How to Engage

For a little while I have been trying unsuccessfully to kick my swag habit. It failed as I love being creative. Taking a random idea in my head and turning it into something real is intoxicating. I think the main reason I tried to give it up was my total failure to engage others in my efforts. While there are some people who regularly comment or like my posts I don’t get to interact with many people swag wise. I want to make things with others, for others. I enjoy the process much more than the end result.

What I’m wondering is if you guys have any ideas of how to get people jazzed up about swag. I’m not really a fan of the current direction swag is heading, which is basically a logo it the middle of various mediums. While it all looks nice it doesn’t have any soul. Maybe my style is too out there but I love making things that are different, that show off some personality. So if you guys have any ideas of directions to go or things you would like the see let me know, I’m open to anything.

WordPress Car

A few recent comments reminded me of my earliest thoughts into WordPress swag. Back when I first got into WordPress I had a crazy idea that I kinda wish I would have went through with. In high school I drove a 85 Firebird. I loved that car and I still have it today. The major problem with it is the paint job, the guy who I bought it from did the paint job himself so it didn’t turn out too well.

Back when I was in law school I had this crazy idea of making a WordPress car. What I was going to do was give it a two tone blue & white paint job and you know how the trans am has a really neat graphics package with a large hood decal. I was also going to have custom WordPress decals made for it. Picture a giant WordPress logo on the hood and a code is poetry graphic on the back with little WordPress logos spread throughout. However, once I found out how much a good paint job costs (2 – 3 thousand) I quickly abandoned that idea. But if I ever win the lottery, that is the first project I’m going to undertake.

WordPress Help Widget

I’ve been to a few events and WordCamps and I’m still amazed how many people don’t about WordCamps and meetup groups. I think the only way to really let people know about them is to be more in your face about it. So why not create a new dashboard widget letting people know where to find help. It would be cool if we could use their IP address (or let them set their location if there are privacy concerns) to find the WordCamps and meetup groups near them. I did a quick mockup of what I was thinking.

help widget

Looking Towards 2014

As 2013 is coming to a close I’m trying to figure out what to focus on next year. For most of 2013 I focused mainly on swag and while I had alot of fun with it, its clear it won’t become “my thing”. I want to find something that I’m better at then anyone else, something I can dedicate all this passion and energy I have boiling up inside me. So starting tomorrow I’m going to hit the ground running looking for that thing. I’m looking for something that will allow me to be creative but also to use my mind. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them in the comments.

Happy New Year

Are stickers too unprofessional?

I have a question for my blog readers. What do you think about stickers on computers? Over the past few weeks I’m been spending a lot of time and energy trying to reinvent myself. I replaced my closet full of home made WordPress t-shirts with button downs, replaced my WordPress watch with an Orient one, and the bright green skate shoes have been replaced with dark leather shoes. What I’ve been struggling with is what to do with my computer. I really think I should remove all the stickers. While I love them, they don’t scream I’m a professional please take me seriously. What do you guys think?

Events Reminder Card

I’ve worked a few events and its always awkward when you tell someone about a plugin or site and they want to write it down but you don’t have an easy way to do it. We usually end up writing on the back on a postcard or rummaging around to find a scrap a paper.

What I thought would be a neat solution to this would be to create a set of business cards that would have a blank back that we could use to write down handy links. I thought they could look like something like this:

hb_front

hb_back

Looking for a Swag Successor

Over the past year I’ve been pretty obsessed with developing WordPress swag. Its occupied most of my free time and I’ve spent several thousand dollars on prototypes, equipment, and research. While I’ve had a blast doing it I’m at a time in my life where I can no longer do things just because they are fun. The things I spend my time doing need to, even just a little bit, benefit me personally (i.e. help me make friends or connections with other people) or professionally and to date my swag obsession hasn’t really helped with either.

The problem is I still like swag and have a passion for creating things so I really don’t want to let the work I’ve done stop completely. So I’m looking for someone who wants to take it over. I have pages of notes and ideas to share and I will gladly give my successor whatever swag they want from my collection.  I know my blog doesn’t have many readers but if you know someone who you think would be good at this or enjoy swag creation please send them my way. I’m going to try and tie up all my swag related loose ends by the end of the year so you have some time to think about it if you’re unsure.

tinkerer.io

If you are interested in Raspberry Pi or Arduino you should keep on eye on my new blog tinkerer.io . Not much there now but it will soon be full of learning resources and hopefully some unique projects of my own.

Elementary OS

With my new hobby I also decided that I wanted to learn more about linux. While OS X will never be beat linux is fun from a tinkerer’s perspective. The one hurdle I’ve always had is I’m a fan of good design and I can’t stand how ugly most Linux distros are. So when I came across Elementary OS I knew I had finally found a distro that I could work with on a regular basis. So I dusted off an old windows laptop and its now the primary machine I use for my electronics work. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and I’m liking it so far. So if you want to get into linux and are really superficial like me when it comes to OSs check elementary OS out.

I wanna be a Maker

I really like the term Maker, that is what I really want to be. My first attempt at this was with swag. It allowed me to make actual physical objects which was awesome but unfortunately there isn’t a really vibrant swag community for me to be a part of (which is one of the things I want) so I started looking for something else.

What I found was Raspberry Pi and Arduino. These devices allow me to actually make things but they also have a really great community that I can be a part of. So I’m giving this a try instead. If anyone has any experience with Raspberry Pi or Arduino let me know I would love to talk with you about it. Also if you think that this would be something you would like to learn more about lets learn together.

New Hosting Set up

I decided it was time to switch my hosting set up. Currently I’m on the MediaTemple GS and while there was really nothing wrong with it I wanted to try something new. I have been playing around with DigitalOcean for a while and I really like. They have really fast servers (SSD drives) and really cheap prices. The only problem is their service is unmanaged and while I can set up one site on one of their servers setting up multiple sites on one server makes my head hurt.

So in comes ServerPilot. They are basically a service that connects to my DigitalOcean server and takes care of all the management for me and offers a really easy to use control panel that allows me to set up new sites, create databases, etc. Its not a control panel like plesk or cpanel that has 100’s of features I wouldn’t use and just slows down my server. It has just the features that I need. So now for $15 a month ($10 for the DigitalOcean server and $5 for ServerPilot) I have a hosting set up that would gave cost $50 at Media Temple. I love it.

QWERTY Sign

Someday I want to have this sign made for real. I wanted to make a pro-dvorak sign but this anti-qwerty came to mind instead.

qwerty

* I know 60 wpm is low but I thought it was funnier this way.

WordPress Button Ideas

I’m really bored with the usual WordPress buttons so I tried my hand at making a few this week. I did a lot of research on what others were doing and I wanted to do something more than just a logo as logos by themselves are boring.

What do you think?

buttons

a8c shirt

I’ve never been very good with colors but I want to be. I’m going to be ordering some brightly colored shirts to augment my pretty much grey/black shirt collection. Starting with something simple.

a8cshirt

Lots of Travel

I just got back home from my final trip of the year and I logged into my tripit account and saw that this year I traveled 46,333 miles and spent 64 days away from home. This might not seem like much to people who travel alot but considering that my average from birth to two years ago was around zero miles traveled per year this amazes me.

JS Event Specific Stickers

I’ve always believed that creating a cool custom sticker for each event we go to would be awesome. While it would take a bit of time I think it would show the attendees that we take their event seriously and we aren’t just doing the same thing that we do for everyone.

Lately it seems like we have been attending more javascript related events so I thought that the JS specific WordPress sticker would be a great place to start. JS does have a semi-official logo so I tried to incorporate it into the design. What do you think about the concept in general? I know my design needs some work but I think the general idea is something worth pursuing.

WPJS