Cool + Somewhat useful = FireFox Tilt!

You’ll just need to check it out (trust me):

  1. Read about it here (if you want):
  2. Download it here (download it and drag it to firefox to install it):
  3. Restart FF
  4. Open up a page you want to tilt
  5. Shift + Ctrl + M
  6. Use your mouse (with click) to move it around.
  7. You can see all the div layers stacked up.
  8. Be amazed, share a link to my blog, show some love, save a whale.

Good Design, Compromise and the Rolling Stones

I am (as you may guess by my blog) a web designer.  When I build websites for my clients I know that almost always my clients are not super web savvy people.  After all, if they were, they’d do it themselves.

But being a knowledgeable, professional web designer and working with people who are not poses a unique set of problems.  When I take my car into a shop to get serviced, say for an oil change, there is only one proper way to really do an oil change.  You can go with certain filters, certain oils but as far as the end result, there is only one correct final outcome.  Guy changes oil, car works, I’m happy.

With web design there is nothing of the sort.  Web design is equal parts art and science (and sometimes, I’m convinced, just a smidge of voodoo and masochism).  There is a lot to know and web based technology changes so fast there is no way one person can be an expert in all of it…or even a fraction of it.  So we choose our areas.  With me its HTML, CSS, PHP, WordPress and the like.  I’m a strong mid-level PHP programmer.  I’ve spent a lot of time with WordPress.  I dream in HTML.  You get my point.

Not only do I know the technical stuff, but I’ve been around long enough and have just enough of an artistic eye that I know what looks good, and works good, and what doesn’t it.

But my clients don’t always know that…or do they?

See I’m always torn.  Case in point, I designed a fairly nice logo for a client recently that I think really captured what they need to convey with their website.  Correct font, nice colors, conveying certain emotions.  It was simple, it was nice.  They came back and wanted their logo in what might as well have been Comic Sans, because they loved it that way and felt their clients would to.

It was hideous…to me.

So I always struggle here, with who’s right and who’s wrong?  On the one hand you have me, a seasoned pro at web design with an artistic flair.  On the other hand you have Grandma Jane, wanting a website for her knitted baby clothes (not really I’m making that stuff up) and she has this God-awful, hideous look in mind that she just loves.

So who’s really right?  I don’t know.  My selfish side says “PICK ME!” but my logic kicks in and says “Grandma Jane is designing for people just like her…it may be an unattractive font to you, but her peers are gonna probably love it…so get over yourself.”

I don’t know, it’s Friday and I’m just wondering aloud here…probably more about this later.

Oh…Rolling Stones…
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want, But If You Try Sometimes, You Just Might Find, You Get What You Need.”


Code Imposter

I was reading a post on coding and open source software and the author said one reason he doesn’t contribute a lot (or any in his case) was that he feels like a “Code Impostor”.  He feels like he has no business being in the coding business.  Several people responded that although they have felt that way in the past, it is something you have to personally get over…and you have to realize that those code geniuses that he thinks are way beyond his skill set may be total noobs in other areas of coding.

I often feel that way.  My programming skill set is HTML, PHP, CSS, MySQL with a smattering of C# in there.  While I’d say I can whip out HTML with the best of them, on most of the others I am anywhere from a mid-level programmer to someone who is really good at faking it for his non-tech friends. All the time I have people tell me “I just don’t understand how you do the technical stuff you do.”  Really?  Just because I made a website check the last date a file was edited and display that date, you are now referring to me as the “John McEnroe of PHP” or the “George Lopez of Style Sheets?” Really, do you think what I did with a few lines of code, code that I probably mostly pilfered from other places, was that magical?

You know what…yes, they do.  They do think it is awesome, because they can’t do it.  In my world, it may be fairly ho-hum, but in their world I just pulled the sword from the stone, killed the giant with a slingshot, and invented the Snuggy, all in one fell swoop.

I used to think, that most people can do vastly more than what their skill set implies…they just aren’t willing to do it.  They are lazy or unmotivated.  I still think that.

But I need to realize that I’m not a code impostor, because I did make the effort.  It may not be magic to me, it may even seem quite ordinary or even fairly basic.  But I took the time to learn it, or at least rip the code off from someone who IS more skilled than me (at least in that one area) and modify for my needs.  And doing that is a skill unto itself.

I think I’m going to stop hiding behind my “Code Impostor” mask and when someone says “You are the Jon Bon Jovi of low to mid level programming”, I’m going to say “Why yes, I am!”


I just came up with a new term: Supernerding.  It’s when you are  totally nerding out, especially blogging or otherwise conversing, on some crazy subject that most people don’t care about because it’s very nerdy:

  • How to build dynamic WordPress widgets = SUPERNERDING
  • The Thermodynamics of the Sun = SUPERNERDING
  • Microorganic Computer = SUPERNERDING
  • Theories In Dissecting the Radon Sheilding of A Nanoprismatic Supercell

OK, I made that last one up totally but they all sound like one thing: SUPERNERDING.

Start using it people, it’s now an official word!