Roy Tanck helps make this recession different

Summary:Roy's widgets make a platform like WordPress more powerful. They might do the same for other platforms, if someone hired him for that -- blog engines are a competitive market. While the widgets themselves are open source, they advertise Roy's work to the larger market.

Times like this make me a cock-eyed optimist. (Picture from Blogsessive.)

Every recession is different, and carries within it a solution to the problem it poses. In the case of this recession you are, as the old commercial would say, soaking in it.

By that I mean that open source offers us a way out of what troubles us.

Take the case of Roy Tanck. He's a programmer, and until 2004 he was an employed one.

Had Roy lost his job in the 20th century he would be out of luck. He might be working as a waiter, or worse, doing nothing but collecting unemployment.

That's not hyperbole. Back in the early 1980s I had a classmate, with two fine degrees, enter the job market alongside a recession which, locally, was much like this one. He became an exterminator. And his name, unfortunately, was not Tom DeLay. Most of his potential was lost.

Not so with Roy. He put himself to work, working with Flash and Wordpress primarily. He used the Internet to network himself with customers and others.

And he blogs. About this and that. About other Web sites. About advertising. About keyboards. About his life. About his work.

Roy has become known for two Wordpress widgets he created. One turns tags, categories or both into an interactive cloud, which he calls WP-Cumulus. (There it is working above.)

The other does the same thing with pictures. He calls it the Flickr Widget, but it works with Picasa as well. (Here it is displaying a reporter's trip to the White House.)

Roy's widgets make a platform like WordPress more powerful. They might do the same for other platforms, if someone hired him for that -- blog engines are a competitive market. While the widgets themselves are open source, they advertise Roy's work to the larger market.

The blog advertises him to a much wider audience than previously possible. My guess is he now has friends all over the world. Including one in Atlanta.

The point is you can do the same thing, even if you are not a programmer. You can blog, you can network, you can connect, you can grow both this medium and open source. You can make the pile bigger, higher, even at the bottom of the worst recession in decades.

What's not to be optimistic about?

Topics: Open Source, Browser

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.