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2007 - a (social) year in review

posted in personal stuff on December 31st, 2007

The last few days have been so hectic, with meet-ups here and meet-ups there that I totally forgot to post this, but finally, here it is:

2007 would not have been 2007 if it were not for the three meetups I had during the last days; first Emma, then Claske and finally - the one meeting I have been looking forward to since we first met virtually: Jeroen Poortvliet.

Jeroen and me have been working on both building and maintaining a special interest community for no less than 30 months now and after much planning and shifting, we finally managed to get together for a pint of beer.

Jeroen, who is a real-life photographer has been spearheading the expansion of our community and it is safe to say that, without him, NL-Noob would not be what we have become. Thanks to his efforts, our turnover rate is incredibly low compared to other communities and what’s even better - whenever we seemed to hit a snag or stagnation in growth, he came up with ideas that allowed us to expand even further.

We are, by no means the biggest (Dutch) community, but we have a fair number of people that are very happy that we are there, when they need a gaming fix.

Marjon on the other hand, is totally uninvolved in gaming, but still made a tremendous impact on me, most of all because of the inner strength she possesses and if there is something I respect in people a lot, then it is the ability to conquer literally anything they are faced with. No micro-relationship here, just great talks and mutual trust.

And last but not least, the Wingman of the year award goes out to Kevin for accompanying me to a number of great and interesting events and helping me with most, if not all, visual branding things that came up over the past year.

I could probably go on for a fair bit, because the above mentioned people are by no means the only ones that made an impression on me, but I wont. The ones I care about know that I do and that’s that.

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Cooking 2.0

posted in College, Projects on November 23rd, 2007

Back in September, when my junior year in college kicked off, I took a class called “Backend Development”, which basically came down to building a clone of a popular video upload / sharing site.

Now, before we start - let me get the technical talk out of the way: the task comprised a number of technologies such as PHP, mySQL, XML, KML (XML used in Google Mapping applications) as well as SOAP, AMFPHP and ActionScript and was basically to be carried out in a two or three man team.

Right from the start, Kevin and me knew that we wanted to build a “real” application, in the sense of setting up a framework for a (possible) huge portal and even though we did not have the right resources to develop a strong brand identity, we like to think that we managed quite well.

We kept pondering a handful of different themes for our video site and whenever something sounded just good enough to actually be usable, we decided to can it, up until to the point where we nearly ran out of ideas - that is, until I discovered “a recipe for success” (pun intended).

Cooking has long been something I enjoyed and even though I am no real chef and probably never will be, we, that is, Kevin and me, agreed that cooking would be a great theme, so we started developing a site that would later turn into cuizine.tv.

cuizine.tv is cooking 2.0, basically enabling you to share and experience different culinary dishes from around the world, all thanks to the power of Flash video.

In the end, from the nine weeks we had available for building the application, we spent most of the time developing a design / conventions document that outlined just about every part of our codebase and associated assets and in the end, I found that a great thing to work with.

If there is one thing that I learned from building this application, it is most probably that good documentation goes a long way and apart from making it easier to identify various parts of the code, it also makes it very easy to extend the application without losing oversight and in the end, our hard work was rewarded with a couple of great grades.

And as always, kudos go out to Kevin Pilasky of Qlu New Media for developing a great looking logo. Thanks!

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