Meet Alex Denning, 16 Year Old Geek
My name’s Alex Denning. I live just outside of London, England. I’m 16 years old. For the last year and a bit, I’ve been writing this site and just avoded/not mentioned age. Ideally, now I’ve told you, nothing changes.
I’ve not mentioned it before because I thought nobody would take me seriously. I thought I’d just be labelled as “some pretentious kid who doesn’t know what he’s talking about”. Just like Michael Martin, I aired on the side of caution as it just seemed like a better idea not to mention it.
It’s only in the last month or so I’ve started telling more and more people, largely down to Alex Fraiser‘s persuasion skills 😉 After seeking out lots of advice, I came to the conclusion that the vast majority of readers wouldn’t have a problem and would “appreciate the honesty”, to quote Leland.
In the last year I’ve met and worked with some awesome people and slowly I started telling some of the awesome people my age and the usual response was “oh that’s cool. What were you saying about the options panel?” It’s this sort of reaction that made me realise I could probably tell everyone, so now I am.
Here’s the obligatory awkward headshot, again, inspired by Alex Fraiser.
What follows are a series of PFAQs (potentially frequently asked questions). If you’ve got any yourself, do ask.
Shouldn’t you be at school?
Yes, I am. Quite a good one too.
How do you balance your time?
I don’t have nearly enough time. Obviously stuff comes first, which doesn’t leave much time for interwebs stuff. Annoyingly, this means there’ll be the odd fortnight when you won’t see anything from me appear here.
So how did it all start?
Well, it was around November, 2007. Along with a couple of friends, I wanted to start reviewing video games. I installed myself as “the tech guy” and so set up this blog, using this “WordPress” thing. I had no idea how to use it and I stretched my abilities by… changing the colour of the header to green! This was Kubrick, so there was a colour picker, but that’s irrelevant.
I had no idea really how to use WordPress or how to change the design, so I promptly gave up on it.
Thankfully, I returned in March the next year. Without even realising it, I’d recognised that I needed a good CMS and that WordPress was the best option (I remember trying out all the other blogging platforms in Fantastico as well as Joomla and Drupal, deciding that Joomla and Drupal were too complicated and WordPress was the best option because of the community!), even then.
As a result, the WordPress powered Nometet.com was born and still lives to this day.
Meet your new friend, WordPress
That summer I hacked together my first WordPress theme and came across this website called HackWordPress.com (now WPHacks). I was amazed by the wealth of material available and in a masterstroke, introduced into the world of blogging.
In the next couple of months I saw, and was fascinated by how Jean-Baptiste Jung was able to launch a blog and find a readership so quickly, bouncing off the success of WordPressHacks. At this point I was still fairly new to WordPress, but this didn’t stop me getting stuck into blogging and late 2008, I had my first post published, on Jean’s blog, CatsWhoCode.
The post was called “Make Full Use of WordPress [lowercase p ;)] with the_excerpt_reloaded“. It was absolutely horrendous, and, in retrospect and I really had no idea what I was talking about. But that didn’t matter. Real people had actually read my post! Wow!
I published a couple more CatsWhoCode tutorials in early 2009, but in April launched Nometech, a spin off from Nometet. It was meant to be about web development, in a similar vain to CatsWhoCode, but it quickly became clear that the main focus was going to be WordPress and so in the summer changed the name of the site to WPShout.
Even at this point, I wasn’t great with WordPress. It was only over the summer I started to become more knowledgeable about WordPress and could really write with any authority about it. After this, WPShout sprang into life and by November, writing came up to the standard you read today.
It was also around that time I started work, along with Alex Cragg, on WPShift, a project we thought would revolutionise WordPress themes. We were wrong, but the concept remains a solid one and we’ll be back with that. Even as I write this, I’m working on an awesome backbone to all future themes 🙂
Into 2010, early on I decided I wanted to take WPShout to the next level and so approached Smashing Magazine about writing for them. My article idea was accepted and so I wrote and wrote, adding bits, taking out bits until the guys there were happy with my submission. The whole process took a good few months but was well worth it in the end 🙂
Onto now. I’m currently freelancing, as you may know and looking forward to continuing to make lovely content for you all to read.
If you’ve got any questions, do ask. I’d be very happy to answer.