Update: August 28th 2016

Just a quick post to inform you guys that I’m still here. Between work and my personal life, I’ve been struggling to keep up with the blog this summer. The little time I have dedicated to it is locked away in articles sitting in draft mode in an “almost ready” state as my attention sweeps from one idea to the next leaving many articles to disappear into the void of my backlog.

With that all said, I have gained a lot of insight into my personal strengths and weaknesses these past few months – and really this past year.

My new ideas, along with a web dev leveling of over 9000 (insert meme here), and reading everyone’s emails has made me realize what’s most important on this blog. Motivating people, and inspiring them.

Only two articles prior to this post, I brought up a few important lessons in blogging. One was consistency – which I’ve been neglecting since that post… but hey, at least I recognize it right?

The other is focus. Perfectly streamlined laser focused ideas see the best results. Like I said in that article, I wasn’t really sure what to focus my energy on. I have so many interests and so many things I enjoy writing about.

So far this blog has seen posts about web development, school, gaming, game development, life hacks, tutorials, computer science, computer history, random rants, vents, and honestly I don’t what else.

To be straight with you guys, I still don’t think I’ll find that one thing to keep focused on. I just think way too much about too many things to keep all of those ideas bottled up inside. This blog is like therapy for me. Seriously. When I go for too long without writing, it actually affects my sleep behaviours  because I can’t turn my head off when I lay down at night.

However, I’ve come to realize that I also don’t have the time to punch out quality posts at a reasonable frequency in every category under the sun. I have to find at least some focus on this blog. The most important topics I cover are related to my struggles and successes in my pursuit of a degree while balancing family and work life.

Many of you are going through similar challenges in life or even harder challenges than I can even imagine. I’ve come to learn that a lot of people are keeping themselves motivated by reading my story.

What gets me the most feedback through comments and emails is my posts about school, my road to becoming a professional web developer (wait… am I a professional now?) and my posts about programming.

So when I start school back up again this Thursday, I’ll be working on bringing the learning journals back to this blog. Those are going to be posted here weekly like they always have been – with the exception of my being away on leave for the past two terms.

The other articles are going to be grouped under the umbrella of IT, software development, web – whatever you want to call it. The programming tutorials and career perspectives are the kinds of things I’ll be working hard on. No more game reviews, or other random strolls down rabbit holes leading nowhere.

That of course, is unless you guys encourage it 😉

The other thing that will be happening is a redesign of this blog. I know I’ve said it like a dozen times now, but I’m finally a decent developer. A ton of growth has happened in the past year, and I feel like this blog does not show off anything close to what I’m capable of making now.

It’ll take me a while to build a custom theme, but I’m thinking of sticking to the WordPress platform to make development time a little shorter. I think for a blog, there is nothing wrong with the WordPress CMS at all. The problem with most WordPress sites – this one included is the excessive use of plugins.

The future DanFletcherBlog is going to be a lot cleaner on the frontend but it’ll be a well-oiled machine on the backend too. That means much faster page loads for all of you.

The problem is that when I started this blog, I literally knew nothing about web development. WordPress was a nice option because it allowed me to get a decent looking, functional website up and running while also giving me a platform to blog on.

Doing so, though, meant that I relied too heavily on free plugins to accomplish things that I should have been able to achieve on my own. This time around when I build my website, I really only have 4 plugins in mind as opposed to the 20 something I’m using now:

  1. Advanced Custom Fields Pro (more than worth the $100)
  2. TinyMCE
  3. Yoast SEO
  4. Jet Pack

In that order too. The only two I know for sure I won’t do without is ACF and TinyMCE. I still want to do more research and decide if I really need to have Yoast or Jet Pack – or if I can do with my own custom solution. That’s still TBD.

Everything else will all be my own code.

Anyways, sorry for the random nature of this post. I’ve just been working so hard lately behind the scenes with nothing to show upfront so I thought it was much needed to come in here and just say hi.

Thanks for the continued support through my lack of posting. And I’ll see my UoPeople followers on Moodle Thursday!

Cheers,

Dan

 


 

One other thing I should mention:

I’ve started a Slack support group for UoPeople CS students. We’re just over 50 students strong now and there is a ton of learning happening over there. The primary reason for the group is to make it easier for us all to help each other by using code snippets (something Yammer lacks (friggin’ Microsoft)). But it’s also a less formal environment (or should I say… more slack) to chat and/or nerd out over rediculous whatevers. Just remember our school code of conduct when speaking in the public channels. They kind of make sense.

You can find the group here: uopeoplecs.slack.com and you can sign up with your uopeople.edu email.

If you’re not a UoPeople student and would like access to the group, send me an email with your request and why you’d like in. Approval is up to my own discretion but I can’t think of too many reasons why I would say no.

OK, bye for real this time 😉

 

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