Thursday, April 15, 2010

Swept Away

Guess I didn't realize how much time had passed.  I am sorry for neglecting you dear blog, that truly wasn't my intention.  I will try to be more vigilant in the future.

First off, my first term of college ended on an awesome note, 4.0 GPA.  I'm not sure I've ever gotten a 4.0 so proud is a bit of an understatement (especially considering I even aced algebra), I'm head over heels.  It's a great feeling, and it's really given me incentive to try and continue to do well.  (Hopefully I haven't set the bar too high.)

My second term has started off great.  I was able to get into my wait-listed English Composition class (so I can take the class online versus a four hour class every Thursday) and I am thrilled with it.  Online classes are awesome.  For the most part, it allows me to go at my own pace, which especially in a class about writing, is a huge benefit.  Plus, I can be more inhibited with my writing in online setting verses in a classroom.  It's easier for me, I feel like my voice is stronger here.

For my Advanced Web Design course, as part of our final project, we need to create a web site, as if we were actually web designers (not students) and basically it needs to be real (or at least realistic), something that could hypothetically be taken to a company or person in a professional compacity.  After much deliberation, back-and-forth, and nail biting, I finally decided on (for now at least) creating a web site for the little beach town I used to call home in Southern California.

As far as I have been able to determine, they don't have one solely dedicated to themselves (just portions of other sites) and it has plenty of elements and history that I think it deserves one.  Whether or not it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen but the effort will be fun and it could end up being a good addition to my design portfolio. 

My Computer Applications course has been both interesting and a breeze.  The entire focus of the class is Microsoft Office (a program I have been familiar with for many years).  The section on Word took me three days to complete (three weeks worth of the course calendar) and I learned a few little things that I didn't already know.  I enjoyed learning more about Excel, I had little experience with it before now and I didn't know all the nifty little things I could do.  The only thing left in the Excel section is the exam, which isn't yet available.  The next section (and last) is about Access, which I know virtually nothing about but accept the challenge.  Best part?  It's not even the end of week 3.

Algebra 2 is going well, I took my first exam yesterday and I'm not feeling too bad about it.  Polynomials.  I can't say that they are fun.  I am glad I have the same teacher again, he's pretty cool.  It's more about understanding it than memorizing it (hence being able to use a cheat sheet during exams) and I think it really makes a difference. 

Hopefully I'll have something to update my web site with soon, I just don't want to clutter it up with a bunch of unnecessary elements to try and conceal the fact that I really just don't have much experience yet.  I'll get there dangit, I will.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break

I have never wanted to skip spring break more.  Can you believe I actually found myself reading a textbook, when the new term doesn't even begin until the 29th?  I want some assignments, I want homework!  (My mom would probably collapse hearing me say those simple words.)

One of my classes next term focuses on Fireworks and Dreamweaver.  While I have absolutely no experience with Fireworks (I don't even know where to begin after opening the program), Dreamweaver has been a little easier to understand, however I can't wait to go through the class tutorials to really see what I can do with this baby.

Adobe Creative Suite CS4 is my newest toy and I have the feeling it will be much more enjoyable once I actually know how to use it.  PhotoShop has been fun, it's been interesting to compare with GIMP (the free alternative provided by Linux).  Some things are very similar while others are quite different.  I almost feel like using both programs until I gain a better understanding of PS.  Flash is a program that I am looking forward to getting to know, however I won't be taking a class in it until a couple terms from now.  Suppose I could wing-it until then?

I made some improvements to my web site yesterday, mainly adding some attractive headers (created with PhotoShop) to replace the plain-Jane default fonts supported by most browsers.  I decided to use tables in my layout (having used frames in my initial school project) and so far it is working out well, though I haven't much content to complicate things just yet.

That's another thing, what about content?  What should be on my "portfolio website"?  Especially if I haven't done much yet to actually put on display.  How do I show what I'm capable of without inflating my site with a bunch of pointless content (beyond the obvious of getting a job in web design, the goal though currently relatively unrealistic)?  Is it better to have close to nothing displayed rather than excess baggage possibly reeking of desperation?  If anyone can offer up some advice on that one, please do.

I added Site Meter to a couple of my pages, to figure out which browser(s) and screen resolution(s) to cater to for my audience.  I figure it's a worth while effort, given the importance my HTML instructor (and pretty much every other web design teaching resource) stressed upon compatibility and accessibility.  I intend to keep up the high standard I set for myself during the first term, continuously validating through the W3C, if nothing else, because I like when it tells me my site is valid and free of errors. (Though I can't say the same for my blog: tisk, tisk blogger.)

Question:  How can someone hack into an e-mail account that was closed three months ago (the person having passed away) and send Viagra ads to the person's friends and family?  It was quite a surprise to see that e-mail in my inbox this morning.  Is there anything I can do?  Isn't there at least a code of ethics, morals, or respect that this falls under?  Bad form hacker, bad form.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Officially Offical

Yesterday I made the big leap from a free web host (which was flagged by my anti-virus software so I'd avoid x10hosting if I were you) to my very own domain.  I feel official, like I just went legit.  I may still be a student when it comes to this whole web design thing, but that's no reason not to take me seriously, right?

So after the big deal to secure my very own place in cyberspace, what do I do today?  I start a free account with blogger.  What can I say?  I like the community.  I'm a blogger from way back, been out of touch for a while, and now I've got new adventures to share with the world, so why not do it here?

This little blog is going to be the place I unload everything that can't fit into one hundred and forty characters (Twitter, my newest addiction) and for anything I deem "less than professional" or "too informal" for my portfolio web site.  So yeah, I'll be putting pretty much anything I want here.

Oh yeah, my adventures...  Sooner or later you are going to want to know a little about me so here goes:

You know that feeling, when you wake up and suddenly you're almost thirty, divorced, unemployed, uneducated, with cats instead of kids, and living in the room that managed to survive your years of attempted teenage angst?

No?  Is that just me?  Huh...  Anyway, that was then, this is now (oddly enough, then wasn't that long ago and now isn't ENTIRELY different, but I digress).

I am now a full time student, studying for an actual career, making steps towards becoming a professional, and trying out this new-fangled thing called "networking".  It's an interesting process for an shy introvert such as myself but I have to say I'm proud of my progress.

Tomorrow is the last final of my first term of college, algebra.  Believe it or not, I think I may not just pass, but actually do well.  I've done amazingly (in my eyes) during this term, I may even complete it with all A's.  Better than expected, making me nice and giddy inside of course, like a first grader bringing home that first gold star.

For the moment, I can't really think of much else to add to this lovely introduction, so I'll bid the blogger universe goodnight and go shove the critters off the bed so I can catch some zzz's.