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Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Sign Language

One last thing for the evening…

There have been *at least* two people doing sign language interpretation at the conference.

I think this is SO AWESOME!  This is the first event I have been at where I have seen something like this.  And it just makes my heart so warm.

Yay for Accessibility!

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Learning to Touch Type

I decided I need to teach myself to touch type.

Yes, after all these years in Information Technology (> 11 years) I still look at my keyboard and type with only a few of my fingers and make a lot of errors.

It was so fascinating watching some of my colleagues at the conference today, taking notes on their laptops.  In my university days we used pen and paper.  These folk were typing faster than I ever could write and not making any mistakes to boot.  I’ve also watched my hubby doing the same thing.  I think I could work much faster and far more efficiently if I could only touch type.

So, I went online and found an online tutorial and am slowly going to work my way through the lessons.  I am committing to an hour a day on work days to practice.  Think that will be enough?

At this point I am only on lesson one.  And after only 3 tries, I  am getting worse, not better and my left fingers are aching.  Oh dear.  Lots of work to do.

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What do you get when you have a conference full of geeks and plenty of free-flowing alcohol?  Well, a Guitar Hero Tournament of course!  All evidence here

Yep, that’s right folks.  That was the entertainment last night here at the HighedWeb 2008 conference.

And may I say, what a blast?  (Mmmm…maybe that makes me a geek too 😉 )  Well of course I must have some geek in me, because I had a smashing time last night and am very much enjoying the conference as a whole.  And no, I didn’t participate in the tournament, but I did give it a good go cheering all the other good sports on.

What a treat to be in the company of so many like-minded individuals who get the concept and application of social media!  And how enlightening to speak to (the many) folk who are in the same boat I am -> one man/woman web bands for colleges.  And just to listen to some of the amazing technology being used.  And…and…and…well, you get the picture.  So much good information here!

Having a quiet evening to myself tonight though.  Feeling a bit overloaded with information and people.  And still nursing my cold which wasn’t helped by cabin pressure changes from the 2 flights getting to the conference.

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Africa Weeps

Sue’s Arty Farty Musings is a blog I follow on my RSS reader and although I don’t always have time to delve into it, I found I had some time this peaceful Sunday morning.

Her latest work, ‘Africa Weeping‘ is AWESOME!  Check it out.  I want me some 🙂  If I could afford it, that is.

These paintings so totally speak to my soul…tugging at my African Heritage heartstrings.

I don’t know if I’ve blogged about this before, but I feel guilty for leaving South Africa (I’ve been away for nearly 10 years now – wow!).  I feel that I profited growing up white in an apartheid South Africa, had privileges my fellow countryman did not, and all because my skin was white and not black.  And when it became tough to live in SA, when it became a struggle of life and death, I left.  Make no mistake, I still think it was the smartest move for me and my family.  Yet I feel guilty.  Like I should be giving back, putting back into the country I freely fed upon growing up, joining the struggle to make it a growing, prospering country again.  Sometimes I think about going back and my blood runs cold and fear for my life stops me.  Is that smart or selfish?  I oscillate between the two and haven’t yet found the happy medium.

This is what makes my current job the sweetest of ironies…I work for a historically black university here on the Eastern US seaboard.  This was purely unintentional of course, it just happened to be the job which fitted in my current lifestyle the best.  So now I find myself working back my karma, on US soil, in relatve safety, for a people who were historially disadvantaged not only here in the US but who were also violently and butally uprooted from their African homeland.  And I find that my guilt is slowing dissolving and the wounds healing.

Aint life strange sometimes.  And of course, even though it may appear otherwise, nothing is ‘just co-incidence’ 😉

No matter how many years I spend away from South Africa, I will always be African at heart and the African lanscape will always call to me.  I hope I’ll be able to have some of that landscape, so poignantly captured, in my home, bringing it just a tiny bit closer.

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Free Fonts

I found an awesome website today for web designers looking for free fonts!

UrbanFonts

Check it out!

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Website Redesign

So…
The website I develop and maintain is going through a resign, primarily the look and feel and the navigation.

A bit of background and for those who don’t know me, I work for a land-grant university on the east coast of the US.  I am the webmaster and sole web developer for their main website (which has around 30K pages to it).  I am relatively new to the web field, although I have been in the IT industry for over 10 years.

Back to the redesign….we are working with a design agency for this little exercise and they are charging us a lot of money for the priviledge.  A week or so ago, they presented their first “concepts” to us.

Seriously….I was S-H-O-C-K-E-D!

For the amount of people on their team and the amount of money we are paying them, I am shocked with what they presented to us.  So we told them to go away and make some adjustments.  Yesterday they presented version two of the concepts.

Again, I am S-H-O-C-K-E-D!

I am not a graphic artist, hell, I wouldn’t even call myself a web designer yet.  But even I can see what they are sending is trash.  Yes, it’s a strong word.  But that’s how I feel.

It is so not worthy of consideration I think all we can do is trash what they’ve done and ask them to start again, or find another design agency.

So anyway, of course I am now starting a design hunt.  What looks good…what is our competition doing…what is new and hip and hot.  So I will probably be posting any resources I come across that I think are noteworthy.

I found one such resource today – webdesignfromscratch.com.  Excellent for current web design trends!  Simple, detailed explanations.  According to this website, current trends are:
* Simple layout
* Centered orientation
* Design the content, not the page
* 3D effects, used sparingly
* Soft, neutral background colors
* Strong color, used sparingly
* Cute icons, used sparingly
* Plenty of whitespace
* Nice big text

Well, right now Design Agency X (let’s call them that, shall we) is in contravention of 5 out of 9 of these trends!

Will keep you posted.

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You know where I am RIGHT NOW? As I’m writing and posting this?

At my neighborhood cafe…eating a scrumptious meal, logged into their very fast internet connection, listening to Corey Hart’s Never Surrender (gosh, that brings back memories…Viki and high school), and before writing this post…working.

I feel so, so decadent!

Know why I’m here? Because I have cleaners in my house, cleaning (obviously), and I wanted to get away whilst they’re there.

And I’m thinking to myself, who do exactly do I think I am? Seriously. How many people (regular people) have someone clean their house whilst they lounge in the lap of luxury? I was SO born to be royalty! This comes so naturally to me. And I love it 🙂 . I say this with a complete lack of shame too. Isn’t that awful? No it’s not, I’m just saying that because I feel I should. I am actually LOVING this! This is the way life should be. Earning one’s living in the way that brings happiness, so that one can pay for the other parts of your life you don’t like doing so much (like cleaning a house).

Anyway, back to why I started this post in the first place…

This cafe is so, so lovely! The murals on the wall are awesome. So realistic. It looks like the courtyard of a street in a Tuscany village…little wrought iron chairs and tables…awesome service…really good, imaginative, wholesome food…with decadent desserts. And this in an area where there are very few unique eating places, with most of them being commercial chains. What a breath of fresh air!

Open Door CafeI nicked a photo from their website to show you, since I didn’t want to be snapping pictures in this lovely setting.

Isn’t it lovely?

Oh well…time to publish this post, get the check and return back to mundania. Thanks for taking a walk down fantasy lane with me…

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