5/10/16

#StartYourShift Most Powerful Web Characteristic and Technology Topic Meetups in Dayton, OH

The sinuous, electric current of the Web has had my affection since the mid-1990’s. The Web has changed as I have changed. We have been friends. We have been enemies. The good times have far outweighed the erratic abuse. Though both of us have resisted maturing, the inevitability of time teeming away while we were oblivious.
We met when we were early teens. Well, I was a teen. The Web was stunted middle-ager. It didn’t matter, we got along fine. At first, the Web introduced me to a whole new world. Seemingly infinite knowledge inside our own little world.  We stayed up late discussing whatever we came across. No matter, the topic, the Web was there to introduce me to someone claiming to be an expert. We’d often chat with strangers and even remote friends. The Web could charm most anyone. I joined the revolution.
As the Web and I got more comfortable with one another, boundaries started to erode. We weren’t just limited to discussions. There was an entire underground effort dedicating to undercutting big media. Anything digital we wanted, we could get. Music, no problem. Movies, books, personal information. No problem. We gushed for the cause. We setup machines dedicated to downloading and pooling our prolific media collections. It was a mutinous attitude with a hurricane desire to consume. We thought we were liberators. Samuel Bellamys. Stealing from the rich. Our day of reckoning came during a spring storm. Lightning struck. Drives failed. Hearts broke.
After that, the Web and I would have trickles of interactions. Nothing beyond short chats or mild research. It wasn’t that I was mad at the Web, just disheartened. It wasn’t the same as it used to be. I found work as the Web’s intermediary. I put people in touch with the Web or built them tools to contact the Web, but didn’t spend much time with the Web. I did spent time with other technology. The Web didn’t care. It wasn’t like the Web was lonely anyway. The Web’s charisma stirred all that took an embrace.
It went on like that for years. Then, almost overnight, the Web became the flashiest socialite on the planet. People who didn’t know, let alone understood, the Web were flooding my old friend to make business deals, meet other people, and show off pictures of captioned cats. It was like a cracked dam aching to break. When the ache gave way to relief, the Web flooded the world. Many were happy with the new economy. The Web wasn’t ready for all of the success. In the wake were information overload, exploitation, and disease.  The Web felt used, tired, and was broke.
Trust was hard to earn after that.  The Web had helped the world churn through the great browser wars, standards conflicts, turmoil in the codec regions, and taught governments how to be masters of espionage. It didn’t matter. The Web spent most days contained in the dark pouring out demons bred from the nastiest recesses of human emotion.  I would occasionally get a call beckoning me to join in. These demons paid well, but they paid in self-fulfilling coin.  Like the initial tidal, these times also crashed against breakers. The friends left to tend to public affairs now wanted to control all of the Web’s affairs. All that self-fulfillment was worthless. Glad I missed out.
With a computer, there is light, but our souls still seek sunlight. Washed into daylight, flaws exposed, the Web drifted upon me in a moment of thought.  The face-paced years were highlighted on Web’s face. We skimmed through topics wafting on about the good that has been done and bemoaning the bad. Our squally relationship now sailing upon stiller seas is set to cross regularly as I release my frustration and seek a deeper understanding of the Web.
 Some time after that initial reunion, I learned the dark-circled eyes of the Web were not that of someone whom had been beaten.  They belong to someone who had found sleeplessness in another passion. That passion was for a toddler that now tagged along only knowing the good of the Web. The child’s eyes housed the same vibrating urge to change the world that once crackled in the Web’s gaze. I can only hope that along with the heart, the child also finds the Web’s most powerful characteristic; fluidity.


For those of you in my various social media circles wondering what in the word I am talking about above, know I haven’t gone crazy.  It is my contribution to the writing project, Start You Shift (@startyourshift ; #StartYourShift), to produce unique perspectives on topics relevant to the web industry.  May’s topic is to write about the characteristic of the web you feel is the most powerful. I was introduced to this effort during a recent Dayton Web Developers meetup at local web design firm Sparkbox’ facility.  The are located right behind the Proto BuildBar which is next to design firm Real Art. Actually it has been a busy couple weeks going to various meetups.
During the lightning talks that were presented I learned about several things which I would like to share.

  • The open source map software Leafletjs, a WordPress plugin for it, and the associated CDN.
  • A local Dayton company also developed the software emotitforpresident.com/ which uses the SDK for MIT backed emotion recognition software Affectiva, Apache Cassandra, and NoSQL to package together an app that reads your face and collects tons of data points while you watch political videos. Very cool.
  • There was a presentation on Webpack, a modular bundler, that I found quite interesting.
  • There was also a high level talk on design elements which recommended the book Responsive Web Design by EthanMarcotte.

That same week I attended a DaytonCodePen meetup that video conferenced in Rachel Smith from CodePen.io. She showed us how to manipulate SVG graphics with html, CSS, and javascript through the CodePen site. Fascinating stuff.  This was hosted in the new Barry Staff building on Webster Street.  Nice building.  Here I met Ricardo Zea, among others, who has written two books on web design called Mastering Responsive Web Design and Web Developer's Reference Guide.  We learned about the GreenSock libraries. As well as several color selections tools: coolers.co, 0to255, Adobe Kuler (recently renamed to Color) 

Next, I attended a Dayton UserExperience meetup.  It was on the Pomiet side of the Graphica building in Miamisburg. Another nice facility. There Mike Miserendino and Suzi Shapiro from GravityDrive gave a talk on user experience tactics. I didn’t get to stay and mingle here due to prior obligations.

I look forward to going back to each of these meetups and several of the other Dayton groups.  It is excellent to see such wonderful communities in the area.  I only found all of these due to the power of the web. I am quite fond of the Meetup.com site/app.  It sincerely helps people connect with interesting groups.  If you are interesting in expanding your universe come on out to some of these local groups.Ruby development house Little Lines is host a meetup soon.  Maybe my friends at Lion and Panda will put one on some day too.

I hope you don't find the above link-a-poloza off-putting. I wanted to share all the tidbits I picked up before I forgot them.





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