Member of the Month for March 2019 - Ray.H
@Ray.H has been calmly visiting SitePoint for several years and making impressive contributions to members during each visit… so much so that the staff voted Ray the prestigious Member of the Month award for March.
Q: Some questions are a must and this is one of them: what brought you to the Sitepoint Forums and what made you stay?
A: The short answer is that my floats were hanging out, they weren’t contained and my background image was cut off.
I’ll explain more about how I found SitePoint below.
The friendly people and my hunger for knowledge is what made me stay.
Q: I understand that you have a longer history with the SitePoint forums than your join date reflects. How long have you been visiting SitePoint?
A: Yes, I want to say that my original account with the username “Rayzur” was created around 2006’. Maybe it was about 12 yrs ago when I really became active and started learning. I was a Mentor for a while and “CSS Guru of The Year” in 2010’, that was one of the years that PaulOB declined his nomination and let others have a chance.
When SP migrated from v-bulletin I remember I was busy with other life problems at the time and didn’t get my account transferred, or lost my password. I just set up a new account and carried on.
Q: Tell us about yourself. What interests and/or hobbies do you have?
A: I’m 52 years old and I live in a small rural town in North Texas. My family had a farm here when I was younger so I’ve always enjoyed living out in the country. In my spare time I enjoy restoring old woodworking machinery and antique tractors occasionally.
Q: How did woodworking become your real-life occupation?
A: It started as a part time job my senior year in high school. After I graduated I did attend college and was majoring in forestry. That didn’t work out so I returned to woodworking. After being employed for many years I started my own business about 15 years ago. I enjoy it much more now that I’m self employed.
Q: How did you become involved in world of web development?
A: Well that all started when I realized I needed a business website, around 2006’. I was shopping around for someone to build it for me but found the prices well beyond my budget. I did a search for “How to build a website” and from there I got my first exposure to an HTML document in a tutorial from thesitewizard (dot)com, it was the top result on google back then. In my searches, CSS Layouts kept popping up and I found a site called pmob.co.uk and started digging through the demos. Then after searching for CSS support forums I found SitePoint and wouldn’t you know it, that PMOB guy was here too.
Q: Do you plan to supplement your woodworking income by using your most excellent web coding skills?
A: I have built a several sites for hire as a freelance coder, it’s been a few years though. My woodwork consumes most of my time, my own site is in serious need of being rebuilt and brought up to date. I started trying to rebuild it last year but got side tracked. It’s on my To-Do list this year.
Q: @Erik_J wonders: What does @Ray.H think of the Texas Mesquite wood. Traditionally it was wasted or used for fire or smoke cooking, but in the last decades it has skyrocketed in value and as wood working material.
A: Hi Erik, I’ll try to answer that the best I can. Mesquite trees are not very large, they are short and scraggly, more like a large shrub. With that being said, the labor invested to process the lumber yields very little straight usable lumber per tree, mostly as short boards. It follows supply and demand like anything else, there’s not enough demand for it since it’s processing yield is low.
It’s really only suitable for small objects, a lot of people use it for gun stocks. It is a very beautiful wood when it is finished out.
It’s great for cooking with though and that’s where most of it goes.
Q: When you’re not in your workshop or working on a web site, what else do you do for fun?
A: When I’m not working for a living, I like to work outside around my home. I live on five acres so there is always something that needs mending. Mowing keeps me busy in the summer, that’s where the old tractors come in handy. I spend most of my time outdoors when I can.
Q: If time and money were no problem, where would you like to go (or live!)?
A: I’ve always wanted to see Switzerland, it seems to be a very peaceful country. The mountains are very inspiring to me. I’d like to travel in the UK too.
Q: What are your favorite web coding tools and web resources (useful web sites)? (List as many as you wish.)
A: I keep things pretty simple. I use PSPad as my text editor, I know there’s a lot of full feature IDEs out there but they are more than I really need. I use Inkscape as my vector graphics editor.
I’ve got hundreds of bookmarks, these are the only resources I really use now…
Q: If someone were to ask you what they should do to become a better web designer, what would you recommend?
A: Like anything else, practice, practice, practice. I’ve learned a lot from my own mistakes. Keep it simple when you can and write valid code. Follow accessibility guidelines so everyone can access your content. Don’t get caught up in fads, remember the itty bitty font size (10px) people were using 8-10 years ago. Now we have page headers that look like highway billboards, that will fade away too.
Always keep learning, things change so fast in this industry it seems like a job in itself just keeping up with it.
Q: What is your favorite movie of all time? …book? …song or instrumental? …sport? Do you play a musical instrument?
A: Not sure I have a favorite movie, but I have some favorites. I’m kinda partial to westerns such as…
Dances with Wolves
Legends of the Fall
I don’t play an instrument, but I do admire the talented musicians of the 70’s. The old country rock bands are my favorites…
The Marshall Tucker Band
Pure Prairie League
The Allman Brothers Band
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Q: If you had the power to change anything about the forums, what would you change?
A: I would ease up on the popups and promotions. I’ve got most of them set to display:none; in my user style sheet though.
Q: One of the benefits of MotM is the chance for a shameless plug or self-promotion … Is there a website or a social media profile that you’d like to draw our attention to? Or maybe an example of some of your work?
A: I try to stay out of the spotlight most of the time, but for those that are curious they can look at my old site here, rayswoodworks.com
It’s an old fixed width site so it won’t work well on mobiles. I plan on doing a complete rebuild some time this year. It needs to be responsive and the image gallery needs some serious work.
Q: Erik_J’s inquiring mind wants to know: Did you buy into Bitcoins when they were new?
A: What’s a Bitcoin? Just kidding, no I didn’t buy into them. Cryptocurrency is just too abstract for an old soul like me. I have no problem with gold though.
Thank you very much, Ray, for giving me the privilege of this interview and for offering an interesting insight into your world. Now, let us give other SitePointers the chance to show their appreciation to you for your contributions and to ask more questions!!!