WordPress 2.8.4

Finally upgraded WP to the latest version. After reading about older versions being hacked I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. The basic upgrade didn’t take long. I just had to fix a few plug-in issues. I do like this new admin interface and it’ll be easier to find the tools I need to update post and pages.

Sticking my toe into the water

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to give Twitter a shot (@ravenmccandies). I ran across two articles yesterday ( A Minimalist’s Guide to Using Twitter Simply, Productively, and Funly, Six Ways You Should Be Using Twitter (that Don’t Involve Breakfast)) that got me thinking. This could be a good way to network with my peers and announce new project features. My initial schedule will probably be an average of once or twice a week. OOOOO this means that I get to design a Twitter background!!!! I didn’t even think about that. Ok, I’m elated right now. LOL

Conferences – The Relook

As of yet, I still haven’t been able to go to a conference. I had planned on going this year but sometimes life has a habit of changing plans. I’m subscribed to An Event Apart’s mailing list so I get emails every once and a while when they have an update on the conferences. Today, they sent out an email announcing the 2010 conference schedule. I looked at the schedule and thought maybe next year I can go to Boston or maybe they’ll be in a city that’s closer. And then I saw it. AN EVENT APART IS COMING TO DC!!!!!  I just need to save the duckets between now and when registration opens. I am so excited.

School is in session

In this field you can never stop learning so, in my Blackberry I’m keeping a list of all the training that I want to do. I recently found out that my department has an account with Linda.com. I want to move up the ranks and that will be an awesome resource. Some of the things that I’m thinking about are:

  • Color Theory/Basics of Design (I have one or two books at home that I need to re-read)
  • AJAX
  • Flash
  • JQuery
  • Moo Tools
  • Google Web Toolkit
  • XML
  • HTML5
  • Project Management (not indepth but some time management of projects)

So, it’s time to hit the proverbial books.

I’m a Mac

I know, long time, no post. This summer I bought a new notebook and finally got  the Mac that I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been looking to make a purchase since I gave away my Powerbook 1400cs around 2002. Since I switched platforms (I had a  Dell notebook running Windows XP) I’ve had to rethink what programs I use. Now my default workhorses Dreamweaver and Photoshop seem bloated. I’m really interested in programs that are designed for Macs. I downloaded the trial version of Pixelmator and so far it’s been a good substitute for Photoshop. There are some features of Photoshop that I miss but Pixelmator is in its infancy and has lots of room to grow. For Dreamweaver alternatives I plan on evaluating Coda and Espresso.

To Tweet or not to Tweet?

Like others before me I’m at a crossroads when it comes to joining another social networking site. The site in question is Twitter. A lot of my friends and connections have joined Twitter and I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t intrigue me. When I don’t have time to make full blog posts I could just type a few words there and update everyone about what’s going on. A downside I see though is a potential for a decrease in productivity. Posting a tweet, looking for responses, following other people. It could all be a recipe for disaster. Now, it’s not like I’m not involved in other networking sites. I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace (very rarely nowadays), MeetUp, many message boards and email groups. But I haven’t figured out yet how Twitter can fit into my life seamlessly without causing hiccups. Would joining lead me on the way to being too “plugged in”? For the moment, I’ve decided against signing up unless I’m at a conference and want to send periodic updates. Time will only tell though if my decision is written in stone or sand.

Conferences

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about going to a design conference. I feel that I could benefit from meeting designers outside of my local area. Sadly, due to finances I haven’t been able to go before now. I AM making a point to rectify this in 2009. Some early possibilities on my list are An Event Apart in Boston, and Future of Web Design which may be in November again. I just came across the website for South By Southwest but it’s in March and that timetable is too tight.

Fireworks vs Photoshop

After seeing a discussion over at Digital Web Magazine I started thinking about which program I prefer and why. Pretty much since the beginning I’ve been a Photoshop advocate. I was an Adobe girl through and through and it was years before I had even heard of Macromedia (my first introduction was through Dreamweaver). When I found out about Fireworks I thought I’d try it out and see what it was like. I tried out Fireworks MX and my first impression was not good. The user interface was so different from Photoshop and it was difficult for me to find things. The simplest task seemed to take forever. I gave FW a few more tries and then gave up thinking that I would shun the product for eternity. A year and a half ago I started working at a location that had Adobe CS2 on all of the computers. Of course I ran to Photoshop but my coworker was a Fireworks advocate and I decided to try it out again. My opinion didn’t change and at times I wanted to erase the program off of my computer. All of that changed when I went to Adobe’s website and watched some videos about Fireworks CS3 and saw that the interface was more like Adobe products. I did some reading and I began to understand why some web designers worked primarily in Fireworks. For website mock-ups there were features that Fireworks did much better than Photoshop. I could see where I could cut time in my designs by using some of the symbols in the common library. Add to that the fact that Fireworks can now handle Photoshop files and I’m sold. Photoshop will still be my primary go to when it comes to doing photo manipulation and graphic design work but Fireworks has now won a place in my heart for web design work.