Agile design

At the MinneBar conference in May I presented a session titled Agile Design and a great discussion ensued. The talk centered around the concepts and ideas of the Agile Method, but, you guessed it, as it related to information and visual design. I have had a great opportunity in my current role to help to define and evolve our process and practices surrounding software design and development. I love the team I work with and hope to continue breaking new ground with them.

I also wanted to post a bit about some ongoing and upcoming projects I am involved in so you know what I have been up to and what to expect.

First, I am planning to launch a new site with some peers of mine that will be focused on the agile method and particularly how it pertains to the development of “web 2.0” apps. You might think of it as a Signal vs. Noise type blog with less of a marketing spin.

I am also helping to plan OpenBar for the fall of 2006. OpenBar will pick up where MinneBar left off but its entire focus will be on open source software, using open source in your business, and is aimed at developing, enriching, and bringing together Minnesota’s large but disjointed open source community.

I also have a Minnesota blog aggregation site brewing slowly, but my decision to write in Ruby and on the Rails framework (as my first foray into such technologies) is retarding my progress. Hopefully, I will post more on this soon.

Lastly, this site is on the verge of another facelift. I really like the new visual design a lot, but am more excited by some of the ways the new site will be organized as well as some of the additional features and content I will be adding. Not sure when this will happen, but I am hoping for a June launch.

Four things

If I am a little late to the party on this you can blame a lot of people but you can only blame Mark for me actually participating.

Four jobs I’ve had

  1. Stocked shelves and helped people feed their consumerism at the very first Target Greatland store
  2. Called cabs for drunkards at the long defunct Mississippi Live group of bars and clubs
  3. Decided the fates of small, short-term student loan applicants
  4. Part of a team of people, who if together today could be doing really great things, that helped two less brilliant people make fistfuls of cash

Four movies I can watch over and over

  1. Any movie containing at least 15% hobbits
  2. Blazing Saddles
  3. Army of Darkness
  4. Rushmore

Four places I’ve lived

  1. A room in a house shared with a crazy, roid-rager who would throw his furniture around in the room next-door.
  2. A small room atop a run-down fraternity house in Minneapolis
  3. A large concrete co-op (where I served as president) in Dinkytown (Minneapolis)
  4. Mexico for 4 months, 3 weeks (cumulative)
  5. A town home in New Brighton (Minnesota) where I spent the first nights married to my beautiful wife and playing with my crazy puppy. (those were separate occasions)

Four TV shows I love

  1. Arrested Development
  2. Lost
  3. The West Wing
  4. The Daily Show / The Colbert Report (not cheating as one is basically an extension of the other)

Four places I’ve vacationed

  1. Europe (Paris, Amsterdam, Bruges)
  2. Wisconsin Dells
  3. The Dominican Republic (where I proposed to Jena)
  4. Hawaii

Four of my favorite dishes (soooo many things!)

  1. Dark chocolate truffles and milk
  2. Lobster scampi
  3. Sushi (though not sashimi)
  4. Authentic Mexican tacos (al pastor)

Mundane post title here

Alt Text to music

A theme song for Alt Text? That’s right. This bit of music was generated by looking at the URL for Alt Text. Go to this site and see for yourself; or go here for many more ways to play with music and computers. [Hiromi]

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Just when you write off the folks at Sakebomb they go and add content to their site. In between their own hijinks they stop and take time to work on the upcoming Jackass: The Movie website

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A memorial service will be held for Paul Wellstone tomorrow night at 6:30.

What: Official Memorial Service
When: Tuesday, October 29, 6:30 PM
Where: Williams Arena
University of MN
(Minneapolis Campus)
1925 University Ave SE
Minneapolis

You can check here for more info and updates.

What the world needs now…

Alt Text has been included as one of 10 weblogs in a study/project in developing an open source search tool called latent semantic indexing (LSI). From what I have seen it is pretty promising. Some of the results may not contain the keywords you entered, but use the LSI algorithm to determine relevancy based on like words and topics.

There are still some holes in it as it is in development. It works with keywords only – there are no phrase searches allowed. Words that appear in only one post are not indexed, and the interface leaves a lot to be desired, but it is a very cool idea that I hope spreads.

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My dad on President W’s recent surgery: “They are looking for his head.”

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Electric SUV coming (to California) from Toyota

Off to SXSW

I don’t really know what to expect of SXSW. I have gone to other web conferences before but they were huge and the focus was much more on design principles and specific technologies. They were faceless, monolithic productions. I get the sense that SXSW is much more focused on the web design and development communities. I am excited, but also fearful of this idea. I am really looking forward to meeting many of the people whose site’s I have been reading, enjoying, learning from, and copying for, in some cases, years. I am talking about sites like: whole lotta nothing, bluishorange, jish, cam world, praystation, zeldman, 37signals, anil dash, little yellow different, bradlands, harrumph, dollar short, six different ways, movable type, ben brown, cockybastard.com, jjg, and so many more

There will be some folks there whom I know including: Jason who I consider a friend as well as ex-coworker and I have at least met Meg, Derek (at Web 2000 or was it Builder?), Peter (Web 2000 also), and Jeff (Web 2000).

Then I get to wondering how many of these people have been to my site? How many of them have never heard of it? Worse, how many have come and clicked away out of boredom. These feelings of “fitting in” bring me back to my junior high days. Those were not good. Were they for anybody? The awkwardness associated with those days was overwhelming at times. These anxieties aren’t enough to dull my excitement however. Not even the fact that I may not be able to speak (as I have by this time nearly lost all ability to speak due to some mysterious throat issues) and thus miss out on a bunch of great opportunities for interesting conversation, has me down.

So if you are reading this and you happen to be attending SXSW and a person comes up to you, tries to audiblize a greeting but only a few hoarse croaks come out, rest assured that it is just me expressing my compliments on you and your beautiful site.