Just get in the pool

1. swimming

Some time last year, I began swimming regularly. I’ve made it a habit, three times a week. This was not easy. I’ve never had a regular exercise routine in my life. At my yearly physical, my doctor was stunned. She wanted to know how I had done this.

There are a couple of exercises that I’ve used to get myself past the mental barriers that would have otherwise prevented me from forming this habit:

  1. I state my intention, out loud, to another person. This means that the night before I tell my husband, “I am swimming tomorrow morning.”
  2. The only thing I have to do is get in the pool.

I don’t have to do a certain number of laps, or swim more or go faster than I did last time. I can get in the pool and just stretch, or swim one easy lap, or do all breast stroke (my easiest stroke), and that’s cool. Just so long as I get in the pool. I set the bar really really low, and I am not hard on myself if I don’t have much of a swim. That’s a fast rule.

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A new approach to RAMP

We use RAMP, and it causes me a lot of headaches. Most of our RAMP problems come from the way I’ve customized it to work with our custom theme. RAMP proper is pretty solid, if slow, but doesn’t handle all of the custom fields that let us link to other pages on the site or display images in the media library while tightly controlling formatting. Those fields store Post IDs, and the Post IDs on the live site are different from the staging site, so RAMP does two things to make sure all of those links and images work after shipping pages over to live:

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I went to Big WordCamp

Philadelphia city hall

I’ve never been to a tech conference with compost bins before. I’ve never been to a tech conference party before, either. That has all changed.

I went to WordCamp U.S. 2016 and it was a very dense experience.

I wasn’t the only developer who was disappointed in the lack of technical content, but I think I got more out of this WordCamp than I have out of much more expensive and ostensibly more technical conferences that were just reheated versions of the previous years’ conferences. Yes – that is years, plural. WordCamp wins for originality of content, hands down, every time.

I tend to keep a very low social profile during conferences. I realize this is a shame but past experiences at the aforementioned expensive tech conferences have not really yielded any interesting conversations, much less viable professional friendships. The crush of people is also overwhelming.

WordCamp is different. The people are far more fascinating. However, in the era of Twitter (which was not really a thing like it is now back when I was a regular conference-goer), going to a conference populated with people that I follow on Twitter but don’t actually know in any real way is very surreal. I tend to follow people because I think they might have some good technical insights that they’ll toss out on Twitter from time to time, but mostly Twitter is just a big hangout between people I don’t know. And then WordCamp is the same thing but in person. I think I need to re-think my Twitter life. I wish people would blog more.

With that said I did have a few great conversations with random people and I probably need to find a way to be more open at WordCamps. I can work on that.

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Semantic Markup – talk at WordCamp Raleigh 2016

Hey look! I gave a talk! And it was posted to WordCamp.tv. A first.

This talk is about semantic markup – what it is, and how it can help with things like accessibility, responsive design, and even with SEO. I give a little history (don’t worry, it’s light), and even work in a little Pokemon Go when I get into really heavy territory about meta information and semantics.

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