Daily Thoughts 194: Building the Future

Author's selfieI’m building the future! I started my Massive Reboot project this summer. Though that is focused on my novels and collections, I’m tackling other projects as part of the wider development of my creative future. Including Drive-By Stories. I thought it’d be interesting to do a post covering some of my projects and the associated Trello boards. Some of these are still in the earliest stages!

Massive Reboot

It doesn’t look like I’ve made much progress on the Massive Reboot project if you’re looking at the Trello board. This board has multiple columns for the stages each book will go through for this project.

Massive Reboot Trello board
Looks are deceiving

I do have Dark Matters moved over to a couple columns and have some done work on the metadata for the project. The real work which doesn’t show on the board is related more to studying and improving my skills in areas like graphic design and illustration. Not to say that I can’t work on these earlier elements. It’ll just take the time it’s going to take.

Drive-By Stories

I’ve posted recently about Drive-By Stories. It’s the project I’ve spent the most time on these past few weeks.

Drive-By Stories Trello board
More activity here

The board follows a pretty basic format with elements being developed, scheduled, in progress, and done. I need to add some updates for next steps!

Librarian Portfolio

This is about to move to the top of my list! I need to work on my ePortfolio project for my MLIS degree. I’ve used Trello extensively throughout my time getting this degree. It’s been fantastic!

Portfolio Trello board
These lists are about to fill up!

Studies, and Other Boards

I have a bunch of other Trello boards I use for different projects, some which I’m not ready to announce yet!

Writing and Art Board

Among other things, I have boards that cover my studies in writing and art, coding, and home projects. Many of the projects build on each other, studies in one place contributes to progress in another way.

It keeps me busy, and Trello keeps me organized!

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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts 177: Small Updates on the Massive Reboot

Author's selfieI spent time today in two of our libraries, helping out and trying to get work done on various tasks as time allowed. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) the library I was in this afternoon wasn’t busy. It was a fairly nice day, not too hot with some cloud cover, but not raining. School just got out and no one was rushing to get into the library. The first library was busier, but the second is in a smaller community. You just do what you can as it is possible.

Massive Reboot

Much like my Massive Reboot project. I’m planning the project using Trello—and I’m inviting you to follow my progress!

Screenshot of a Trello Board

Not much there yet! I need to populate and customize the board. I’ll have cards for each book and I’ll move them across the columns as I make progress with each title. Along the way, I may have some polls and other options for readers to weigh in.


I’m trying to get a handle on all of this. Each book is a project in itself, but the steps will be replicated again and again with some variations. I created the initial lists trying to get the concepts down.

  • Meta. All of the metadata for the book. Things like the ISBN number, the jacket copy, descriptions at different lengths, keywords, and the rest.
  • Review. Another pass through to catch any editing mistakes missed the first time around (if the book was previously published) and the production of a clean copy.
  • Artwork. Creation of jacket and interior artwork.
  • Design. With the clean copy and artwork completed, begin the design work to develop the design for the book. Includes design of alternate editions e.g. large print.
  • Production. With all the pieces pulled together, creating the files in the various formats.
  • Publishing. At this point, everything is ready to go! Files are uploaded, release dates scheduled, etc.
  • Release. The book is out! Any necessary launch activities occur.
  • Promotion. Promotion plans are put into motion. Schedule appearances on Ellen, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, speaking engagements, etc.

My next step is to get all of the books up on the board and start figuring things out. I’ll have twenty-two books I believe, more possibly, once taking short story collections into account.

There will be much more to do and I’ll tackle it as I’m able. Between all of my other projects, my portfolio work to finish my MLIS degree, work, and the rest, I don’t know how long it’ll take. I’d recommend that anyone interested take a look at and subscribe to the Massive Reboot board.

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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Thoughts 31

Author's selfieI didn’t get much sleep last night. My son had issues with nightmares, which left me sitting up in his room to keep him company until late. I finally got into bed around 11:20, marking another late night for me. Maybe I should have resisted taking a nap! I’m planning an earlier night today.

Spring 2017 MLIS

This morning I took a look back at the school site and discovered that the last syllabus I needed had been posted. I updated my Trello board with the details provided (I love organized faculty). Now I have cards for every class on my board.

Snapshot of Spring 2017 Trello Board

I also ordered the additional text book that I need for the class, Seminar in Library Management: Social Network Analysis and Social Analytics (INFO282-11). This is the final course I need for the Advanced Certificate in Digital Assets and Services, focusing on the Data Analytics and Data Driven Decision Making. It starts later in the semester, March 1st. Another course I’m taking, Seminar in Library Management: Political Advocacy (INFO282-14) runs just through February. Between these two courses I’ll get 3 credits. My other two classes, Seminar in Contemporary Issues: Globalization and Information (INFO281-13) and Seminar in Information Science: Gamifying Information (INFO287-11), are each 3 credits and run the full 15 weeks.

These are my final classes. After this, I’ll have a portfolio project to complete in the fall.

It’s interesting, pursuing a degree again. I’m learning a lot. I’m also discovering so much more that I want to learn. I’ve picked up a slew of books to continue studying topics on coding and data. It’s clear that I’m not going to be done learning when I finish the degree!

Zombies, Run! Writing Opportunity

I saw this tweet today.

I read the details. It looks like a fantastic opportunity. I love what Naomi Alderman and Six to Start have done with Zombies, Run!. I use it each day on my walks (gradually transitioning to running). It looked very tempting to apply for a chance to work with the team, travel to London (much of the work is done at a distance, but there’s a 10 day trip needed), and potentially make some money and contribute to a great project. Between my work in the library, the MLIS program, and anticipated work on my massive reboot and other projects, I’m not planning to apply. I’m going to focus on my personal work. Still, if you think you might be interested—go for it! It can’t hurt to give it a shot.

Daily Thoughts

Author self-portrait It’s been a long day! I spent the day completing my final project report and demo for the Big Data Analytics and Management course in my MLIS program at SJSU. I wanted it done today so that I’d have tomorrow free to celebrate the end of the semester with Kate and Xander.

Project Demo

The project demo is a brief overview of some of the research I did on my Unstable Ground: A Decade of Oklahoma Earthquakes project. I uploaded it to YouTube to share on the class board, so I’ll include the link here too.

I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted with the project—there just wasn’t time. I had ambitions to do much more, ambitions that had to be scaled back to fit the scope of the project.

Stuffy Battle

Father and son playing in a hammock.A more immediate celebration was having a stuffy battle with Xander—in the hammock with an epic music collection playing (thanks to Amazon Music). Stuffy battle, in Xanderverse, is a bit like a Pokemon battle or a pet battle in World of WarCraft. Only I have no way to know what’s possible, or how I’m doing, except for Xander telling me. Strangely, I usually win. I think it’s because he wants ‘my’ characters to keep leveling up so he can continue the story. Today ended with my opponents escaping with the blackberries, followed by a cinematic with the evil clam character.

Winter Break!

If it wasn’t already clear—I’m done with the Fall 2016 semester! Grades should be available right before Christmas. I think I did fine this semester, though my GPA did dip a bit with INFO285 (I learned a lot, though). Nothing to worry about. The only thing left to do for this semester is to save discussion posts so that I can use those in my e-portfolio. I’ll be on winter break until late January, giving me time to work on other projects (and begin reading books for next semester).

Screenshot of Trello Board

It’s weird (but good) to see my Trello board empty. This semester was a bit more stressful than some previous semesters. I’m looking forward to Spring 2017—my last semester of classes (with my e-portfolio in the Fall).

TurboTax Self-Employed

I also started work on my taxes today, using TurboTax Self-Employed. I’ve used TurboTax in one form or another for a long time. I’m glad to see they have a version focused on self-employed people, including those with a day job earning some side income. One of my goals for 2017 is to work more on our business at Glittering Throng Press.

Using Trello in Getting a Master’s Degree

Finish Line In Sight

Tuesday was a big day—no, not because of the election which felt like a surprise twist on Scandal. Tuesday was a big day for me personally because I registered for my final classes at San Jose State University. The Spring 2017 semester isn’t my last semester; I’ll still need to complete my e-portfolio project to complete the MLIS program, but it is the final semester when I’ll be taking classes.
Spring 2017 Trello Board

Trello Board

I’ve used Trello each semester to organize my classes and assignments. To celebrate registering for my final classes I went ahead and set up a new board for Spring 2017. I don’t have much on it right now, just a single card for each of my four classes:

Board Organization

I organize the Trello Board into a list for each class followed by three lists: Next Up, Doing, and Done. For visual interest, and ease of quickly identifying the board, I’ve set a background image.

Each class list starts with a general syllabus card (with an attached cover image representing the class). This card is also where I attached faculty information, and the syllabus once it is available for the class. If the professor has previously taught the course, I may attach the last syllabus.

Trello card example

If necessary, I may attach other documents, and once I know what the major assignments are, create a checklist for those assignments. Trello’s checklists are very useful (and you can have multiple checklists within a single card). Individual items on the checklist may also be converted into cards.

Labels and Due Dates

On each class list, I create cards for Lectures, Readings, Assignments, and Discussions. Sometimes I may also have a couple of other labels, such as Activities, or Resources, but usually, I stick with the four primary labels as well as a label for each course. The example above shows the INFO282-11 label.

Labels enable filtering—so I can filter the view to show only cards for a particular class, or all readings, etc. The color-coding also helps me identify what is going on at a glance.

Likewise, due dates are critical. Most classes have lectures, readings, assignments, and sometimes discussions due every week. By setting due dates on each card, I see what is coming up. Trello also color-codes the due dates on the card as they approach (or pass) the due date.

strongly prefer professors who post all of the course material on day one. Comments such as, ‘you would panic’ if the materials were posted are insulting. Professors don’t need to accept assignments early, and notions of keeping everyone on the ‘same page’ are ridiculous.

Canvas isn’t used effectively by many professors, and it lacks the features and personalization of something like Trello. I prefer to organize the materials on my board so that I can see at a glance what I need to focus on in the days and weeks ahead. I work full time. I have a family. And I’m a full-time student. Not to mention other interests, and basic needs like sleep and exercise, that take up my time. Withholding information only serves to make it more difficult for me to plan and organize my time.

Yes, I had to get that off my chest. I will continue to make that point on the SOTES (Student Opinion of Teaching Effectiveness). Keep it in mind if you decide to go back to school.

Card Movement

Once I stack the deck on each list with the individual cards for each week, I can see right across all my classes what is coming up. Then I make a choice on what I want to work on next and drag those cards to the Next Up list.

I limit how many cards I put on Next Up to three (most of the time). That helps me focus my attention on what I’m doing next. These could be cards from different classes, or all from a single class, depending on time, energy and resources available to tackle the work described by the cards.

From Next Up, I move one to the Doing list. In the beginning, I’ll usually move one more card over to Next Up from the class lists so that I still have three on Next Up.

Then I focus on the single card on the Doing list. When completed, I move it to the Done list and select a new card from the Next Up list. At some point, as the Next Up list is depleted, I decide what’s next and pull more cards from the class lists. In this way, cards move from the classes lists to Next Up, Doing, and Done.

Now and then I’ll have a card on the Doing list that takes more time, and can only be done at a certain time/place, e.g., I may need to use the code editor on my computer, but I’m at work. In that case, I may pull another card over to Doing that I can tackle on a break, such as reading assignments on my Chromebook.

Attachments and Markup

I attach everything to cards. Sample files, reading material, lectures, and instructions. I access Trello on a variety of devices from my computer to my phone and my Chromebook. Attaching everything I need makes it easy to access whatever I need to refer to or read. Typically I compose first drafts in Google Docs and then finish up later in Word.

Trello supports Markup notation in descriptions and checklists, making it easy to embed material and links directly within cards.


Trello offers extensive support for team collaboration—only I haven’t found any teams at the iSchool comfortable with learning to use Trello in order to take advantage of the features! It’s too bad because Trello would be ideal for groups collaborating on complex projects. Cards may be assigned to team members. It supports commenting and subscription features. With Power-Ups, Trello offers more features and integrations with many other services.

Still Learning

Since starting the program at the iSchool, I have learned new ways to use Trello. I continue to tweak and modify what I am doing. I don’t often use the Trello sticker function, those others may like it. I’ve tried using the custom field power-up to mark a card ‘done’ on the front, but it doesn’t quite do what I’d like. I think I’ll use a label instead.

Though I’m nearing the end of my studies at the iSchool, I intend to continue using Trello in my writing/illustration/publishing efforts. Along with Evernote, Trello remains one of my most used applications.