Occurring Thursday, September 17, The DIY Summit launched and made a successful journey through the eyes and ears of geeks alike with very few technical issues (Thank you Leslie Jensen-Inman). Although much of the information was as far overwhelming as it was over my head, however the only way to learn anything thoroughly is to immerse one’s self. The more you see it and pay attention to it, the more Ruby on Rails will make sense. Someday it will probably be your best friend.

There is no experience like actually being at a conference, sitting elbow to elbow with hundreds of like-minded friends, all of whom are just itching to hear about the next evolution in web or design. There is something special with sharing a private viewing with classmates and colleagues alike that makes for a great experience. Pizza sans garlic sauce was served as well as the safety scissors equivalent of soda bottles (no electronic devices were harmed).

The coding aspect of the web is not my forte exactly, but listening to the experts talk about the subject matter like it was yesterdays news made an impression on me. Of all the code based speakers, Matt Harris was very interesting. Broadcasting all the way from the UK, Matt was easier to understand, i think, because of is education background. Dan Rubin, on the other hand, dealt with actual visual design elements on web pages. It is amazing how lining elements up on a grid can create a visually appealing layout. Then add a few drop shadows to elements of a consistent pixel size. The minute details can make a website pop. The key is consistency.

Be fearless.

DIY summit

danrubin280

Hailing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Dan Rubin seems to do just about everything from photography and blogging to back end coding and web standards consulting for Sidebar Creative, Webgraph and Black Seagull. Dan is a contributing author of Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation (2nd Edition, friends of ED, 2003), technical reviewer for Beginning CSS Web Development (Apress, 2006), The Art & Science of CSS (SitePoint, 2007) and Sexy Web Design (SitePoint, 2009), coauthor of Pro CSS Techniques (Apress, 2006), and Web Standards Creativity (friends of ED, 2007).

Dan has quite the interesting view of designers. In his blog, http://superfluousbanter.org, Dan uses the word “we” instead of “I”. This word choice is an interesting one because it not only described himself and his colleagues, but the viewer as well. For the most part, the target audience visiting the site consists of designers, programmers, consultants, etc. therefore using “we” instead of “I” is an appropriate word choice. It is a nice inviting word that encompasses the viewer as well. I feel all warm and included after visiting his web site for only a few minutes. This is inevitably so because he is ultimately an educator. When he is not speaking at conferences, he spends his time as a vocal coach. He sings baritone and bass if you were wondering.

With a great sense of humor, Dan created his blog, superfluousbanter.org with an intent to collectively gather information about, you guessed it, design, technology, and most importantly, the interweb. Dan speaks in colloquial  language that is straightforward and to the point. I think that is the educator in him shining through. I like when educators get off their high horse and use words like, “thingy.” I do not know Dan personally, however after spending some time on his personal site and his blog, I get the feeling that he will be a very interesting speaker.

The DIY Summit is occurring on 9.17.2009. Dan will be speaking on mastering the details of interface design. Im afraid that this topic will be over my head a bit, however, from reading his blog posts, I am sure there will be some nuggets of information that will spill over to logo and web design. Interface design is not necessarily limited to web applications or software programming. When designing a page layout, the same (or similar) techniques are instituted. Typography, grid systems, and color are all relevant to other disciplines, not just web applications.

Aside from all the internet-related work that Dan is preoccupied with, the man knows how to take a photograph or two. Dan shares, with myself,  an affinity for architecture. His photographs are stunning. He accomplishes this with Mamiya, both 32mm and medium format, Nikon, Bronica, and of course Polaroid cameras. I am envious of his collection. see everything at http://www.flickr.com/photos/danrubin/.

Dan is going to show us how the little details will improve the quality of our design. I cant wait.

http://www.environmentsforhumans.com/diysummit/

Photo: http://media.24ways.org/authors/danrubin280.jpg

So I checked out create here recently. totally awesome. I always thought code had its own beauty. The structure and repetition create a structure that is so aesthetically pleasing. No one ever thinks below the pretty cascading style sheets, but beneath the decoration is a mechanical system of repetitious structured code. This image bombards you immediately when you walk in. It is a bit overwhelming, but stare at it for a few minutes. Then let your eyes un-focus for a bit. You’ll get it.

3798832225_ca0ca92284_b

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dryan/3798832225/sizes/l/

This piece blew me away. Screaming “interconnectedness” the lines of code are connected by thousands of small threads. I am sure the process was quite labor intensive, just as writing code is. This piece is elegant. The artist is C.E.B. Reas (http://reas.com/) who also initiated http://www.processing.org which is an open source programming language and environment for creating images, animation, and interaction. Using processing, you (yes you) can create digital images not unlike Reas’ piece above. Get into it. All the cool kids are doing it.

C.E.B. Reashttp://www.flickr.com/photos/glsims99/3803263339/sizes/l/

Another one of Reas’ pieces (not to be confused with the candy). Beautiful juxtaposition of squares. Nice color combination as well. It fits nicely with the rest of the work on display.

untitled - weston mcwhorterhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/glsims99/3803262639/sizes/l/in/photostream/

This piece is by one of our own, Matt T. Like ogres, websites have layers too. Matt illustrates this by layering the separate aspects of web design: Structure, Presentation, and Behavior on Plexiglas. It is really fun to look at. Don’t look at it too long or you will go cross eyed.

3798832569_e9d7753a8b_bhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/dryan/3798832569/sizes/l/

According to the statement at the entrance, this gallery is built with “short text instructions expressed in natural language, machine code, computer simulation, and static images.” A beautifully simple exhibition, createHERE houses an energy I have yet to feel at any other gallery here in Chattanooga. I applaud all the members that made this exhibition exist in real life.

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