Thursday, February 21, 2008

Colours trump lorem ipsum

I've just been laughed at, in the best way possible. After a friendly real estate agent named Helen emailed me a spreadsheet of available properties, I mindlessly highlighted the properties according to my level of interest and fired it back. Her amused little chuckle at my way of being understood, followed by her intuitive understanding of what I was after, proved to me that, in retrospect, colours (and shapes, and other universal cues) trump explanatory text on a daily basis.

Yes, it's simple; and you're forgiven for wondering what manner of boredom drove me to write a blog post about it.

Even when something is spoken or written down, there are enough variations in our level of linguistic ability, accent, sentence structure and so forth to murk the waters. Yes, that's murk as an action verb, because this is post mentions linguistics. I can also tell you that my girlfriend (teehee, I said girlfriend) subconsciously chooses prepositional phrases to begin her sentences. But I have no idea how to spell scabenga.

I see something about spreadsheets up there... highlights... ah, yes! The point of this post is to share with whatever readers may stumble across this archive (as it will be, by the time this is first read) an idea. An idea that you could try next time you design a layout, a presentation, or a logo. Use colours, not lorem ipsum, to say what you mean. People might even understand you.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

'Bout that time eh, chaps?

My name is Shamus, and I've just realized I'm turning 25 this month.

A few minutes ago, I was taking a 5am stroll around the neighborhood. When the weather is fine, there's no better way to wind down after a night's work is done. With the realization that my quarter-century milestone is around the corner, though, winding down isn't exactly what took place.

Floogy is a huge part of my life, as it has been since laying claim to the domain name back in 2001. I had an idea that my $14/mo web hosting bill was too high, and that more of my motocross buddies would have their own web sites if it cost less than $5/mo. It worked; even it's 7th year, Floogy's new web hosting clients still tend to come from motocross land. I miss being a more muddy, broken, enthusiastic participant in that industry.

The years, meanwhile, have been flying past.

A short while after launching the web hosting service, I was somehow contracted as a lecturer of web development... but not for long. When the CEO simply disappeared (along with a whole lot of zeros from their balance sheet), I was freed unexpectedly. With web development on the brain, I began building and face-lifting a few web sites for the sake of it, with one unexpected side effect; a portfolio.

In the mean time, Floogy as a web hosting service was growing steadily, and in 2006 I handed over day-to-day server administration to fresher faces. This was a huge deal for somebody used to micro-managing every aspect of every email, server, invoice and account. Prying my fingers off those reigns actually took a few attempts, and to this day my mobile would let me know if any server coughs.

The benefits of leveraging other people could not have been more obvious. Even more time was freed up, which was promptly filled with web dev projects. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing, and without any advertising the incoming development work kept myself and anywhere up to a half-dozen others busy up to our eyeballs.

This has been the case since. 007's a blur of airline meals, sleep deprivation, deadlines and celebrations. Despite this, there has been a nagging feeling that more can be done. I had always pictured retirement at 25, and though I wouldn't take it now if it were on offer, to have that option... well, that'd be swell.

This brings us back to the beginning, where I'm strolling the neighborhood. I guess there was a bit of thinking going on and I had to spill some out, unusually, into a blog. This is not an apology. I will do this more often, because it's my blog and I am micro-managing it. For now. =]