Jumping Right In
I am a 3rd year full-time student at the U majoring in Electrical Engineering. I own a small consulting firm operating out of Madison, WI with 2 partners. We do embedded design work for other companies in many different industries but work mostly with researchers who have hardware requirements for their projects. I was very lucky to meet the guys who are now my business partners because I now always have something that is encouraging me to finish my degree. Between that, various jobs around the cities, and school I tend to keep myself fairly busy.
I was first introduced to computers in grade school working with Apple IIe's. My family bought a 33MHz powerhouse in '93 and I have been off and running ever since. I have always had fun playing around with computers in various ways but noting really grabbed my attention like the internet. My family (mainly my father and I) was definitely in on the beginning of what was to become the mainstream internet. I remember getting a 28.8 modem and being disappointed that we could only run it at 14.4kbps for the first few months of having it because our service provider could simply not support it. I started making websites for fun around 7th grade and have been doing web application programming for the last 4 to 5 years. The first ever full scale project I started was a content management system for a theatre company I worked with high school. I love the idea of websites that are aware of their users and current date and time and consequently change themselves without the need for intervention by a programmer/designer.
The dawn of Web 2.0 is bringing about very interesting changes in the world of the web. User generated content, pastel colors, and more DHTML than you can shake a stick at. Web 2.0 has been an amazing of example of how possible it is to misuse good technology and make total crap with it. That's not to say it's all bad but there is a reason so many humor sites have popped up about it. The user experience is certainly getting better with browser based web applications finally beginning to act like their desktop counterparts. I have certainly taken to Web 2.0 techniques in sites I make. Asynchronous server calls make things possible that I never even thought of before. I think the main problems with the craze are just that, the craze about it. Companies that have taken time to make something that is well thought out and useful like Google Maps, Meebo, or flickr show some of the great possibilities that are out there.
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I guess it would've been helpful to give an example of a site I've made (Thanks Julie). Here is one that is an ongoing project for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at the U. This system indexes and displays examples of students' work they've done for class. Let me know if you have any questions about. SJMC Student Work