I've done quite a bit of programming for the last 12 years, and with that knowledge has come a lot of trial and error, struggles, and yes even some humbling experiences.  As with most programmers, I pride myself on making really neat applications (web & mobile), and being able to do something most people can't and create something from nothing.  But with this skill comes a certain arrogance that if you are unaware of, can cause your code to fail or even worse become vunerable to attacks.

It's something I deal with over and over again.  I always try to keep in mind that I know very little compared to the other programmers out there, even though I may have more knowledge than most, I try and keep this mindset so I am constantly trying to learn.  Over the years, I have developed certain programming patterns and methods to help produce cleaner more reliable code.  I'd say at least 99% of the time I have a very specific reason for doing something the way I do it.  But yes, even I have brain farts at times and look back at my code a day or two later and go, and go "What the heck was I thinking?".  Thankfully commenting code helps me remember, but even then, some stuff makes me go "WWHHHATTT?!!!" 

I find being able to laugh at your mistakes and taking constructive criticism from your peers is a most have attitude for a developer to continue to grow.  

Now all of this comes as Apple introduces a new programming style for their iOS applications.  Just as soon as you get a grip on their current system, here comes the new one... Don't get me wrong, I think it's a needed improvement, it's just a little overwhelming at times when you are trying to learn another new language and then one you previously knew starts throwing in changes.  And the task of sorting it all out falls upon the programmer, and it's not something the developer can ask a non-programming co-worker to help with.

When I was teaching my class about web development, I was constantly reminded that most of the students were business majors and trying to explain even the simplest concepts was like talking a foreign language to them.  It's the same language barrier that you must over come when speaking to clients, and the best I could explain to them in business terms is the reason websites cost what they do is because developers like me have spent years and countless hours studying so we can do what others can't or are uninterested in doing.

So why am I talking about all this... partly because I needed something to blog about, and my past experiences were the easiest topic to come up with, and two, because I am about to start learning a new framework to building mobile apps.  Like I said I am constantly learning, and one of the conclusions I have come to is that in order to compete, we have to be adaptable and find more efficient ways to build mobile apps for more and more platforms everyday.  I recently learned of a new one called WebOS. I have not had the chance to see what devices use it, but it exists and as a developer, I need to keep an eye on it.  You never know what may become the next iOS or Android.

Have a great day, and remember to stay positive and learn from your past mistakes and adapt as the web/mobile world constantly changes.


This past weekend I flew out to Baltimore to visit my sister, Jill, who is out there for an internship for the summer. She has only been there a month, so my sister Maggie and I helped her explore her city for the summer and had a really good time! We went to the aquarium, got ice cream, took a train to DC, and went to an Orioles game. Usually when the three of us are together, we just shop, so this was a really fun trip cause we did so many fun things. Here are just a couple of photos from this past weekend, it was perfect weather as well! I couldn't have asked for a better time!

Out in front of the Harbor.

Maryland Crabs?! They had statues everywhere.



Fredrick Douglas's head. 

Hope everyone made it to NACMA! Make sure to go see our crew there!

It's my final day in the office before we depart (Sunday) for Orlando for what will be our 10th NACMA.  The photo above is from our first ever NACMA when I was the only employee at Old Hat and we only had about 4 clients.  I always get nostalgiac around NACMA time because I think back to where we started and how far we've come.  That first booth was a pop-up that took about 10 minutes to assemble.  It was made of carpet and I velcroed just about every decent project I had ever designed to it. I had to ask a friend of mine to come with me to Orlando to help out as I had no employees.  I didn't even pay him, I don't think.  Just offered him a free trip to Orlando.  Thanks Cory!  Now, we more than 25 employees and every year I have to decide who gets to/has to go.

That first booth and all our materials fit into two plastic cases on rollers.  Cory and I checked them on our flight and rolled them through the airports, onto the car rental shuttle and into the exhibit hall to set them up.  The booth space was 10' by 10' which was more than enough room to showcase our company.  Today, our booth is 20' by 20' and it takes a U-Haul to get it there.  It will take us a few hours to assemble it all and we spent months in preparation for it.

In year one, Old Hat Design Company was a print design shop.  We did posters, brochures, schedule cards... And I designed ever single thing we produced.  Today we have six divisions that will be marketed at NACMA.  Print Design, Interactive, Productions, Consulting, Branding and Capture.  And I don't design anything that any of those divisions produce.

NACMA is always a reminder of what we have accomplished in the past ten years and it's quite humbling to think about.  To say that I couldn't have done it alone is the understatement of the century.  The people, both internally and externally, that got us to where we are are too numerous to count.  But they know who they are and I offer a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you.  

Please stop by and say hello at the booth next week.  And take a mental picture of what it looks like.  If we do as well the next 10 years as we did in the first 10, we might be occupying the entire exhibit hall.

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