Small Steps & Superior Performance

Last summer Mason Law web site undergone a major realignment and simplification and we have continued to work on smaller details. We are taking small steps to prune down our landing pages. For example, the current landing page for students featured massive list of links. The new landing page for admissions is much more pleasant to look at. This is something I have wanted to do for a while, but couldn’t get buy-in to cut down the unnecessary links until now. We will be rolling out each landing page at a time.

In an unrelated note, my supervisor gave me superior performance and exceeded expectation for 2014. I couldn’t be happier. I really enjoy working at the Law School thanks to the people around me. The flexibility allows me to balance between life and work. I perform much better when I am not under stress. My deepest gratitude to them.

Third Anniversary at Mason Law

If LinkedIn didn’t congratulated me on my third anniversary at George Mason Law, I would have forgotten. I had to track down this blog to remind me the exact date I started. It was October 17, 2011.

Wow three years already. In retrospect, what had I accomplished? Other than the day-to-day tasks, like adding new functions, features or designs, I relaunched the main site twice, brought more faculty, staff and students to use WordPress CMS, and maintained and secured the two dedicated servers.

In addition to my job, I also enjoy being around such a group of diverse and talented individuals. I couldn’t ask for greater colleagues.

Beside my main role as a web services developer, I also get the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree as part of the tuition benefit. I have three more courses to finish after this semester. Furthermore, I was given a chance to teach what I am passionate about and what I do everyday.

I am grateful for the position I am in at this point of my career. Couldn’t be more satisfied.

One Year at Mason Law

I missed my first anniversary at Mason Law last week. I can’t believe I have been at Mason Law over a year already. This new gig has been nothing but positive.

In retrospect, it has been a productive year. I redesigned the Law School’s website using responsive web design and brought the codes up to the latest standards. I created a number of websites to serve the faculty, students, and staff including faculty personal web pages, the law library’s blog, student organizations sites, the Admissions Intranet, and various websites for other law school programs. I even started a blog to keep track of the projects I have worked on as well as notes and references to do my work.

My goal for this coming year is to update the content management system for the law school’s website to the latest version of MODX Revolution, migrate CAAS from Drupal to WordPress, and maybe a new design for the Law web site as well.

The folks I have been working with are fantastic. I can’t ask for anything better. It was indeed a great decision to take on this new position.

Loving George Mason

It’s inevitable that George Mason plays a major part of my life. I work for the Law School. I live right by the main campus. I’ll take classes this coming fall in the School of Art. All I have to say is I am loving George Mason.

The job is fantastic. I couldn’t ask for a better supervisor. Working home on Fridays has been very rewarding for me. On lunch break, I get to drop by the campus’s Starbucks for coffee and browse the main campus library. What I really love about this library is that it always has latest books on tech and types. Like today I checked out six brand new books on typography. As a member of Administrative/Professional Faculty, I get to check out books for a whole semesters. My books aren’t due until September. Of course I return them as soon as I am done with them.

So far George Mason has been a fantastic place for me to live and grow. Now that we have a new president, I hope that Mason will prosperous even further.

Lucky Me

Time flies when you enjoy what you do. Six months already passed since I joined George Mason School of Law. I must confess it was an intimidating move. Most of the people around me had faith in me. My wife said I could do it. One of my former colleagues said it would be a challenge for me, but I would learn so much. My new supervisor has more confidence in me than I do in myself.

The week prior joining the new employment, my wife booked a five-day vacation to Playa del Carmen. I remember driving to the airport at three in the morning feeling like I just myself into something that I could not handle. If the site and the server were to go down under my watch, I would be in real trouble. When we arrived at Catalonia Hotel, however, the thoughts were temporarily gone and it was one of the most memorial vacations I ever had. I had my adorable son, lovely wife and wonderful mother by my side.

The first two weeks at work were incredibly nerve-racking. I faced with so many new ways to do things. I spent almost a week trying to figure out how to log into the server through Terminal using SSH. By the second week I almost gave up, but I couldn’t do that. I can’t let down the people who believed in me.

I decided to stick to the gun and move forward. I used Google to learn every command line that I needed. I picked every every book on Linux, Apache and MODX to catch up. Yet the most invaluable resource I have is my predecessor. I owe the guy a great deal. He answered most of the questions that I had without being annoyed or at least I couldn’t tell in his email response.

Over the weekend I made a security update to the CMS system and if he didn’t point me to the things that I should had been aware of I would have failed. Because he did, I was successfully made the update. I have never seen anyone who moved on to a new job and yet still providing support to his old job the way he has done for me. Because of that, I will do the same if I ever to leave this job. That’s going to be far down the road.

Right now I really enjoy this job. I have an understanding and supporting supervisor. Your relationship with your supervisor makes a huge impact in not only your job, but also your life. Work and life should be separated, but the line is never clear. When your child is sick and you needed a day off, it is whether the supervisor makes it easy on you to do so. I had had time when I was even afraid to take my vacation and that what made my life a living hell.

Now I am quite thankful for this position. The hours are flexible and I could work from home every Friday. Somehow a change of space from office to home makes quite a pleasant experience. I am grateful for this wonderful job.

Coming to Mason Law

I have accepted the position of web services developer at George Mason University School of Law. I will be responsible for its external and internal web sites. My roles will include front-end design, backend development and server administration. The position will be a new challenge and I am ready for it because I will gain so much experience in the backend world.

My first goal once I start working is to give the external site a fresh new look with HTML5 and CSS3. My interview was a couple days after the Boston Globe relaunched its new, responsive design. As a result, I focused my presentation on responsive web design, which is my latest passion and the direction I am heading, and provided some of my own responsive design I have done. I would love to be able to apply responsive approach to the Law school web site.

I am very excited about the new opportunity, but what attracted me to the Law school is the people. I only get to meet about a dozen of them, but everyone seems to be professional, very nice and friendly. My future supervisor who I have the pleasure of working with on freelance projects for about two years is the type of boss that encourages her staff to push themselves. When your supervisor has more confidant in you than you have in yourself then that’s the one that you should work for. She’s also a very caring person. I am looking forward to joining the staff at the Law school.

Leaving GWSB

I resigned my position with the George Washington Univeristy School of Business effective October 5, 2011. I have been with GWSB for almost four years. The job has been an eye-opening experience for me. I have learned a great deal and met many talented individuals. I took on more roles than being a web developer, like videographer, graphic designer, social media administrator and online marketing strategist. I also started classes this fall to pursue a degree in master of science in information systems technology.

When the new opportunity came knocking, however, I simply could’t pass it on even though I have to drop out of the program and classes. I might revisit that path later, but the new job will further my career development. For me, nothing is better than learning on the job and getting the hand-on experience. I’ll talk about my new exciting direction in the next post.

As for GW, I will definitely miss the people I have met and worked with not only within the School of Business, but also the entire University.

New Year, New Transition

2008 will be a major change with new job, new place and new life. On January 7, I will start my new position in George Washington University School of Business as a Webmaster. The moving had already happened over the holiday break, but I am back to Vassar until the end of the week to finish up my last project. Although the new transition is exciting, life is a bit chaotic right now.

Goodbye Vassar

Word is out. The end of December will be my last day at work. Leaving Vassar is one of the toughest decisions I have to make. Vassar has given me the best five years of my career. On top of my professional work, Vassar has also become part of my life. My colleagues are my close friends. They inspired, motivated and shaped me into the designer that I am. My thanks and appreciations go to them for their love and support. I will miss them all.

Four Years At Vassar

Last Friday, the web team at Vassar shut down shop and headed to the city for a much-needed break and to revive our creativities. We dropped by The International Center for Photography, MoMA, and had a long lunch at the Hudson Cafeteria. There’s nothing more rewarding than working with group of talented, humorous individuals. Last Saturday (August 19) marked my fourth year at Vassar. Time sure flies when you enjoy the work you do. Over the past few years, I have turned down all freelance projects to focus all my energy on Vassar. Every piece that I have churned out for the school, I am pleased with the result. Each site reflects both my personal style as well as the institution’s image. As for the campus environment, it has become part of my life, and the web crew is like my extended family. I am way too attached to this place. Thanks Vassar folks for making my working life enjoyable!