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Notes from An Event Apart Boston 2012 I had a great time at An Event Apart Boston, 2012. Ill post some photos soon. The conference avoided deep dives into code in favor of showing WHY you would do reactive design. As Eric Meyer said "My...

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Judging the CT Student Innovation Exposition (E-Commerce)... Want to know what the next 10 years will look like? Ask a high school student. Their creativity isnt limited by their knowledge of what we currently call technological limitations. They have a vision of...

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The Value of Feeling Appreciated as an Employee in... Whether you’re a new employee or the vice president of the company, everyone wants to feel valued, even appreciated, in the workplace. Not only does it improve morale and make the workplace a more pleasant...

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The difference between classic and motion tweens in... Here it is: If you're used to doing things "the cs3 way" then you can continue to do so with the classic tween tool. It works the same way as you remember, using key frames as normal, but you cannot...

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PHP: If (equal to AND not equal) - eliminate form spam... Just learned a great function of PHP thats already made my forms a lot better. A while back I wrote an article about eliminating form spam without captchas by using css to hide a text input box for bots...

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Breaking News


MakeHartford Taking Flight – What Next?

Category : Around The Office

MakeHartford continues to prosper and consume a considerable amount of my time. While this is a fantastic thing – it does mean I have less and less time to spend on this blog creating tutorials and posting notes from the conventions and meetings I attend.

Expect this blog to continue to explore my work in the web development community even while I pursue additional opportunities in the maker and managerial spaces. Perhaps I’ll just add categories… that’s yet to be seen. Thank you to all my loyal readers for the wonderful ride and conversations.

Make Twitter 1.1 work on WordPress

Category : Cool Web Programs, Great Tutorials, Technology

Twitter 1.0 has been sunset by Twitter so it is no longer functional. As a result – all plugins and themes which used this API no longer work. You must now use the new v 1.1 API.

The best WordPress Twitter 1.1 solution I have seen so far is this little gem: Twitget by Boštjan Cigan.
Its free, installs easy, and there is a silent yet effective YouTube video to help guide you on your way through the Twitter applet creator.

The widget allows you to add custom html to let you revise the css in ways that actually wern’t possible in any of the tools I saw in 1.0 so kudos to Bostjan for expanding the features and making this problem into an opportunity.

I’m currently using this plugin on another site of mine: http://www.TEDxBushnellPark.com
Hope this help.

Can You be a Little Bit Agile?

Category : Confrence Notes, Teaching, Technology

I had the pleasure of attending a presentation from Susan Burk, Principal of Top Five To Seven LLC, about adopting pieces of agile development without embracing all of it. Essentially, being “A Little Agile” shop. Can it work? Why do large companies tend to do this? What parts are indispensable?

My notes are as follows:

Obstacles Large Organizations Face:

  • HR Considerations:
    • Allocations – Resources must have 100% load to be considered efficient
    • Roles – People are rigidly defined in a role
    • Incentives – Personal incentives  given primarily for personal goals
    • Regulatory Constraints:
      • Finance, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals
      • Incremental Delivery – Must release all at the same time
      • Scale – “Agile cannot be used on large projects”
      • Distributed Teams – “Agile has to be done on site”
  • Documentation Requirements – Real or Imaginary
    • Who reads the documentation and write the required amount of documentation.
  • Architecture Requirements
    • Key people have to commit for the origination of the project or the project will suffer as a result.

3D Adoption: Agile Adoption of Agile

  • Roll out practices with business value
  • Paves way for futre agile advancement
  • Introduce more concepts over time
  • Address corporate and culture concerns early
  • Conduct leadership / platform level retrospective

Where can you compromise?

  • Create a fully agile team
    • Slowly introduce these practices to other areas
    • Add Primary and Secondary roles to resources instead of additional projects
      • Create ‘Generalized Specialists”
  • Documentation Requirements:
    • Ask to change the format and product only what what has a clearly defined “consumer”
    • The tests for your project can generally be used to document what it something should do and how it would work. Perhaps use Epic stories or Use cases to describe a function.
  • Architecture Requirements
    • Set up “Platforms” or “turfs” allowing designers and architects to specialize in broader areas and allow for cross pollination.
    • Key roles must commit to project during start up.

Where CANT you compromise?

  • Stories written from business perspective must deliver business value on each iteration

Companies can benefit from:

  • Agile coaches + Mentoring
  • 3 projects before people really get it

Success Stories:

  • IBM: Websphere – They were eventually producing software faster than their customers could consume it.
  • Michael Mah
  • Merask Shiplines

Read: Jefferson and the Art of Power
Scott Ander, or Ellen Goldensteiner

Launched TheHOTSpace.com

Category : Around The Office, Around West Hartford, Technology, Web Launches

The HOTSpace.com is the temporary name and home for The Hartford Open Technology Space, a Hartford Hacker and Maker Space.This site will be the best way to get a view of whats going on within the space as it will warehouse all the links, documents, and discussions we have had about the space.

Key resources at this point are the Mailing List, Blog, and Forum.
Eventually I would like to see meetup and class schedules, list of equipment / wishlist, member or project bios and other fun content, but first I suppose we should finish setting up the space.

The beginning of The hotSpace (Hartford Open Technology Space)

Category : Around The Office, Around West Hartford, Social, Technology

After a great Open Studio weekend I’ve decided that I want to look into making a Hartford Hackerspace.

The tech & entrepreneurial communities within Hartford have grown considerably in the last few years and I think a Critical Mass has been struck. Now, we need a space.

The goal of this venture will be to create an “open” technology working space for the downtown area of Hartford. This space will rent out private work stations and offer many of the amenities of working within a larger community such as office resources and hardware, meeting spaces and technical support, receptive community members, classes and events, and of course, gourmet coffee.

A facebook group has been created:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/429751137090798/
Other documents will be made available as they are ready for public consumption.

Save the Date: TEDxBushnellPark is 6/22/2013

Category : Around The Office, General Web Info, Social, Technology

Mark your calendars for June 22nd, 2013.
The topic is: Improving the Community.

The rest is still in the works as the speaker list is still developing and the location is TBA. However, I’ve been meeting potential speakers and am in talks with several venues. I’d like this event to showcase the innovative work that Hartford is doing to improve not only itself, but also the world as a whole.

There will be more announcements in the future and work has already started on the website and social media pages.
Anyone interested in contributing to this effort is welcome to contact me. Please include your reason for taking interest, what you think you can help with, and your favorite TED video.

Currently looking for:

A/V Tech(s)
Event Coordinator
Grant writer

Open for Open Studio 2013

Category : Around The Office, Around West Hartford, Art & Design, Art Event, Social

My studio will be open on November 10th and 11th for Hartford Open Studio 2013.
Please come up to the 4th floor of ArtSpace Hartford and visit me in studio #413.

I’ll be showing pieces from my newest series “Primal Colors” and expect to have between 15 – 20 pieces for sale.

Notes from TEDxLitchfieldED

Category : Around The Office, What I Read

I was able to attend TEDxLitchfieldED on June 28 at the IBM conference center in Southbury, Conn. Overall the event discussed the future of education and smarter cities. I was also curious to see their setup as I’m beginning the planning phase of my own TEDx event, TEDxBushnellPark.

The opening segment was a group activity to build a tower from marshmallows, pasta, tape and string. This was an awesome idea. It immediately woke people up and forced them to start interacting with one another.

The conference room lighting was dark, but with cool red flood lighting on either side of the stage.
There were 2 Camera people and 4 Cameras

Digital Learning for All Now: Jonathan Costa at TEDxLitchfieldED
Are there differences between college and workforce ready?
How are they different?

“If you ask the wrong question, you will get the wrong answer”

Quote from Deming:
Common causes (Systemic, predictable, controllable)
Special causes (Random and unpredictable and beyond control)

As you prepare for special causes, we inevitably do it at the expense of the commons

To get kids ready for a digital future, we need to show them how to use new technology.

We used to think that kids using technology would lead them to sit in a room by themselves. Now, teachers are finding that most of what these kids do with technology is communicate with one another.

What happens to learning when everyone can get anything from anywhere? IE: Wikipedia.
Its impossible for teachers to teach 21 century skills if they dont possess them themselves.
If we limit access, we limit ability.

Every time we spend an annual budget on books and analog tasks we fail to turn ourselves into a digital school system which can leverage the advances of technology and create a more productive learning environment.

If you could afford to do it, would you do it?
When the right thing to do becomes the least expensive thing to do – there are fewer barriers to doing it. We are quickly getting to that point in education.

Wrong Question: Are we getting kids ready for the workforce, or are we getting them ready for college? And is getting them ready for college different than the workforce?

By pouring complete faith into testing we are pushing a special cause (a perceived weakness in reading writing and math) onto everyone and limiting kids from learning about everything else. It’s a model that doesn’t allow for creativity… and what if we’re wrong?

Scott Berkun – “The 5 Most Dangerous Ideas” Notes

Category : Around The Office, Confrence Notes

Below are my notes from Scott Berkun’s presentation “Five Dangerous Ideas” at An Event Apart Boston 2012:

1. Everyone is a designer
“Rats. My client thinks he is a designer. “
He is a designer, just an extremely bad one. Contunue Reading

Jeffrey Zeldman’s “Content First!” Notes

Category : Around The Office, Confrence Notes

Below are my notes from Jeffrey Zeldman’s presentation “Content First!” at An Event Apart Boston 2012:

Content can be the design problem:
Our designs are often hostile to content
The content users want can be hidden away under promos, titles, ads, images, and generally lost in the layout of a page
Designers may no longer control the visual experience
Maybe they never really did (They make mockups, developers build it. This makes the final product at best an interpretation of the original vision and then further abstracted because of the browser.)

Contunue Reading