The Future

So the move has been made, we are settled into our new home in southern Maine. Now, after some time off from work, after a few days of relaxing on vacation, after some much needed rest, after much pondering… I’m giving much consideration to the brand of six03 and ending it.

It has been around since it was just an idea I had while in college on California in 2003. 14 years later, I think it is time to lay it to rest. Sort of a major rebrand, or, just kill the site in a cost-cutting effort. I’m just not 100% sure yet.

I have two more years of playing Dad to my son before he leaves the roost. Time is at a premium. I could move my act over to Medium, I could do rebrand, I could just disappear into the ether. I just don’t know at this point. I’m caught in a limbo.

I wish there was something I could give back to the web community that has driven me for the past 19 years plus, but I just don’t have any ideas. I just rarely have any time.

I work an hour and a half away, so my three hour a day commute, twice a week, takes it toll. I could find time when I work from my home office, but with everything that goes on with my son and his extra-curricular activities, I don’t know if that is probable.

Maybe I am just in a funk? It is, after all, almost the close to summer vacation. maybe I will have some time?

I do feel, however, a sense of inferiority when it comes to seeing all these wonderful authors that come out with these books, all these wonderful speakers at conferences, all these people I follow on Twitter that are tweeting about their craft and making it sound like they are the Stephen Hawking of their discipline.

Maybe I just need a sandwich?

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Mobirise

So I am testing out Mobirise, a drag-and-drop app that creates web pages and such. I had a site I had been working on when the upgrade to version 4 from 3.12 I was using happened and it erased all my work. Over three months of pain-staking, trial and error, tedious work.

Needless to say, I was not happy. Methods to get the app to read my project file (to no avail) were;

  • Deleting version 4 then downloading and installing version 3.12
  • Deleting version 4 or 3.12 and installing version 2
  • Importing project.mobirise file

So alas, I have to start over. Luckily I have a uploaded index page, inside templates to child pages and contact form page all saved for reference.

They should probably work that bug out and patch it immediately over at Mobirise.

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Moving

Our adventures in moving has completed. We are now down the the southern Maine area! It is time to get all the school paperwork done and transfer the kid to the new school. Lots to do and no time to waste!

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A New Beginning

Yesterday was the first day of my son, Brandon, as a Marshwood Hawk. While the formalities have not yet been finalized as of yet with school changing and permanent residence, we’re close. Very close.

Signed the lease to the new apartment yesterday, got the keys. Now the moving begins. In the meantime, we have a tournament to get through at the University of New Hampshire.

Game One, a win in his first game. Played well, a lot of work to do. Game Two. Marshwood down 2, :30 left, Brandon scores the tying basket to force the game into OT. The time keeper then starts the clock on the inbound pass, not when the first player touches the ball with :01.7 left in the game on what could have been another GW shot by Brandon. Not a good way to end a game for kids that hustled and worked their asses off.

A coach from Suffolk University was impressed by Brandon and he is getting looks right now (keep working on your game) that’s a compliment, as since Brandon’s freshman year, coaches, and officials alike have complimented him on his game. As a junior in high school. He’s had people looking since his sophomore year, the new AAU season with the NH (Seacoast) Spartans Elite as well. He does turn heads at 16 years old, 6’8″, 200 lbs. Now the weight room awaits.

Moving on to today. 2 games on tap and he is ready to go. I hope.

Within the next week, we will be down to our new home, to give the kid a shot at his dream. An NBA dream regardless of the naysayers. Past experiences aside, and yes, those still get under my skin when I think about them, Brandon has the best coaching staff that supports him, is behind him, and has faith in him 100%.

That’s what the kid needs. Nothing below that. Or any kid for that matter.

I look forward to seeing his progress in the next year.

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Comments/Complaints, Part Two

So with the new day brings a new email form the user of a site I developed with a contact form that uses reCAPTCHA v2. Said users fifty years IT experience trumps my 25 years of web experience. I should feel humbled.

It was brought to my attention and I replied that yes, even though it does slightly concern me, unless the client comes back after fielding the concern from the user directly, I have nothing to do with said project after it’s completion.

The client was satisfied, the transaction was completed and I am a busy person just like everyone else is. I’m not going to sit, and pine over a site that I did, and make changes (unpaid work) because ONE user cannot use a reCAPTCHA form like it is meant to.

When I have had issues with the reCAPTCHA form, it is because I was in a hurry and rushed through without reading the directions and just haphazardly clicking through. With that said, I do not do hand holding of clients websites after contractually fulfilling my end of the deals.

Fifty years of IT doesn’t mean anything in my opinion because it is a different kind of monster. Server work, networking and sysadmin have little to do with the web development side. So you trumping me on experience has no effect. I simply do NOT do pro bono work and it is not a priority because one user doesn’t like the user experience.

if fifty users emailed me, then there could be cause for alarm. Five hundred would make me bring it up to management. One? On a simple reCAPTCHA? Seriously. Times have changed Charles Babbage. Let’s slow your calculations down and take a deep breath and get through this.

I have a 5 hour, round trip drive to take today, with a 16-year-old, a basketball tournament, and my weekend off from my full-time position as a web developer/support technician at my full-time job. There are other means to contact said business and yet, I’m contacted out of the goodness of the heart of the man who will change the web one contact form at a time.

Users, especially those in the industry, or with experience in the industry can be a touchy bunch. As indicated by the end of the email, with a stern “slap” on the wrist, that I was not jumping right on this problem out of the goodness of my heart, and kindness, and the civic duty I have to fix this problem that ONE USER has with Google reCAPTCHA version 2.

One.

User…

Out of (literally) thousands. Let’s do the math on that. Percentage-wise, factor in my time to research, develop, and implement a new CAPTCHA method that tucks this user into bed, with blanket and bottle, and assures the user that the entire site (which it is a VERY easy site in my opinion) is a user experience like no other.

Times have changed since the social engineering and dumpster diving methods used to bypass the punch card system used in the Los Angeles bus system. Web development and the means of which web developers do their thing have changed since 1995. The web developers I know, do not do any work with out a spec or a contract, nor do they do any work that is out of the scope without drawing up a revised contract, or any work after the completed contract without drawing up a new contract.

I am not obligated to do this in this instance, I will not do this without a new contract, I am far too busy being a parent and enjoying what time I do have off doing my main job as a parent to finagle with a reCAPTCHA that ONE USER has a problem with that should be addressed to (and in the end was submitted correctly mind you by the user) the owners of the website!

I am contracted to do a job. Period. It irks me, that one user can be so indignant, because the response I gave that person, was not what they wanted to hear. You are not entitled to demand I take my free time, or any of my time mind you, and use it to do pro bono work. Or go back to a company that may or may not take your complaint into consideration. YOU do not write me checks, YOU do not pay my bills, and you certainly DO NOT dictate what I do and do not do professionally.

You may have fifty years of IT experience, but your lack of the knowledge of how the web development field is run shows. You can be the 21st century version of Fibonacci, you can be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs for all I care. You do not contact me with your complaint and tell me “I’m making the developer aware” and then become indignant when I politely tell you, that this is something that the owners of the company would handle and that if they wish to take action, they can go through the contract process and hire me again to do the job.

You sir, and you know who you are, can take your indignant self, and your fifty years of IT experience, and your sense of self-entitlement, and pound sand. Strictly on a professional level.

The job was completed on-time, on-budget, with the approval of the client and the client was extremely satisfied with the results and that is all that matters. Obviously, the methodology of how the web development process from start to finish is quite out of your reach as far as grasping the concept that if I am not under contract, I will not do work for free.

I will not do work for free on something that works for thousands of other people, that have no problem with the Google reCAPTCHA version 2. It was not indicated that there was any sort of impairment or “disability” on said users part, therefore I am going to deduce that this user has no problem with navigating a website, yet has a huge problem with grasping the concept that web developers do not work for free off the clock and on their own time.

When the owners bring it up to me, that is when I will be sure to take full action. Until then, I intend on enjoying my weekend with my son and putting this to rest.

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Comments/Complaints

As a business owner for many years, I have rarely had the opportunity to field any complaints. I try, as any human being does with their line of work, to do the job that I have been requested to do, to the best of my abilities.

Does that always resonate with the management or client? Of course not.

So this morning, I received an email for the first time ever from a website user of a site that I had built for a client. Usually, complaints are fielded by the business owners and passed along to me, which in turn, are discussed and a new contract for development work is done to fix anything the site owner feels they would like changed or fixed.

So basically, what I received is the following;

From: ██████████████ <███████████>
Subject: Failing to send message to Jonathon’s restaurant via their website “Contact.”
Message Body:
I sent a message 2 days ago to Jonathon’s Seafood Restaurant.
I had a little difficulty getting through the “I’m not a robot” verification, but my message finally did seem to be sent. As yet, I’ve not received a response to that message. I tried this morning to resend my message, but I seemed unable to satisfy the “I’m not a robot” verification. I’m not pleased with the user friendliness of Jonathon’s website. I suggest you rethink your verification step and/or consider setting up a means to make an online reservation. Thank you for taking time to read my message.

My response was as follows. A bit long-winded perhaps, but I think I made my point;

Good Morning ██████████,
While it is not custom for me to reply to a customer on a website I have built for a client, I will respond to your email you sent through my contact form on my website.
██████████████ is the owner of the website, therefore any messages sent to them via their website, their Facebook page, or by any other electronic or other means is solely their responsibility to answer, not mine.
Their response time is theirs. I do not monitor their messages, or answer any feedback, comments, or other communications their customers have with them via any means, electronic or otherwise. This is the owner’s sole responsibility.
Regarding the Google reCaptcha verification on their contact form.
You are the first person in that has sent a direct response to me about this feature. A feature that has widely been regarded as easier than the old means of verifying you are a human on the other end, as to cut down on the electronic, robotic, and programmatic spam that businesses usually receive, when they have a form that is not secure.
With that said, the owners of ██████████████ paid me to do a job and they were satisfied with the job that was done. The contractual obligation they and myself (a small one-man outfit) agreed upon had been outlined and agreed upon, mutually signed, and I fulfilled those obligations to ██████████████.
The onus is on ██████████████ to have that question fielded and decision is theirs whether or not to improve the contact form security. They have paid for services they agreed upon in full and received the website they agreed upon.
Even I have difficulty at times with certain reCaptcha forms myself and I have been in the web development field for 25 years.
You will have to field your question to the owners of the business, in order to let them know your dissatisfaction and see if they would like to take action to change the contact form verification.
I simply cannot go in, and change things at a whim. I also do not do pro bono work on the review of a businesses customer. My method is to contractually agree with business owners to do work they set out for me to do for them in a contract they sign.
While I agree that the Google reCaptcha process can be difficult at times, yours is the first complaint I have fielded. Ever. The reCaptcha process dates back to May of 2007. I advise people to take their time to read the instructions and follow the directions on the verification process.
Should you field your comments to the owners of ██████████████ and they decide to take action, I will certainly indeed take the steps necessary to ensure that the verification process is much simpler for your use. So until they come to me, I simply do not have the time, nor am I contractually obligated to “fix” their site because of a customer complaint. You will need to go directly through ██████████████ ownership.
As for the user friendliness of the website, the owners are satisfied, I have fulfilled my job as a web developer to give the client what they wanted and as far as a usability and user experience standpoint, the site is a simple site to use and has been tested by many professionals in my field and regarded as very user friendly.
With that said, I would direct you to send any comments and questions to the owners of the establishment, on Facebook, via the contact form, or by calling the number listed on the website.
Thank you.

I’ll be going to the office to work my full-time job now, leave questions or comments in the appropriate area. Developers/Designers, I would especially like to hear from you on this topic. Do you answer these and address these emails or do you just let them go?

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Happy Birthday, Brandon!

Happy 16th birthday, to my son, Brandon.

Brandon

It’s been a long road, and the past year has been even longer, tougher, and filled with challenges you have been able to meet and beat. You have been second guessed and been told there is “no faith” in you by a coach. I have faith in you and the people that matter have faith in you. That’s all you need.

I’m proud to be your dad. I’m proud of you. You, are my champion.

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Moving

So within the next month, now that my son & I are going to move, since the dynamics have changed in this building we currently reside in, things are going to be a little bit quiet around here and elsewhere regarding me.

A landlord rented to a business owner who sublet (against the rules in the rental agreements unless the landlord and party bargained an agreement otherwise) to a guy that has become a nuisance. The original plan, according to the landlord, was to sublet to an Italian guy, who was going to work for this business owner.

The other morning (3:30am to be precise) they were arguing and woke up my son and myself.

I try to teach my son, to be respectful of your neighbors. Other people that live in the building. I try to respect the others that reside in the building I reside in. Others sadly, do not share that sentiment.

This building turned from a nice quiet place to live and work from, to a place that is inhabited by people that are rude, crass, and do not care about their smoke wafting through into others apartments.

It happens everywhere, regarding rentals.

I just hope our next move, is somewhere, where there is some sort of relief.

Frustration has ruled the stay for the last several months since a string of “chefs” were rented apartments here. Well “chefs”, you both suck. One drops his toilet seat and is just ignorant to the fact he has neighbors when he stays up late, plays his XBox, and doesn’t care past his own protective bubble of ego.

The other, just allowed someone to come in and like his business, the place goes right to the shitter. Smoking inside the building, noise, arguing at 3:30am. I know real chefs who are kind, compassionate to others, and respectful. These two shit sippers take the cake.

I’ve never been this upset. Due to the fact my son stays with me full-time, I think the issue is so that he is not around such idiocy and I can’t protect him from it, but I wish I could give him a little reprieve.

I just hope our next move will be a little better.

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Changes

So to close friends and family, we have thoroughly thought about this and the decision has been made that Brandon and I, as of August 1st, will be moving to South Berwick, Maine.

To be perfectly honest and candid, Brandon and his uncertainty of the next basketball season at Kennett, and the opportunity, the invitation, and the ability for us to go to South Berwick, to play for his current coach, at Marshwood High School are the biggest factors.

Scholastically, I feel this is an upgrade, to help Brandon, with his struggles in school, and stop the years and years of hair pulling and struggle with his grades and hold him more than accountable with the way Marshwood holds their student athletes accountable for grades in order to play.

Those we have selected that are very close to us, that I have sat down with and asked for advice, have been great and supportive of this move for Brandon. This has been an ongoing discussion since the new AAU season that he spent with the NH Spartans Elite team.

I have consulted with my job and the finalization of this is imminent and I am afforded the option of working from home as most of you know. I am able to make this move, pending the finalization from the company president, which I have been told is more than just “probable”.

Brandon, however is the main focus.

When he came back from the Colby College basketball tournament with that huge smile on his face and an air of confidence I have never seen before with him, I knew we had made the right choice.

His first practice with the Hawks team and he was quickly accepted as one of their own and plays with them like he has played with them for all his life. He’s not a guy that hangs out on the 3-point line on the far wing on the sideline and watching the plays develop for the guards and forwards to shoot from where they do with regards to the play.

Brandon is part of an offense that has a numerous amount of plays for a 6’8″ center.

Brandon is part of a team that when the hand goes up, they get him the ball. And he scores at will.

Brandon has worked furiously, hard, and frankly, he has worked his ass off since the NH State Tournament and there are two instances where I have noticed much improved development.

  1. The time from the start of the AAU season with the Spartans…

and 2. from the NH State Tournament until now.

He’s developed in that short amount of time, a desire to prove one person wrong, and to improve him game exponentially.

He has developed court confidence, tenacity, aggressiveness, physicality, and desire to win. A desire to win that he feels lacked with his former coach. We went down that road before and that ended up with me being branded a sort of “Lavar Ball” type. Which I couldn’t care less about.

Marshwood has an offense that is tailored for Brandon, he will play for 100% certain, there is no guessing what the pecking order will be next year, there will be no guessing whom will be chosen to skip ahead of the upper classmen or whom the senior(s) will be that will be starting in the same position.

No excuses, no getting your guy from the Rec Dept league, no politics or favoritism. No coaches kids that start that should probably play another sport other than basketball that they excel better at.

None.

Brandon will play, he won’t be rotting on the end of the bench during an abysmal season, no watching. Playing. The game he loves to play. I know how he feels and we make the move.

I do this for my kid so he can chase a dream. He may not get in and he may have his doubters. So did a kid named Michael Jordan. Do I think my kid is the next MJ? Hell no.

My kid is the next Brandon Libby and even if that kid went through the D-League and got a 10-day contract and played 1 game and had the stat line of a Matt Steigenga (Bulls ’92) or Ron Watts (Celtics ’66). I’d till be proud as hell of that kid like I am now.

Brandon made the decision back before the AAU season, but we have carefully thought this out and are now in the final stages of planning. His development and what he accomplished in that season against very tough teams and top notch talent solidified our decision to move.

Brandon isn’t on Facebook a lot and I know that he shares the same sentiments I do when I say for him, he thanks and appreciates the time and the mentoring, the coaching and the support that has been shown to him and for him since he started playing the game from everyone.

Regardless of the past year and what I believe to be the truth.

It’s time for him to play and for us to move on. For Brandon.

Thank you to those who have supported Brandon especially and who continue to do so.

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An Event Apart

An Event Apart Boston 2017, Wrap-Up Edition

Well, I finally have some free time to sit down and collect my thoughts about the past couple weeks that have been a whirlwind of activity. Here, however, is the wrap-up for An Event Apart that took place this past Monday through Wednesday.

So without going into painfully long and exhaustingly minute detail, here’s the quick rundown, or as quick as I can relay the conference to any readers out there.

Day One. Kicked off with Jeffrey Zeldman leading the conference with From Research to Redesign: an Unexpected Journey. Talking about how design begins with the product, in the example he chose, was engagement rings. In my case, at my work, it is a web application that our clients use for automatic payroll deduction.

Data, people, patterns, how to use your site to convey to visitors what you’re product is and how to do it clearly. Similarities to his talk and what I am undertaking at my work were strikingly parallel to each other.

Jaimee Newberry followed with The Art & Soul of Selling. This talk helped me in many crucial ways. I was glad to have been there for this one.

Her 12 “Check Yourself Checkpoints” were fantastic. She touched on emails, word choices, and speaking with confidence that I had struggled to do in my entire professional career.

“Be Specific Immediately”, “Don’t Be A Jerk”, “Follow Up”. Some of the points she touched on. Especially the being specific immediately and word choices. Now I can take these, shorten my lengthy emails, with clear and concise emails that get the point across to our clients immediately.

Instead of “Well, I can look into this issue, but I’m not sure what the issue could be, it may consist of a number of things that I would have to look at.” I can now shorten that to, “I will look into this.”

Simple as that.

Brad Frost then came up to the podium and spoke about collaboration with others when working in teams. Mission statements and company values. I work with others, so this came in handy.

What was touched on next, I found more intriguing and very useful. Brand style guides, code style guides, voice and tone style guides. Creating a design system at work. These are so very invaluable to me. More on research and priorities. Design principles.

I joked around when I thanked Brad for his talk, I told him he, “helped me exponentially broaden my bookmarks about 100X with all the great links to tools and examples, as well as things he has been working on. There was a ton of information, notes, links and ideas I took away from Brad’s talk.

I’ll leave out the bees, I went Twitter happy with that gif I think.

Dan Mall came on after Brad to discuss Gantt charts. No, actually it was about strategy with deign and development process. Collaboration, Should designers code? Should developers design? If they don’t, then it’s okay.

He spoke about CSS briefly, did a quick, “how-to” for folks that did not know CSS or how to code it, talked about tools, the 8-point grid and a host of other small topics that I found useful.

I think I may have asked a question very much way off-topic to what he had spoken about regarding clients/bosses and their penchants for “this is not the same color I see on my phone as it is here on your computer”, when you copied the hex code as it was… I guess my question had to do with the process, so I may have not been as far off as I thought.

First time speaker Laura Martini was next and gave a great talk about “Designing the Right Thing”. Designing needs for the business, the user and yourself. The HEART framework (Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task Success).

Laura dove into the NPS, CSAT, and CES scoring systems, do’s and don’t(s), tools and research. She gave a great talk for her first at an An Event Apart and it helped me out and gave me some invaluable information.

The day was a long one, but the information up to this point from all the speakers was phenomenal.

Chris Coyier, the guy (or one of the people) behind Codepen and CSS-Tricks finished off the first day with a talk on SVG. Something I have been reading about, looking into, and trying to adopt for what seems like ages.

I’m basically going to leave this at, why wasn’t I using SVG more often on the projects I had done? Chris wrapped up the day nicely and I had a ton of notes to take with me, go over and bring back some great ideas to work.

Day Two. Val Head spoke about “Animation in Design Systems and Process”. Communication, Storyboards and sketches, Motion comps, interactive prototypes. Tools to use when you’re creating things of the animated nature!

Defining your brand. Brand & Experience Pillars, Voice & Tone, building animation guidelines. Documenting your decisions, durations, easing values and a host of other tidbits in the animation design and documentation process that really gave me ideas for the redesign of the company site I work for. Thanks for the time to chat with you Val!

Rachel Andrew and Jen Simmons followed. What they both spoke about, the CSS grid layout, was the meat and potatoes of what I went to the conference for.

Rachel spoke about the browser history briefly, how Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera all adopted the CSS Grid support in their respective browsers. IE had yet to support it fully.

Rachel spoke about the Grid layout and showed some code examples, a great example was a magazine layout she “build” (sort of) in front of all us attendees.

Rachel also touched on Media Objects, auto as flex-basis, minmax(), and Feature Queries to name a few. An eye-opening look into what I had been questioning myself for since I was hired at ART. Incredible keynote that was.

Jen followed touching on the web when it first came out to the public, table-based layouts, and the evolution up to all the different sized mobile devices used these days.

Grid systems, frameworks, all the different tools we see to help us build magazine style-layouts and column framework systems. Then unleashing the best thing I heard yet that day… CSS Grid also uses ROWS as well as columns!

Needless to say… things happened in my head…

Mind Blown

She went into a little about CSS Grid layouts (which I will get to soon. If you have read this far… you’re a trooper) but the meat and potatoes of this was in the third day, A Day Apart. Touched on tracks not having to be the same size, content sized by the size of a track, tracks sized by the content, the viewport, storyboards, overlap, framing, white space, verticality, flexibility and creativity.

Eric Meyer stepped up and spoke about “Design for Real Life”.

“When you design for interaction, you’re creating abstract rules to take unknown content and organize it in an unknown medium for presentation to unknown people who have largely unknown personal contexts.”

The example Eric used, was Facebook. Facebook and their “On This Day” to be exact. Now, this is an extremely touchy subject, and if I overstep my bounds, I would like to know immediately, as I will try and re-word things to the best of my ability (I’ll also follow-up the entire wrap-up with a brief “If you need to correct me, please do so”).

Back to the Facebook, “On This Day”… Eric lost his daughter in 2014, Facebook decided a few days after her passing, to throw up a “On This Day, Eric…” modal box/window a picture along with the dancing people in the background, of his recently deceased daughter.

Horrible.

It brought me back to when I remember reading his book (1st Ed.) CSS: The Definitive Guide, following him closely as I could in the CSS Working Group and wherever I could as he was (and still is) one of the most influential people in my life that brought me to my career path.

I remember when I read the In Memoriam page, wanting to say something, not sure if he would read it, not sure if there was anything I could say that hadn’t been said already.

I follow him because of the work he does in the field that I love. I was fortunate to be able to sit with Eric during lunches and the last day for a bit. Though not a huge talker, not wanting to interrupt anyone, not wanting to feel like a nuisance.

The first time I saw, met, and heard Eric was in Boston in 2008. It was like catching up with a friend. I enjoyed the time he gave me, and appreciated it. Through his rough time, I saw a man who kept going in his professional life. This led me to not give up, this led me to keep fighting the fight daily. His strength during one of the worst times a parent could ever live through made me realize my small, luxury problems were just that, insignificant and petty. Eric is a power of example to me.

Anyway, the other examples were of Pokemon Go. When people were walking in front of cars, on private property, crossing the border into Canada… warning modals stating that users need to be careful and stay alert when playing the game.

Instances where A tweet by Juliana Hatfield with a track on it was flagged by Twitter for having her track in it, the “Cheatin’uh?” error that was (and still is?) on WordPress and had a seven (yes, SEVEN) year support thread going.

Jason Grigsby then came on and spoke on “The Case for Progressive Web Apps”. Some of his points he touched on were the case between mobile web versus native apps, what is a PWA?, and much more.

Not every customer or potential customer will install your native app, how people just stop using apps after a day, a week, or a month. You should provide a secure site or app for your web customers. Providing a fast experience for your users just to name a few.

So if my company decides to roll out an app (which is highly doubtful at this time) then I have this to fall back on and use. “Not all users will add your web app to their home screen”. Our dependence on a mobile app is probably nil, but we do have a web app accessible through a browser.

I take this info and store it so I can access it and at some point, there may be a mobile app of some sort?

To wrap the second day up, Josh Clark, who in my opinion, gave me a lot to think about, which is okay. I could use the challenge!

Josh touched upon machine learning, pattern processing, personal data, image recognition, language and speech recognition. Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some of which made me think, especially the fact that if you type something to post on Facebook, that for instance, may be angry, and erase it because you don’t want people to think you’re going to go out on a murder spree… Facebook retains that data and you don’t even know it!

I was taken back by that little revelation.

Alexa ordering dollhouses when people that watched a newscast and had their Amazon Echo on, when the newscaster said, “Alexa, order me a dollhouse”.

The invasive Burger King ad that triggered Google Home devices and a parrot that placed an order on an Amazon Echo because the Echo cannot tell if it is a parrot or human talking.

Google’s “Featured” snippets. Josh touched on accuracy over speed, allow for ambiguity, adding human judgment, embracing multiple systems, make it easy to contribute data, and some other topics.

Some shocking examples. I don’t remember the gentlman’s name, but he is of Asian heritage, and his photo did not meet the criteria of a site because it stated… “Subject eyes are closed”.

Google tagging blacks as “Gorillas”, Microsoft’s failed “Tay” who went from excitable teen to white supremacist in 0.4 seconds.

Or possibly the worst case of machine bias was this.

The keynote from Josh was incredibly eye-opening and valuable as I look at data differently now. Carefully thinking of how we, at my work, present our data. He ended Day Two in stellar fashion.

Day Three. Jen Simmons. CSS Grid layouts. Five or so hours of going over layouts, writing modes, alignment, logical properties and a little Flexbox. Mostly though it was an introduction to the CSS Grid layout. Nothing really in-depth, because in the words of Eric Meyer, whom which I was seated next to this day, “It would take three days to go through everything.”

A phenomenal(yes, again) and fantastic glimpse into the CSS Grid layout. With examples and questions from the audience, and a quote that I really liked, from another person I had met in 2008 at the same event, Bruce Lawson, she put up on a slide to make a point about writing modes;

“It’s the World Wide Web, not the Wealthy Western Web. — Bruce Lawson”

Funny story related to that encounter but that’s for another day.

Overall, I recommend this event to everyone in the creative field. A must-go, a must-attend.

Lastly. I arrived in Boston looking forward to seeing Jeffrey Zeldman again, and did so. Like with Eric Meyer, it felt like I was catching up with a friend. Jeffrey is one of the two (again, along with Eric) that shaped the way I thought about the web and helped me stay the course.

He was gracious in allowing me to hang around and during a break, we spoke in great length with Claudia Snell and we spoke of things we had in common. It was nice not to feel alone in this crazy world, that there were others that have had similar issues and have walked through hell and kept on walking.

For that, I am very grateful. I was probably (again) like a groupie or roadie hanging around backstage at a concert. AEA was my concert. I enjoy connecting with people in this field, I enjoy talking to and following the people that speak. I try not to intrude too deeply, keep a distance as to not seem like I’m some character like Jim Carrey’s character Chip Douglas in The Cable Guy.

Simply put, I felt like I was in a room filled with people I follow and enjoy reading their books, speaking to, corresponding with and following online to see how they are professionally doing, and in real life. Many don’t know me, but they work they do, has helped me, helped shape me, and helped me be the professional I am today.

Even going back to 2008 when I met Jeff Veen, Doug Bowman, Jason Santa Maria, Andy Budd, and listened to the keynotes from Kimberly Blessing, Peter-Paul Koch, Ethan Marcotte, Jared Spool, Christopher Fahey, and Luke Wroblewski to the folks I met that I named previously. I can’t even begin to describe the gratitude that I have still, and now, for what they have done to help me in my career.

Even the folks at other AEA events that I did not see but always said, “I’ll be down next year!” to which I never was. People like Jeremy Keith, Andy Clarke, Dan Cederholm, Mark Boulton, Karen McGrane, Lea Verou, Mike Monteiro, Sarah Parmenter, Kristina Halvorson, Paul Irish, Jon Hicks, and Cameron Moll.

In 2008, I took back information and used it to do the job I was hired to do then. 2017, I intend to do the same with the plethora of information I brought home with me. It took me 9 years and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get back to where I am today and get back to see these professionals speak. It was well worth it.

If you are a speaker that I have misquoted, or misconstrued the information somehow, please feel free to drop me a line or comment, to make a correction. I appreciate your time, thank you, and want to convey the information correctly to anyone interested in reading this novel.

and with that, I finally end this post. My apologies to all if you suffered through this, and thank you for reading this if you got this far.

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