the logic behind a site managers functionality down to the implementation using PHPSimpl

It was really great to be able to explain my passion for the web and visualize it on a whiteboard to people who initially could not grasp even a part of the process, to in the end being so excited about the system they wanted to run to a computer and start coding.

My first attempt to get the group involved was to trace through a web manager and go into detail about how everything connected, this failed miserably. So taking a step back I reverted back to my love for design and took a high level approach and then lead down to the actual code.

A whiteboard is the best teaching tool in my opinion, you can sit at a computer all day and look at code and understand but without seeing the relationships between everything coding can only go so far. Understanding the whole system only breeds better system development, less chance of code clash and fewer bugs.

What it comes down to is the ability to take the huge world of a program, a site, or a collection of sites and package it up to give relevance to the actual user. We do this when creating navigation for a site all the way to creating features for the content management system which houses over 200 sites.

The best programmers, designers and educators can take the massive amounts of data and sum it up, package it and deliver it directly to the brain to influence excitement and energy into the students and process.

My hat goes to all those teachers out there who get to practice this passion to inspire, keep up the good work.

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PHPSimpl made it to del.icio.us popular "php"

We made it! Well sorta, small steps… PHPSimpl made it to the Del.icio.us PHP popular list. Its a small step but hey any recognition is good recognition.

PHPSimpl del.icio.us information

It have kinda fell off my radar, work has been crazy lately, my development time has been limited due to my new position and this is the perfect thing to kick start my development of it.

It is actually running all the sites that Wayne State University  Marketing and Communications  puts out. We develop a lot of sites and this framework makes it all possible.

I am contemplating changing the name and am in the process of getting approval for the name on Google Code. It may or may not happen but if it does it will bring a true identity to this unknown framework.

BTW, version 0.8.3 is about to be released because of all this and it is the best so far, quite a bit more stable and a few added features.

If there is anything you would like to see added to the project or just want to check it out please feel free to do so. A few ways are:

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"Regrets" series of films


Shiny ideas always catch the eye. I really got inspired by the “Regrets” series of films by Steve Delahoyde, the hobbies one really caught my attention, I ended up watching the rest and kept wanting more. The way it was filmed and the mood really sucked me in. The seriousness of the actors really portray a trueness to the subjects. It really inspired me seeing what others have done with their passion to create something so entertaining and yet so true. My regret is not pouring more of my heart and soul into my work.

Check them out for yourself, you will enjoy them.