IT III: Curse of the Whatchamacallit

Well friends, here we are. When last I updated, it was January, and I was feeling all cocky with my apps and illustrations and prior coding knowledge. Now, we have arrived at March. Pollen has settled across every surface in the southeast. Temperatures are finally warming up. And I have forgotten more Unix commands than I thought I would ever know.

My website made it to our server, and I’m not entirely humiliated by its existence. I did quickly realize how I had come to depend on my trusty content management systems in my past life as a content manager, though — designing from scratch is not for the faint hearted! I enjoyed the CSS process more than I thought I would, and I only wish I had more time to dedicate to the flourishes and nuances that make a website really appealing. Luckily, these are skills that I can take with me when the class ends. Perhaps there’s a personal website project waiting for me this summer.

My biggest challenge with coding as well as with Unix has been my memory. The comic at the top of this post (from xkcd, a webcomic that I cannot recommend highly enough) offered me reassurance, if only because I know I’m not the only one who has to turn to Google to refresh my memory. While I see the usefulness of Unix in certain career paths and hobby sets, I’m not sure I’ll make enough use of these commands to remember them with any reliability. CSS and HTML, on the other hand, I am hoping to work into my personal IT rotation with greater frequency. And as use increases, so does fluency, right?



IT Fluency II – Even Fluencier

For the purposes of this blog post, let’s say my IT Fluency is a house.

With the videos, instructions, and practice of Module 2 under my belt, I’ll say that while my IT Fluency hasn’t undergone any major renovations or upgrades, I have definitely gone in and reinforced my foundation (full disclosure: this may be a bad metaphor, because I’m not sure you can actually do that with a house). It’s been a couple of years since I last built a website from the ground up, and the content of Module 2 was a helpful return to the basics and best practices of organizing and building a website. 

As I look forward to Module 3, I can see lots of potential for my fluency to expand. CSS is something that I have tinkered with, but never taken a deep dive into. I’m hoping to use this course and the website we’re building to really develop a solid understanding of building and utilizing style sheets to reinforce the Repetiton and Alignment principles of CRAP that we covered in Module 2. I like the idea of learning the standards and then applying our new tech skills to automate the process. 

I’ve discovered a handful of sites and apps that I’m relying on to develop the look and feel of my website. For custom icons and illustrations (such as my Bubblegum Librarian icon and the house image featured on this blog post), I’m using the iPad app Assembly. I’m also making good use of the w3schools tutorials. I used to find inspiration for my site’s color scheme. I’m excited to keep discovering new tools as my site begins to take shape. 


Technology and Impostor Syndrome

(Know Your Meme – I Have No Idea What I’m Doing)

When I worked for a grocery retail chain, I managed their website as well as all of their blog and social content. I was coding by hand and via WYSIWYG editor, and I was regularly in contact with our C-level leadership developing strategy and defending my arguments for best practices on the web.

And yet I can clearly remember the day when my boss told me I would need to “write a program” in order to get something done. I completely shut down, certain that I did not have the skills necessary to complete this task. I didn’t ask any clarifying questions or ask for help. I heard her say that I would need to write a program, and that was something I was certain I COULD NOT do.

In a follow-up conversation, it became clear to me that she was saying “write a program” when she meant “write an Excel formula” – something I was entirely capable of and not at all intimidated by. But in my inital panic, I had done what I see so many do when faced with the prospect of using (or even scarier, manipulating) new technology; I disqualified myself before I had even made an initial attempt. As librarians, how can we make technology more approachable and keep people from letting their self-doubt inhibit their progress?


LS560 Module 1b – User Profile

For the user profile portion of Module 1b, I interviewed my boss and fellow school librarian. She is exactly 10 years older than me, which resulted in a very different experience with technology in her daily life.

Age: 40

Gender: Female

How long have you been using technology?
Probably for, I would say, for the last 20 years. Not really before the age of 19.

Can you remember your first technology encounter?
Yes! My freshman year roommate in college, we were in the computer lab working on a paper, and she asked me to email her something, and I had no idea what that was! No email before the age of 19.

Are you comfortable using new technology at home? Or introducing new pieces of technology into your home?
Oh, yeah. I try. It doesn’t always work, but, um…it helps if I read the directions.

What was your most recent technology purchase?
Most…recent…technology purchase. Hm. I’m trying to think. I got an Apple TV, but that was like two years ago. It also doesn’t work right now because I can’t figure it out. Yep. It was working, now it’s not working, so maybe not the best technology purchase?

What is your favorite piece of technology to use?
My phone.
Is that because it’s easy, or because it’s pleasant, or because it’s necessary…what makes it your favorite?
I think it’s convenient, and I know how it works. I’m not afraid of new technology, but I don’t often like taking the time to figure it out if it’s not intuitive.

Do you use technology for banking?
I do now! Now that I know my bank has the app that works!
Before then, did you use their website?
My husband does. I use it for credit cards and stuff all the time.

How has technology made your life easier recently, if at all? 
Well, I now can deposit checks at the drop of a button! (haha) It’s definitely made it easier having credit card information online, so when I’m overseas or traveling I can still stay on top of bills, although remembering the passwords in a joint, shared account is often difficult, when one member of the family changes it and doesn’t tell the other family member…So yeah, it has its pros and its cons.

When were you last frustrated by your technology?
Over the weekend. The Apple TV won’t work! It’s on, and I got it to connect, and it hadn’t connected to the internet in a year and a half. We’d just given up on it. So I finally got it to connect, and it’s connected, but no device will recognize it. So it still sits there.

What do you do when you run into a problem using technology?
Well, you Google what to do when it doesn’t work. And I’ve gone through every step that every website suggests. And then I ask the tech people at school. And I do everything that they suggested, which was already the stuff I had done online…and it still doesn’t work. So my current plan is to ignore it again, until I have the energy to tackle it once more!

Can you remember a time when you solved a problem using technology?
Kind of every day! You just look something up, using technology. Like, today I wanted to know how many centimeters were in an inch, so I just looked it up, and then I had my answer!

And what would you say is your level of comfort with technology?
I’m really comfortable with it, but that doesn’t mean that I’m the most efficient user of it, I would think. Like I’m comfortable with trying things and trying and trying and trying. So I guess I’m comfortable with trying, yet easily frustrated if I can’t figure it out right away.




A brief introduction

Hello! I’m Corley May, a Middle School Librarian living in Charlotte, NC. I have two little boys, Henry (3) and Julian (6 mos.). I love true crime TV shows, chilled chocolate candy, showtunes, and geeky new technology (ask me about Alexa!).

If we’re using language as a metaphor, I think I would qualify as conversational in IT.

In late high school and throughout college, I was an enthusiastic blogger and an early adopter of a happy variety of tech devices and social platforms.  Prior to becoming a librarian, I had a career as a web content marketer and strategist for a handful of retail, tourism, and educational entities. (If you’re interested, you can read more about my meandering path to the school library in this post from the most recent iteration of my personal blog.)  This career involved writing web copy, managing web content via a variety of content management clients, and building and editing webpages using HTML and no small amount of figure-it-out-iveness. In later years, I was also involved in the strategy of web architecture with particular attention to user behavior and usability.

My IT comfort zone is definitely the front-end, user-facing arena. I enrolled in a part-time coding boot camp here in Charlotte and was quickly flummoxed by the database building and Ruby scaffolding required to build out our class projects.

I don’t feel intimidated by technology and really enjoy tinkering with websites and digital media.  I’m looking forward to learning more about this aspect of IT with my fellow Twelves this semester.