WebOps Wednesday AMA: David Dashifen Kees (they/them) — Ask me about WordPress, Shadowrun, Marvel Comics, Snakes, Theological Studies, PHP, Object-Oriented WordPress programming, conference presenting, bike riding, theater or whatever you like!

Good morning, Pantheon!

My name is David Dashifen Kees and by day I’m a mild-mannered WordPress developer for Georgetown University in Washington DC while by night … well, I’m pretty much the same thing but asleep. I’m also getting a Masters of Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Outside of work and studies, I watch movies, read books, play games (both of the board and table-top roleplaying variety). I’ve been running a Shadowrun game since 2001 and some of my players have been with me since about 2008! I’ve never managed a development team, but I did run a Vampire LARP for 50ish players with a staff of up to 6 storytellers, so I think that counts for something. I’ve been a remote worker almost the whole time since 2011, so if you want to chat about that, it’s something I’ve been doing for longer than I worked in an office at this point!

So, ask me about life, the universe, or anything you might be curious about whether it’s about work, school, or play! If I don’t know the answer, I solemnly swear to make something up.

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Hello Dashifen , WebOps Wedesday crossed my path courtesy of Viet VoPham! PHP is a new term for me, welcoming your thoughts on the relationship/s amongst similar -transcription- programs and/or transcription programs generally speaking and specific geographic business regions such as APAC EMEA and the Americas.

Best! Ashley

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Ashley,

Honestly, I don’t have many thoughts on those topics. PHP as a programming language is not typically one that’s used for much in the way of audio work, to my knowledge, and so transcription seems like it’s probably not much of a use case for it. Unfortunately, since I’ve always worked for colleges and universities, I haven’t had much experience with the A/V side of tech and, as a result, I know very little about how transcription works.

I do think it’s a shame that transcription seems to have, at least as I anecdotally understand it, a variety of difficulties around accents and non-English (or at least, non-European) languages, so I can see how regions like APAC and and parts of the EMEA are likely very interested in expanding the capabilities of the software to support a wider user base.

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Hi @dashifen :wave:

I’m here to talk about roleplaying. :grin:

Tell me about your experience with Shadowrun. What’s kept you interested in the game for so long, do you have homebrew rules that make gameplay easier/harder, are you using {insert current version of Shadowrun here as if I actually know what’s current} or are you still using {whatever version was current circa 2001} and which do you prefer?

I have always been interested in Shadowrun, and at one point after college I inherited boxes and boxes of Shadowrun books from a friend who played in high school but didn’t want them/need them anymore, but I never actually ran or played in a game. There seemed to be a really steep learning curve that I couldn’t overcome (not having a lot of folks around to play with didn’t help) but the lore and the world was always really interesting to me.

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Hi Chris! I’m always happy to talk about Shadowrun.

Back in the halcyon days of the late 90s I started playing with third edition. The game is up to its sixth edition, but my table stayed with fifth for the moment because we liked having the maximum amount of books and extra gear and rules and spells and such to play with.

We do have a limited number of house rules, but they’re more about the flavor of the game and less about making it easier or harder. Some evolved based on how we were playing anyway and then we realized we were doing it wrong, others like #12 and #13 seemed to make the game a little less boring for folks in very specific ways.

As for why I stick with it, I think it’s a game of nigh infinite possibilities. You can run a high magic game or a fully technological hacking adventure. You can play a troll that with an rocket launcher on one shoulder while his articulated cyberarm is firing a sub-machine gun behind him and he’s throwing a fireball all in one character! I’ve run pirate adventures with whole arc loosely based on Gilbert and Sullivan musicals right after running a gritty police drama on the mean streets of Seattle. Plus, because the setting is this world (as opposed to another realm or dimension), it’s fun to “visit” places that we might have been to in real life or live. Having a car chase through the thin streets of the Old City in Prague is made more interesting when we can use Google Streets to follow along where we are in the chase!

There is a massive learning curve because of the options, you’re not wrong about that. But fourth and especially fifth edition smoothed it out a bit. Once you get about five basic rules down pat, you can play the game and you can slowly enhance your knowledge of the exceptions and idiosyncrasies as time goes on.

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Thank you very much for your feedback; Some quick research showed me that Scripting has quite a different meaning in Computer Programming. Per your comments, I now have a Key Learning for the day so I count that as a success!

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Hi, @dashifen! I’m so happy to have here. Thanks for your time today!

So, I’m also in the DMV area (in Alexandria, VA) and always like to ask people for their coffee/food recs. Do you have a fav coffee shop/cafe or spot to grab food in the DMV? For coffee, I love Rare Bird Coffee in Falls Church, VA (they also have some food pasty/bakery/breakfast food options!) and Tatte (in DC and Arlington, VA). I also recently went to Galaxy Hut (bar in Arlington, VA) and thought it was really fun. They had yummy vegan food and beer/wine in a cool, eclectic space.

And on an unrelated note, I’m curious if you have a favorite theater space? Having lived in Atlanta, I absolutely adore the Fox Theatre and Plaza Theatre (the Plaza is a great place to watch indie films).

Lastly, I’d love to hear more about you got into tech/programming. You’ve been programming since 6th grade, right? How did that happen? Did you take a class, or you just started learning on your own? And how did you get into WordPress?

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@vee.vopham, I didn’t realize you were local to the DMV. I’m also in Alexandria. That said, I don’t have a lot of recommendations, I suppose. For coffee, I always tend to go to Misha’s in old town, but I make my own coffee 99% of the time. I’m a huge fan of Stumptown Coffee Roasters from Portland, OR and often order their coffee, but more often than not, I just buy whatever’s on sale at Wegmans that week. I’m a little more discerning for tea, though, and can’t get enough of what August Tea will sell me.

I also don’t really have a favorite theater space. My personality is very much centered on my home and I consider it a successful week when I only leave my house to get the mail. My partner and I visit the Kennedy Center for shows fairly regularly, and we’ve seen shows at the Signature Theater up in Arlington a few times, but I consider it a shame of the highest order that the studios and theaters ended same-day streaming for movies cause it meant one less reason for me to have to go outside :rofl:

For programming, the first app I wrote handled single-digit factoring in the FOIL method, as it was taught way back in 6th grade. I realized that I could write two for-loops, each from zero to nine, and somewhere in there would be the coefficients for the polynomial in the item. Sadly, Ms. May, the algebra teacher, did not accept my QBASIC code as a legitimate response for the homework assignment. So, I pretty much just started learning on my own. There was a programming class in High School, but by that time I had years of practice.

I didn’t start using WordPress until 2010. At that time, I worked for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and we were putting together a domain-of-ones-own service that utilized WordPress Networks to produce sites and domains for folks. But, since then, I’ve pretty much only worked in WordPress land and find it both exciting and challenging.

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Hey @dashifen! :wave:

Casually late to the party here :partying_face: Thanks for sharing with the community!

:point_up: This sounds really interesting! I truthfully have never heard of this before – and while I could Google, I figured why not hear more about it from you :slight_smile:

Aslooooooo what are your favorite board games to play? Do you have any single-player games you recommend? My pup just had TPLO surgery, so I am pretty much stuck in a tiny space for the next 8 weeks. So clearly, I could use a distraction!

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An MDiv is typically the degree that folks get if they’re on the ordination track within a Protestant Christian denomination. Since I’m not on that track (and I’m not even Christian) the “why am I doing this” question is harder to answer. Back in 2018, I was in a job that I didn’t like very much. The pace of work was way faster than I wanted to move at, the other devs and employees were great, but my ethics and the ethics of the clients we were working with were not aligned. I decided to get the MDiv because I wanted to be a chaplain, possibly in higher education still, and that would be my second career after 20+ years in software development. But, school showed me that that ethical misalignment was going to cause problems over time - it was already causing a lot of moral stress for me, which made the job even harder. So, I put in my notice at the end of 2018 and ended up at Georgetown in early 2019.

That, however, makes the question of “what am I going to do with this degree” a little harder. I love my current job, so I’m not ready to leave, and I likely need the salary I make now to pay back my student loans, so at the moment, I’m going to stick with what I’ve been doing. But, I’m also an initiate (i.e., a semi-trained lay leader) within a small Pagan religious organization in the DMV and have been since 2015, so it’s not like all this training is going to waste, it’s just not leading me where I thought it would. But, we’re working on an ordination track of some sort within that organization, so maybe in 2024, I’ll be Rev. Dash :slight_smile:

As for board games, I prefer cooperative ones. I’m big on games where the house is more likely to win, but by working together the players can over come. As such, I don’t have too many one player games. But things like Mysterium, Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert, and a somewhat obscure game called Victoriana are all right up my alley. My partner and I just recently picked up Root but we’ve not played it yet which is a more competitive game than I typically play, but I like complex games with a lot of thinking involved, so I think it’ll work out.

As for single player games? My partner would recommend a jigsaw puzzle; she’s kind of obsessed with them. I’ve heard good things about Aeon’s End, but never played it myself. Also, don’t discount online versions of popular board games. Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne both have good ports for online play. It’s not the same as playing it in real life with other people, but it’s better than nothing!

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Same! I also make my own coffee at home a majority of the time but do like to support local businesses when I’m able to. And I love Stumptown! I haven’t tried August Tea so will need to give them a try as well! For coffee, I LOVE getting Blanchard’s - they’re local to Richmond, and I almost always buy more of their coffee when I visit Richmond. Though, I just realized they have an online store, so I might be buying their coffee online now, too! And also, I love Misha’s and see that they opened up a second cafe, too. I’ll need to check that out soon!

I feel this on many levels… hahaha, COVID hasn’t made leaving my apartment any easier, but having a dog at least forces me to go out to walk him! And oh, I need to check out the Signature Theater. That isn’t too far from me!

Wow, this is so impressive. And I wish my middle and high schools had more CS and programming classes. The first time I saw a CS or programming specific class was in college lol.

Oh very cool, thanks for sharing. I assume you’ve gotten to attend a lot of WordPress events? How would you describe the WordPress community? Just from online conversations and events I’ve witnessed and participated in, everyone is so welcoming, warm, and nice. I love how approachable the world of WP feels and that there are many ways to get involved.

You’re speaking my language! :star_struck:

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