It’s been too long

Ok, so last time I posted was April 9. Seems I had pretty routine updates before then, but I got swamped with work and real-life. What’s been going on?

Well, our high school’s 10-year reunion is coming up, and I’m on the reunion planning committee. Weird. Anyway, I put together a website for fellow [Conroe High School Class of 1997](http://www.conroehigh1997.org/) graduates to find each other. Step one in reunion planning: find people. That took some time.

Work’s been busy, very busy. It’s a good busy though. New project is teaching me a lot, but it’s winding down, so maybe I’ll get posting more routine.

Diann & I went to the [Tulip Festival](http://www.tulipfestival.org/) a few weekends ago, and on my perpetual to-do list is to get those photos off the camera and into my [photo gallery](http://www.marius.org/gallery/). Another one of those “one of these days” tasks.

We threw a big group dinner this past Friday night. A friend of ours (Hi, [Micha](http://www.sunpathdesigns.net/)!) used to host “Friday Night Dinner” events, and we’ve decided to try and pick up the tradition once a month or so. Basically, you pick a theme (we did “favorite asian take-out”), invite a bunch of people over (we invited 30 friends, co-workers, etc.; 23 showed up), and everyone brings an entree that fits with the theme. Good times, lots of Guitar Hero II was played, and Diann & I have been eating chinese/thai left overs all weekend.

Speaking of eating… We’ve also been going to the gym lately. I think 2007 is the year that we get organized and in shape. Since April 7, we’ve been to the gym 16 times (woah!). Now we just have to keep it up. Now the part about correlating the gym and eating (you thought I’d forget that, huh?): I think just going to the gym by itself makes you eat a better diet. I’m no fan of diets, and wouldn’t try to subject myself to one unless absolutely necessary; however, knowing that it takes a good 15-20 minutes on a treadmill to burn off the caloric equivalent of a can of soda makes one re-think what they’re going to stuff into their body. I’m just sayin’.

Today, we hit up the [Bodies … The Exhibition](http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/), err, exhibit? (Why must they put exhibition in the title?) It was pretty amazing, and brought back lots of memories from high school Anatomy/Physiology class.

Anyhow, that’s what’s been going on here for the past few weeks. I’ll try to keep this more updated than I have been (though I’ve said that before).

Oh, and congrats to Dr. Stephen Hawking on feeling zero-g. That’s awesome news.

Reunions

So, as I mentioned yesterday, my 10-year high school reunion is coming up. What I didn’t mention is that I’ve been roped into the planning efforts. Scary.

Someone else on the “planning committee” (aka people we found first) posted a pretty interesting blog entry on her [hesitation in coming to the reunion](http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=27802207&blogID=219199230&Mytoken=BE5ED018-FF2F-467B-BC434B6371B5150445295258). (Good gracious, I just linked to a MySpace blog for the first time ever. I feel… dirty)

Basically, it comes down to the fact that during high school Amber was pretty shy and didn’t feel “in.” (Oddly, I never thought of Amber as shy, as I talked to her plenty) She had some feelings of bitterness as a result, but she’s going to give it a second chance and it sounds as though she’s decided to go to the reunion.

I had some similar thoughts as her originally (well, except the bits about religion, but whatever) and I’m going to go. One of the funniest things to me is that several people on the planning committee are so focused on decorations, locale, etc. I’m going there to see the people! I want to see what people have done with their lives! I want to see if people that I guess are doing the same old thing have done something different! I want to see if the “cool kids” are still going to be “cool”. I want to hang out with the other people that weren’t “in” that I hung out with back then.

I’ll be there. See all you [Conroe Class of 1997](http://www.marius.org/chs97/) folks in a few months. 🙂

High School Reunions – 10 years!

In scary news, my 10-year high school reunion is coming up. Since 1997, I’ve hosted the [Conroe High School Class of 1997 e-mail list](http://www.marius.org/chs97/), and I’ve been receiving more and more updates as of late.

The page has pretty much been static since 1997, with the exception of a few changes and additions of user data. It’s all manual entry in HTML, and, admittedly, from a spam-harvesting/privacy perspective, it’s horrendous.

I’ve been thinking about it, and have searched [SourceForge](http://www.sf.net/) and a few other project sites to find a better way to do it.

I can’t find any software that does what I want to do in (what I think) is the ideal sense.

### My Alumni/Reunion Software Wishlist ###

#### Pre-population ####
I’d like to pre-populate the data with every name in my high school yearbook, and this should be publicly visible. Honestly, people are going to stumble onto the site by dropping their own name into their [search](http://search.live.com/) [engine](http://www.google.com/) [of](http://www.ask.com/) [choice](http://www.yahoo.com/). Most people aren’t going to search for things like “Conroe Class of 1997” until it’s reunion time.

#### Pictures ####
One thing I’ve learned through all this is that I don’t remember who most of these people are. It’s been 10 years, and I’ve met a lot of people since then. (And, let’s be honest, I’ve slept a few days since then) I’d love to store (in the database) a blob item with photos from the high school yearbook. I know it would be a fair amount of up-front work, but I’m willing to do it.

#### Contact Info ####
Yeah, everyone stores e-mail addresses, URLs, addresses, and phone numbers. I do some of it now — but, like I said, it’s not friendly from a spam-harvesting perspective. Let unauthorized users drill down per-person and see details, but front it with a [captcha](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captcha) to keep the spam-bots out as much as possible.

#### Registration ####
This is the big one. Updating e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc., is hard on the admin. Empower users to update themselves. Let them create a login to self-service their own account. This is an _enabler_ of other features, such as subscriptions and account take-overs.

> ##### Subscriptions #####
> RSS feeds, e-mail notifications, whatever. Give the users the choice of how they’d like to be informed of changes, additions, and deletions of the data.

> ##### Take-Over of Accounts #####
> So, someone registers an account, but we’ve pre-populated the data! Avoid duplicates, let them take over the pre-populated account and take over the management of it. Perhaps this needs an administrative approval or something similar by the people running the site. Simple enough, right: a moderated subscription process that ties the user account to a particular entry in the database.

Maybe if I get some free time, I’ll solicit these ideas to some of the folks that are hosting various SourceForge entries.