November 2011 Member of the Month
This time I had to travel through the forest and go deep, really deep inside till I found a comfortable cave where the new member of the month rests and prepares for the coming winter. It is rainy and cold in this Scottish forest but the cave is charming and cozy.
I'm sure that goldilocks would love the place and she would receive the same warm welcome I'm receiving now (which is, by far, much better than eating someone else's food or sleeping in someone else's bed without permission).
I'm not surprised to find lots of gadgets around... after all, this is a SPF Member of the month! Even if her name is TechnoBear ;)
I sit and start my interview while she offers me a bowl of fish and some berries (I think I'll go for the berries, not sure if I like this kind of sushi yet).
The very first thing that I want to do, and I'm sure that everybody will join me, is to congratulate you for your Member of the Month Award. *clap clap*
1. As you know (or guess), there’s a question that needs to be asked before any other and which is, probably, the most important question that anyone will ask you in your whole entire life: How did you find SitePoint and what made you stay?
That's a case of an ill wind, really. I'd had three sites hacked, and my hosting company wasn't very helpful. After I'd cleaned up, I was anxious to learn how to prevent further attacks and started looking on-line for information. Finding relevant information for my situation (small sites, shared hosting) was surprisingly difficult, but then I found the Security section of the SitePoint forum. I won't say it was the answer to everything, but it certainly helped - and realising I wasn't alone helped even more. After that, I started looking round some other sections of the forums and found them interesting. I even discovered I could help out a few folk myself, which was really nice. I live in a pretty remote spot, so I don't get to talk to other "webby" people (apart from ducks and geese), so it's good to feel part of a community.
2. Are you a bear? If the answer is yes, is it that technology is now so easy to use that even bears can use it? Or the techno part in your name means that you like techno music?
"So easy to use that even bears can use it?" Surely you're not implying that a species which invented hugging and sleeps through the winter is somehow less intelligent than a species which invented the atom bomb and works all year? Bears have known about blackberries for years; we just have different priorities. And as to techno "music" - definitely not. Bach, Mozart, Handel, Dr. Hook, Tom Paxton, Eric Bogle, the Proclaimers, Runrig - and, of course, the Country Bears.
3. So, if you’re a bear (if you’re not, no probs, just imagine to be one) what kind of bear are you? Grizzly? Polar? Teddy bear?
Brown Bear - all berries, honey, mushrooms and hugging.
4. If you were not a bear… what would you be and why
Undoubtedly a Vulcan. There are those who believe I have more than a few Vulcan genes as it is. I like things to be clear and logical, and therefore am frequently puzzled by humans.
5. PHP, domain names, SEO… you’re pretty much all around the forum and not afraid to ask whatever you need… is it natural curiosity or is it because you want people to work a bit?
Curiosity. (Unlike cats, bears know how to do this safely.) Pretty much everything I know about the internet and web design I've learned from books. The problem with being self-taught is that there's nobody to ask when you have a question. You also don't get the benefit of learning from other folk's questions, as you would in a classroom. So in the forums, I can ask my questions, learn from the questions other members have asked and sometimes provide an answer, too.
6. Since you know the forums well… is there anything that you want us to do that we’re not doing but you would desperately would like us to do and you don’t understand why it has not been done yet? (that means: is there: anything in the forums that could be improved?)
Actually, no, not that I can think of. I'm a little disappointed - although not surprised - that the "Accessibility and Usability" section of the forums is not more active, but that's up to the members. In my experience, so many designers either don't care at all about accessibility, or think that it means making sure the site will work with a screen reader. Other types of disability or usability issues just don't come into it.
7. When you’re not at SPF… what do you do?
I'm a self-employed web designer. I also make and sell candles in various waxes, my favourite being beeswax. (That may seem an odd combination, but dual occupations are very common in this neck of the woods.)
8. and when you don’t do what you said you do when you’re not at SPF?
I'm a volunteer Director of the local Credit Union and I'm the secretary of our arts and crafts producers' association. I also help a few older folk get to grips with basic computer skills. This is not only great fun, but very rewarding. I've also found it informative from a web design point of view. Watching somebody with arthritis struggling to control a mouse makes you think very carefully about your page layouts.
Apart from that, in no particular order, walking, hill-walking, bird watching, sudoku, crosswords, knitting and tatting (known as frivolité in many parts of the world).
9. Which is the best counsel that anyone has ever given to you
"Don't be arrogant. Be kind to a koala that thinks it's a bear."
10. And the worst advice?
"It's only scree. Just keep walking - you'll be fine."
11. You live in Scotland so you may be able to answer this question to me… is it true that men don’t wear anything under their kilt? (must be so cold down there in the winter… plus a bit embarrassing if it is too windy
Well, of course, bears don't wear kilts, so I'm not really qualified to answer that. However, I have noticed that when Scottish soldiers are on parade, the inspecting officer carries a mirror on a stick...
And yes, it is cold in winter - and pretty windy all year round in this part of the country.
12. Only for this time, and out of the generosity of my heart, I will let you promote yourself and scream to the world how good you are (if you receive a red card, it will not be my fault :p)
Well, I'm undoubtedly the best web designer between here and Newfoundland. (I don't doubt the intelligence of the whales, but I believe they prefer singing as a means of communication.) Apart from that, I'm a member of the Salvation Army, (http://www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/www_sa.nsf) which is a rather more worthy candidate for a bit of promotion, given the tremendous amount of good work they do worldwide. There are only two of us here, so we're not as active as we'd like to be, but we do our best.
13. Anything else that you would like to add? Any recommendations and word of wisdom that you want to share
Thank you to the SitePoint community for making me welcome and for voting me Member of the Month. I'm still a little stunned by that.
14. Final words of wisdom?
"Don't serve your porridge then go out for a walk."
Definitely, there is a lot of wisdom in these last words. :)