What Have I Become?

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I never thought I would hear myself utter the words,"’I sound like my parents." But it happened. When I said it, I did so in a half-joking manner, but now that I think about it more, I don’t think I was joking. Let me explain…

We’re staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel here in Macon, GA where Kim is attending a two-day seminar on teen substance abuse. In addition to having this event for mental health professionals, there’s been some sort of event for high school FFA clubs going on. Not a big deal, right? Wrong.

Our end of the hall probably has around five or six rooms of teenagers. I was made aware of this fact by the increase of traffic in the stairwell next to our room and in the hallway outside of our room. For a better part of the day, I could hear kids walking from room to room, slamming doors here and there. I could hear kids stomping their feet up and down the stairwell. (I joked to Kim that it sounded like they "brought their cows with 'em". She didn’t get it right away.) Anyway, until about midnight I "tolerated" these inconsiderate kids as they galavanted up and down the hallway and stairwell. At midnight, I did what my parents would have done: I called the front desk and complained.

Typically, I wouldn't care. I’m a heavy sleeper. Noise doesn't bother me. Now that I have a fourth-and-a-half month old, though, noise has to be a concern for me.

So, back to the realization that Kim and I had in the car… We are becoming our parents, because we are parents. So, if we sound like our parents… maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Seven

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Internet Explorer 7 Logo

Microsoft just released Windows Internet Explorer 7, Beta 2.

I’ve had some issues with past releases, so I am going to approach this latest release with a bit more caution… I can’t really get away with a statement like that without clarifying, can I?

I installed IE7, Beta 1 and a subsequent candidate release… It worked great, for the most part. My problems with it started when Network Neighborhood in XP started to crash every time I launched it. Then other things tied in with the browser started acting buggy… xml rendering, printing, etc. I finally decided to remove it. Had a heck of a time doing so. After two unsuccessful uninstallation attempts I was able to get it off of my machine. I’ve still had some issues with my system ever since IE7 left its mark… but it’s at least been more stable.

So, as I said earlier, I’ll approach this new release with some degree of caution. Beta software means not ready for primetime. I gotta remember that :)

I am certainly intrigued by what’s being offered now… Microsoft has setup a site devoted to IE7 Add-Ons, with plugins galore to help you extend Internet Explorer. CSS rendering was improved in the last release candidate… but that enhancement should be present in this latest release – and probable refined even further. Add to that tabbed browsing, web search right from the toolbar, advanced printing, easy discovery, reading and subscription to RSS feeds, and much more and IE7 is quickly becoming the browser most of us had hoped it would become five years ago.

I won’t bash Microsoft (much) for slacking off of IE development for as long as they have. I’m sure they had their reasons. I’m glad they’ve decided to refocus their efforts and truly make IE7 a better product than its predecessor.

Will I switch back to IE from Firefox? I dunno. Not any time soon. (And definitely not on my Mac.) But I can sleep better at night knowing that IE7 is going to be better for all of us.

Blinksale

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Blinksale Screenshot

Blinksale 2.0 just launched (unofficially). I’ve been using it for since June 05, and I love it. It’s easy to use. Easy to maintain. I forget what I’ve got out there without it. It’s well worth the monthly investment.

Blinksale is perfect for someone like me who doesn’t do enough work to justify the expense of something like QuickBooks to manage invoices, payments, etc. I’d definitely check them out if you’re in the market for an easier way to send out invoices online. Click here for more info on Blinksale.

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Tour de Georgia 2006

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Tour de Scottie 2006

Well, another Tour de Georgia has come and gone to Augusta, Georgia. Augusta played host city to Stage 1 of the annual event which ends in Macon, GA. As has become customary, I’ve ‘shopped another pic of Scott as a rider in the event. We’d like to thank Dasani for sponsoring him (not really) in the race.

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Migration

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Well, you may have noticed, or maybe not… but I moved the site off of my long-time host, OutdoorResources.com, and moved it onto a server at my current place of employment, PowerServe.net.

The site is now running WordPress 2.0.2, with the Hemingway theme installed. I am currently working on a revamp of the design that I will unveil on May 1st as part of the Spring CSS Reboot. Stay tuned.

Moving

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Our New HouseOnly 18 more days until we’re out of our current house. We’ve been slowly packing and moving things out of the house and into storage. Part of me is sad to be moving. The rest of me is excited for what the future holds for Kim, Tyler and me.

Our new house is moving along nicely. They’re working on the drywall right now, and it looks like things are well ahead of schedule. We’re supposed to close on June 30th, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to close sooner.

I’m looking forward to the new house. We’ll be close to several friends that live in the neighborhood. We’ll have a bigger yard, bigger house… a garage!

God’s been good to me and my family. We’re blessed to be able to make this next step in our life. And I appreciate the work he is doing in our lives.

Bootcamp

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Apple BootcampIf you’ve been on the fence – like a lot of people have been – about buying one of the new Intel Macs, Apple’s come through in a big way today, to make that decision a lot easier for you. Enter Apple Bootcamp, a new technology that will be present in OS X 10.5, but is now available for Intel Macs. Now you can dual-boot Mac OS X with Windows XP. (The End Times are near, I can feel it.)

Now that this is available, I can’t help but ask myself: Is a Mac Intel in my future? (I’ll have to ask my wife, hehe.)

An Event Apart Atlanta – A Recap

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Today went by in a blur. I arrived at Turner Field this morning shortly after 7am, just before a front of heavy rainstorms poured through the Atlanta area.

I was able to meet Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman one on one first thing. Meeting Eric Meyer was pretty cool… He walked towards me, and the first thing out of my mouth was, “Nice to meet you Eric Meyer. I love your books.”

Both Eric and Jeffrey were the nicest guys you could have ever met. They’re like superstars in the web design field, but they haven’t let that get to their heads.

The weather did more than soak AEA attendees. It knocked out the WiFi in the 755 Club. Kind of ironic if you think about it… Here we are, at one of the pre-eminent events in the web design community, and our medium of choice was unavailable.

The lack of connectivity didn’t stop the likes of Eric, Jeffrey or Jason Santa Maria. Their topics were fascinating.

Internet Explorer and the Future of CSS

Eric started the morning talking about Internet Explorer 7 and the Future of CSS. Coming fresh of attending MIX06, Eric had lots to tell us about IE7, how it’ll handle current hacks, and more. I had some bad experiences with installing on IE7 on my own production machine at work, but I’m looking forward to a more final version of the app now that I’ve heard Eric talk about it.

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

After a short break, Zeldman started in on What’s the Story?, where he discussed good agencies versus bad agencies; talking with clients; how to smell trouble with clients; and much, much more. I thought his discussion on dealing with clients to be most insightful… Especially the thought that we can hold to this higher ideal that design needs to be the way it is without exception, or we can allow the client to be apart of the process… and give into their feedback from time to time – if it means seeing the project through its end.

Too often, we make the mistake of giving in too much, or not at all, and we damage the client-designer relationship.

And then we had another break… did I mention that the 755 Club was awesome? The view overlooking Turner Field was amazing.

Solving (re)Design Problems

I think Jason Santa Maria is an awesomely talented guy. His presentation on Solving (re)Design Problems was great. It was very insightful to peer into his workflow to see how about he and the rest of the ALA team went about redesigning A List Apart. He walked us through every step of the process… from creating a logo, creating the design, and working with team members to get things implemented. This was why I wanted to come to AEA:Atlanta… to get a peek inside of the minds of the “pros”.

Bringing A List Apart Together

Eric jumped back to the forefront following Jason’s presentation to discuss how they pulled A List Apart together. It was a bit more technical in nature… with Eric detailing how he started visualizing the CSS based on Jason Santa Maria’s design concept. Again, going back to my reason for attending AEA… it was great to see how Eric worked. And it was great to see how the code behind the ALA site came together.

Lunchie Munchies

Lunch was great! The 755 Club catered a great meal – offering hamburgers, Carolina Cole Slaw, Barbeque and more… It wasn’t to be missed. I sat down and ate lunch with Jeremy Flint, a designer out of Birmingham, AL (and, incidentally a member of the Godbit.com community). Jeremy’s a great guy, that I’m glad I was able to meet. You can’t beat the location we had lunch, either. We opted to go outside, where the weather had cleared to reveal a beautiful, warm, sunny day… and at lunch overlooking the baseball field. (I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.)

Sponsor Giveaways

After lunch, the fine folks over at Media Temple gave away 25 1-year hosting plans to attendees.

Textism

Let’s face it, the web is filled with bad copy. (A lot of which is on my site!) Zeldman’s presentation went over making web copy more readable, more concise. Get rid of the crap! No one wants to read it anyway.

Then Came Dominey

I was especially looking forward to hearing Todd Dominey speak, once he announced he’d be making a special appearance at the event. His topic: the Off-Hour Entrepreneur. When he built SlideShowPro last year, he had no idea that it would take off like it did. He just built something he thought would be useful, and it took off. He’s now making more selling that Flash component than he is making at his day job. Find a niche, build something you’d want to buy, and you might enjoy the sort of success he’s had.

Final Break

Then we had our final break, where Eric and Jeffrey awarded some books to 15 lucky attendees via the Atlanta AIGA. Jeremy was one of the lucky ones. He snagged a copy of Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing.

Wrapping Up

The final session of the day dealt with One True Layout, and Equal Height Columns via CSS. Eric Meyer walked everyone through the steps we would take to incorporate this method into our designs. I was blown away with how simple the concept was. Even Eric admitted that he wish he had thought of it first.

Closing Thoughts

An Event Apart was an awesome experience. I got to meet a lot of people in the design field that I have never met before, and I was able to learn a lot in one jam-packed day. I learned so much my brain hurt. It was an awesome experience, well worth the time, money and travel. I will gladly do it again in the future.

The lack of WiFi bothered me a little bit, but in the end – because I didn’t have the net as a distraction – I was able to concentrate a lot more on the presentations versus checking my email, scouring the web for liveblogs of the event, etc. If I had access to the net, it’s very possible that I could have missed everything.

Don’t just take my word for it, though, head on over to the Flickr Pool for AEA Atlanta ’06. Others captured the event much better than I could have.

AEA, Here I Come

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Well, the day is finally here. It’s shortly before 6am. I couldn’t sleep all that well. The hotel bed was … a little stiff. Regardless… I’m enjoying my stay in Atlanta thusfar, and I am really looking forward to attending An Event Apart.

The good part about waking up this early is … you never feel rushed :)

If AEA:Philadelphia is any indication, this should be one heck of a show. I’m sure there will be lots to read and view as the day goes along.