Christian Ross

Reading Is(n’t) Easy

I’ve chronicled my on-again/off-again relationship with reading books in this space before and 2011 has been another year of the same. When I find a book I enjoy, like others, I have a hard time putting it down. Conversely, I’ve hit on a couple of so-so items this year which cause me to first get bored and then struggle between thinking should I finish it or just decide that the TV is the much easier route to go. Once I get derailed, it takes a bit for me to want to get back into the habit and start the whole process again.

In the last couple of months I have attempted to go a different route than the standard hardcover editions and given a try to reading some stuff on the old digital tablet. I’ve now made it through a couple of books in the Kindle app and am halfway through my second in iBooks. My goal here is not to debate the merits of either platform (I think I prefer the Kindle app at this point) but to quickly point out a new frustration I have with a medium that is still struggling to find its place in this world.

Since I know that having a love for reading is important (and that I’ve got a pretty flimsy relationship with it), one of my favorite things to do is to take my boys every other week or so to the library to get some new books. I let them pick out a few (with the full veto power a dad possesses) and I get to pick out a couple that I think they might like as well. (more…)

Match Your Leathers

While I don’t spend huge amounts of time or money obsessing over my wardrobe, I am a fan of men’s fashion. My budget doesn’t exactly allow me to browse Armani or even Brooks Brothers much, but I am a firm believer in the fact that what I wear often directly relates slightly to how I feel about myself that day.

For the last year or so I’ve made a conscious decision to step up my game in certain settings. I now own a black tie, have embraced the sweater vest and realize the importance of having a few higher priced key pieces that I can mix and match rather than trying to load up on Kohl’s specials. I’ve been questioned a number of times by buddies on why I now regularly wear a tie and/or jacket to worship service and my answer always seems to come back to, “I’m an adult, I just figured I should probably start dressing like one.” (more…)

Dear Cohen,

Happy third birthday! I’m floored every day by your wisdom, your excitement for life and for the amount of joy a little man can provide for so many people. Your first three years haven’t been without their share of bumps and bruises but you’ve been a trooper through every one and have some fascinating stories accompany each.

I wouldn’t normally position this letter in such a public forum, but this year you happen to share a birthday with a little Internet phenomenon called Blog Action Day. Each year, bloggers around the world unite on a single day to all write about a chosen topic. I’m not necessarily sure it actually spurs any action or proves any points but if it alerted even one to areas where they could help out, I can’t see the harm. Since I signed up and I’m borderline nerdy, I figured I’d join the revolution. (more…)

I Code in Tables

There’s no shortage of material in the web-ranks that points to best-use practices of coding a website in a proper, semantic way. Semantic, basically meaning the idea that your content should be separate from the way it is presented to the computers that display your work. Creating a website with logical semantic code, often means that your website fares better in a number of areas:

  • Pages have the ability to be far more flexible for each device that accesses them
  • Page load times are often shorter with well-written code
  • Search engines — like Google — mention well-written code in their documentation of ways to rank higher in their results
  • Code-nazi’s sleep better when you abide by the rules written in their books and they don’t call you out in the blogosphere
Disclaimer: I am all for best-practices in everything I produce. Whether in design or development, I try to always take the path of least resistance but not at the expense of cutting corners. I prefer to develop my sites with semantic HTML.


My Work-flow

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but just hadn’t taken the time. Productivity is a huge word this day in age. I’m not sure if it stems from the problem that our attention spans have grown so short or the fact that we’ve filled our lives with so many distractions; but we know have thousands of resources at our fingertips to help us learn how to once again focus and block out distractions.

I am by no means immune to this conundrum. I am as easily, if not more, distracted than anybody else out there but I can say that slowly I think I am getting better at it. I’ve been blessed to work for myself now for almost five years and in that time frame I have been able to refine some of my processes over and over again to help aid my work-flow and hopefully allow me to get a little quicker/better at what I do so I can spend more time with the distractions that I really love.

The following is a list of software (both local and web-based) that I use almost daily for what I do. Of course some of it is directly related to my profession so you’ll probably have no need for a few but maybe you’ll find an item or two that might help you along as well. (more…)