SoMD GiveCamp Day Three (4/3/2011)

I got up and got back to work immediately on the site I was working on, Discover U Children’s Museum. It turned out the skin I made created some problems with the spatial arrangements of certain elements of the page. It also made some important things unclickable. I went into the .CSS file and quickly eliminated the possbilities, figuring out exactly what was causing the problem- and how the fix the problem without creating problems elsewhere. Editing .CSS files can become a Whack-A-Mole game like that, if you have fifteen minutes left to complete a website.

Also, the page looked bad in google Chrome, which is the browser my teammate was using. So, I made some fixes specific to Chrome.

Let me tell you, the thrill of working up the last few minutes, the thrill of knowing it absolutely has to be presented at noon, and running on all cylinders trying to get the thing done- it was a wonderful experience.

We presented our site. They asked for a new layout, and they got it. That, along with some of the other features they asked for (like and electronic archive of volunteers)- We completed about 85% of what we set out to do. At an event where you have 44 hours to get though the introductions of the nonprofit organizations, delegate responsibilities/match up volunteers with nonprofits, talk with the nonprofits, gather requirements, talk with the other members of your team, possibly learn new skills in order to accomplish the work required for the project (as I did!), and perform the tasks necessary to meet the customer requirements- 85% completion is definitely success. Oh, and of course, that 44 hours also includes eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom.

I watched all the other teams present the websites and applications they made for other nonprofits. A few things stuck out to me:

  1. One team did a site with WordPress and finished their project in like 6 hours. Someone correct me if I’m wrong on this. Cool thing about their instance of WordPress is that one of its components is .PSD files on the server! .PSD is the native file format for Adobe Photoshop, for those not in the know.

    I exist on a web server somewhere
  2. One team made a freaking Droid application where the nonprofit organization’s volunteers are able to report their location and make it available to other members. This is kind of a new thing brought about by the internet, it’s usually referred to as “checking in”.
  3. One of the nonprofits, which provided aid to the poor,  the organization’s head admitted to recording all of her organization’s information on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Who is donating money, who needs help, who is sent where to do what task, all the important information was being handled by one person and being recorded manually. It’s great to see people who have very simple needs, such as getting an automated system that can record information much more efficiently than a spreadsheet, can come to GiveCamp and and get something like that. Recording information is something that is done all the time and the ways of doing it with applications (instead of by hand with Microsoft Excel) should be within the common person’s reach.

    It's called "Excel", because that's what you *don't* do if you're forced to use this product.
The one you were looking for.

SoMD GiveCamp Day Two (4/2/2011)

Turns out I didn’t have anything too interesting to say right on the spot while I was recording, so I nixed the audio report.

I spent day two mostly figuring out how dotnetnuke’s skin system works. A “skin” is a series of files that are installed into an existing dotnetnuke website that control the arrangement of the elements on the page and all of the design. I was deciding whether I wanted to make my own or modify an already-existing one. I decided to make one from scratch.

I felt a little jealous. The technical team working in the room next to mine built a site in WordPress and was done with building their site already, about 20 hours before the deadline.
Wordpress > dotnetnuke!

SoMD Give Camp 2011

I’m at GiveCamp; things will start up in about 10 minutes. I will be documenting each of the three days, Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and posting them here as an audio blog.

Can’t wait to see what they got for me to do!