Projects - Fly on the Wall

utilizing Google forms as a ticketing system

We currently use basecamp to manage our tickets. The process goes a little something like this: we add a to-do inside of a project, assign it to a person, add a comment to that to-do that includes all of the specs, attach any needed files, and send it along.

The one thing that irks me about this process is that I have no control over what information actually goes into these tickets. See, since we have many types of products and services each may need slightly different pieces of information. In the past I had created some word documents showing templates and required fields needed for common products and services, but these could easily get lost or not referenced as much as I hoped for.   Sometimes, account reps spend considerable time worrying about including the right info and / or recipients have to ask a bunch of follow up questions.

So I had an idea, what if the reps had a list of common products and services, when they clicked on an item, it brought them to a specific form for that type of project. It would ask all the right questions and require certain information. It would be easier for both parties. (more…)

day two at BarCamp Boston

bcb1 bcb2

The vibe on day two of bcb4 was different, seemed like a smaller, calmer, more focused group. I was a fan.

Here are some nuggets of information / quotes / general things I enjoyed.

  • Boston is full of geeks
  • Just like code design has rules by following the basic rules you can create a decent design prototype.
  • Twitter for business: set one clear objective and make sure your follower strategy and content always support this objective.
  • An elegant solution has many layers, it is simple enough for the common users, but has the tools and customization features the power use demands.
  • Break bad news to clients as soon as possible . If possible warn of bad things that could happen at the start of the project.
  • Users get pissed off when they feel stupid, so don’t make them feel stupid.
  • iPhone development book recommendation: objective c 2.0 by Stephen Kochan
  • Bye Bye Sifr , Hello cufon.
  • If you want to test your product and see what it would be like for the common user, take lots of drugs first.
  • Have your parents test your user interface, if they don’t get it a lot of users won’t.

my first unConference

I’ll admit it was hard for me to commit the first warm sunny spring day to sitting inside getting my geek on at BarCampBoston4, but I did it. It was my first experience with an unconference, and it was a bit different. An unconference is a participant driven event with a group of volunteers who facilitate the process.

Here are some of my observations / comments on the day:

  • I’m a lady who loves rules and structure. I like to know ahead of time when things are going to happen and enjoy having a plan I can stick with. This made the event a little hard for me. Sessions are scheduled right before hand and can move at any time. The day did start to hit a rhythm in the afternoon, so it wasn’t as painful as the morning, but this aspect will probably always be something that irks me about this format.
  • Since there is no review process for presentations, some are very well planned out and others are not. I found that an unplanned event is not always a bad thing, especially if the group attending has a lot to say about it, can lead to some great discussions.
  • There was a rule of barCamp stated at the beginning of the day, it was referred to as the ‘2 feet rule’ - if you are in a session and you aren’t teaching or learning get up and go to a session where you will. A great rule for the day and for life.

Thats all I got for today, until tomorrow.

i’m fun

Whenever you watch those reality shows you always have someone in the hidden room with the camera and they rant about themselves. They usually say “My friends say I’m fun and daring.” Then a couple of episodes in you learn that they are scared of heights and they cry all the time. Fun, daring? I think they want to be fun and daring so they announce it and remember that old saying actions speak louder than words? Well if I were to be on a reality show I think I wouldn’t describe myself because the fact of the matter is that you’re being filmed 24/7 so viewers should pick up a thing or two on their own. You can apply this to your brand. Instead of making a huge announcement in bold letters were different. Show them.

flash celebrity

I was trying to explain to my friend, who is a project manager, that I had the opportunity to meet and talk with a flash “celebrity”. She laughed at me and thought that I made the whole “celebrity” concept up and that people couldn’t possibly be famous because they know flash.

I begged her to differ because my case is that these “celebrities” are going around doing ground breaking things that no one else has seen before and therefor there is a huge audience out there between designers and developers that buy their books and attend their conferences. Above all we have tremendous respect for these “celebrities” and want to know what they know. When us flash enthusiasts talk we know who each other is talking about when we bring up certain flash “celebrity” names.


I was looking around the web the other day for domain names. Just out of curiosity I had a look for misspelled names like or It’s amazing how people thrive off of these domains. I tried searching for every spelling error I could find with all the most popular websites and they have all been registered with ads placed on them. I found a business devoted to doing this – they had over 150,000 registered domain names under their belt…

live from the web

I have been working in the web industry for quite sometime now and to me when new websites, designs, logos go live it never gets old. There’s a rush of excitement and I find myself running about and seeing if my co-workers got the message. I guess when things go live you can’t help but feel some closure and a feeling of accomplishment. Once its live it will live there for quite sometime making impressions on thousands of people for months and years to come.

preventing spam

I set up a website about 2 months ago that has all the common features – News articles with comment boxes, a message board, log in accounts, favorite article buttons and polls. I hand-coded all of this for practice with PHP and MySQL. Last week I made a post about my website on a well-known geeky message board. I knew full well that I would receive never-ending spam the second it was posted. I was right; within minutes my message board was filled with pictures, unwanted text and profanity in various fonts and colors, and I had new members with rude, invalid email addresses.

I have since disabled these features but it was all a test to see how important it is to prevent these things from happening. It’s surprising how much work has goes on behind the scenes just for security measures.

I am going to look at email and form validation in the next few weeks and try it again.

the beginning

I began my internship at ::play:: last week. The drive from Chelmsford to Quincy is rather monotonous – driving through the center of Boston is a nightmare. I shall be looking for an alternative route although there are few options.

I had a pleasant first week and I am beginning to get into the swing of things. I think I will be challenged but not lost for the next few months. I’ve been teaching myself Coldfusion since last summer and PHP over Christmas but next up is Rails. It looks a little more complicated than I am used to and I hope that I can figure it out.

I look forward to my stay here and I know I will learn a lot.

P.S. - I have already been successfully frustrated by some broken code. It took me 3 hours to figure out that 1 line of Javascript had to be removed to make a slidy menu work. However, it is extremely satisfying once you fix the problem, even if you felt like banging your head into a wall…

pocket calendar - done

The end of this week was a bit of a blur. We have been prepping materials for a conference and regardless of how much we plan ahead it always seems a little hectic at the end. Of the materials that we created, the coolest by far was a pocket calendar. The actual calendar was a print piece folded in a unique way, but we also created an interactive version. Check it out at

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