Tag Archives: life

Be not afraid

Be not afraid to…
…live your life on your own morals.
…let others live their life on theirs, so long as they do not harm others.
…be alone.
…share your heart.
…show compassion and empathy.
…speak your mind.
…let others speak theirs and, more importantly, to listen when they do.
…make decisions that scare you and force you to grow.
…forgive yourself, most especially when you don’t think you can or should.
…show your love to those you care about, openly and earnestly.
…pick someone up when they are down.
…let someone else pick you up.
…help when you can, how you can, with no expectation beyond the recipient paying it forward – if they so choose to.
…be yourself and, as a result, keep only those around that accept you.
…live, love, embrace and share joy, laugh, and burn fiercely in your passion, because we never know when the ride will end but it will always be before we are ready.

On Guilt

I haven’t posted in a long time. I’m going to try posting interesting essays / thoughts I find in my “On This Day” on Facebook. We’ll see how well they do and/or how long I bother.

With no further ado, on guilt:

Guilt is a powerful emotion. It’s a form of self evaluation in which we introspectively criticize ourselves for past actions. Guilt is interesting in that it’s self applied. While others can influence our movement towards in inherently we must assign it to ourselves for it to have meaning.

So what is the meaning of Guilt? It’s a learning tool. When we feel Guilty about something mainly it’s because we feel that a past action was not handled in a way which we are proud of. We feel that we could have done something more or different and changed the course that we’re on now. It’s Potential – we feel Guilt because we surmise that by changing that action we’d be on a better course than we are now or a better person for doing more – even if it didn’t change the eventual outcome.

The main problem with Guilt is that although it is a learning mechanism it is also potentially crippling. It’s hard to release Guilt, hard to move past it. That same Guilt which we should learn from can cloud future Decisions and cascade into further Guilt.

So how do we handle Guilt? We don’t shy from it – we learn from it. We don’t let drive us – we let it guide us. We forgive ourselves – even if we don’t want to. Even if it’s seemingly impossible. Because in the end though we can learn and though we can made different Decisions in the future we can’t change the Past – it’s inherently immutable. The longer we hold Guilt the more powerful and damaging it becomes. As disheartening as it is we must remember that we are not perfect – for if we were, what a boring would it would be. Our mistakes, follies, misjudgments and failings make this World someplace that’s worth residing it. It’s the payment we must make, Guilt, sometimes for being imperfect.

In the end Forgiving ourselves might be our greatest act of Charity.

Doesn’t anyone just need a UI Developer anymore?

So in light of the fact that I maybe be unemployed soon due to circumstances beyond my control I’ve started to reacquaint myself with the job market and the jobs that I might be qualified for.  It’s been an interesting experience to say the least.  Unfortunately, there seems to be two prevailing job types:

  • Marketing position – involves either designing e-mail campaigns include HTML e-mails, which are not fun at all, or some sort of SEO / social networking skills to drive traffic to the site.
  • Jack of all trades – involves 7+ years experience in design (Adobe Suite), front end (XHTML & CSS), middleware (PHP, Java, Ruby, etc) and MySql.  Basically able to design web applications from the ground up.

So, I don’t know.  Maybe I’m looking with the wrong terms or in the wrong places?  Doesn’t anyone just need a good UI developer nowadays?  I mean I have excellent XHTML and CSS skills.  I can design for cross browser compatibility.  I can quickly turn design flats / mocks / comps into UI code.  I’m learning quickly when it comes to design skills (Adobe Suite) and I have a Commercial Arts background – granted it was in high school but I studied art and drew art by hand for 4 years.  I’m willing and eager to take on the design part of the UI – something I haven’t been able to do in my previous positions.  I have some Javascript – including Prototype and jQuery – skills and would be interested in eager to take on more with regards to the UI aspect of these (effects, etc) although not really the parts that go more into middleware (form handling, etc).  I have some middleware capabilities as they pertain to the UI – logic checks, loops, role checks, variable insertion, etc in Ruby, ColdFusion and PHP – as well as experience building on the WordPress framework in PHP.  I have experience in SEO including crafting with web standards and internal linking strategy to maximize organic SEO as well as instructing a user base on social networking strategies to grow inbound links.  Finally, I have experience working with and educating a large user base as well as identifying usability issues for that user base in future design features.

So, being a realist, I have to assume the deficiency is with me.  However, I’ve worked for two separate professional organizations and both needed someone that was only a subset of what I’m looking to take on.  So is there no middle ground?  Can you only do the icing or the whole cake?  I hope not.

The main issue lies in that to be a good UI developer you have to focus on the changing field.  New browsers are released every year and updates are made.  You have to be aware of what bugs exist in major browsers – especially Microsoft ones – and understand quickly how to fix the rendering issues in those.  You also have it identify web trends (web 2.0 design, AJAX integration, etc) and include them in beautiful and usable designs. By broadening focus too much – to middleware or backend development – you lose the ability to do that.  I realize you don’t want to be too specialized but I feel crafting a beautiful design, coding it with web standards and cross browser capability in mind, and inserting any jQuery effects that add to it is a pretty big slice of the pie, so to speak.

Also, design and UI work is more artistic versus middleware / backend which is much more logical and analytical.  So it’s very difficult to be of those two minds.  I just feel expanding the focus to that is going to dilute the whole output.  Finally, it really is of no interest to me to design controllers or write queries so I feel my output would not be as useful or good as something I’m passionate about like the front end.

So I don’t know what the answer is.  But I’m discouraged moving forward.  It does make me wish I had taken more time to grow my freelance portfolio as this would be the perfect time to make that jump and see if I could make it on that.  Unfortunately, it’s just not an option.

Advice or insight welcome.

New home

So I’ve finally got my new hosting and I’m generally happy with it. I’m still adding some tools and trying to mod some stuff in the background. I’m hoping to release a version of my theme – less personalized since the one I use is pretty modified for my taste – soon. I’m hoping to have a few more as well but the designs are just not to my liking – too plain.

In actually making a theme, instead of modifying one I found, I learned a great deal about WordPress. It’s a very interesting and powerful tool. And the WordPress codex is invaluable in getting the full power out of it.

I’ve also been playing with some other open source stuff including a wiki, forums, comicpress and buddypress.  Depending on how useful I see them being, I might bring them public on one of my domains or subdomains.  I also have 2 new domains, one of which I hope to make as destination page for all things me – which will then link to my various efforts like this blog (including my portfolio section which needs updating), my open source contributions, my social media (delicious, twitter, etc).  But until they’re ready, I don’t foresee making them public facing just yet.

As for the open source software I’m really impressed with Buddypress – and the forums that you can tie in which I actually like a lot better than SMF, which I use for familiarity.  Buddypress basically allows you to use the wordpress-mu (multi user) to create a social network.  Who needs more social networks though, right?  Well, I have a niche one that might be interesting.  Or it could be closed off to only my family/friends if they’re interested.  Either way, it’s a fun and interesting tool.

Going back to the forums thing though – if you have a more useful tool than SMF I’m listening.  I’ve tried PhpBB and was not impressed.  I forget the one that ties in with Buddypress – I only have it locally configured on one of my boxes now – but, as I said, it was interesting.

So that’s about it for now.  All that takes time so updates will be infrequent to this blog.  Although they’ll be more frequent than recently (i.e. not once every 6 months or so hopefully) but less frequent than I was when I really used this.  Granted though, my aim is to use it for meatier topics – talking about new open source projects I’ve developed (themes, plugins, etc) and web design – rather than the more mundane topics in the past.

If you want to know about the more mundane aspects of my life or what’s caught my interest (and until I tie them into my site and/or blog) feel free to check out my shared Google items, my twitter, or my delicious.  Be warned though that they are more personal than professional.  Given that I have a cynical and sarcastic nature that I tend not to show on professional endeavors you may not like, or maybe even be offended, by some of the things on there.  I apologize if so, but it’s a simple fix – don’t read them.  I don’t anticipate it to be so in most cases but in this “PC” world, you have to be careful.

My thoughts are that overall, we’re all flawed and human. The more transparent you are – within reason and privacy concerns – the more people can understand you.  Perhaps seeing my cynical side, myriad of Magic the Gathering links, or other personal aspects of my life will make you enjoy my work more.

Or perhaps you’ll think I’m a tool.  That’s the risk we run when we share.

Random Tidbit: P2 is an interesting use of WordPress.  It seems that WP is becoming a very popular platform to expand on because of it’s open source nature and large community of developers expanding it.  It’s basically – if I understand it correctly – a group blog that combines aspects of Twitter and Basecamp.

By the way – if anyone knows an open source tool like Basecamp, especially if it’s written on the WP platform, please let me know.  I’m cheap.  I know they have the free Basecamp plan but it doesn’t really meet my needs.  We use it at Helium and it’s – to be frank – amazing.  37 Signals is a bright group of people.