December 2011 Member of the Month
It's been a while but this month I'm excited to say that our Member of the Month winner was my nomination. Please join me in congratulating cydewaze for his contributions around this place and then go get yourself a coffee and have a read of his interview.
How did you first come across SP and what made you stay?
I won't deny using the forum search feature on this one to "refresh" my memory ;)
I stopped in for some CSS help back in 2006. My office was kicking off a complete facelift of our website, and I was determined to ditch the table layout in
favor of CSS. I got some really helpful advice and the people here seemed nice, so I stuck around. Another reason I stuck around was the fact that SitePoint has a ColdFusion forum, and good CF help can be hard to find. I'm also a huuuge fan of Sitepoint books!
How has your life changed as a result of being voted MotM?
"Fame and fortune and everything that goes with it, I thank you all"
You spend a lot of time around the SQL forum. What is it that you do for a living?
I work for the US Dept of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and I manage a portion of the agency's website. We're in the process of an office-wide redesign, and the new pages are partially driven by a custom CMS that I created in ColdFusion. Since any dynamic website uses SQL, I'm constantly in the SQL forums bothering the smart people there - especially poor rudy!
I also spend a good bit of time in the ColdFusion forum, where I routinely find solutions to my unique and bizzare problems.
How did you get into that line of work? Were you formally trained or did it just happen?
I started off some years ago doing CAD, then moved into network administration. I set up some LANs for small businesses in the area, then got a job with a company that put me into a tier 2 helpdesk support role. I can't remember why I decided to learn HTML, but I did it the old fashioned way - with a web tutorial and notepad. I slowly migrated to learning CSS, then a little bit of PHP, then CF.
I do have formal training in CF in the form of 3 (and counting) CF courses from a local tech school. Betwween what I learned there and here on Sitepoint, I can get most things figured out.
What tools can't you live without? (We're talking web stuff here…)
Oddly enough, Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Dreamweaver. We get tons of web documents sent to us in MS Word format, and DW is really good for converting those docs to "real" HTML. I also have a copy of CF Builder 2, but I use DW far more.
Other "must have" tools are mostly Firefox extensions - The web developer toolbar, color contrast analyzer, and I'm trying to use Firebug more. Xenu link checker is also pretty handy.
If you met someone that was brand new to web development, what would your number one piece of advice to them be?
RUN!! Ok, just kidding. I think I'd tell them to learn to code without relying on a web editor to do it for you, which is probably the same advice that's been around for years. I'd also tell them to learn proper SQL to go with whatever server-side language they chose to learn, because even with my limited SQL knowledge, I run into pages that look great on the outside but have a mangled mess of SQL on the inside that grinds the page to a crawl. I think it's important to learn every language you're going to use, and not just in a "well enough to get by" manner.
I see that you're from the US. Is that where you were born and bred or is it a lifestyle choice?
I was born in Upstate NY and moved to the DC area in 1980 when my parents moved here after my stepdad got a job offer from CSC (a company I later worked for myself). I'm sticking around the area for now, however my wife is Canadian, so we're trying to figure out how to move there someday so we can be closer to our cottage.
Do you have a 'real life'? Any interesting hobbies?
I'm an avid cyclist, and before I got married I used to ride between 3000 and 5000 miles a year. I ride less now since my wife and I travel so much, but I still enjoy riding, and she does too. Between the two of us, we have 7 bikes (road & mountain), so you could say it's one of our primary forms of recreation.
I also enjoy skiing, cars, photography, and I have a cool slot car track in our basement. My wife and I are both serious U2 fans, so we follow them around the world whenever they're on tour. For this last tour we saw them in England, Scotland, Greece, Toronto, North Carolina, California, as well as here in MD and DC.
Do you believe that there are really girls on the internet?
What are girls? Are you talking about those strange people with webcams who always ask me for my credit card number?
Who do you think would win in a fight to the death - a cow or a horse?
Depends on whether or not the cow was free-range and grass fed.
And your chance for shameless, unmoderated, self promotion... Is there a website that you'd like to draw our attention to?
I guess I'll throw a plug out for my wife's website, which would have definitely looked a lot worse without the help I got here on Sitepoint, and the logo contest we had on 99designs! http://www.xpressdanceclasses.com/