Writing more, maybe enough for a book

A MessThroughout high school and even into college I really liked english classes, I liked the writing and creativity. The construction of a well formed document with flow and coherence.

I guess that is why I started a blog, it has been an on and off relationship for a while since high school and when motivated my thoughts can come flowing out.

Its like programming, after some well thought out procedures and operations does the flow of the program work, function correctly and look beautiful.

One of my new years resolutions is to get back into writing, I really enjoy it and it needs to become a large part of my life. Now working with some really phenomenal writers I see where I am lacking and really need to get back in the game.

Its easy as a programmer to just say “Im a programmer, it doesn’t matter if i spell things correct as long as they are consistent”. That has been the mentality at work for a while now and it really doesn’t help anyone since misspellings often fall through the cracks and it makes everyone look unprofessional.

My biggest issue is using larger or obscure words since working on the web and dumbing everything down to fifth grade level its hard to get back to reality and write good copy where every word counts.

There is a lot of things I am passionate about and web standards and accessibility is one of them. Working the university environment as really inspired me to take my knowledge and teach others.

Although standing up, teaching and seeing everyones reaction when they get it is great I would love to expand my reach beyond the people I know. I will be speaking at a conference in March about publishing and promoting events online.

A large part of my job is creating tools for people to use and teaching them how to take advantage of them. Although we are part of a university environment the tools we create are meant to be used outside since marketing has to reach external audiences.

And seeing more of the people I follow online writing books and speaking at large venues about their passions really inspires me to write a book and help everyone curious about how pulling information together in a decentralized environment. Getting the tools built, getting peoples buy in and keeping users using the system for their and the whole communities advantage.

More to come later on book ideas and more frequent updates due to my New Years resolution.


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.