About Norm

Currently growing iTwixie.com for tween girls. Organizer of @PCPGH, playing Magic: the Gathering, and enjoying life.

Interactive Developer

Yesterday someone told me, “Just mention Garrison Hughes, and you can do whatever you want.”

Well don’t mind if I do.

In February I took a full time job as Interactive Developer with Garrison Hughes Agency in Downtown Pittsburgh. I have been slow rolling the news as I made the transition from working for myself to honest employment.

Why give up the freedom of working for yourself and making your own schedule you ask. Great question. While the uncertainty of health care coverage would have been a major conundrum, there are more important reasons. For a few months I was itching to get into to a team environment. To sharpen team development skills, work with other designers and developers, and focus more on development projects.

Ever since being laid off at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh I’ve been shifting from graphic designer to front end developer. This has been an awesome and rewarding transition. I tell people all the time that I wish someone in high school would have turned me on to computer programing. I love my art background, but the joy of coding has really become a part of me.

In 2011 I was basically a WordPress theme implementor. Today, I’m a theme developer. The work is challenging, there is always something new (or old) to learn, and the community is awesome. This job is a natural step in my journey as a developer.

To wrap this up, I’m back downtown! Lets get coffee or lunch or whatever if you are around.

Red Party

This year for Aaron’s birthday he decided he wanted to have a pun filled Communist “Party” as the theme for this year’s celebration. The theme was a huge hit for all who attended. Tons of great costumes.

Happy Birthday @tableforone go forth and conquer! #redpartyWho wants some bread? #redpartyCastro doesn't smile. #redpartyYour papers check out. Now move. #redparty

Last year I used Google hangout to stream the party to itself with multiple iPhones, iPad, and laptops. Basically letting a party goer in one room see and chat with people in another room. It was a lot of fun and throughout the night people joined in with their smartphones.

This year I wanted to do something tech oriented as well, Aaron said he wanted to have some sort of photo booth setup because everyone was going to be in costume. Except he didn’t know how to put it together or where to set it up. Tech question answered.

Instagram #RedParty

I’ve been thinking about and experimenting with Instagram lately. Pulling photos based on a tag or location is primarily been my idea. So when the idea of photo booth came up I thought, “Well everyone is a walking camera… so.”

I built a page to fit on our tv screen and pull Instagram and Twitter for all updates with the hashtag #redparty. The page would refresh every 2 minutes so new photos would appear throughout the night. I’ve deactivated the uploads but check out the Red Party page. One fun element was anyone on Instagram tagging #redparty would show. So from Miami to Pittsburgh we had all kinds of other photos in the feed.

One of the best parts was getting people to signup and create Instagram accounts at the party. I did have to do a lot of hashtag 101 that night but it was worth it.

For the people by the people.

Communist Avenger apprehended. #redparty

WordPress 10th Anniversary Party PGH

WordPress 10th Anniversary

Six years ago I registered this url and installed my second installation of WordPress. Previously I was using iWeb to make quick sites that I needed here and there. Prior to that (and going way back), I was using Microsoft Frontpage to make wysiwyg sites and generally bad interfaces. Thank the Lord that I am now out of that dark age and have better tools at my disposal. Hey WordPress.

Next week Monday we will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of WordPress at Franktuary in Lawanceville.

In those past six years I went from blogger to, WordPress advocate, to budding developer. While I’m still learning PHP I’ve got a ton of WordPress experience under my belt and haven’t run into a web situation were I couldn’t use WordPress. Though WordPress I’ve gotten into coding, podcasting, server configuration and other random topics that I wouldn’t have dabbled in 7 years ago. What can I say WordPress has been my gateway CMS.

Coming from a print design background all my serious web creation experience lay in juvenile tools. I developed an understanding of html in high school but didn’t do much with it thought college or after. Today I’m constantly polishing my web skill set through code academy and a plethora of web projects. I’m even composing this post in text mode because it is just easier to create this way.

OK enough about me and my love affair with all these php files. I hope to see you and and hear your WordPress story next week.