Posts Tagged ‘html’

It’s the end of a fun and mellow weekend, and a few interesting things transpired, such as:

Machine of Death has announced they’re putting together a sequel, taking submissions for vol 2 from sometime in May. Big question – do I want to write something new and submit to this one as well? The guidelines explicitly state that “NO PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT will be given to people published in Vol 1”. I think I probably do want to submit something new anyway; I have a few ideas, but actually sitting my arse down a writing something start to finish is the real litmus test. I bet this time they get more than 600 submissions, after the success of the first volume. They are also trying to sell film / TV rights, and have optioned the stories in vol 1 just in case. Fingers crossed!

Been tinkering on the site a little more today, mostly building database tables and populating it with fake users and companies, so I can play around and make sure only users working for company X can read / write to company X’s records, and will remain oblivious to company Y and Z’s information. I threw together a blank user login / index page too, but all it consists of right now is a form for the login info, a new-user registration link and a blank space for what will be the public sales pitch / demo / screenshots type stuff. Having to go back and do some more tutorials every step of the way for many of the individual things I wanna achieve, but it’s coming together pretty well. In the next few days I should be able to get the login page plumbed in, along with validation scripts and cookie / session data so concurrent users can access this at the same time.

I just picked up Zoe Heller’s new(est) book The Believers, and once again she is kicking my butt with how awesome her writing is. If you have not read her work before, I heartily recommend Notes On A Scandal. Awesome stuff. Last fiction I read was White Tiger while we were out in California, and that was really good as well, although it made me want to take several showers per chapter. And last night, we grilled chicken drumsticks, using Kingsford Charcoal laced with Mesquite chips, and the flavour of everything is enhanced soooooo much, it came out killah.

And probably the most amazing news of all: Popcap Games have launched Zuma Blitz on Facebook. This is one addictive weapon of mass distraction. Just… cannot… stop… shooting. I love it!

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I liked this last few weeks, even though parts of it made me a bit blue; in the not-so-goods was: 4 of my favorite colleagues had their last days at work, one retiring and three moving onto new opportunities. That involved far more beer than I had intended, but they’re all worth it.

In the good stuff, I made some fine headway with the new web app, building significant templates for several of the key pages, and even coding in some Javascript that makes popups of varying sizes without navigation / URL / Menu or scroll bars cluttering up the place. I even coded in some buttons and form elements which don’t do much yet, but are now ready and waiting for that fateful day when they have a SQL table ready to catch whatever dear information they may hold, and deliver it safely into the guts of the Internet. Now I’m thinking about Drupal, and wondering if that would either help or hinder my learning experience.

I also had a birthday this weekend, which typically makes me feel strange and start contemplating mortality, and other happy morbid existential pensive ruminations, and I spent a whole lot of time revisiting my relationship with ye olde guitar, which is coming on stronger and faster than I had anticipated. (And maybe for the first time in my life, I’m loving it. I used to like it, but have never loved it.) Thinking about subscribing to Acoustic Guitar mag, and whereas I spent my life using electrics, I’m now suddenly engrossed in blues and jazz and crazy chords, and wayyyyyyyyyyyy focusing on developing a lightning fast and accurate fingerstylin’ right hand. Does this mean I’m getting old, just because I wanna be Robert Johnson combined with Bela Fleck and John Williams?

But I’ve already been far more productive than I intended, so for the rest of the day we’re continuing our mega sci-fi marathon, with Children of Dune. Desert Power, and Muad Fn’ Dib baby!

Here are some pictures of my new lurve; I have yet to think of a name…

Got home from California yesterday after a grueling, long and awesome trip; it wouldn’t have been quite so tiring but we checked out of the hotel at 11 am and the first flight wasn’t until 9.30 pm. So we drove round and saw a bunch of places up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, from Laguna Beach where we were staying thru Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and then Longbeach. By the time we put the key in our front door yesterday lunchtime, we’d been on the move for about 26 straight hours, including 3 flights, ~ 3000 miles. I then slept for 8 hours, got up for some food / water, and then slept again for another 8, hopefully setting my body clock back to EST.

The week was amazing, including an evening eating Thai food with our friends Aurelio and Chuck, and another evening eating fish while watching apocalyptic doomy waves smash the hell out of the beach and coastline in a storm. That was the day we arrived in Orange County, and the closest I have ever felt to death on a flight. Coming in to land the plane was being ragged all over by insane high winds; very, very scary. As the wheels were about to touch down, the plane was being thrown side to side and wobbling on the axis banking one way and then the other, and the wing tip almost hit the treetops as we landed somewhere around a hundred miles an hour. Half the plane applauded and half were in a “WTF” style palsy; I have experienced turbulence many times, but never this bad and never this close to the ground at this speed.

The training course was pretty good, the people there from sites all over the country were great and the commute through the Laguna Hills into Irvine down route 133 was gorgeous. And because of a last-minute schedule change, we had to spend Monday entertaining ourselves. This enforced drastic measures, including spending several traumatic hours on the deck at The Cliff restaurant, getting sun-tans, drinking ice-cold beers and looking at this:

This week is / was a doooooooozy, aka a coincidental cluster of circumstances which require me (and my workmates) to run round like blue-arsed flies balancing it. We have a Nadcap audit in progress, someone in my department just left and so I partially (temporarily) inherited Rolls Royce, and my regular backup is out for some different training, so I’m juggling and cartwheeling all the way to the asylum. But I’m determined to take this Saturday off, because Sunday morning I’m flying out to CA for a week, for training of my own. But… we had some great news this week, and one of my first programs I built in VBA has been put to amazing use by my colleagues, and yielded some pretty cool results which pleased one of our customers (and management) greatly.

And… I finally bought a pretty, solid-top classical guitar on Saturday, which having not played in several years feels good yet extremely clunky and awkward. And on Sunday, my nephew and I went to Dave & Busters Arcade and shot the hell out of zombies, terrorists and Terminators. The new T4 Salvation game is awesome, and the guns are badass, but the only downside is that you can’t bring yourself to stop playing until your wrists are screaming in agony.

So in the list of stuff I haven’t achieved:

* Didn’t work on the new web application

* Haven’t slept enough

* Haven’t shaved my head since last week, so it may require the electric shears prior to the manual razor

* I didn’t learn banjo, (although I never wanted or intended to); but I did listen to Bela Fleck a bit over the weekend

Tonight we’re just kicking back and watching a couple of Stargate Universe episodes on Hulu, and tomorrow the audit will be done, so things will start to settle down.

Since I started back at work, various things have attempted to impinge upon my sanity, as well as any extra free time I was planning on claiming as my own. But that’s OK, stress is banned from my life, and so I don’t feel it too often. Weird how a mental pause & reflection can control this stuff. Peter Carroll calls it ‘Sleight of mind’, and this works for me on a surprisingly frequent basis.

This week a couple of Excel applications I built using VBA went beta-live, and there were only a handful of bugs reported, which were relatively easy fixes. One of my colleagues is leaving next Friday, and so I inherited another pile of work, but have no idea how or when I can break from my already over-maxed days to train in this stuff. And even under normal circumstances, two (one) weeks is grossly insufficient to train for that particular job.

Laguna Beach is getting closer, & while I’m out there I’m goin to be seein my friend Aurelio O’Brien, who incidentally is not only just an excellent author, but has just released his new novel “GENeration eXtra TERrestrial” in eBook format, which is A: Great writing, B: A great story, C: Available in bite-sized chunks for a very bite-sized price in all the popular formats. Highly recommended stuff.

So this weekend I’m going to be doing very little other than maxin and relaxin. Maybe write a little, maybe some sitebuilding, maybe even some beer…

First things first, I hope the link I just wrote in longhand html works…

Dead Fish

Posted: February 22, 2011 in Life, Tech
Tags: , , , , , ,

And the routine is back underway.

Yesterday was OK, dragged a little bit, but all in all I survived. This weekend I got my predicted death certificate in the mail, via David Malki from http://machineofdeath.net – which alleges that my demise is going to be a result of “Cannery”. It really is a gorgeous cert too, embossed with a gold seal of authenticity, signed by Mandovar Excelsior – the minister of predicted deaths. So it has to be true. One day, a Cannery will be my destruction. That’s far more positive than a Can’tery or a Won’tery.

Built another template page last night, which is working out well, because it gives me something to scribble notes and arrows and directions all over, and gives me a pretty clear view of the stuff this site needs to do. Right now, it more resembles a dead fish. But a dead fish filled with promise and potential.

And now, I’m heading back out into the fray.

Early start today, as I’m heading back to work, and joy oh joy, it is snowing. Again.

That’s OK though, I feel pretty good, slept well and have coffee.

So I pondered yesterday: what’s the best way to build a site when you don’t know where to begin?

I needed to do something, anything, to get my teeth in and past the “concept” (avoidance) phase. Well maybe now I’m out of the gate. I threw a page together, as the official first draft template of the first page of the first site of the first adventure of the primary sector in the tertiary adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One. It does nothing, it goes nowhere and it has no content. But it’s a frame upon which I can begin my Frankenstein experiments. Call it a wireframe of sorts.

In other news, I downloaded GIMP (a free, open source Photoshop-style software), and it seems pretty good – great for free – but I’m having Post-Photoshop Adjustment Disorder (P.P.A.D). It’s gonna take some getting used to.

Last night I made Italian sauce, with chicken/feta cheese sausage, sun-dried tomato / basil sausage, onions, mushroom, tomatoes, tons of garlic and fettuccini pasta. It was delicious, and rendered lots of leftovers. We also started Sex and the City 2, but it was terrible, (bad writing / directing / characters didn’t feel like the same characters), and so we quit on that and watched a bunch of Bear Grylls survival shows on Netflix. Plus… I drank a few beers, and ate 2 Cadbury’s Cream Eggs. This kind of over-indulgent opulence is the reason Al Qaida hates me.

But despite my aspirations towards a day of pure sloth, I wasn’t able to completely abstain from playing with the app, although at this point it’s more appropriate to call it a self-schooling exercise in tech-soup.

While php alone and html alone are straightforward enough, I need to pay more attention to the points where I skip in and out of the two, using variables and html together. Take simple text string messages, for example. Echo statements are great until I need to incorporate (and concatanate with) html tags and or straight text. Then the output gets weird, or just doesn’t work.

That’s OK, my good old trusty Larry Ullman book will help. Reading is useful.

Another fundamental I want to know is: When I’m outputting row after row from a database using a While loop (aka while row != empty), how do I set the html attributes so this output is displayed in a table, with visible borders?

I am trying to run before I can walk, I know I need to go through tutorials first, but still – name one single person who took a guitar lesson for the first time and didn’t want to jump straight into the solo from [insert song
here]?

By next weekend I will know these answers, be far more comfortable with the syntactical weave, AND (if I try really hard) I’ll be one week older.

Today I’ll start looking at this, but also need to go grocery shopping, iron some shirts and get ready to go back to work tomorrow. This week off has flown by.

So yesterday, getting the new laptop all configured whilst barely moving a muscle, I played and I played and I played. It was fun, although by last night my back ached and my ass was numb.

So in order of importance, what did I achieve?

1. I have this new blog which I can update via email (as I am now), set up to publish to WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn via their WP gadget. This is comfortable; it feels like I’m just emailing myself, which I do all the time, although I rarely read emails from myself because they’re annoying.

2. I consolidated various email accounts and RSS feed subscriptions into my Windows Live Mail client. Score for efficiency (or laziness – a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet…)

3. I have all the tools set up and configured to start drafting / building the new web application.

4. I have the house set up in a wireless P2P network, so can access files on the desktop from the laptop, we can all use the printer, and I don’t need to leave the chair. In fact, I could even work on the app while I’m in the bath, although I probably won’t, and would definitely advise against it.

5. I got a new high score on Bejeweled Blitz, somewhere in the 230,000s.

6. I cooked a delicious vegetarian meal and then we ate too much.

7. I built a template page in Nvu (WYSIWYG site builder) and then printed and obsessed over the source code for a while, to get familiar with how elements are named and nested tables and classes and attributes and properties are referenced. (I am learning html / xhtml / css / php on the fly.)

8. I made a basic MySQL database, and then a page which takes input via a form, connects & writes said input to said database table using php and then outputs the contents of the database table to the same page. Not bad for a noob. Sooner or later I need to learn how to validate the data to prevent empty strings being entered or SQL injection attacks.

9. I met our new neighbor, who is weird.

Today I plan on being far less productive, forgetting most of what I learned yesterday, and then ending the night feeling like an unproductive loser. If I get particularly ambitious, I might go out to buy some more sugar. I used the last of it this morning.