Posts Tagged: web development

Tidbits from a Monday in Early July

Due to being deep in my second “Blackout” period of the year whilst working away on a web app, I have no interesting thoughts or photos for you all today. But I do have a few tidbits:
1) Magnus the Pom-huahua (or Chi-meranian) came over to visit and have a play date with Scruffy today. A few notes on Magnus:
a) Magnus dropped off a few fleas and shared them with Scruffy. The fleas bit and then jumped off Scruffy due to his Frontline protection, but now Scruff has a bunch of inflamed flea bites on his tummy. I need to call the vet to ask what to do about this when we are only two weeks since his last Frontline application (minimum time between Frontline applications = one month, maximum = 2 months).
b) Magnus is as bad as Belle about letting me work. He repeatedly climbed on me and my computer trying to get attention.
2) I have made a To Do List breakthrough… The highly detailed list with over 32 points on it that I made a few weeks ago… Well, I checked off the final undone activity today when I washed my apartment’s curtains. They are now very clean and slightly wrinkled.
Do I seem like the sort of human to own an iron? No, the iron is loaned out right now. Do I seem like the sort of human to iron my curtains when they come out of the dryer?
((She runs for the hills, screaming…))
3) I have entered, as mentioned above, my 2nd “Blackout” period of the year. This is where I sweep out all distractions and work on an a web application for two weeks. Day one is going very well so far. Am excited. Since my last Blackout in late March, I have been able to piece together a lot of code bits, IA and UI bits, as well as the large picture structure, and am as a result, I am prepped, ready and very excited.
My goal is to have the app to Alpha Testing phase by Saturday. I think I can do it. Why Saturday? Well, I am speaking Saturday night at an Art / Music / Writing / Web Salon and it will be the perfect time to recruit testers. An Art Web App needs Artists to test it, right? Right.
Impetus. Determination. I promise I will not try to procrastinate with housework, as I have got 95% of it done*, well, except bleaching the bathroom ceiling**.
4) After struggling most of last year with trying to realize my application ideas in Ruby on Rails or PHP, I have tossed both to the winds and am now developing in Django and am MUCH happier. PHP is too messy for my minimalist streak. Ruby on Rails really is oriented for the programmer to do web developement, but Django is a lovely framework for web designers to get into development with. With no apologies, I will say that I am having a lot of fun with Django only a few struggles. Yeah.
* This past weekend, Erika very kindly helped me completely rearrange all the furniture in my living room & bedroom, except my corner cabinet, bed and 3 bookcases. We did all of this so I wouldn’t be distracted this week.
** This is my favorite inside joke, as when I was writing my Master’s thesis, I got so stressed out that I stood on the toilet to bleach my bathroom ceiling and thus broke the toilet and dripped bleach on to me. When the repair guy came, he did not believe the truth whatsoever , but thought I was up to some sort of naughty on the toilet. No naughty, just serious out of control procrastination – totally different.

The Big Switch Over, or Back to My Nokia N95

The WOM World folk let me keep one of the Urbanista Diaries N82’s through SXSW for better photo taking, but today I had to reset it back to factory settings & wipe the extra memory chip in anticipation of shipping it back to the UK and returning to the daily use of my Nokia N95.
To get my Nokia N95 back into daily use, I updated it to the most recent N95 update and optimized the files. Per usual, the update wiped all my settings and programs, so I had to reinstall ShoZu and Joiku, as well as redo my blog settings in Lifeblog. Only problem is that the 20.0.0.something update for the N95 has made Lifeblog incompatible with this install of Movable Type Open Source 4.1, or if not incompatible at least it won’t recognize the correct settings. The N95 12.0.0.something Lifeblog worked just fine with this MTOS 4.1 install, and so did the most recent update / OS version for the N82. I have run through the phone’s Lifeblog settings 7 times and reset them each time and it still can’t find this blog. Bah!
When I met up with Charlie in London a couple of weeks ago, he was surprised that Lifeblog was installed on the N82 and said that the N82 would most likely be the last phone that would have Lifeblog. Charlie unofficially confirmed what I had supposed for sometime now, that Nokia has left Lifeblog to die.
This will be a problem for me and my daily moblogging from my phone to this blog. I have tried for a few years now to convince various Movable Type perl developers to make a mobile blogging plugin that would work across a variety of mobile platforms to moblog photos and text to one’s MT 3.x or 4.x install, but to no avail. David Jacobs told me that his company, Apperceptive, has made such a plugin for paying customers and will be releasing a version to the public, but it has not happened yet.
Charlie is currently working with David on a blog for Nokia and hinted that one of the side projects would be a mobile blogging plugin for Nokia phones.
Please, please, please…


Vagabond or Freelancer?

At dinner last night, it came out that various members of my family think I am a vagabond.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a vagabond.
In my seven years and four months as a freelance web designer and developer, there have been many ups and downs to working as a “consultant” rather than cube farming as an employee at an established company. Over the years, I have attempted to solve many of the major pitfalls of freelancing by purchasing my own health in-sewer-ants (Kaiser), opening my own 401k, and working at even-ing out the cash flow, etc., but I never thought of public perception as a pitfall of freelancing.
In web design and development, I know more folks who are freelance than who work at a company. Of the friends who do work at a firm / corporations, I only know of one who is truly satisfied and the others keep talking of going back to freelancing or at least entertain the idea of it or are jealous of friends who are freelance. Of my freelance friends, many of us toy with the idea of steady cube farming, but instead have started to form informal partnerships with other freelancers or small design/dev firms to have greater reach than just one person could.
But to be called a vagabond. Really.
Now to be fair the person who said this is in their late 80s / early 90s and this may be a generational gap issue and a lack of understanding of contemporary work practices & realitites more than an insult, but I was still surprised.
In the web design & dev world, I am a moderate stay at home freelancer compared to some of my compatriots who are on the conference speaking circuit or have clients spread far & wide. I do get out and about a couple of times a year, be it for conference speaking, conference attendance, or just plain travel. Heck, I haven’t even reached the gold status, let alone platinum super-flyer, with my frequent flyer program.
How can I be a vagabond if I am not even recognized by my fave airline as a frequent frequent flyer?
All jokes aside, I have reached the stage of life of which in some folks’ expectation I should have bought a house, started a family, and otherwise “settled down”. So when the news hit the family that I would be spending a great deal of the month of February trotting about on the Nokia Urbanista Diaries project… vagabond!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I will be out and about from Feb. 6th to 24th participating in the Urbanista Diaries project / challenge with Nokia N82. Now one of the glories of having a freelance web design career is that I can say “Yes!” to Nokia and not have to worry about not having enough vacation time. As a freelancer, I just need to get my work done, give warning to my clients and folks I contract with, and then off I go.
More on my destinations in a bit… I first need to find my tin cup, red kerchief, a hobo hat, and suspenders of which to deck myself out for my trip!