word salad.


Back In Action
November 3, 2009, 10:21 pm
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A lot has happened since I last posted, and it all went by in one all too fast blur. The wedding was absolutely beautiful although it happened to be the one day it rained that I was home. I’ve never really considered getting married but after watching the wedding and seeing the envelopes full of money and tables full of gifts; I’m thinking more seriously about it.

Coming back from a vacation is tough. Whether it was a trip for business or pleasure, it’s hard to get back into the swing of things. Everything was just as I left it at LearningZen.com, right down to where I left my coffee cup and notebook sitting. Compared to the last trip I took, my inbox was forgiving. I was able to follow-up and get on my feet in a matter of a day, rather than multiple days.

The developers have been working hard on the Premium Services aspect of the site and updating features that our clients have requested in the system. Unfortunately we lost Bruce (to another project…he’s still alive) so I now longer enjoy his always smiling face at a moments glance. In any event, today I got to go shopping for swag which is actually really fun! We managed to run out of LearningZen tee-shirts and are down to our last box of water bottles. Although I was tempted to get somewhat redicules things with our logo on it I settled for pens, stress balls, water bottles, and hand sanitizer. I’m so boring!



Hack Attack
October 16, 2009, 7:57 pm
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The other day I got my twitter account hacked. It was quite wonderful and sent my friends a message about how they could make $300.00 a day if they clicked on a link (which I also kindly supplied). Believe it or not, I actually have real employment, and I wouldn’t get involved in pyramid schemes if I didn’t. Everything at LearningZen has been going quite well, so I’m really not marinating the option of getting into shady online businesses.

It’s been a busy week, music has helped. I was never one of those people who needed complete silence and solitude to do work, I actually get more done with something happening in the background. I’d like to thank the beats of Chromeo, Matt & Kim, and The Walkmen (along with countless others) for picking me up and also simultaneously calming me down at the same time. This week has been pretty devoid of anything monumental, personally, but hopefully I can make it up mapby having an action-packed, fun filled weekend.

Next weekend (actually part of the week as well) I will be home in the glorious, glorious land of Connecticut. And by glorious I mean we cut down trees to build things like strip malls and mansions, and then name streets after them; it’s really cute! My road is off of Wood pond, which is off Rockledge, which is off Riverside. And yes, those things used to exist there until they blew them up. The joys of modern suburbia…I am headed to my homeland for to go to my first “friend” wedding. Isn’t it wierd that most of our parents were married with kids at 24, and I can’t even imagine getting married at all or in the remote future?

In any event it should be a good time, and I am actually looking forward to traveling back east for a little R & R and some quality time with friends I haven’t seen in awhile.



Sharing is Caring
August 26, 2009, 3:56 pm
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LearningZenLogoAre you interested in sharing what you know? Gaining personal credibility? Creating a following? Building your network?

If so, this opportunity is for you! LearningZen.com is looking for course authors who would like to share their knowledge and contribute to the greater good.

Our mission at LearningZen is to enable people to grow personally and professionally through training and education. We are dedicated to creating a user based community for small businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and individuals to educate, learn, and collaborate. Unlike many similar platforms our services are completely free to both students and educators, as we truly stand by our mission and believe knowledge should be free to those who desire it.

We are searching for people with vast knowledge that they would like to share. Courses will only be limited by imagination and the base of information you have to offer. I promise there is no gimmick or trap to this; we are real people who are passionate about learning. So if you have a passion, come to LearningZen.com and share it!



The Greatest Love of All
August 12, 2009, 10:13 pm
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It’s been a fairly busy week so far. I actually looked forward to the usual slew of Monday meetings this week because we were in serious need of a re-group. Post OR and Oshkosh, we hadn’t formally been able to follow-up and set goals for the coming sprint. Now that I’ve got that under my belt, I feel much more centered.

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Besides the usual stress of a workday, I’ve now got a puppy thrown into the mix. Yes, after mercilessly posting pictures of the puppy I did not yet have for weeks, I finally got the little furball. And isn’t that picture just glorious? Although it appears I took her to Sears and got the “Mountain-view” background as opposed to the laser background, that was actually just taken in Sugarhouse Park.

I’m proud to report that she isn’t a total terror, and in actuality; is a really, really good puppy. The first few days she was convinced that the guest room was the most suitable toilet but she’s starting to opt for the great outdoors. She seldom whines and although they are yet to reciprocate her feelings-she wants to be best friends with the cats. They spend most of their time cowering in their kitty condo, glaring at me with a “What is that, and why did you bring it into my house” look. I have faith they’ll come around.

When I told people I was getting a puppy, everyone told me it was a horrible idea and it was going to be a ton of work. They were right about one thing; I’ll let you take a stab at which one was correct.

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In bringing up laser beam background earlier, it reminded me of how after years of begging, my Mother finally let me get it in the third grade. As you can tell, my good looks started a very long time ago. I could tell you just how popular I was, but you wouldn’t even believe it. The next years school picture boasted a new shiny set of braces accompanied by some large, plastic, purple glasses. Like I said, my popularity soared and soared.

I actually had a brief stint being popular in the sixth grade when I mistakenly befriended a girl in my homeroom, but after two years of questionable fashion choices and an obvious lack of boyfriends I was dropped for a lack of coolness. It was a short morning period for both parties involved. I used to feather my hair a lot at the time, or rather-my Mother would. It was technically the 90’s but definitely not the style at Timothy Edwards Middle School.

As far as I’m concerned, popularity shouldn’t even exist at that age. Everyone is too gangly, metal mouthed, and awkward. Sadly, on a slightly more serious note-it’s worse nowadays. My friends little sister looked like she was eighteen by the time she reached eighth grade. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do as a parent except teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside…give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Hmmm…That advice sounds familiar, I wonder where I got that from…



Premium Services: Blast Off!

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The date of July 6, 2009 has been looming in the future for the LearningZen team for quite some time now. There is a serious tone set in the office today; developers desperately pounding away on their keyboards, brows furrowed. The only noise I hear is the gentle whirring of modems and the almost inaudible mouse click.

Today is our launch date for premium services. I haven’t talked much about them in regards to the LZ site; we’ve been incredibly busy with other miscellaneous activities in conjunction with this. Premium services are a solution for companies, government agencies, or users who want their courses to be put behind a private portal. The initial package we’re offering is $4999 annually for unlimited access. When compared to most LMS systems, this is pennies. If you don’t believe me check out this entry on the Brandon Hall Research blog.

Another benefit is the power we give our customers; they have complete control of the content, and with the functionality of the site-you can be up and running in hours rather than days. LZ is streamlined for employee training or certification, but can also be used for general education purposes.

This is a big step for us; and we know that nothing happens effortlessly. We have worked hard and will continue to work hard on our premium services features. Many features have been developed (built in forums, discussions, messaging, ratings, and educator/student communication) and were anticipating our user’s reactions to implement future changes. The one value that is most important to us in being “available” to our customers. If you call us, you’re not going to get some half-brained operator who knows nothing about the product. In fact, there’s a good chance you could talk directly to me. On that note, I have far more important things to do in regards to premium services than post about it! Hope everyone had a great independence day!



Everybodys Working For The Weekend
June 22, 2009, 6:30 pm
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How does one get their brain going on a Monday? This is an age old question that I believe dates back to the B.C. era. In my general perusing of the internet, I came across a list of 100 ways to Kickstart Your Brain that I think offers some fantastic suggestions for getting yourself going when you’re feeling a little fried.

Who isn’t beat after a weekend? When we’re “working for the weekend,” we put a lot of pressure on that forty-eight hour slab of time! Whether we spend it doing an activity we enjoy or catching up on the chores the work week doesn’t allow us to get to; it’s exhausting.

Speaking of exhausting; I’m happy to report that I am moved in. By “moved in” what I really mean is all my stuff is in one location but that I still have a to-do list that’s a longer read than a Charles Dickens novel. It’s a good thing that like a wild animal, I can survive and thrive in chaos.

I got a chance to guest blog Friday, on the LearningZen development blog. Thomas Klassen, who usually writes, asked me if I would articulate my experiences of attending the LZ demo meetings that follow a sprint. The first time I went I imagine the experience being akin to putting a fifth grader (and not one of those genius kids) in a college level course and then measuring how much they understood. However, thanks to my great colleagues, I now look forward to the meetings and find great benefit in being there.

This morning when I arrived at work, I found a surprise on my desk:

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I think they like me!



The week ends, the week begins
June 15, 2009, 10:42 pm
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I’m 97% positive those are lyrics from a Dave Matthews’s song, but being that I was the only red-blooded, beer guzzling college student with an absolute disdain for Dave; I can’t be so sure.

How was my weekend? In one word: bittersweet. I’m preparing for an upcoming move and most of my life exists solely in boxes and bags and I can never find anything that I’m looking for.

Last week was at LearningZen was a busy one. An issue for a custom software client threatened to derail our development but the team did an awesome job of balancing between their LZ duties and managing a crisis.

I spent a good chunk of my time reaching out to potential contributors in an effort to build upon our growing selection of courses. While the open-source movement is becoming increasingly popular, there are platforms that have already been out there much longer than we have. The challenge is convincing those people that our system is better. We had one major success when a man from Athens, Greece posted a course: “The Source of Ethics.”

We also got some awesome “Shout Outs,” last week. Lee, the owner of: http://www.elearning30.com/ sent us some wonderful feedback: “I love the way you create or take courses. The WYSIWYG editor for creating is very nice and the flow of taking a course is great.” We also got mentioned by Mr. D from http://www.teachforever.com/ as one of his 5 sites to check out on Friday.

The momentum of our revolution is finally picking up and although were anxious to take the learning world by storm we must remember: patience is a virtue.