Sitting back and enjoy it with friends.

Today felt like a slow day. I couldn’t fall asleep and I woke up with a headache and couldn’t breath well. Getting sick maybe? Anyways, I was able to get some really cool stuff done at work. Big things are changing, but that’s my little secret.

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I got to meetup with a friend today that I met back at a Vitamin T meetup a while back. He’s a cool guy and he’s going through some very exciting life changes. Coding and UX seem to be the primary and I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him. It’s always a big combo when you see a designer with decades of experience dive into code!

It was good to catch up with him and just talk back and forth about our design lives, present past and future. Note to self, I need to do this more often. Just sitting back with someone and shooting the shit about everything.

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What I learned today:
You have to restart Bit Server on your tablet, because it somehow doesn’t recognize WordPress sites as local. I’ve had this issue before, it seems confirmed now.

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Dress Code?

I was reading an article on linkedin about Dress Code and it made me think. Does it make sense to dress a notch above everybody at work? I personally do not think so. Agreed, this is something to do for an interview, duh. However, what makes someone dress better than the typical dress code? I find that in the tech industry, the more comfortable you feel, them more you produce. I wear shorts and a t-shirt to work, a button up more so than not, but still I wouldn’t fit any dress code the typical corporate world would expect. Why does my company feel that its ok to dress how you feel? Because they know people work their best when they’re comfortable. If I have to dress a certain way then I’m already uncomfortable. If I had to wear a tie, then I’d spend half the day adjusting it and counting down the hours to when I can take it off.

Some of you are probably thinking, “You’d be fired in my company, that’s just not how the world works”. Fired? No, I would never be fired from that kind of company because that’s a requirement of mine I ask in the interview process. If I can’t wear shorts or jeans and be myself, then I really have no need to work for you. Hire someone with mediocre skills that’ll listen to your thinking. Think he’s an excellent creative? Of course! He’s the best creative you could find that was willing to wear a tie to work everyday. For someone in my industry, the top notch people won’t be found wearing ties. They wont’ be found dressing up in their day to day. Is that to say they never dress up? No, of course not. The creatives still know when its time to meet clients, the clients sort of expect them to be just as corporate to an extent.

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What I learned today:
That a Surface Pro 3 can run Photoshop. However, the fastest on is 8Gb of RAM…sooo I question it as a workhorse.

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Working for the…uhhh, on the weekend!

I started the day off pretty early at 9ish. I was able to find an old sketchbook which made me pretty happy. My first task was at logo sketching. I came up with a few ideas, however I’m not too happy with them. After all, how good of a logo can you really make in just 3 hours? After that I switched to wireframes using Balsamiq. The downside is that at my home computer I still have the demo which is still kind of good since I can use it, just not save it. The up side is that I can save as a png file so I’m able to do my thing and save out. I’ll just make sure to keep my computer on for now.

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Watched a few lectures of Business Development For Startups and Tech Companies. It’s pretty interesting and I can’t wait to keep on watching. I’ll have to set it up on my tablet so I can chill on the couch and watch it. I’m taking a break from that one and starting to watch the beginning videos from https://www.udemy.com/cold-emailing. Is it a viable option? It never hurts to try!

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What I learned today:
You can still save out as png files in Balsamiq even if your trial is over.

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A Designer with no Sketchbook?

I sat down earlier today to start on some sketches. I planned on doing it hardcore and just jamming out page upon page. The other day I used a college ruled notebook that I found laying around. I used it assuming I had a stack of sketchbooks elsewhere. I looked around and NOPE, nothing. How does a designer not have a backlog of sketchbooks?

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Today was a mental reload day. I started out by watching Guardians of the Galaxy, which was awesome, and then watching the last Lord of the Rings movie. I felt like I just needed a detox day from being creative. I started up my creative thinking just a few hours ago and I’m kicking through it.

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Started doing some work from work. Since I got to work from home on Friday I had my head wrapped up in something and worked extra. Then I find myself today opening up my work laptop for about an hour trying some things out. I had to slap my hand and say NO!

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What I learned today:
Always have a sketchbook handy.

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Write it down!

I had a whole bunch of things to talk about today, but I never wrote them down! I figured that I have a sharp enough memory. It turns out, what I was going to write about that I DID remember wasn’t that exciting, or I indeed forgot what I wanted to write about. The day I don’t write down my actions in my design journal is the day I forget.

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Recruiters! You gotta love them and hate them at the same time. Right now I’m working on a contract through a recruitment company, hoping to get full time. The place is awesome and I love it! But wait, aren’t you working on a web design startup? Yes I am, but who says I can’t do side work? Anywho, it seems like the recruiters from LinkedIn really don’t care about who they ask for anything. They want to connect, they want to throw down job descriptions and before they’re finished they want to see if anybody else would be interested! WHAT? Come on! You’re trying to sell me on a position and instead of waiting for my response you ask if anybody else wants the job?

I get it, I really do. The recruiter is just throwing it all out in hopes of getting something so they can get a commission. I don’t blame them, really I don’t. But have some respect and wait to see if I’m interested! As a rule of them when a recruiter goes to my linked in page for Cliff Nowicki, if they bothered to actually read before connecting they’ll notice one thing. I wrote a few sentences at the end as a way to get you to interact with me:

If you’re looking to seriously contact me then tell me something as a conversation starter, let me know you’re invested in a connection and not a number. I love spending time with my kids and BBQ chicken. What about you?

You see? This means that I want to know something about you in your initial contact. If you attempt to reach out expecting a connection and don’t get one, that is why.

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I got to work from home today, which was awesome. I told myself to wake up early at 7 and get started. I felt more productive working from home, mainly because I work more than I should. Once I get caught up its hard to see people around me leaving and the sun going down. This is because my office is in the basement and I can barely tell where the sun is at any given moment.

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What I learned today:

Get out of your chair after an hour! Setting up a timer otherwise you’ll lose track of the time and lose the rest of the day.

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The one with no title.

It felt like a slow day today. I woke up at 3:30am and never went back to sleep. I did catch up on webdesigner depots August list of “What’s new for designers”. Tons of cool things in there!

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I plan on starting learning Git through lynda.com. I’m very excited to be able to speak more pro about it at work. I feel like such a novice when it comes to it. However, I’ve learned 500% more than I thought I’d learn about Git since I started, so I’m happy.

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What I learned today:
Google’s crawlers fire javascript when crawling to help with possible hidden stuff. It’s not perfect, but it sounds pretty cool

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Top favorite websites to visit

I’m a fan of visiting websites and so are you! If you weren’t, why would you be here? Here’s a quick list of my go to’s every day.

webdesignerdepot.com
hongkiat.com
creativebloq.com
awwwards.com
http://uxmag.com/

Those are my go to’s on a daily basis. I on occasion go to dribbble and behance to see what other people are doing, but sometimes it feels like the same thing that doesn’t really solve problems. My biggest pet peeve is seeing something pretty, but it doesn’t solve any real problems. The most common mistake I see among these portfolio show websites are user interface designs that no real user could possibly use! I’ve had to kick it off my daily view list in frustration as “pretty” design and even some mediocre stuff is greeted by “great job!” and “nice work!”. I believe there is a button that auto generates random congrats to any job. Some say its because I’m not on dribbble, but no effort on my part has ever been made. I am on behance though, so you can check out my work there: https://www.behance.net/cliffnowicki

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What I learned today:
I don’t need constant inspiration from a website.

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Is Ghost a viable alternative to WordPress?

A friend brought to my attention, Ghost. It’s a blogging platform that has potential to challenge WordPress. I’ve used it once before but had some issues with it. My main issue was that I had a time limit to create a password. I failed that time limit and it pretty much locked me out of my local server. Not being a ghost pro and just looking for a quick fix, I shortly gave up never to touch it again.

Will it be a contender? It could be, but I don’t see the opportunities out there yet. WordPress has a huge community and some great hosting companies such as WP Engine that makes everything easy to use. The verdict is still out there, but I may have to give it another shot down the road as more solid stuff comes to it.

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I had some good sketching moments at work today. Being forced to rethink elements due to technology constraints and other road blocks that pop up due to something else is fun. It’s pretty cool to see what could of been if looked at in a different light. I feel bad my design journal has been lacking anything the past few days. Just half the pages are filled in and mostly notes. I feel like I should be doodling more in them. I’ll have to start scanning them so I don’t get backlogged and spend an entire day scanning in my design journal.

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What I learned today:
Ghost has potential.

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It’s OK if you don’t know it all!

The whole reason I started writing this blog was to track my journey as a designer to see how I grow. A part of that is also realizing I don’t know everything. Sometimes in the past I’ve had that habit of saying “Yes, I know that” or “I can do that” when I was just faking it to make it. A yes would mean “I know 70% of that and could build on that” or “I’ve read about it somewhere, i’ll go check it out”. Reading this article by Alex Parker really put some confirmation behind this blog that other people are like me too. We started at some point knowing nothing and are admitting that we still don’t know everything. That’s a great start and its something I believe everybody should follow.

You can find his article here: http://alexparker.me/you-know
-nothing-about-code/
. Also, check out the youtube video at the bottom. If you just want to see the awesome inspiring video about code.org then click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKIu9yen5nc

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Don’t sweat the small stuff. Its a phrase we here now and again. I see a lot of people getting mixed up in the details that they totally lose track and freak out. To those people. STOP.

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I finished up a meeting with the startup and things are looking good. I feel a positive vibe coming from all of this. I’m glad I’ve stock piled a ton of design books and never read, because now I can read them! I have a ton of positive reading to do in the coming weeks.

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Where’s WordPress? I know many of you have been messaging me about how awesome the blog is and there are a few that asked how my WordPress has come along. I don’t think I’ve touched that book in a week due to something being frustrating and not figuring it out. Then life just kind of went and happening. What exactly happened? Well when I put in the navs, they just disappeared all together! What will I do? I’ll be redoing the entire chapter and seeing how it’ll all work out. I’ve side capped that for some startup related things, but I WILL get back to it in the next week.

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What I learned today:
Don’t pass on SASS! Its the way to go as far as pre-processors are concerned. More opinion then fact though.

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Saturday Night Sketching

I literally haven’t done anything design wise until just a half hour ago. I’m starting to sketch out some logo ideas and I just can’t seem to get what I like. However, the upside is that I was wondering how long it would take me to develop a logo. The second I put pencil to paper, it seemed a little less intimidating. I think that’s how it is when I start all my projects. It feels like a super beast, but once you start you just kind of go and that anxiety just disappear.

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What I learned today:
When you start something, it feels a lot more easier to accomplish than before you started.

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