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Maxvoltar - Sunday afternoon inbox

Maxvoltar is the personal weblog of Tim Van Damme, a freelance interface designer at Made by Elephant.

50° 54' 47" N, 4° 25' 50" E

Sunday afternoon inbox

Sunday afternoon inbox

Best part of all? I’m going to respond to every question.


  • Chris Wallace

    4964 days ago

    Aw, such a nice guy to answer all these questions. :)

  • Richard Henry

    4964 days ago

    Ug, I’m not sure if you should. It seems to be that every time you email him, he sends you five replies. This could get exponential.

  • James Proud

    4964 days ago

    Well done, do answer him, because by helping him out, in 4 years time he probably will be of the same skill level as you. By helping him he’ll be able to learn and no longer rely on help.

  • Joe Ricioppo

    4964 days ago

    If a kid that age has that kind of motivation, I’d buy him a book and send him some links to good resources, and encourage him to find as many answers as possible before asking questions.

    Oh yeah, and tell him how to view source.

    I admire you for responding; when I was starting out with Cocoa, I got a lot of no replies.

  • @topherolson

    4964 days ago

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

  • Ryan Gonzalez

    4964 days ago

    Curiosity is always good, even if it’s a little annoying at first. Personally, motivation and passion are more important than skills.

    The kid clearly has that.

    Send him some tips; it’s always nice to have someone that you idolize actually talk back to you.

  • Sue

    4964 days ago

    You’re awesome.

    When I was 13 or 14 I emailed an illustrator who I thought was the bee’s knees and asked her to critique my work and give me pointers. Her reply to me was very obnoxious and condescending.

    Now that artist and I are in the same circles and are peers (or whatever you’d call 2 people who are about the same caliber skill wise) and it’s really awkward. Every time I run into her I sing a “you’re a jerk” song in my head.

  • Pieter

    4964 days ago

    I’m about that age (15 yrs old). The things I know today I know from reading books & websites and actually doing some research myself instead of asking someone else. Do some effort, I’d say. (no offense)

    By the way, if anyone wants to send me a book or something, get in touch ;)

  • Scott Gould

    4963 days ago

    Fantastic! Made me smile at the end of the week.

  • Joel Helin

    4963 days ago

    I like the fact that you decided to answer every question before even starting.

  • Dan

    4963 days ago

    Books are nice, but if you’re truly broke, you could always use wikipedia and web design forums. That’s how I learned, and I was 14 at the time as well. Right now I’m 16 and make an occasional website for a bit of pocket money.

    It’s very nice of you to answer all his questions. Very professional.

    Also, Gmail ftw.

  • Pat

    4963 days ago

    I think this kid has a great attitude. That he is willing to pay $100, everything that he has, it’s clear to me that he definitely has the right intentions.

    I would be interesting to read what types of response you give for these questions. Sometimes I face these types of questions and don’t really have solid answers.

  • Rogie King

    4963 days ago

    Gimme the kid’s email address. I’ll donate a few bucks or a book to his cause. Cheers for responding to him Tim. I totally agree with James Proud. In 4 years with this motivation, he’ll be at your level and praising you for all the motivation and friendship you gave him.

  • Christopher Murphy

    4963 days ago

    For a fourteen year old, you have to admire the chutzpah. Feel free to pass him my email address and I’ll send him a copy of our book.

    A little enthusiasm channeled in the right way can go a long way.

  • Josh Pyles

    4962 days ago

    That was me when I was 14. I started learning HTML from a book when I was 12. I remember emailing simplebits one day asking for tips and not getting a response. It’s nice that you responded though!

    I have got a couple emails from young-ins, and I want to respond to them as well, because it reminds me of myself.

  • Alex Odam

    4962 days ago

    Wow. i didn’t know this was hear! Thanks Tim and all the other commenter :] Thanks to Christopher for getting me the Html&CSS book :] Thanks Loads!
    Alex Odam

  • Daan Weijers

    4962 days ago

    Hey, send me some books as well Rogie :O

    Nah, just kidding, I am 14 as well, but I do not require them anymore. It’s hard to get clients, but when I get them, they are surprised of the work I can deliver for them.

    I’ve also got a few really pro designers who have given me compliments on my work, so..
    rant rant.. sorry :P

    Anyways, didn’t we all start like that? I say curiosity is the best aspect of a human, because it can bring him/her very far in life (it can also bring you into dangerous and not-fun situations, but lets not talk about that :D)

  • Tom Nussbaum

    4958 days ago

    this is great and you are a nice guy to give him all the answers and responded. and i didnt expect something else from you to be honest.
    its a few days ago, but it still made me smile. and @christopher, fantastic move too

  • Alex Orman

    4956 days ago

    Well done Tim! Nice of you to answer the questions of this aspiring designer. Im 17 and just getting into design. Any books that i should look at anybody?

  • Ian P. Hines

    4955 days ago

    The best part is that I can remember feeling like that back in high school. I used to sift through the code of Jon Hicks’ website to figure out how he made it work, and I remember being absolutely mystified.

    The only real way to learn is trial and error, and the reward from doing it yourself is well, well worth the effort.

  • MDX

    4953 days ago

    It’s very cool of you to suggest that he spend his money on books to learn it while he’s still young. I would have also suggested using that $100 to buy a decent Wordpress theme (it appears that he already did this) and tearing it apart it to learn how to skin a CMS as well.

    I can remember asking for help when I was young and being told something to the effect of, “Learn how to do it yourself.” Initially this upset me but after a short time I realized that if I ever wanted to become good at web development, I was just going to have to start learning on my own. And now people come to me for help :)

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