Community

prompt

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? #

response

I think the word “community” is thrown around way too much by the new media crowd. It seems like the new word used to gloat about how many followers you have. I don’t consider myself to be a part of a community, and I don’t necessarily plan to.

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date Dec 8th 2010
author Mike
category Life
tags
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Make

prompt

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? #

response

I help make the internet. The last bit of it that I made was I Am The, a ripoff of another site I saw and thought sucked. I went into it knowing that it involved a number of problems that I didn’t know how to solve, and I was able to figure them out. I was pretty proud of it.

My next project is about 20 times as large, 20 times as complicated, and I have even less idea about how to implement it. Last night I bought a new domain name* to test it out on, and new server space over at Linode. Setting up that server alone was an incredible accomplishment for me (I’ve always been with HostMonster and only used their cPanel interface to set everything up…I’m ashamed to say that I know very little about webhosting), but I can’t take full credit for it; Linode has so many tutorials and step-by-step guides that they essentially hold your hand through the setup process. I’ve never used the command line cumulatively as much as I did last night. It feels like such an amazing accomplishment when you set up your own server, install your own LAMP on it, and see Apache’s default “It’s working!” page live on the internet. It’s an even bigger sense of accomplishment when you point your domain’s nameservers to your new IP and see it rendering the content you just added via SSH.

Holy balls, I geeked out hard last night.

* All 4 letter (not character) dot coms were taken in 2007, and there’s a good chance that somewhere near 99% of all 4 character (includes hyphens and numbers) are taken. My new domain is a 4 character dot com, and it isn’t gibberish. It has a 3 letter word followed by a number. And I only payed $10 for it. I can’t even tell you how stoked I am for getting that. Somebody had previously owned it, and let it expire…yesterday. I found it on an expired domain names list, and immediately snatched it up. Hell yes.

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date Dec 8th 2010
author Mike
category Geek, Life
tags
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Let Go

prompt

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? #

response

I let go of photography. I’ve been busy, and I’m forced to be indoors during the only 40 hours of sunlight during the weekdays. To commemorate the loss, here are some photos I took around the Bear Canyon hiking trail yesterday.

12.4.2010-1

12.4.2010-2

12.4.2010-3

12.4.2010-4

12.4.2010-5


See if you can spot the deer in the second photo. The original sized image might help, but I doubt it.

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date Dec 5th 2010
author Mike
category Life
tags
  1 Comment »

Wonder

prompt

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? #

response

Wonder is not a keyword I ever use to describe my life. I guess I wondered about the same things everybody else does, but I certainly didn’t do anything to cultivate that sense.

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date Dec 5th 2010
author Mike
category Life
tags
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moment

prompt

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). #

response

I have two moments, but since I’m supposed to only pick one, I won’t mention the time Ally and I spent on the balcony of the Eldo.

Instead, I’ll mention a moment from New York, an entire trip I’ve shocking left off of this blog altogether. The entire trip with Ally to New York was incredible. The city itself is so loud, so dirty, so crowded, but inexplicably beautiful. We got to see and do some really great things, and hang out with some of my best friends from middle & high school. But none of them are in the moment I’m thinking of. Ally wasn’t even there.

It was a moment where there was a sunset on the visible horizon (above the tops of buildings), with the kind of colors you know pollution helped create. I was sitting on the sidewalk at the entrance of a hipster BBQ greasy spoon called Fette Sau drinking locally brewed beer out of a mason jar (“local” kind of loses meaning in a city like New York, but the brew was good nonetheless). My fingers still smelled like the ribs, porkbelly, and brisket we had just gorged ourselves on. Fixies outnumbered cabs in the area.

Only an hour earlier I had arrive there via the subway. I had gone underground somewhere in midtown, and emerged almost an hour later in Brooklyn. First time ever on a NYC subway, first time ever in Brooklyn. The buildings were shorter than in Manhattan, but they’re both definitely and distinctly New York. It all smells the same.

It was our first night in the city, we had just flown in that afternoon. Ally was busy doing BlogHer things, so I had the evening to myself. My good high school friend wasn’t arriving from Boston until the next day, so I had to find another way to stay entertained. I decided to get in touch with a not-quite-so-close friend that had moved from Boulder to NY sometime a year earlier. We worked together for a year or so at the Cafe and had hung out a few times outside of work. We always had a good time, so I figured we could do the same in another state.

It turns out we’re different enough that hanging out together was actually pretty awkward. Regardless, it made for an extremely memorable evening. I had a great time, not because I was with him, but because of where I was and what I was doing. There was something about sitting there in silence drinking my beer, taking in the sights and smells of such a foreign world, that made me feel alive that night.

Side note: From his apartment you could almost see Bed-Stuy (birthplace of Spike Lee, Jay-Z, Mos Def, Biggie Smalls, Chris Rock, and Carl Sagan (one of these things is not like the others)). I wonder if Sal’s Pizzeria is still around. “Yo, put some extra mozzarella on that motherfucker and shit.”

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date Dec 4th 2010
author Mike
category Life
tags
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writing

prompt

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing – and can you eliminate it? #

response

As a non-writer with a neglected blog, this question seems like it’s geared for somebody else. But at the same time, maybe it’s the perfect question for somebody like me. I guess it’s an opportunity for me to own up to my lack of writing.

I would definitely like to write more, but it’s never been a high priority for me. Every time I sit down with a good book, I always get that wave of inspiration where I tell myself “yes! I can write like this!” After pounding out a few awkwardly worded sentences on my computer, I realize it’s futile and leave the good writing up to the good writers.

As for this blog, I rarely feel like I have enough to say that it warrants going on here. When I feel strongly about something, I talk to people about it, and get it out of my system that way. If it’s daily minutia or inconsequential thoughts I tweet them. It’s almost gotten to the point where I feel like this blog is bigger and more important than it is, thereby requiring nothing but deserving content (and apparently half-assed attempts at photoblogging).

I’m not disappointed that I don’t write everyday, my only disappointment is that I don’t document my life as well these days as I used to. I don’t expect anybody to still get anything out of the Daily Photo Project posts (I know I know, two days in a row nostalgically looking back at that…) but I still cherish them. Just by clicking around it a little, I’m able to remember that year and the things I did and the places I went and the people I spent it with and the fun I had and the bad days and boring days better than any other period in my life. I miss that level of documentation and memory preservation. I’m hoping Reverb10 will be a small way for me to chronicle bits of my 2010, or even just preserve where I’m at as a person at this very moment.

That’s all for today. There’s no moral to this story.

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Kindle

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date Dec 1st 2010
author Mike
category Life, Photo
tags,
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One Word

prompt

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? #

response

The biggest thing I see when I look back at 2010 is my job. This is the first calendar year I’ve ever worked a full time job, and it was a huge adjustment for me. I wasn’t used to the structure of it, and it took me a long to figure out how to balance my life around work. It was way too easy to settle into a routine where I did nothing but work, watch tv, sleep, and repeat. So when I try to summarize that routine, the word I think of is:

Consistent.

What did tonight on December 1st was the same thing I probably did on March 22nd, June 9th, or almost any other weekday this year. When I think of it that way, I’m tempted to actually make my word “boring”, “stagnant”, or “routine”. But I’ve actually been thinking a lot about those words recently, and it’s scared me out of a potential funk I could have slipped into.

With those words hanging over my head, I’ve been making an effort to break out of my routine, stay busy outside of work, and most importantly to really take the time to really appreciate the things I enjoy. When I was doing the Daily Photo Project, it was easy to slow down and look at the world around me. I’ve had to find new ways to do that without a camera lens to look through anymore.

When I look beyond the consistency of this year, though, I actually had some great experiences. I spent time with the people I love, I got outdoors, traveled to new places, and experienced new things. This was not a bad year, just primarily a consistent one.

I’m looking forward to next year, and what it’ll bring. Yes, it too will predominantly be full of work, tv, and sleep, but I’ll continue finding ways to shake it up. I already know that Ally and I have a bunch of fun things planned, and I can’t wait to do them with her. I can’t wait to spend the year with her. I can’t wait to do things I love, and fill the year with love. So for a lot of reasons, I think I’ll chose that word for next year. Here’s to 2011.

Love.

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date Dec 1st 2010
author Mike
category Life
tags
  1 Comment »

html5

There’s been so much hype lately about HTML5 and how it’s the future of web technology standards. You can’t go to any major web browser’s website without being told about how awesome their HTML5 support is (Apple SafariMozilla Firefox 4Microsoft IE9). I couldn’t find a similar page on Google about Chrome’s support, but we all know about Chrome Experiments. It’s like HTML5 has become a marketing tool for companies to gain an edge over their competitors. But it hasn’t even been officially released or even suggested by the W3C (the web standards governing body), so I keep on asking myself “well, what the hell is it exactly?”

Good question, me. Well, Google claims that all of their mobile web apps are built using HTML5. Awesome, so it makes links more clickable using your thumb instead of a mouse pointer? Or is it actually the programming behind the apps? I mean, Google Voice is pretty slick on the iPhone, but what exactly does html5 do that made that app possible? With some clever browser detection and mobile-targeted stylesheets, I could probably create a UI that at least looks and acts like GV.

To try to answer my question, I started doing a good amount of research. I followed along with a bunch of HTML5 tutorials and created my “very own first website using html5”. A few months ago I even joined some fellow geeks at a presentation by Imulus all about HTML5. And still, I didn’t have a better understanding of what it was. In fact, most of the cool functionality that’s often attributed to HTML5 was actually CSS3 and JavaScript trickery, not some revolutionary markup language. And I’m not the only one that was confused. Apple has a set of HTML5 demos meant to show off Safari’s support, but only 2 of the 6 demos actually use HTML5.

This morning I gained some understanding for the first time. I started watching Lynda’s first look at HTML5 (alternately) video series, and it finally shed some light on the subject that’s confused me for so long.

Basically, what it breaks down to is that I was correct. Many of HTML5’s most touted capabilities actually have nothing to do with the language. Let me reiterate (this is a very important point): HTML5 has little or nothing to do with all the awesome “HTML5” websites out there. The term itself has become a brand, or as I mentioned earlier, a marketing tool. It’s the new “it is the future” key phrase like “Web 2.0” was a few years ago, and it’s become the latest hope for the loyal Apple user/Flash hater. Anything new and cool on the web is allowed to be placed under the the HTML5 heading. It’s not a web language anymore, but a shift in how users interact with the web, and how the web interacts with you.

The most important point I think the Lynda videos made was that it’s not so important for the end user to know the difference between what HTML5 is and what it isn’t (do you care about the differences between PHP and JavaScript? They’re vastly different, but the end user doesn’t need to concern themselves with that), but it’s monumentally important for developers to understand that difference. I was doing research as a developer, but finding results intended for the end user. I thought that HTML5 was the answer to every problem I’ve ever had with cross-browser compatibilities, embedding various media types, etc., when in reality it’s just a new way to markup pages (and in reality, more than half of its official specifications are accounting for existing markup) with a few new APIs (including native video and audio support).

I’m excited about HTML5’s current support and it’s imminent official release, but I’m even more excited to figure out how to create the falsely labeled “HTML5” web apps out there. HTML5 largely leans on JavaScript to create most of its dynamic and interactive content, so this research has actually made me more excited to delve into JS than anything else. One of my biggest fears as a developer is getting left in the dust while clinging to depreciated web technologies, so there’s no way I’ll let HTML5 slip through my fingers. It is a part of the future, but it’s only one of the players. It alone can’t create the richly interactive websites of tomorrow.

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date Nov 14th 2010
author Mike
category Geek
tags
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Concert November 6, 2010

The Ogden Theatre

  • Peggy Sue
  • Kate Nash

Ally’s birthday gift. Kate was awesome. She has a lot of variety in her show. Sweet songs, quiet slow songs, poems with “fucks” a-plenty, and R&B-sides.

I’ll let someone more eloquent than me explain the night.

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