Professionally Proofed

Professionally Proofed

Finding Time

February 18th, 2015 by

Time-slips-through-your-handsWe are all perpetually busy.  There are a billion things on the to do list and a finite amount of time to get them all accomplished.  When we run out of time, things slip through the cracks.  True pros at time management know how to limit the things that slip through the cracks to a minimum of unimportant, optional tasks.  The rest of us drop the ball from time to time and get behind.  Getting caught back up can be a serious hassle.

I feel like I’ve been in scramble mode for 2 weeks.  Every time I feel like I’m getting caught back up, something else comes along and throws me a curve ball.  Some of the curve balls are good–I had a 50-page proofreading project come my way this weekend–and some have just been tedious–re-accreditation stuff at school that’s just a complete pain in the ass.  That being said, I’ve let a couple of things fall through the cracks that I normally wouldn’t, which has been hard for me to deal with.

Living Life through Commitments

When I first started teaching, I was a complete organizational disaster.  I’d never had to manage so much paper, juggle so many projects, or budget so many events into my schedule.  My desk looked like a stick-built farm house that had been hit by a tornado 99% of the time.  I lost a lot of work that students had turned in and was forced to give them credit for that work.  And, I was just generally behind in all of my duties most of the time. Continue reading »


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Sunday School: Apollo Robbins at TED

February 8th, 2015 by

This week’s Sunday School comes from a pickpocket’s advice at TED.  It’s delightful.  Enjoy!


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3 Tools for Cross-Browser Compatibility

February 7th, 2015 by

web-browsersWhen I started designing websites, I was doing it for fun.  I had sites to play on and blog on, but that was about it.  So, because they were just for fun and just for me, I didn’t really worry about how they displayed in Internet Explorer.  IE would totally bork my design, and I would just put a disclaimer at the bottom that said, “Best viewed in Firefox” with a link to the Firefox website.

Of course, this practice wouldn’t have been acceptable had I been selling websites or trying to promote anything in a meaningful way.  A lot of people use Internet Explorer, always have, and always will.  So, as designers, we need to make sure that we are supporting IE and any of the other major browsers with our designs, and that takes a lot of work.  For instance, I spent 3 hours this week making sure the design I was working on worked in IE.  It took a lot of coding and recoding, but I finally got it, and it was totally worth the pain.

Because cross-browser compatibility can be a pain sometimes, here are 3 tools that I’ve found that are invaluable in our quest for web compatibility. Continue reading »


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The War Against Comic Sans

February 3rd, 2015 by

comic-sansI’m in the process of designing a very fun website for a local moving company, 2 Men and a Lady.  When we talked about their ideas for their site, they wanted to have a cartoon-based site.  I was excited to use a lot of bright colors and fun fonts to create the design they wanted, and I’m very happy with the site so far.  It is high contrast and fun, and it has the coolest navigation menu I’ve ever made.  I can’t wait to roll it out.

As I was looking for fonts to use on this site, I wanted to have fun, comic-book style fonts.  I took a good look at Comic Sans, thinking it was the staple for projects like these.  However, there is so much hate for the font on the internet that I couldn’t bring myself to use it.  A Google search for “comic sans hate” yields site after site asking for the font to be banned and for anyone who uses it to suffer horrible consequences.

Why is it so vilified? Continue reading »


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Sunday School: “Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do”

February 1st, 2015 by

Today’s Sunday School post comes from TED again.  A huge part of all that we do at Professionally Proofed requires memorization: memorizing code, writing rules, best practice scenarios, etc.  This talk by Joshua Foer discusses how we can increase our memory through ancient “tricks” like the memory palace.


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Starting from Scratch

January 31st, 2015 by

how-it-works3When I was a kid, I used to infuriate my mom because I had an intense yearning to understand how things work.  This wouldn’t have been a problem at all (I think my mom really liked my curiosity); however, it usually resulted in me taking apart everything I could get my hands on in my room with a screwdriver.

I distinctly remember taking apart a calculator in my room, looking at the basic circuit board inside, pulling off every piece inside I could, and putting it back together.  The only problem with this was that I had two pieces left over when I was finished and the calculator didn’t work.  At that point, sadly, I didn’t have a very good understanding of how a calculator worked.  I just understood that there was a board inside, and I didn’t know what all the stuff on the board did.

This curiosity has followed me into adulthood.  I don’t often take things apart any more; however, I love to build things from scratch and learn how things are put together and work.  I have done this with computers, and I am now doing it often with websites. Continue reading »


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Wayback Machine Nostalgia

January 29th, 2015 by

wayback-machine-logoI’ve been on a walk down memory lane.  I started doing stuff on the web around 2006 when I started a blog to rant about politics.  It garnered a few followers, like-minded people and people who disagreed with me completely, and I enjoyed my time on there writing and having people to discuss things with that were educated and interested in the same things I was.

Then, at the end of 2006, my friend gave me a domain name and hosting space for Christmas.  He said he would pay for it for a year, and he gave me a few lessons about web design and a book about CSS to work from.  I designed and maintained a few sites at that time, and I started to use a classroom website with a Google calendar and linkable assignments, a practice that would become (and still is) an obsession.

As my skills improved and my need to blog became paramount, I started a blog called “The Multifaceted Me.”  I was never good at niche blogging.  My interests are very diverse, I’m terrible at having more than one blog (I know….I tried), and I have a pretty good case of adult ADD that doesn’t allow me to focus on one thing for too long.  I’m blaming that for my inability to write the great American novel. Continue reading »


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SEO Fundamentals: Audiobook Review

January 28th, 2015 by

seo-fundamentalsI spent 5 hours in a car last night, so I thought I would take the opportunity to educate myself on a subject I know very little about–SEO.  So, I downloaded SEO Fundamentals from the SEO University from Audible on to my iPhone and started my education into the world of search engine optimization.

Let’s start with the audiobook.  It is well written, easy to follow, and thorough in its discussion of the topic.  It starts with the very basics: what is SEO, how Google’s algorithms have changed over the years, and what the basic goals of an SEO campaign are for a company rolling out a website.  Most of this information was a review to me.  I don’t know a lot about SEO, but I know the basics.  The part that was new and particularly interesting was the discussion of changes to Google’s algorithms.

About 10 years ago Google was losing the war against spammers who were artificially inflating page ranks of sites and domains through unethical means (key word stuffing, link farming, spamming, etc.).  Their algorithm wasn’t filtering out this irrelevant content that was being rocketed up the search pages by SEO masters regardless of the quality of the content within them. Continue reading »


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Building Online Urgency

January 27th, 2015 by

Sense-Of-UrgencyStarting a business offline, in the real world, is scary.  There are a ton of overhead costs.  You have to secure a space, buy product, and attract customers through advertising.  I have friends with small businesses, and they work all the time.  They are always at the store, or on the phone, or at the computer crunching numbers.  There is a fierce urgency in what they are doing because the margins are razor thin in the real world, and profit is hard to come by because of the initial (and on-going) costs of doing business.

Starting a business online is completely different.  I believe that most online businesses are started by people like me.  People who have other jobs to pay the bills and who are starting an online business because they love to do something and would love to make a little money for it.  While the passion is good and keeps you motivated, the online world doesn’t inspire as much fear and urgency as the real world.  It’s cheap to start a business online.  A domain name is $10/year or so, hosting space is < $120/year, and a business license is < $50.  Of course, there could be a few other costs, but those are the minimums to get started.

So, with the cost of starting a business being way less than an average car payment, how do you create the sense of urgency that will make you successful? Continue reading »


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Frequently Confused Words

January 26th, 2015 by

unsure_emoticonSo far on the blog, I’ve focused on web design and tech. I love web design and technology, and I’ve found interesting things to write about on design and technology. So, that’s really been my focus so far.

However, we at Professionally Proofed offer other services as well.  One of my favorite services and most misunderstood is proofreading and editing.  While getting my haircut yesterday, I told the hairdresser that I was an English teacher, and the first two things out of her mouth were the first two things that I always hear when I tell people what I do:

“Well, I’m terrible at English, and I better watch how I speak…ha ha!”

It used to upset me that people stereotyped me as this weird guy with a red pen copy editing the world, but I think I now understand where it’s coming from, and I now have thicker skin for things like that anyway–probably a by-product of age.

With that being said, I would like to do some posts about frequently misused or misunderstood aspects of the English language.  This may include a series on how to quit abusing the lowly apostrophe, but I haven’t decided yet.  Today, I wanted to look at a few pairs of words that are often confused and give you a tip or two for distinguishing between them in your writing. Continue reading »


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