How a post a day drew visitors through the roof

31 January, 2011 § 3 Comments

I’ve been writing on this blog since November 2008 as a way to improve my technical writing skills and document the things that I learn. This year, I accepted a personal challenge to write a blog post a day.

In just this month, I’ve learned that blog posts don’t have to span multiple pages or include many citations. In fact, placing deeper posts among many shorter posts can bring more attention to the longer posts.

Since writing a post a month, my statistics for this blog have skyrocketed.

You may remember from a previous post that my total visit count for 2010 was over 6,300, whereas the first month of 2011 has brought in nearly 3,500 visitors.

I’ll be continuing to post more often to this blog. Let me know what you think, and also if you think the quality of the posts has degraded at all.

Designing through a fishbowl

30 January, 2011 § 1 Comment

Thursday night was the third IxDA Lansing meeting, held at Second Gear Co-working space in Old Town, Lansing. Davin Granroth gave a talk on his favorite process for page/design reviews.

The process works in three steps:

  1. The designer introduces the user story and the design that was created to accomplish it.
  2. The reviewers critique the design, while the designer takes notes. There is no designer-reviewer interaction (to the point that the reviewers should pretend that the designer is not in the room).
  3. The designer recaps the discussion and asks for clarification on any of the points.

Demo time!

A couple of the attendees brought designs that they had been working on and asked for feedback. We broke in to four groups of four people and walked through the process.

Everyone seemed to be having a great time, and the designers had a lot of praise for the feedback. They often mentioned that people try not to hurt feelings and thus don’t speak their mind. This type of exercise introduced a way to give feedback without hurting people’s egos.

Next up?

Do you want to present at or attend an IxDA Lansing meeting? Visit the IxDA Lansing website to find out when the next meeting will be and who to contact.

 

Lansing Give Camp 2011

29 January, 2011 § 5 Comments

Earlier this week I signed up for Lansing Give Camp 2011. I’ve always wanted to volunteer for Give Camp, but never felt I had enough time. Based off of Parkinson’s First Law (“work expands to fill the time available”), I decided that if I signed up for it, I would make time for it and finish my other work in a more expedient fashion.

Give Camp is a weekend-long event where software developers, designers, and database administrators donate their time to create custom software for non-profit organizations.

The event runs March 25-27, at Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, MI. Charities will present their projects and teams will be introduced introduced around dinner time on Friday. Midnight snacks will help keep the volunteer elves burn the midnight oil. All meals will be served Saturday, with demos taking place on Sunday afternoon.

Here is a video from Give Camp 2009:

TechSmith’s DevCorner

28 January, 2011 § 1 Comment

Update: I’ve embedded the introductory video at the bottom of this post.

Yesterday was the launch of TechSmith’s DevCorner. The DevCorner is a new column on the company’s Visual Lounge blog.

Randall Brown and I are really excited about how cool it is to work as Software Engineers at TechSmith, and we also enjoy learning tons from the developer community at-large. We want to give back to the community, and also show off what it’s like to work at TechSmith.

Starting this week, we’ll be running a weekly post on the Visual Lounge. The posts will focus on common developer discussion topics, programming tips, and the development staff at TechSmith.

I’m looking forward to see what comes of the new column. Let me know what you think!

Ignite Lansing 4.0

27 January, 2011 § 1 Comment

Are you heading to Ignite Lansing 4.0? The event is taking place on February 11 at the Lansing Capital Region International Airport.

Ignite Lansing is a fast-paced, fun, thought-provoking, high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people with an idea and the guts to get onstage to share with their hometown crowd.

The first Ignite that I attended was held at the old Temple Club in Old Town. Since I attended my first Ignite, I thought it would be cool to have an Ignite at work. I launched the first Ignite at TechSmith in March 2010, and since then we’ve had three more.

I’m always excited to hear where the organizers have picked to hold Ignite Lansing.

So far the locations have included:

  • The East Lansing Technology Innovation Center in downtown East Lansing
  • The Temple Club in Old Town, Lansing
  • Knapps Office Center in downtown Lansing

I know I already mentioned that this year’s event will be held at the airport, but it’s not going to be held in the airport. Ignite Lansing 4.0 will be held in one of the airport hangars! Too cool.

Let me know if you’re attending. It should be a great time!

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