Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2006.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Recent goings-ons

Posted 1 August 2006 in bible, northwestern-university, organization, quote, structure, summary, web-development, and website

Northwestern University

I've got housing at Northwestern pretty much worked out - I've got a pretty sweet room in Foster House all lined up, and I'm working out some of the details regarding my enrollment for the coming Fall 2006 quarter.

There is in me an organizational deficiency. I remember struggling with some degree requirements, and finding the task nearly impossible until Amanda stepped in and helped. Suddenly all of the options were on a single page in a manner that I could easily pick out the classes I needed! With that sheet of paper, it took maybe 10 minutes to pick my classes. Amazing.

Similarly, after I left for work today, my mom spent some time printing out what classes are available in the coming quarter, along with my unofficial transcript and the requirements for a math degree. When I got back from work, she handed me the stack of printed papers with a couple of notes. Even with a cursory glance, the information now jumps out of the page at me.

Thus, organizing and visualizing information seems to be a difficult task for me. Coincidentally, I've been beating my head against a wall working on an organizational and structural problem for about a week now, the results of which deserve a separate blog entry.

Reading the Bible

As I mentioned previously, I've been reading the Bible using my feed reader. This was a daily thing until I went to Chicago, at which I got far enough behind that catching up was a daunting task. Eric resolved the situation quite neatly, however.

Eric: "Don't try and catch up. Just skip everything you missed."

Brilliant! I'm now regularly reading the Bible again. Thanks, Eric!

Website software

The language barrier and programming demands associated with Sabros.us have been causing me some amount of stress recently. The lead developers have been quite patient with me, but I feel that I will soon be unable to contribute regularly as September (and re-entry into Northwestern) approaches.

This concern has arisen even as a broader idea that has been creeping into my mind: the desire to create a more tightly-integrated website. I'm running four different pieces of software that control my site, including Wordpress, Gallery2, and Sabros.us. These three in particular have completely different interpretations of data organization and storage, and even superficial unification would be a difficult task.

It is the design of a new and custom software package that has had me beating my head against the wall. I have, happily, had some interesting ideas that would set my software apart from everything else currently available. Allan's words inspired me in this.

Allan: "Don't do something new if you don't have a reason to. I wrote my own software because nobody else has interpreted "blogging" in the same way I do."

I took those words to heart. It is those words that drove me to think harder about what I want in a website. That, and the fact that I like how DokuWiki integrates disparate pages so easily. (DokuWiki is the fourth piece of software that I mentioned above, for those of you who noticed that I only mentioned three.)