The Wilson Project
Blog of Front-End Developer/UX Engineer Ivan Wilson

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  • EOY

    Early morning from hotel window, Vancouver, Canada - 12/31/2010

    As I am writing this, I am looking at a fabulous view from my hotel room in what some of my friends call my second home of Vancouver, Canada. Part of me needed to get away to here do some end-of-the-year evaluation and some focused thinking about 2011. Then again, I allowed myself to relax a bit during these last days of 2010 (and I watched the Canucks beat the Flyers 6-2 Tuesday night at the home area…)

    But there are some things that occurred during the year that I need to mention before the final ball drop closes the year 2010:

    Fencing

    If you had asked me at the start of the year if I was going to start fencing again, it would have been a firm “NO.” There was no motivation to start again and no one was really asking to do so. And all the focus that I had with fencing went into my work, which paid off big. Irony, the only people who ever asked about me starting up again were my co-workers at CDG.

    Well, after two years, I decided to try fencing again. It has been the only sport that I have some liking to. Not to mention, the least likely to get bored at.

    Another bit of irony is that I restarted with Olde Town Fencing, the club I left almost four years ago. Despite that, the warming response made the comeback easier. Definitely a reminder of why I fence in the first place.

    Despite dealing with various injuries the last month, I am determined to continue my progress and actually compete again after a 2+ year absence.

    Travel

    This year:

    • Savannah, Georgia (IxDA Interaction 10)
    • NYC for opera (The Nose and Lulu) and design (Cooper-Hewitt)
    • Seattle/Canada (Victoria and Vancouver I)
    • For my first time, travel outside the Americas with FOWA/London
    • Of course, Vancouver for end-of-the-year

    For next year:

    • Boulder, Colorado for IxDA Interaction 11 (February 9-12, 2011)
    • NYC for opera with Nixon in China (Adams) and Wozzeck (Berg)

    Project Charles

    Basically, stops and starts. At one point, it was dead in the water. At one point, I almost considered ending the project. However, I caught a break (and some motivation from Tame Impala’s InnerSpeaker album) and did the complete site mockups. Started to work on the HTML templates but delayed due to technical review from the last two conferences I went to. Both made me think about what I was doing and in the end, the decision to make some more substantial changes in my work.

    Restarting work on templates in early 2011 and hopefully finishing the new site by The Wilson Project’s 10th anniversary in April.

    Work

    High point was three conferences:

    • IxDA Interaction 10 in Savannah, Georgia
    • An Event Apart a few blocks from my office in Washington, DC
    • FOWA in London, UK

    Lots of work, punctuated with four blog entries and some other minor additions to the blog.

    However, lots of reflection on my work process, especially considering many of the changes that affected my position as a UI/Front-end developer.

    But more about that in the next entry in this blog…

    Epilogue

    In the end, I remember about ten years ago that I started what would become a 20-month unemployment period. Now, at the end of 2010, thing have changed so much. A number of things that I first experimented with such as XHTML and building pages without table layouts are now not only accepted; they have become the gold standard.

    Now, with Project Charles heading for the finish line (?) in April 2011, more changes are in the pipeline for the next couple of years. Hopefully, 2011 will be a good one, not only for me, but for my family, friends, and especially my co-workers at CDG.

    Happy New Year 2011 from Vancouver, Canada!

  • London and Back

    _DSC1607

    Just re-entered the country, after a week in London for the last FOWA (Future of Web Apps) conference for 2010. Take a while to settle down (not to mention get back to a regular sleep schedule). Spending a week going through all the notes and ideas from the conference. However, all this information will be slowly integrated for the remainder of this year. I was able to get some sightseeing, as well as going to The National Theatre (Hamlet) and a concert (BBC Symphony @ Barbican).

    Now, going home to DC to a stack full of work at CDG.

    Later.

  • Moving Day

    Moving from Window to Linux server

    After a week of back-and-forth emails, the move is complete. (Yes!)

    Why did it take so long? Three domains, one account.

    Fortunately, the personnel at the hosting company were able to work out one minor glitch that finally put everything into place.

    But the more important question: Why move from Windows to Linux server?

    First, the new CMS I am using (Symphony) operates in the familiar LAMP environment. But with this project, came a change in focus for The Wilson Project. Basically, I wanted to do more experimental/open-source concepts, exactly the basis of the Charles project.

    More importantly, the last vestiges of Athena (Gamma TWP) were removed. This was built in 2003 with ColdFusion (Windows only). So once this was gone, so was the need for keeping this site on a Windows server.

    So everything has been set up for my needs. The beta site is currently holding the baseline install of Symphony 2.1.1. This, of course, will be the workspace for the Charles site (and still hoping for a January 2011 launch).

    Beyond Charles, I have one blog entry for CDG and finally start work on The Information Layer for this blog next month.

  • Call Me Regent (or What’s In A Name?)

    Next week, I am going to move this site to Linux server.

    Not a hard process – its just a little more complex in my case since it will involve domain(s) names, file transfers, and dealing with Linux/Window server (well if you dealt with both you know what I mean). But since I am here and I made an important decisions two weeks ago, I might as well talk about it.

    The “it” being…what’s up with the name “Charles”?

    The Wilson Project/Site Versions

    The name Charles refers to Charles Darwin, whose bicentennial was in 2009, the same year the project started in March. It also added some inspiration because of the introduction of new ideas and concepts that slowly gestated and altered during the course of the project.

    But the best thing about working on these projects is that it is sort of like my own research lab. It is where I get to try out new ideas before doing in the real world.

    One part research scientist, one part Olympic athlete.

    As for this version, I decided two weeks ago to name this version “Regent” because of its transitory nature. Unlike “H3”, it was never meant to be a final version and was always going to be more of a functional placeholder for the upcoming Charles.

    And there it is.

  • Mental Steeplechase / Hurdle IA

    Charles - Home Page (w/ site revisions)

    After a some thought and some revisions, I decided that the homepage will take on the blog lister template. This caused the following changes in the primary navigation:

    1. Changed primary navigation with addition of “Home” link
    2. Changed “Information” with “About”
    3. Replacement of “Blog” (main blog page) with “Blog Links” (gray section below containing Blogroll, Archives, and Meta)
    4. Switched order of “Social Media” and “Blog Links”

    An additional change was the addition of the site byline to the header.

    As of today, this was the final substantial change to the look and feel of the Charles site. After almost a year and three concepts, Charles has its look and now I can move forward toward Charles’ completion in 1/1/2011.

    Next steps:

    1. Complete HTML5 code templates
    2. Move TWP site from Windows to Linux server
    3. Start initial steps/planning for CMS configuration