Bi-Weekly Leaning Update (7!)

A few exciting things for me to ramble about in this post: a new [to me] operating system, a few thoughts about my beginners web design course, and two sites I’m currently working on.

A few weeks ago I got really frustrated with my laptop. I actually nicknamed it Marvin after the depressed android from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, because he takes his time doing things and can’t be rushed… Well it finally all got a bit much for me, and I decided that short of throwing him into the canal, something needed to be done. That something was getting rid of Windows! Originally Marvin came with Windows XP installed, and it was fine while I was at college [saying that, he still managed to get named after a depressed robot, so exactly how ‘fine’ it was is debatable!] then a few months ago I installed Windows 8 [and it was a rough few months!] I never quite got the hang of the secret handshake required to bring up the side menu, and for some reason using my touchpad set to left handed meant that I couldn’t tap to click- I actually had to click the right button. It was little things, but they were constant enough to really annoy me.

I’ve been toying with the idea of using a different operating system for a few months already- I coveted a Mac, but I won’t be able to afford one anytime soon without some serious sacrifices, so installing Linux or Ubuntu on my laptop seemed like the way forward. I had previously heard some really great things about Linux Mint, and was leaning towards that, but on doing a bit of research, a lot of articles and blog posts online leaned toward Ubuntu for a laptop. I loaded the installer onto a 4gb flash drive, and had Ubuntu installed in no time. It was actually a lot more painless than I thought it would be! I don’t get much of a chance to use my laptop during the week- work just takes over, but it’s been nearly a month now and I’m liking Ubuntu more than I ever liked Windows. It is taking a bit of getting used to, but any problems I’ve run into so far have been resolved pretty easily with a quick search. I would also say that my computer is now set up in a way which suits me and the things I’m doing better. Last weekend I even managed to get rails set up to use PostgreSQL, which will allow me to deploy projects to Heroku- something I ran into a lot of problems with before!

As mentioned, I’m taking a beginners web design course. It’s only a six-week evening course, so it’s barely scratching the surface, but it’s a good taster course, and it’s giving me the opportunity to work with Adobe Dreamweaver for a couple hours each week. Previously I’d only used Notepad++ and Sublime text as my text editors, so I was excited to use Dreamweaver after hearing so many people rave about it. Well, it is good, and I’m sure if I took the time to set it up the way I wanted it I’d really love it, but despite the convenience of the split view, and the markup which practically writes itself, I find Sublime leaves my markup a lot more readable [colour-coding, indentation…] As I expected, being a web design course it doesn’t go in depth with the coding and markup as much as I would like, but I’ve been having trouble finding a development course, and I think that I could really benefit from learning more about design and the designing process. I haven’t decided yet if I will take the next level of web design from this particular college, which will be offered in September, but it’s definitely a possibility.

Projects! Two of my friends have given me some content to play around with, and I’ve been busy! [well, busier than usual!] Keep in mind that this is a work in progress. (Check out the code here) Cass wants a site for her art business, where people can view work she’s already completed, details about pricing and delivery, and contact her to place an order. I have the bones of the site finished so far, and most of the content placed, so now I’m working on refining it and making it look and function the way I [and probably more importantly my friend!] want it to. One of the things I want to add is that on the index I’d like the images to expand to show the full image when hovered over. I know that I’ve done something similar with jQuery, so I’m planning to use that, but I’m going to need to brush up on it! I’ll be posting about these projects as they progress [I haven’t started work on the second site, but have been thinking about making something with rails!]

Hope everyone else is feeling as positive this weekend!

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