I came across this today for the first time and it made me smile.
I’m trying to get another blog post written and up but I’m afraid I’ve been hit with another cold (which means I’m prepaid for the next few years right?). I’ve spent some of this afternoon/evening helping with the Hurricane Irene Response website. It’s the same software used for the Christchurch Recovery Map – namely Ushahidi.
It’s worth appreciating for a moment that despite being in New Zealand we can still help people thousands of kilometers away. We can put actions behind our prayers and wishes and make a difference, even if it’s just a small one.
A smile can brighten the darkest day. ~Author Unknown
Rather than delve into a topic on this post I thought it would be nice to give a bit of an update on what I’ve been up to. I don’t find it easy to blog about myself, but there are people I haven’t seen for months who have asked me for updates. I can be very bad at keeping up to date with people, but I didn’t forget those who asked, so here it is, my 2011 since leaving Hawaii.
In January I started back at my job, working for Catalyst IT. I got thrown right in the deep end and was asked to teach a group of 4 from the Open Source Academy how to use Drupal to make their websites. The academy partly came about because schools just aren’t teaching skills that are useful in IT classes, so we aimed to fill the gap.
There was of course catching up with friends, coffee (real coffee!) and organising a booster for my Hepatitis A vaccine thrown in for good measure. I also got my first taste of what it’s like to be part of a global family when Chris and Shalom, two of my friends from the USA that I met in Kona, came to Wellington. It’s rather a small world after all.
To end January I went to Hamilton for the Parachute Music Festival. I saw artists like Chris Tomlin, Skillet, Manafest and a whole bunch of others. Louie Giglio was there too and he did Indescribable – such a fantastic weekend.
I’m going back through my calendar to jog my memory, but all the movie nights and other impromptu stuff isn’t on there. I put together two presentations about my time overseas – one about Hawaii and one about Philippines. If you’d like to see them I’m happy to come round and show you. I won’t be uploading them since the stories behind the photos are the most important bit and I don’t know how to story tell online because I can’t see who I’m telling the story to.
At work things had changed a bit too. I had a new Project Manager, Emma, who is truly lovely and I got to work with my friends again on some challenging bits of work. Sadly, Stuart jetted off to the UK, so I ended up inheriting his main project, the NZ Post website, not a small ask for someone a bit rusty in Drupal who hadn’t been with the project from the start. I had a month to get up to speed as best I could before Stuart left and thankfully I had others to ask questions when I wasn’t sure how to approach a problem, giving me all the support I needed to get the work done.
Now that I was working and able to save a bit I took the plunge and upgraded my camera to a Canon 60D. On outreach I’d hit the limits of my 1000D, which has been a wonderful camera that I still have. The 60D in a grade higher in all areas – it has a bigger sensor, bigger screen and better low light performance. It also has video, but I rarely use it.
To be honest I haven’t been doing a lot of photography shooting. At events I’m focussing more on socialising than taking photos, I still carry my Point + Shoot with me, but again, there’s not much to photograph usually and when I do find some free time, it usually goes into something geeky.
Speaking of geeky, when the second Christchurch Earthquake hit it was amazing to see the geek response in Wellington. I was a one of many geeks that joined the #eqnz team. I feel like I played a very small part, but as a combined effort the Christchurch Recovery Map arose.
The map allowed the people of Christchurch to tell anyone with Internet where to find food, water, fuel and where to avoid like closed streets. Tim McNamara got this all kicked off and Catalyst IT (where I work) got onboard too – letting people work on filtering the reports from people during work hours and helping set up a txt shortcode so people coud sms information to us without needing a computer or an Internet-capable phone. It was also the first time I’d seen Nigel McNie in a while too – coding away and configuring not only our server but fixing the Red Cross website too.
I also turned 25 this year and that’s changed my viewpoint a bit. Historically I’ve been a past/present thinking person, not very future oriented. Now I’m starting to think about where I want to be when I’m 30 and what I want to be doing.
You might note that I don’t have much church related to update on, that’s because I haven’t been volunteering at my church. In the past I’ve volunteered to the point of burnout and I’ve done things because they needed doing, not because I felt called to do them. When I got back I decided to say no to everything at first so I could pick what I wanted to focus on, I still give my time in photography, but not a lot of it as there isn’t much demand.
So fast forward to today, what am I up to? I’m currently quite interested in the idea of using little computers (think smaller than a book size) for…well, that’s the tricky part. I’m using my little laptops at home – one to show you this website and one to backup all my files. They didn’t cost me very much and they mostly look after themselves. I can see something similar being useful in YWAM bases, but I haven’t thought it through all the way yet. I have a USD$40 computer on it’s way from China to see what it can do.
I’m also thinking about making a Dashboard for all the websites I’ve created over time. I want to be able to see on a single page all my sites and if they need updating. The same goes for my servers. This is still in the brainchild stage too, but I’m looking at options.
Three of my friends and I are doing some theology study every third Saturday too. It’s both challenging and interesting and it’s great that we can get together, disagree and still be friends at the end of it.
Well, there are a few things I’m looking forward to doing this year. Kiwicon V is happening in November – it’s a hacker conference organised by people in the security industry here in Wellington with speakers from all over. It’s well organised and packed full of awesome talks – I’m just not taking my laptop or iPod touch, just because.
In December two of my very good friends, Neil and Rose, are getting married. They are having a New Zealand wedding and a Chinese wedding and I’ll be at both, which means a second trip to China! Followed by a bit of a holiday afterwards – right now it looks like I’ll be seeing in the new year in Shanghai and I’m hoping for fireworks.
I imagine that work will continue rather the same as it has. In the past 6 months I’ve been learning new technologies as well as working in/leading a team. I’m spending more time learning about accessibility and user experience when it comes to making websites, I want to continue down this road so I can make better websites for everyone who uses them.
Longer term, I want to get back into missions with photogenX and YWAM – it’s where my passion lies. I really enjoyed my time in Kona and God willing I’ll be back there before too long. I’m not sure what I’d be doing, but there seems to be no shortage of good ideas needing people to make them work and websites allow messages and causes to spread globally.