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Laptop hunting

It’s Thanksgiving weekend and I’m spending it at family’s.  Getting away and recouping feels great, but i can’t lie, i really wish i had a laptop to work on. 

The past few days I’ve been window shopping for one and i must admit I’ve been drooling a little for a MacBook Pro. 

My cousin brought her mbp (13″ non-retina) for me to check out.   I like it a LOT.  The last lap top i had was a 17″ inch Sony Vaio.  It was a great machine.  I thought the 13″ mbp would feel tight and crowded bit it didnt. 

My only complaint is that things look a bit “soft” around the edges.  My monitor at home is very bright at sharp, so maybe I’m just spoiled. 

I looked up her mbp and saw that for the ram and GB of space the non retina mbp is not bad at all.  But. ..the price… uggh. 

I was curious about the low end retina mbp and my face dropped at the gigs of space in the low end one, 128gs.  Really? Who won’t fill that up within a month? Who can work with that? That’s half of my music.  When i liked at the price…uggghhh… but the screen!   And OSX…is it worth it?  

I don’t think it is.  I know i can get something more powerful for a lot less.

So here’s what I’m struggling with. .. whats a good mbp alternative?   I want to use it for front end work, have a beautiful bright crisp screen, not break the bank.  I’m looking to spend  $600 (but could sacrifice up to $750  for an amazing machine), lightweight (i want to take it with me everywhere) and definitely minimum 500 GB since  I want to be able to dual boot Ubuntu or Mint. 

Suggestions welcome!

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podcasts and resources

I have been on codenewbie.org (I love it, it’s in my top 5 webdeveloping sites ) and in their discourse (forum) there was a thread for favorite podcasts.  Being that i have a long commute to work (50 minutes on a good day, thanks NYC MTA) I decided to check some of these out.  So far I’ve listened to two podcasts:

I listened to every episode of Starthere.fm.  There are eleven episodes so far, each ranging from 22 to 45 minutes.  I listened to these in the order they were published /pushed/released.  Is there a specific word for when a podcast is made public?  The podcast is an introduction to web developing and is hosted by Dan Miller and Keith Monahan, two self taught developers.  It’s awesome.  I highly recommend it and look forward to more podcasts.

 

How To Hold A Pencil, I skipped around a bit.  The basis of the podcast are interviews with self taught developers and sharing how they got into the business.  I’ve listened to a few of the podcasts.  They range from 22 to 35 minutes.  I also recommend you check it out.

 

Listening to podcasts the past few days has brought something to light.   I thought I wanted to jump in and do back-end work.   But the more podcasts I’m listening to,  the more attracted I am to hearing about design, the ux/ui experience.  I don’t think I would want to just design as I was studying graphic design in college and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t fulfilling.  For now, I’m going to focus on design and front end development.

Since before my NYPL class ended I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what programming language to learn next.   I’ve  (finally) come to the conclusion that for now, I’ll really study CSS and Bootstrap while focusing on the ux/ui.

 

I think it makes logical sense to have a project in mind and work on what you need to learn to create your vision.  So i’m going to work on CSS, Bootstrap and maybe a little JS, if it calls for it.

Sorry for any typos, updating from my cellphone.  Technology, I love you.

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Setting up Github on Ubuntu…

Decided to get myself more comfortable with Github.  I decided I’m going to spruce up that personal page I created for my friend and figured, let me use Github to document the steps.  It’s not as easy to set up Git as it was on Windows, since I had to create a keygen on Terminal.  Windows generates these… i physically made it happen.

But i gotta tell you, I have the only head rush after an hour trying to set it up.  I feel so empowered!

Note to those attempting to do it:  follow Github’s directions to a T. capitalize what they capitalize and always check your spelling.  Remember ONLY follow Github’s instructions and NOTHING else.  Trust me, you will save yourself 53 minutes, as when I followed Github, it didn’t take even take 10 minutes to set up.  I’ll just say those other 53 minutes were practice on what NOT to do on Terminal.

This is what victory looks like:

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Github Page Project

Okay, I finally figured out how to post my project page on Github.  It took me jumping back on my Windows partition and within 5 minutes, I was up and running. Sigh… I wish I was more Ubuntu/Command line savvy, as I’m enjoying the operating system.

Here’s the page for those interested.  Little background story:  My friend is an Insanity Coach and when I asked on my FB page if anyone wanted a free page she asked.  She became the personal project I worked on for my NYPL program.

Here’s that page:

Insanity Coach Personal Trainer

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Graduation!

Yesterday I graduated from my 8-week course from the NYPL’s TechConnect Program: Project_<code>.  I feel amazing. It’s been over 24 hours and I still feel giddy. It’s the first time in a long time, I stuck to something and saw it to the end.  Except, in this case, this feels like chapter 1 in my journey.

I feel pretty amazing having my friend hear about this project and getting in.  It was great.  I feel blessed that something like this even exists because not only has it motivated me, but it’s given me a REAL start to my path.  There is SO much information, so many free tutorials that your head kind of spins and you don’t really know where to start.

I feel lucky I got such an awesome instructor because honestly, he’s more than a “for hire” teacher where he’s there for a paycheck.  My instructor was answering emails and sharing links on our forum at all hours of the day.  THAT’s the kind of teacher you want along side of you.  It’s really inspired me to dedicate more to my little blog and not only document my journey, but maybe help someone out there as well.

Some pics of tonight:

Some of my classmates and our teacher, Ralph Jones sporting the stylish bowtie (That’s me on the right).

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My Certificate. Name edited out because google exists.

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I was awarded this pen for “Outstanding Work”. I was shocked, flattered and humbled all at once. I finally felt confirmation that if you put out hard work and good energy out into the universe, the universe will acknowledge it.
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Codecademy… Javascript

Still working on the Javascript Is Sexy tutorial.  I started working on Codecademy’s Javascript tutorial (again) and got caught up to where I had left off confused.  Except this time, the syntax is making a bit more sense.  Victory!  I know everyone says it gets worse, before it gets better.  I have a feeling I haven’t hit that just yet, but I’m SO happy with where I am.

Since finishing that Bootstrap tutorial, I’ve been thinking of re-doing the personal page I did for my friend, which I’m too embarrased to show her because it just seems… I don’t know.  I feel she deserves something better.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am SUPER proud at my first real page.  Just wondering if she would like it.  Guess I’ll have to host it somewhere.

Would I be able to load it on Github and show her?  Got to go find this out.   I know nothing of web hosting.

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Codecademy: Make a website. FINISHED

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A full circle…

It’s funny how assignment #4 in The Odin Project’s How Does your Computer Work tutorial is to do Zed Shaw’s Command Line Crash Course  which is what somewhat motivated me to download Ubuntu.

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Crazy Week

It’s been a crazy week sleepless week.  I’ve been sick, my DS and DH (Dear Son and Dear Husband, respectively)fell sick after me and I’ve had to play nurse .  And still that has not detered me from my little journey into development (though it hasn’t been easy).  I put the Javascript is Sexy Tutorial I was working on in the beginning of the week somewhat on hold.

I haven’t bought the book that goes along with the tutorial (although I will next week), as I have downloaded the amazon.com sample and it covers the first 2 chapters which are required reading for the first week.

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Being that I have a long commute, I started reading the book first, since I’ve already done #1 (TWICE!)   and worked on the “make a website track” on Codecademy during my lunch break.  I got as far as 86%.  I must say I was very bored with the track as it felt very redundant after having done the HTML & CSS track (TWICE), until I came up around the 66% mark and they introduced something I’ve heard being thrown around but had no idea what it was:  Bootstrap.  My curiosity was instantly piqued and I was all like “Ohh” and “Ahh” finally, I feel like I’m learning something develop-y-ish!

I hit the Bootstrap milestone on Tuesday, 10 minutes before lunchtime was over.  I’ve been listening to podcasts during work and it just so happened I was listening to this podcast featuring Saron Yitbarek on Hanselminutes.com (check Hansel minutes out, good stuff!) and Saron has a website called codenewbie.org and I checked it out and it’s REALLY cool.  Reading through the forums or discourse, as it’s called on CodeNewbie, a lot of people were mentioning TheOdinProject.com and how great it was a tutorial.

I had come across The Odin Project one night really REALLY late, but didn’t really persue through because by that time my brain was on information overload and really, how many tutorials/guides can I skim throught until you get the gist of them all: JUST START SOMEWHERE.    The praises on CodeNewbie were SO positive for The Odin Project that I checked out the first lesson.  What really got me though was that the first lesson wasn’t “learn HTML/CSS”.  The first lesson is “About Web Developers”.  Inside the lesson are steps about what a web developer is and isn’t.  Included are numerous articles, vides and GIFs.  It just so happened that because I couldn’t be at the computer most of the week (insert illness here), I stuck to my phone and read and watched vids and learned a few things.  I even finished lesson #1 and am now halfway through lesson #2: Web Development 101.    I have a feeling I won’t be done in just a few days with this lesson.  Each step is chock-ful or resources and information.  I’m enjoying it so far.  I’m halfway done with part 2: How does the web work? and  (and yes, I check out the additional resources they provide, because, hey more learning!).  So far so good.  There are a few concepts* that are hard to wrap my head around because of the new terminology, but with a bit more reading and exposure, I think I’ll eventually get it.

*The concepts I don’t understand are the server response code when you follow a link.  Sound sa bit crazy, but as I’m reading I’m thinking, where exactly is this happening and HOW. Where does the number “200” come in and who assigned it to mean “all is well”.  Do I really need to know who and why it was assigned that way?  Hmm… I don’t know.  Do I NEED to know exactly how it functions in order to make a responsive website?  Will I be okay just knowing of it’s existence?  I hope the answer is yes.  Will keep on reading and clicking and seeing where I go.

P.S. I’m seeing the Odin Project as a thing I NEED to do.  This is mostly based on the fact that:

  1. It’s powered by The Viking Project.
  2. My handle is Valkyrea (derived from Valkyrie, which I got from one of my favorite books, and was the name of my WOW character, a Paladin, if you must know.)
  3. The Odin Project… hello, are we seeing a pattern? Norse mythology…

It’s a sign!

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Real developer?

I just downloaded (and got to work) Ubuntu on my PC.  Does this mean I’m a legit developer now?

During work I started listening to podcasts/youtube videos to keep my head in the developing game while I’m not developing.  I was listening to a skillcrush video on youtube (this one, for those interested). The speaker recommended learning on Ruby because it’s a bit easier, and I’ve read this a LOT.

So I looked up Ruby and everyone seems to be of a similiar thought and mention that Ruby is easier on aMac, if not on Linux and SUCKS on Windows.  I can’t afford a Mac right now, and even if I did, I wouldn’t feel fully comfortable forking over that much cash for a machine when i could go out and build myself a rig that’s twice as powerful and half as costly.  WHOA, I already did that last year, look.at.that.  In your face, Apple.

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Apple.  I love their philosophy and aesthetics, I just dislike their price tag.

So, next best thing: Linux based OS.  My favorite part: the price tag! Yay for open source.

I’ll be working on the “Learn Ruby The Hard Way” program by Zed Shaw.  I don’t know the command/powershell/bash so will start with that.  Wish me luck!

Screenshot from 2014-11-12 22:35:20

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