“Anytime I feel lost, I pull out a map and stare. I stare until I have reminded myself that life is a giant adventure, so much to do, to see.” — Angelina Jolie
2014 has been a great year for getting out of my comfort zone, and in keeping with that theme, last month I gave my first-ever conference presentation with a couple of amazing colleagues at HighEdWeb 2014 in Portland, Oregon. I wish I could say that I nailed it, but honestly I tried to pack waaaay too much information into a limited amount of time, and was pretty nervous for the first 10 minutes or so. Still, it was well attended, we got some great questions and feedback afterward, and it was an exciting new experience that I would definitely recommend to anyone else looking to push out of their professional or personal comfort zone.
This presentation was about online maps—specifically higher-ed campus maps—and over the past several months I’ve collected a lot of information and resources that I’d like to share, in case it’s helpful to anyone else who is new-ish to online maps. Some of this will apply specifically to people working at colleges and universities, but there’s also some that could be useful to anyone interested in web-based mapping.
If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
— John Wooden
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle
I had the opportunity recently to participate in Go Code Colorado, an “apps challenge” (think weekend hackathon + startup pitch competition) meant to make public data more accessible. It was an awesome experience and it got me thinking about government/public data, and how to use it and combine it in ways that can help people.
Here’s a quick example of how to pull data from one such public data source, the Colorado Business Entity Database. Basically, anyone starting a new business or forming a business entity in Colorado, whether that be a sole proprietership, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc, has to file documents and register their business with the Secretary of State’s office, and that information becomes public data. What we’re going to do in this example is to use state-provided API to pull a list of current businesses in a particular ZIP code, and list out their names, street addresses, and cities. Continue reading Pulling JSON data from a public data API→
“Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch nonfear, you are free.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Happy New Year, and welcome to 2014! I’ve always liked the first part of a new year–it’s a good time to take stock, and take a little time to be mindful about where I’m going and what I’m doing. So this post will probably be a little more me-centric than usual, but hopefully there’s something of interest to you too–assuming you’re a fellow web designer, web dev, front-end developer, or just an all-around web geek :)
2013 was a great year for me professionally, definitely one of my best so far. As I talked about in my very first post, I started 2013 in bit of a rut and like I was slipping behind the times a little in my profession. Now at the end of 2013 I’m much more up-to-date on skills, feeling rejuvenated, more engaged in the web community, and very excited for the future. All the people, projects, organizations, resources, and communities that have helped me get to this point are too numerous to list, but I want to call out a few that I’m particularly thankful for. Continue reading Looking back, looking forward, and giving thanks→
“All that’s bright must fade, the brightest still the fleetest; All that’s sweet was made but to be lost when sweetest.” ― Thomas Moore
It used to be when you wanted a nice simple gradient background for your page, the process looked like this: Step 1) fire up Photoshop; Step 2) use the Gradient tool to fill the canvas with a horizontal or vertical gradient; Step 3) crop canvas into a as-small-as-possible slice (often 1px high or 1px wide); Step 4) export .gif or .jpg graphic; and so on. I’m leaving off the rest of the steps, because you either remember how to do it from past experience, or you’ll never need to know how to make a gradient that way thanks to the awesomeness of CSS gradients. Let’s take a look at what they can do! Continue reading CSS gradients: basic to advanced→