That’s me. But don’t hire me just because I'm devastatingly handsome. Scroll down to see some things I do. You can also hover the mouse over "QUICK LINKS" for a secret gratuitous key :-).
I do a lot. I put this page together as an online collection of some of the things I do. Perhaps a digital brochure of sorts for possible employment/freelance work. While a lot of it, especially the web work, does not require my in-person presence, I mostly focus on the Schenectady, NY and Hartford, CT areas. But I'm available to freelance/teach in any suitable area. While I wouldn't consider myself the best at any one category, I'm very good at a lot, and the fact I do so much makes me well-rounded, and able to look at projects from a different point of view. My attention to detail makes me a great planner/leader, as well as someone who can spot problems quickly. Below is some of what I spend my time doing, in no particular order. If you're really interested, feel free to check out my resume.
A web developer spends a lot of time looking at code. Here is Safari's Web Inspector for this site as it was being created.
Portfolio (some, at least)
, which is an annual online contest which uses data from a horse-racing site for automation, and Where To Buy
, which points non-subscribers to nearby stores to buy the paper.
- A local physicians' office website I designed in 2012, it was also a successful experiment using the new HTML5 history API for faster site navigation.
Ultimate hat team creator
- After seeing a need, in the first week of 2013, I wrote this small web app, which is a simple one-page site that just does some magical (at least to some) number-crunching.
- A website I created for a ska band I managed back in 2005, the site I made for the band (now on hiatus) is still live. Originally written with tables, I recently spent a few hours as an exercise recoding the design template in HTML5.
- A music zine website still in its 2004 design, I'm working on a huge new overhaul as we speak.
One of my strongest skills is creating a database-driven website with a clean user-friendly and intuitive interface from scratch. If you're interested, don't hesitate to get in touch with me.
A screenshot of video editing in Final Cut Pro. In this staged image, it appears I am mixing concert and ultimate footage. Clearly, the result would be the most awesome video known to man.
Videography & editing
Digital videography/video editing is another skill I picked up long before most, starting with QuickTime 1.0 back in 1994. Most computers couldn't handle even playing video, so it was just novelty until 1999, when Final Cut Pro 1.0 came out and I was hooked. I immediately bought a digital camcorder and started shooting and editing video, teaching myself the artistic sides to it, how scenes should flow, how the FCP's non-linear editing works, advantages and disadvantages to the various codecs, etc etc. Since the 1990s, I've shot and edited over 1,000 videos- from short clips, to concert footage, to ultimate frisbee footage, to weddings, to videos of a journalistic nature that have been used by The Gazette. You can see my coverage of the Rotterdam Junction cleanup as an example of that. I also do a lot with HTML5 video, and I made a little HTML5 Video Player.
Graphic design, somewhat ironically, as a topic doesn't easily lend itself to a scalable iconic image. So I just made an artsy conversation piece with a quote about fonts. Font-astic!
I've been doing graphic design for as long as I can remember. In high school, I loved fonts and studied what makes them look good. Later, though when print media still ruled over the web, I studied Graphic Design at the College of St. Rose. Most of my earlier jobs were in graphic design and page layout where I used Adobe InDesign, QuarkXpress, and Photoshop. I've designed countless concert posters, concert tickets, album artwork, college club logos, Ultimate Frisbee flyers, band bios, and about a dozen magazines on old work computers that no longer exist. I also use Photoshop to adjust photos, like color-correcting a teammate's red BU jersey, or putting a ska band in Egypt.
A photo I took of Genevieve Schatz of Company of Thieves performing at Albany's Pearlpalooza 2011.
I got my start taking journalism classes in high school and at the College of St Rose, occasionally writing for the school newspaper at each. While a student at RPI, I wrote for The Polytechnic doing CD reviews, concert reviews, and band interviews. That eventually turned into a personal website/zine as a showcase of my writing. I've had the opportunity to interview acts like Ben Folds Five, They Might Be Giants, Jill Sobule, Nada Surf, Lucky Boys Confusion, Goldfinger, and so many more. While I don't do much feature writing these days, I still see myself very much a music journalist. The site has become what is now Rkstar.com, perhaps the longest-running webzines in the capital district, and one of the longest-running in the world. The occasional article I've written has been picked up for publication in other zines as well.
Here's some of the back-end PHP used to convert XML data into the sexy HTML that makes this site tick.
As with most programmers, I do code in several languages. For web applications, Perl has been my baby since 1999. And while I try to keep how many languages I learn to a minimum, in 2012 I started using PHP for scripts that output HTML. PHP is wonderful for that, so I've been going back and forth between the two languages for different projects. Perl for the number- and text-crunching needs, PHP for more basic data use that should be output to a website. Either way, I'm a scripter at heart. I tend to see solutions to a lot of life's little problems in algorithms. Larry Wall, the creator of Perl, once said "The three chief virtues of a programmer are: laziness, impatience, and hubris." I have to agree. Every day I see a problem that could be solved with a program I could write. From back in the 1990s maximizing the space on mixtapes, to searching for apartments, to creating MIDI files to help singers practice, to identifying unique anniversaries, to calculating ultimate frisbee teams, to figuring out where to buy the paper. It's amazing how much little custom scripts can make life easier. And I want to code it all!
Web designers also need to keep browser compatibility in mind with every line of code. These are the big six browsers I use for testing, nestled into the familiar HTML angle brackets. Can you name all six?
This is what my music theory cheat sheet looks like. Well, at least the top of it.
I love teaching. And I love music. It only makes sense that I love teaching music. I've played piano/keyboard for 20+ years, and bass and guitar for over a decade. I was a music major during my time at SCCC. Even though private lessons is just something I do occasionally on the side, I've had over a dozen students through the years. I teach piano/keyboard, beginner bass, beginner guitar, and music theory. All my students are given "Dan's Music Theory Cheat Sheet" on the first day. I've shared it online, and music teachers around the world have emailed me saying they use it with their students. It's pretty handy.
A few of my favorite toys.
I've been in Mac tech support since before the web existed. From helping classmates in high school, to my first job being Mac support for the RPI campus computer store, to being the Mac network administrator for the Scotia-Glenville school district, where I was in charge of about 500 Macs, making sure they all ran properly for the teachers and students. Since then I've mostly been an occasional on-call freelancer fixing the occasional issue that may arise for both personal and business-owned Macs around the Schenectady area.
The front of the t-shirt that my sister gave me for Christmas. Did you know that gifts only count as presents if are “present” when they are given? Oh, the joys of the English language.
Editor & proofer
Being the editor for a weekly webzine for the past 15 years has given me a lot of experience writing, editing, and proofing copy. I also regularly proof stories at The Daily Gazette, correcting errors before the paper goes to press. For whatever reason, written errors, either in text or computer code, tend to jump out at me off the page. So I tend to be pretty good at catching them. In my free time, I like to proof and correct spelling and grammatical errors that my friends post on Facebook. Ha! Could you imagine, though?
Icons for a few of the mobile web apps I wrote.
Mobile / web apps
I've been writing web apps since before they were called web apps. A web app is essentially an mini-application you can access through your browser. In 1999, I wrote a ticket support system for Scotia-Glenville School District's teachers to request computer help and prioritize urgency. I've also written a lot of internal web applications for Gazette staff over the years. In 2013, I wrote the Ultimate frisbee hat tournament team calculator, a web app allowing league and tournament directors to skip the painstaking process of trying to create even teams. Lately, mobile apps have been becoming popular. Those are web apps designed for mobile devices, where links to the apps can be saved as icons right to devices' home screens. I've been toying with writing a bunch of simple mobile apps lately, with my two most complete apps being AccuDan (weather app) and Anniversary Calculator (to mark the less significant milestones).
The Behringer Eurorack UB1002 was my first personal soundboard for smaller live shows. I still occasionally use it for home recording.
I'm not sure where to begin when it comes to sound recording/engineering and I. As a kid I recorded songs I wrote to audio tape. In high school, I started working with digital sound, learning the basics of bit-depth, frequency, lossy compression, etc. Later, I was one of the first people posting audio to the web with my music zine' music samples and interview clips. I became the sound guy at The Larkin and The Van Dyck, where I ran the sound for acts like Erin McKeown, Andrew Bird, Vienna Teng, Michael Glabicki (of Rusted Root), Sarah Slean, Ember Swift, Patti Rothberg, Sean Rowe, Paddy Kilrain, Monkey Gone Mad (you really don't earn your "sound guy chops" until you mix a 10-piece ska band), Jes Hudak, Sirsy, David Poe, Westbound Train, Ari Hest, Mieka Pauley, Stephen Kellogg, and literally hundreds more. I've run the sound for the Rkstar open mic for over a decade, where the number of performances are pushing 10,000. And my recordings of open mic performances to the performers over the years are in the hundreds, some of which even got commercial radio airplay. I've also "studio" multi-track recorded and mixed my own bands' songs with GarageBand, using both its line-in and MIDI recording.
Here you can watch a sample ~30-second video that I shot of Company of Thieves. You will likely notice its near-HD quality and almost-instantaneous play time, even on slower connections like a 3G phone.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was the go-to guy in the capital district (or anywhere really, second only to the legendary Ben Waggoner) for video compression. Video took up a lot of data, a lot of people were still on 56K modems, good video compression was really difficult. I could often squeeze the videos down half the file size with no noticeable visual or audio difference from what consumer compression software at the time could do. Fast forward to today, and with modern codecs like H.264 and AAC, modern standards like MP4, and plenty of quality consumer compression options, my abilities aren't quite as impressive by comparison. But they're still better. I could be handy for any of the following: 1) You're someone who wants the best quality video compression possible, 2) Aspect ratio, B-frames/keyframes, MP4/H.264, WebM/VP8, Flash/H.263, two-pass, bit rate, pass-through, VBR... all mean nothing to you and you just want a video compressed for web or archive, 3) You regularly upload videos to your site and you want to be taught a workflow that would give you or your employees a good consistent-quality videos every time (software purchases may be needed).
This photo was taken moments after the team I captained won the Albany Social League championship. Second year in a row where my team was top-ranked in the league.
Again, combining two loves, this time- ultimate frisbee and teaching. I'm a registered USAU coach and I teach at the beginner/youth/junior level- the basics of the game, how to have fun, the spirit of the game, basic plays and strategy. What I've seen from other captains/coaches, is that they take the game too seriously and players lose interest. While it's important to play hard and give 100%, the all-or-nothing attitude should be reserved for the super-competitive levels of ultimate. To me, ultimate is having fun, and that's how I teach it. A good coach should be able to demonstrate a lot of patience as someone learns, and be able to clearly explain to a player what they can do to improve. And if a player improves and wants to join a serious club or pro team, I can give them guidance there as well. I'm particularly proud of my 2012 captain review (typos and all), where the league secretly polled the players about their captains as part of the end-of-season review, and I ended up with the new "best captain of the league" superlative.
There have probably been over a thousand different performers during my time running open mic. Here are just some of the many familiar faces seen performing.
Open mic host
It's hard to believe I've been running the open mic every week for over ten years now. More than 500 open mics in all. Over 5,000 performances that I announced, ran sound for, and/or had some part in putting together. If you're interested in reading about its history, there's a write-up at Rkstar.com from the summer of 2012 when we celebrated the 500th open mic. I've all but stopped promoting the weekly event, yet every Sunday there's a line of people waiting to sign up to perform when I arrive. Some of the talent there is amazing, over at Facebook you can watch hours of video of dozens of the performances. Or, if you prefer, there are a lot of them over at YouTube as well.