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Goings on and the future of the website

I don’t think I have really blogged much this year, so I guess I have a bit to catch up on. Last year, I had decided to go back to school to study statistics. I took a couple courses at the community college in Gainesville, just a couple courses I didn’t take as an undergrad. I then started an online course for Colorado State University that ended up being a big scam. I withdrew from the course back in late February or early March, I think. Anyway, I think I fully blogged about those details in previous entries. Since then, I haven’t really set up any plan for what to do next. I don’t really feel compelled to continue my education any further at this point. Ever since I finished my masters degree from UWF, there have been nothing but problems trying to continue, and I think it probably just isn’t meant to be. If anything, I actually regret getting my masters degree, because I think it has done nothing but hurt my career.

Julie had gotten me telescope for the last Christmas. In searching for a place near Gainesville to use it, I found the Alachua Astronomy Club. I wasn’t really interested in joining a club, but I needed a place to use my scope. My wife had the best intentions. She wanted me to get involved in something ever since I dropped school. The club had been looking for a webmaster for a while, and my wife wanted me to do it. I have done web design before. Of course, there is this website, but I had also done the school website back in high school (particularly the band’s website), and I also did some stuff for the tax collector briefly in college. Professionally, I do not do websites currently; although I do have to look at a lot of web work as a QA guy. I do not find coding for web design particularly challenging; although it certainly can be. Integrating things and actually making it look nice to your audience certainly can be challenging. I became webmaster for this club, and it was riddled with problems. I never got any real feedback or requests until after the new website went live. It had a forum, a web calendar, and a web photo gallery, as well as several other features. I did a lot of coding for the project, and I probably spent a good 80 hours of my spare time on it (not including answering emails). I received way too much negative feedback, even from people who had not visited the site. People were just generally rude, to the point that I quit the club altogether. I really couldn’t understand it, because they had been looking for someone with the skill set for some time, and now I guess they’ll be looking again. And similarly, since I no longer have a place to use my telescope, I will be looking for something else to do with my free time.

This website

This website has been around a very long time, in some form or another, with blog entries going back all the way to 2001. Earlier this year, I registered daniellwells.com, and I intended to redesign the website and give it a new feel, as I am no longer in high school, no longer in college or graduate school. I am in the awkward period where I have started my career, but I haven’t had any children yet (something I am quite scared to do). The current website was all done by hand. I didn’t use any WYSIWYG as I had with previous sites, and I didn’t use any content management. It is a homemade site that looks a bit blocky (but I think it looks okay), and a few “apps” awkwardly place, like WordPress, Statusnet, phpGraphy. The website created for the Astronomy club did not use a single content management system either, but it was well integrated such that you couldn’t tell when you were going from one app to another. Lessons learned for that site can certainly be applied to daniellwells.com.

The problem I keep having is asking myself what is the purpose or purposes of my new website. With the slavery of Facebook, I often ask if I even have an audience? Do people even still visit websites other than Facebook and the like anymore? I pipe content from this website to my Facebook (through Statusnet), and otherwise, my Facebook just says to visit my website, but I don’t think anyone really does. What should I put on the new website? There’s no real point in having a chatroom, because no one uses it. Could I put in a forum based site? What would people talk about? Who? I no longer have any reason to talk about Astronomy; I don’t play my instrument anymore. All I really do is work and can’t talk about those things publicly. As a result of all these unanswered questions, I haven’t done any work on daniellwells.com, although I would like to do something. I guess I’m just asking for feedback… although, since no one is listening, I guess there’s no point.

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