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Jan 1, 2013, 04:50 #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
- Melbourne, AU
- 389 Post(s)
- 5 Thread(s)
ronpat—Member of the Month, January, 2013
It’s the start of a new year, and time to announce our first Member of the Month for 2013.
This month, the award goes to ronpat, who has been making an amazing contribution to the forums (particularly CSS) for a good while now. Ron’s enthusiasm for learning and experimenting with CSS is quite infectious, so if you enjoy that aspect of web design, I’m sure you’ll enjoy engaging with him on that subject, if you haven’t already.
We are really grateful for Ron’s contributions to the forums, and recently asked him a few questions so we could get to know him a little better ...
Hey, Ron! Congratulations on being awarded the MoTM badge for January. Were you surprised?
What brought you to SitePoint?
Why did you start to respond to members' questions?
My knowledge is quite limited so I post cautiously. I feel OK about addressing some basic issues of page structure but have a lot to learn about applying more advanced CSS properly, especially CSS3 in HTML5 ... and I know nothing about accessibility, YET, but I will get there. I have been given some good resources.
Your profile says that you were a sysadmin. Is there anything you would like to tell us about that?
You said that you have done a few different things over the years. Would you like to tell us about some of them?
After that service adventure, I went to work for a large telecom company for 29-3/4 years, during which time I was introduced to the UNIX operating system. I managed to wiggle myself into several computer related side-jobs within the company, increased my knowledge of UNIX and wrote my first database using Informix SQL. Eventually I was accepted for a sysadmin position. <aside>(That telecom company, which was once the largest in the country, no longer exists.)</aside>
During those telecom years I longed to do something less technological, so I went to school and became a paramedic and later a registered nurse. Worked part time in a local hospital emergency room. In my spare time, I taught First Aid and CPR for the Red Cross and CPR for the Heart Association as an instructor/trainer.
I've enjoyed several interests/hobbies including karate, scuba diving, photography, amateur radio, woodworking and computers. Always a do-it-yourselfer, I used to build electronic kits, home-brew gadgets, and perform some fairly involved home maintenance for friends and self. Spent a short period doing some home construction with Habitat For Humanity. I have to include computers as a hobby because of the serious amount of non-work-related time I spend with them. I've never bought a PC in a box. Always built them from components. Don't own a laptop or a mobile anything.
Many people around here love to reminisce about their early computers and the 'olden days' of computing. Where did computing start for you?
O, they sure do! My dad was an ace with a slide rule (a civil engineer), and as a kid I used to marvel at the complex calculations he could make in an instant with one of those. I used to play with it and try to do my homework with it ... but eventually gave in to calculators.
Anyhow, regarding desktop computers, are you a Mac or a PC user?
Unfortunately, after Apple went bankrupt, I lost the "faith". When Apple came back to life I never upgraded to their new models. I had spent money and time learning how to use Microsoft's abomination of a GUI interface called Windows and simply couldn't afford to start all over with the new Macs. Besides, Windows PCs had become very popular in the workplace.
I could talk at great length about the joys of using a Macintosh computer "back in the day". Having never used anything Apple since they reorganzied, though, makes my reminiscence very outdated, pointless. Without being able to compare the old software to OSX and new software, it's just "rambling". Not worth the ink.
What are your thoughts on the more recent Microsoft operating systems?
When did you take an interest in writing web pages?
Soon after the web hosting job went away, I had little incentive to write HTML. Picked it up again about 2-1/2 years ago when an old friend volunteered to be the "webmaster" of his model airplane club. The site had been written with old table code and had become quite "distressed" over time. It only took a couple of days to realize that my friend's prior HTML experience was older and weaker than mine. He didn't know that I had some distant HTML background. I quietly took it upon myself to rewrite the home page and sent him the file a few days later. I intended it to be a helpful “how to” example, but he ended up posting it exactly as-it-was. Thus began our partnership . The re-written page was entirely table based at first, of course, just much better structured. Within a very few weeks I began to include more and more CSS. Today, the site is a mix of tableware and CSS. I write whatever he thinks he can maintain/update. It's a simple site and certainly nothing to brag about in this forum, but a success nonetheless for the club. The members seem to be happy and my friend is their highly regarded webmaster who in turn is really happy that someone else is doing the coding so he has time to build and fly his planes. I get to be the wizard behind the curtain, so to speak. That's not so bad.
On a more somber note, I understand that you have lost your hearing. Do you mind saying a bit about that?
I've been making some videos lately, so thanks for the reminder about adding closed captions.
If you could change anything about the SitePoint forums, what would it be?
Yes, fair point. To be honest, I never use site searches any more. I just use Google, which seems to work better.
If there was one bit of advice you could give someone who wanted to become a better web designer (or developer), what would it be?
Well, Ron, it’s been great to get to know you a little better. Thanks for participating in this interview, and for your great contributions in the forums.
OK everyone, it's over to you. Please offer Ron your hearty congratulations!