Author Archives: Justin D. Henry

Improving your support model

This is directed at a specific organization, but many of these lessons hold true for any group that has a client base to support. Dear Blackboard Support Your clients are suffering. As your annual conference comes to a close, your support model is feeling it’s age. Recent changes have been small, cosmetic, and even counterproductive. [...]

Markdown syntax highlighting and conversion in vim

Recently I’ve been playing around with vim as an editor. Since I do most of my writing in a text editor, one of the first functions I found myself looking for was a way to do basic markdown syntax highlighting and formatting. Here’s how I set up my vim environment to do both of that. [...]

Cookin’ with Veggies

I got word that a friend on Facebook was looking for some vegetarian cookbook options today. Since I’d be spending some time procrastinating a response, I figured hey, why not share? Here’s a list of books I’d reccommend checking out if you are in the market for animal free cooking guides. Vegetarian Epicure Anna Thomas’s [...]

Basic Data Reporting with Blackboard

The built in reporting tools available for Blackboard are somewhat limited. To answer specific reporting questions, you may need to run custom SQL queries against the database. What follows are a few rough examples of such queries. All of the below examples are intended to outline the interactions you might need to answer specific reporting [...]

Patterns for the Color Blind (and for Craftsmanship)

This type of improvement isn’t limited to the “8% of the male population” that are colorblind – it creates a better user experience for almost every visitor to your site. Accessibility (and Universal Design) is an integral part of Craftsmanship. (Via Waxy.org.)

Have Pho, Will Travel

We found out last weekend that one of our favorite restaurants is closing. Or at least it will if no one buys it in the next month or so. The owner/proprietor of Viet Bangkok Cuisine on St. John St. is putting the place up for sale – the whole kit and kaboodle. Apparently he plans [...]

Bard Coffee Roasters

On a tip from Portland Food Map, a few of us dropped by Bard Coffee Roasters for it’s soft opening this afternoon. What a pleasant surprise. Measuring sticks, old and new Espresso is the rod by which I judge a coffee shop. Arabica has been my gold standard for some time – the shots there [...]

CakePHP to Rails

In a blog comment, Nate Todd lays out an extensive description of why he switched from a PHP based framework (CakePHP) to Ruby on Rails. The points he makes reflect a lot of what I hear from people coming to rails, and some I’ve made myself – albeit not as eloquently as those you’ll find [...]

Design in the details

If you haven’t already, go read Jared Spool’s telling of the “$300 million dollar button”: “The form was simple. The fields were Email Address and Password. The buttons were Login and Register. The link was Forgot Password. It was the login form for the site. It’s a form users encounter all the time. How could [...]

An Italian Sandwich

If you find yourself in the Bangor area, don’t miss Giacomo’s. I’m telling you this not just because it’s one of the only places you can get espresso in town – the food is also Chock Full O‘ Yum. I think they explain it best: “Our sandwiches consist of fine imported meats like mortadella, proscuitto, [...]