High School Tennis Coach

As mentioned in my first personal post, I attended McGill-Toolen Catholic High School here in Mobile. While at McGill, I played tennis for the Yellow Jackets from my 7th grade year through my senior year.

After my freshman year at South Alabama, I realized I was missing some tennis in my life and was asked by my old coach to become the assistant tennis coach at McGill.

So, in honor of fall tryouts starting this afternoon, here is a picture of our 2016 varsity team with our 7A AHSAA runner-up trophy. Hopefully, we can get that first place trophy this year! 7A AHSAA 2nd place team photoI’m in the back row, far right. Yeah, I know, I look younger than most of our players.

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CMS: Content Management System

Okay, so your buddy has his own local business in Mobile. It started it very small but is now beginning to expand and the company needs to broaden their audience of consumers. What better way to do this in this day and age than with a website?

But where to start? That is the age-old question.

Seeing as it is a local business, they most likely do not have the resources to hire a firm to come in and construct a state-of-the-art website. Therefore, they must do it on their own and need a content management system (CMS) to aid them in building this site. There are a number of CMSs out there to pick from but the main three always seem to be WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

After reading some of the articles on Sakai and doing a little perusing on this website, I have come to the conclusion that WordPress is the best CMS for a small local business to use when creating their own website.

comparison of wordpress joomla drupal

Based on the chart above, WordPress offers the most free themes and plug-ins, which allows for a lot of flexibility for the user. It also requires very little skill needed, such as no real experience with HTML, CSS, or PHP (although, it has the option to add content through the use of coding for extra customization).

From the author of the above article and four experts he paneled, WordPress is the best CMS for small to medium sites as well as for beginners when it comes to website development. It is a free platform to use with the ability to pay for features to increase the quantity and quality of functions available to you.

One final benefit to WordPress is that since it is the leading platform for CMS-based sites, there is a large community of support and users with knowledge to answer questions and solve problems.

If you are looking for more information on these three CMS platforms, check out this article on opensource.com.

NLCS Here We Come!!!

Last night was nerve-racking.

I am a big Los Angeles Dodgers fan and last night was the decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series (NLDS). They won the game 4-3 thanks to a huge 7th inning scoring outburst and some creative and risky pitching moves.

GAME RECAP

Rich Hill, the starter for the Dodgers, lasted 2 2/3 innings on short rest and gave up one run. Joe Blanton and Julio Urias relieved him to get through the 6th inning. Then, the 7th inning happened.

With Max Scherzer dealing for the Washington Nationals, hopes for the Dodgers looked grim even though they were only down one run. But on the first pitch in the top of the 7th inning, Joc Pederson hits a solo HR to even the score at one all. (And thankfully Scherzer is pulled). After it is all said and done, the Dodgers explode for 4 runs in the inning and lead 4-1!!! To the bottom of the 7th we go…

A walk and and pinch-hit 2-run HR gets the Nationals back in it with a score of 4-3. So, with no outs, the top of the lineup coming up, manager Dave Roberts calls in his closer Kenley Jansen to stop the bleeding.

And does Jansen ever rise to the occasion. He pitches 2 1/3 innings of beautiful baseball, recording the most outs of his career and a career-high 51 pitches. But, he too gets in trouble and runs out of gas in the bottom of the 9th inning.

In comes Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw had pitched two days ago (on only 3 days rest in the Game 4 win), but records the two biggest outs of his career against the heart of the Nats’ lineup to send the Dodgers to the NLCS!!!!!

It was one of the craziest baseball games that I have ever seen and epitomizes the notion that nothing is wilder than playoff baseball.

Now let’s see if we can’t beat the Chicago Cubs and then win the World Series for the first time since 1988. GO DODGERS!!!

Tips & Tricks to Managing Your Email

If you are anything like me, then you are not always the best when it comes to managing your email account – or accounts. Yes, I have two email accounts. One is a email address that I have always had and the other one is the school-issued email that you get when you become a student at South Alabama.

One great thing to do with your email account is set up something called a filter. It is a fairly self-explanatory term, in that, a filter allows a user to pull out content and place it in a location of the user’s desire. A filter can place emails from a certain person into a specific tab, mark unwanted emails from another person as read, or even spam certain emails among other things.

Filters can be sorted by the recipient, the sender, the subject of the email, or other criteria. I created a filter to categorize all emails from DailyDigest under the Forums tab in my school Gmail account. Below are the steps on how to create a filter in a Gmail account. This article also explains how to edit/delete filters as well as how to import/export filters.

Steps to creating a Gmail filter

Overall, I thought this process was fairly easy to understand and navigate. It allows you to be flexible in how your email account is managed. I believe that the more knowledge I can obtain about how to use these filters will allow the filters to be used more effectively. I hope to use them going forward to make managing my email account much easier.

Another important thing to consider when looking at your email is how professional your actual emails are read by the recipient. Below is the text from a sample email I wrote to a professor pertaining having to leave a class early.

Hi Dr. Sheffield,

My name is Charles Mathison and I am in your Wednesday 3:30 CA 260 class. Unfortunately, I will have to leave next week’s lab early due to a family event. Please let me know if there is anything of importance that I will miss. I will have a classmate send me the rest of the notes and details from the remainder of class. Thank you for understanding and can’t wait to see you in class!

Thanks,

Charles Mathison

If you need any more information to further your knowledge on email etiquette, check out these great links!

https://business.tutsplus.com/articles/how-to-write-clear-and-professional-emails–cms-20939

https://business.tutsplus.com/articles/the-downton-abbey-guide-to-email-etiquette–cms-20817

 

It’s Time For…Goodbyes?

“IT’S TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL!”

To hear Vin Scully say that before every Los Angeles Dodger baseball game is, in a sense, soothing to me. And now it is almost over. Vin Scully, the longtime announcer for the Dodgers, is retiring at the end of the regular season, after an illustrious 67-year career.

That’s right. Sixty-seven years. 6. 7.

In a most fitting way to go out at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers clinched a playoff berth and National League West division title yesterday with a walk-off homerun by Charlie Culberson in the bottom of the 10th inning. It was Vin’s last game at Dodger Stadium.

He is the greatest announcer that has ever lived and while we are sad to see him go, we are more thrilled that we got to experience such a master at work for such a long time. The way he called a game is truly iconic and could not be described any better than by Vin himself:

“The game is just one long conversation, and I’m anticipating that, and I will say things like ‘Did you know that?’ or ‘You’re probably wondering why.’ I’m really just conversing rather than just doing play-by-play. I never thought of myself as having a style. I don’t use key words. And the best thing I do? I shut up.”

His way of storytelling a game and painting a picture of what is going to be remembered but he is also a genuine and very humble man. He always gives credit where credit is due and has never boasted about any of his many achievements.

So, one last time, let’s hear you say it Vinny:

Website Accessibility and What It Means

Website accessibility typically is comprised of two concepts with different ideas striving for the same goal. The first concept of website accessibility (the one I thought of first) is that of meeting people with different levels of access to the internet or a computer. This includes different types of services (cable, DSL, dial-up, etc.) as well as the internet accessibility in certain rural regions.

The other concept of web accessibility is dealing with users having physical, mental, or learning disabilities. The ability to have access to the internet can be characterized as a basic human right. Therefore, we as web designers need to be able to make our sites accessible to those with disabilities.

Making Your Site Accessible

One of the first things to look at when it comes to your website’s accessibility is if people can see it. This could involve people with a form of colorblindness. You want to make sure that your site is visible to those with colorblindness or at least easily distinguishable. This website provides some good and bad examples of designs for dealing with colorblindness. For my site, I will need to consult that website and make sure the color scheme that I choose is acceptable.

Three other main examples of making your website accessible are alternative text for images, keyboard input, and transcripts for video and audio clips/interviews. The alternative text will describe the image to the user if they are not able to view it. This is also why it is so important to describe the images you use to avoid any confusion. Next, your website should be able to be navigated via the keyboard in case some of your users are not able to control the mouse. Finally, if the users are deaf or the audio clip will not play, having a transcript of what was said will allow them to still have access to that information.

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I hope to use all of these types of accessibility for my web project, especially the use alternative text and color scheme. Another thing I will keep in mind is the use of bright colors and flash that could affect users with epilepsy. There is some great information on this topic found here.

This idea of web accessibility is so important. For users, it is great for people with disabilities to be able to find information about topics. Finally, for web designers, isn’t it important for all potential users to be able to reach and use your site?

Customizing and Designing a Website

As everyone knows, getting started can be the most difficult thing in a process. That is for anything you do: writing a paper, starting a DIY project, and yes, designing a website.

This is why the outline process is so important for web design. First, you will want to have a layout of how you want your website to look. This will include how many pages and their content as well as the structure of the website navigation.

Website Layout Structure

This displays how you access landing pages from the homepage. Each landing page should have sub-landing pages branching from them.

Once, you have a general outline of how you want your website to be structured, then you turn to the design of each individual page. You should start with the homepage first. In the video “How to Design a Killer Homepage“, it talks about some of the key components that your homepage should include.

Your landing pages will contain the meat of your website. It can be thought of as the body paragraphs of an essay whereas your homepage is the introduction paragraph.

A great way to organize information on these landing pages is through the use of drop-down menus. They keep information that should be grouped as whole, together. Here is an example of how drop-down menus should be utilized:Drop-Down Menu example

Our course will be dealing Weebly for website creation. This video explains how to design, add, and organize webpages on Weebly. If this interests you, then get started at Weebly today.

5 Tips for Organizing Your Website:

  1. Make sure that each product or service you offer has its own landing page.
  2. Your homepage should be attention-grabbing but not flashy for flashy-sake.
  3. Also, your homepage should be thought of as a table of contents, showing your audience what they will find.
  4. Make sure that you have three pages for sure on your website: homepage, about page, and contact page. These are must haves.
  5. Your content should be organized logically like a restaurant menu, not just one long list.

Along with the aforementioned videos, which are hyperlinked in the text, this article on web design was used to provide information for this post.

Gallery

Taking a look at Weebly

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Weebly is a website that is great for those people who are just getting into the field of web design. It is a fairly simple website that provides many features easily accessible to the user. They provide the user with a template so that the user does not have to start from scratch.

One of the most recognizable features that Weebly offers is their “Drag & Drop” feature. It allows you to drag any item or feature that you want to your website. You can edit these items at any time.

 

capture

My homepage with options to “Drag & Drop”.

You are able to insert audio clips, images, slideshows, or video among other things. Weebly has their own galleries for these items or you can add your own items.

One great thing that gives Weebly an advantage is that it is a free website. However, it provides users with the ability to pay for upgrades should they choose to do so. Finally, if the user wishes to move their site from Weebly to another host site they can do that without losing their information.

Another feature is that you are able to have third party integrations on your website through the App Center. These apps can be used for a variety of things, such as marketing, calendar services, shipping, and much more. You are also able to integrate your site through the Weebly mobile app. This way you can create a website that is compatible on desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.

mobile

Weebly offers integration over multiple devices.

When you sign up with Weebly, they provide you with a variety of themes to choose from. To publish your site, you must pick a theme but you are never stuck with just this theme. You are always able to change the theme of your website whenever you please. I am currently using the Birdseye – Portfolio theme. I think that I will stick with this theme as the blue colorway caught my attention but I am in no way completely set on this theme.

 

How To: Blogging like a boss

Blogging can be a very difficult thing to do. However, it can be relatively easy and a lot of fun if you know to blog properly.
Image result for blogging pictures

The biggest thing to do when writing a blog post is to prepare. First of all, you want to pick a topic that interests you or then your write could get bland or dull. Then, you should research the topic you have chosen and fact check your research. Your final step in preparing to write is to put together a brief outline to get your thoughts flowing.

One thing to think about once you’ve begun to write your post is to include images and links to external sites or even your own posts. These can help with the flow of information, clarify difficult concepts, or even just provide some humor.

Make sure to edit your writing once you have finished your post. It is important to do this so you can avoid repetition in your writing. You can either read your post aloud or have someone else proof read it for you. Plus, readers will most likely leave your blog if it contains a lot of grammatical errors.

A final aspect to look at when editing is to keep it short. You want to keep your sentences short and your paragraphs shorter. People tend to lose interest when sentences and paragraphs become to wordy or lengthy. This is another reason why it is a good idea to break up your text with pictures or charts. blogging-sin-1-wall-of-text

One major thing to do when writing a blog professionally is to link it with social media. This will make it easier for your posts to be found and increase your ranking on search engines.

Also, don’t forget to respond to your readers. If they comment on your post, RESPOND! It will show that you care about their feedback and make them more likely to come back or even forward your blog to other readers.

 

McGill vs Murphy Rivalry

Orange Cannon

McGill-Toolen Catholic High School and Murphy High School are huge rivals in the city of Mobile and this year was the 85th meeting of the rivalry. It is part of the Great American Rivalry Series.

It is tradition for the winner of the football game each year to paint the cannon, located at the loop in midtown, their school colors. This year McGill (my alma mater) won the game 43-0!!!

McGill is coming off of a 7A AHSAA state championship in football and hopes to continue that streak of dominance into this season. 7A is the highest classification in the AHSAA.

This is a picture that my sister, who is a senior at McGill, sent me of the cannon painted the way it should be – orange!

IT’S GREAT TO BE A YELLOW JACKET!