Returning from SXSW

I’ve been slack a lackin’ on my blogs as of recent and part of the reason is a little trip I took to Austin last weekend for this conference called South by Southwest aka SXSW. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

The week leading up to this event I completely checked myself out of my life because there was nothing more exciting going on besides the wonders I was about to experience in Austin.  And experience I did.

But the point of this post is not to brag about my adventures but what I learned that correlates to my studies.

Fortunately, I completed my first app: a personal portfolio.  It is not complete in any way but it works and functions (and looks like) an app.  Complete with iOS stylized forms and geolocation I would say its a standing achievement towards what I am learning and wanting to become from this program.

When I started learning how to make apps, let me tell you I had no idea what to expect and what I needed to learn in order for these apps to work.  I thought I had to be responsible for the zooming capabilities, the automatic keyboard functions and all that jazz, but luckily Apple has that covered.

I get to play with all the fun stuff.

And by all the fun stuff I mean jQuery and AJAX.

Completing this first app and what I learned from SXSW has allowed me to be more comfortable with where I stand in my education and preparing me after graduation but it also motivated me and inspired me to learn more about apps.  I received a free design for mobile book while at SXSW and have a few others that I will be plowing through over spring break whilst working on my capstone.

Recently I completed this site for my law class manipulating some JS functions that I partially wrote.  Basically, it’s a jQuery scrollTo idea but it’s something to be proud of when you are teaching this stuff to yourself.

I hope over spring break and I can build a small app to start building a portfolio of this skill that I have.  Also, I’m going to start WordPress (bum bum buuum).  Should be an exciting break.  And yes, I am totally serious.

If you want to see my app, open this link on your mobile and click “add to homescreen” in order to see the app in action.

And that is all for now.

 

Why Doesn’t Congress Grok The Internet?

Many people don’t quite understand fair use, let alone the majority of copyright law, so when seeing this question in a panel I knew I had to take a gander at what was going on.  What’s interesting is that Hollywood seems to have the least understanding of IP law but they abuse this law the most, and then they work for large corporations that get them money, so it all comes full circle.  And these “squabbles” will keep continuing because at the end of the day its not who has to follow the laws and who doesn’t but what laws will work for everyone (if that can happen).

 

The panel tried to steer from a Congress-bashing discussion, but it can be hard when discussing tech-heavy issue because there is ignorance to tech in government standards and how to control tech.  Tech redefines what is fair use and originally when these laws were made they didn’t consider tech because there wasn’t tech to consider, just Hollywood and their stealing, ahem adaptation of original stories, novels what have you.  Musicians were stealing songs and styles.  You know, all those people who are making millions of dollars and wanted to protect the $100 they were losing.

 

However, tech individuals are the ones making big bucks these days, so when it comes to deciphering fair use there needs to be a objective view point.  How about we let the average Joe make some decisions too?  There needs to be a balance in the law because they represent the people, all the people.

 

It is not just ignorance to tech.  It is ignorance to our laws and what they do and who is making them.  Someone needs to come and fix the laws back to original principle.

 

Most importantly, everyone needs to read and understand SOPA and PIPA.  America stands for freedom and expression and I am getting redundant to how these two acts show so much restraint against those things.

“American Copyright: Will Government Go Too Far?” SXSW 1

This panel discussed an issue that became very heated as the talk went along.   Apparently, last year during SXSW 2011 the White House IP Coordinator released a whitepaper (I don’t know what this is and neither does Google) basically stating that there is a need for stronger and higher punishment for piracy against copyright and increased international protection against pirates. So, in other words, the prerequisite to SOPA and PIPA.  And, of course, big media right holders are calling for this abysmal act because there is “economic harm” occurring.  Not necessarily, ladies and gents, these people just want to buy another ridiculous car or house in the Hamptons.  This panel was fantastic in the sense that there was a diversity of ideology on this issue.  Three lawyers, two on the corporate side, allowed for proper terminology and the correct definition of copyright rights allowed for the discussion to be factual and for everyone to make the proper arguments.  One panelist was owner of the website Copybyte which monitors content online and tracking infringement and/or plagiarism.  Last, was the owner of iFroggy who monitors a site that manages online forums- also known as open sources.  As you can see, this discussion was well balanced to deliver a great discussion and some heated bits.

 

Overall, it came down to how to monitor online content and even if SOPA and PIPA were enacted would they really be able to fix the current copyright problem?  Does America join a firewall like China?  Or do we stick to our liberties?  My favorite part was the discussion between whether corporate needed protection or if it were more important for the creators to be able to keep creating.

 

I actually started giggling to myself when they questioned if the concern for privacy outweighs the threat to “health and safety” of American consumers.  If I have a right to freedom I have a right to privacy, they can go hand-in-hand.  I enjoyed the fact that they actually consider us meager folk over monetary gain all over the place, but to create such emotional BS to swoon the argument is ridiculous.  American’s aren’t stupid and I feel we get this perception because we are sheep when it comes to consumerism.  And at the end of the day, we as the consumer will be the corporation’s assets to monetary gain so more respect needs to be given here.  We as the Americans have been able to swoon public policy and rights, I think if a majority of us do get educated on the (personal opinionated) subjectivity of what our copyright law is doing a change can be made.  I left after half of the Q&A because I just had enough.

Filling in the cracks

I’m a wee bit behind and I apologize. Saying it’s been a crazy week is an understatement. Let’s begin.

I think the program and myself included put an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves right at the ‘Go!’ of this semester. Coming over of flyin with no sleep, raging stress, and agitation, it’s incredibly hard to regroup in a few days before starting the biggest semester our program has. Everyone realized the workload would only increase as the semester went on and to that point have spent countless hours working on everything since the end of January.

And then this past week occured and everyone cracked.

And not in the most obvious of ways, but the tension and edge in the air was suffocating. Everyone did their best to hide their crazed eyes, but it was quite clear that a break was needed for everyone. With that, a reevaluation of ourselves and our work.

I myself have realized I need to calm down with my capstone. I’m a person that is going to get it done, so killing myself so early on is ridiculous when there are other events and projects that have to be done. Feeling guilty about going home around 8pm is ludicrous, there is plenty of time available so I should be able to sleep.

I could not get any work done last week than the barest of bare minimum. My brain was complete mush and could not grasp any concept or design any site. Nothing. Now, a lot of this is due to the lack of sleep I was getting because of an obnoxious neighbor above me, but midweek I just had to tell myself to stop. What’s the point of forcing myself to do anything if it’s going to come out as complete crap?

To top it all off, I had some sort of food poisoning or 24 hour stomach flu and let’s just say I felt like death. Still a bit hazy this morning, however getting myself away from so much school was the best thing I could have done for myself. Granted, I love my work and I love what I do, but everyone needs a break and needs to escape from pressure because you, we, I are all going to crack. And we did. I did.

In the end, I apologize for my lack of work and blogs but it was necessary and now I can get back to making really good stuff. Because I can do that. It’s what I do. I make good stuff.

Javascript Project 1

I don’t know if I really enjoy Javascript all that much. When it comes to mobile, we are okay, but other than that I find it quite lame. But, I’m a novice so I will give it a chance.

I have this love of maps and being from Chicago I get to explore one of the greatest maps to exist: The ‘L.’ As such, I thought a great project to create with JS/HTML5 for mobile would be a map of Chicago’s transit system.

Part 1: Creating the red line.

Using JS I created a replica of the entire Red Line from Chicago’s L system with a clickable link to Wikipedia’s page about the track.  Pretty nifty!

Complications? Not many besides the tedious task of match x, y coordinates exactly. Otherwise, it went pretty smoothly.  Now, hopefully after I finish I can make some hitTests on the paths to make the app more interesting. However, for a rapid prototype (and this one being my first) we are on good grounds. We will see how this continues.

Here’s the script:

<style>

#myCanvas{margin-top: -40px; }

h4 {margin-left: 150px;}

h4 a{color: red; font-family: Helvetica, sans-serif;}

</style>

 

<script type=”text/javascript”>

 

window.onload = function(){

 

var application =new NKApplication();

application.setStatusBarStyle(“black”);

 

var navController = new NKNavigationController();

navController.setTitle(“Chicago ‘L’way”);

navController.setTintColor(127, 62, 152);

 

var canvas = document.getElementById(“myCanvas”);

var context = canvas.getContext(“2d”);

 

//Red Line

context.strokeStyle = “red”;

context.lineWidth = 1;

 

context.beginPath();

context.moveTo(224, 22); //Howard

context.lineTo(228, 28); //Jarvis

context.lineTo(234, 42);

context.lineTo(234, 46); //Morse

context.lineTo(236, 52); //Loyola

context.lineTo(240, 62); //Granville

context.lineTo(240, 72); //Thorndale

context.lineTo(240, 82); //Bryn Mar

context.lineTo(240, 92); //Berwyn

context.lineTo(240, 102); //Argyle

context.lineTo(240, 112); //Lawrence

context.lineTo(240, 122); //Wilson

context.lineTo(240, 132); //Sheridan

context.lineTo(242, 135);

context.lineTo(245, 137); //Addison

context.lineTo(245, 142); //Belmont

context.lineTo(245, 152); //Fullerton

context.lineTo(245, 162); //North Clyborn

context.lineTo(247, 167);

context.lineTo(255, 167); //Clark/Division

context.lineTo(258, 169);

context.lineTo(258, 172); //Chicago

context.lineTo(258, 182); //Grand

context.lineTo(258, 202); //Lake

context.lineTo(258, 212); //Monroe

context.lineTo(258, 232); //Harrison

context.lineTo(255, 235);

context.lineTo(253, 240); //Roosevelt

context.lineTo(255, 280); //Cermak/Chinatown

context.lineTo(255, 310); //Sox, 35th

context.lineTo(250, 333); //47th

context.lineTo(250, 343); //Garfield

context.lineTo(250, 353); //63rd

context.lineTo(255, 363); //69th

context.lineTo(255, 383); //79th

context.lineTo(255, 393); //87th

context.lineTo(255, 403); //95th

 

context.stroke();

}

</script>

</head>

<body>

<h4><a href src=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Line_(Chicago_Transit_Authority)“>Red Line</a></h4>

<canvas id=”myCanvas” width=400 height=800>

</canvas>

</body>

</html>

 

Makes the page dramatically longer. I’d much appreciate simple hitTest JS that is written in the similar format of what is above.

A lot of people write their JS in their own style, which is completely understandable, but so disheartening as a beginner. Though Codecademy has been SUPER helpful, when people begin compressing name and code it’s hard to decipher what is needed in the actually functionality and the name someone created for the object. I digress.

I’m looking to add other capabilities to this, so if anyone has any ideas how to make this more interesting that what my concept will create, don’t be afraid to share.

Now, make to my major headache.

PS: I know this is post 2, but I needed a break from coding and this was a fantastic option.

It’s the final countdown

In exactly 3 months Elon iMedia will be hosting our Capstone Exhibition, and in exactly 3 months and 1 day we will be graduating. WHOA. Where did the time go? Wasn’t it just yesterday I was in Costa Rica? There are pangs in my heart as I type this. Must. Continue.

With the milestone of the countdown, I have taken it upon myself to add more content to my portfolio in order to best display my skills as a front-end developer and designer-ish for the web. My independent study is responsible for these projects, but I am trying to base them off of real applications and sites that have the potential of being used.

I complete the homepage of a website for my undergrad. I was on the soccer team, and for the past 4 years we have dedicated one October game to the fight against breast cancer. Our fundraiser idea has catapulted the school into being more aware and active with this cause and our games have led to a great amount of money being dedicated to Susan G Komen. But with the digital age we are in, everyone wants to be able to be active online, so, to pertain to these people I create a website for Cougs Kick Cancer. You can view it here.

The site has some tweaked JS that I completed and is formatted with HTL5. I will hopefully complete this by the weekend.

Next up our some JS projects, and its hard to figure these out. I’m not looking into writing out completely new JS for crazy functions (at least not yet). But, being able to prototype (rapidly) I have to better understand JS markup. So projects. I’m going to go ahead and make the navigation bars and such for my capstone app, but there needs to be more. I have a couple big project ideas, but I need to start off small. And then I found this.

A BOOK ENTIRELY DEVOTED TO HTML5/JS PROJECTS! WHAT?!?!?!

So, in the next couple of days I am going to complete these. Whoopie! No really, I’m excited.

Don’t worry, I am not slacking on my Codecademy, but I need to move on and grow as a JS developer.

If anyone has some good ideas on projects I am more than happy to take you up on them. This weekend is going to be busy as I have taken on some new responsibilities and because my mother is coming next weekend and I would like to NOT spend hours in a suite while she twiddles her thumbs. I need my momma time. So, if you don’t here from me, just bring me some coffee.

Peace, love, and ternary operators.

JavaScript’s Realm

Alright, I am a tad bit delayed here but there’s been yet another explosion of knowledge that had locked me up into JavaScript and I have finally escaped.  For those of you who don’t know, I am completing Codecademy.com which reminds me of those summer websites schools give to children to complete so they don’t forget their multiplication tables in the next three months.  This website deconstructs JS (JavaScript) to the bare bones and rebuilds its structure while teaching you what all its components are (variables, functions, etc).  What I didn’t know was the amount of math this involves, and though I don’t hate math, I won’t lie that a perk of this graduate program was the distance it (was supposed to) put between me and math.  Oh well.  Win some, lose some.  It’s not all bad.

Before we continue, why am I learning this?  Well I was given a helpful hint about my future career prospects: to know what they are looking for go look and see what they require on their job posts.  Der.  Well, many front-end web developers do a lot with JavaScript, however more is being done due to the explosion of HTML5 and its animation capabilities. This is where JS steps in.  It is expected of developers to complete rapid prototyping, which means I would run to my office after a meeting for an hour and create a wireframe of JS to what the site will be able to do.  Currently that hour stands for about a week with me, but the minutes are slowly decreasing.

So, anyways, I need to learn this.  Also, this steps into mobile and my capstone so it has all formed one large circle of knowledge that I am learning.

Anyways, Codecademy is kicking my butt, mostly due to the fact that I am not applying these components yet.  Everything works fine in the small lessons, but I haven’t made the transition yet to full function JS animation and I know it will stop me short.

The good news is that I have completed most of my studies on HTML5/CSS3.  I’m always going to look back and learn new things, but to have the initial grasp and memorization of the fundamentals is key, and I can do that.  Woo!  Plus I’ve started tweaking CSS functions to do my own things.  Oh, yeah.

For those of you who have no idea what the hell JS is, here’s a small piece of script:

var power = function (base, exponent) {
var result = 1;
for (var i = 0; i < exponent; i++) {
result = result * base;
}
return result;
};

power(2, 2);

It’s super fun. And no, I’m not being sarcastic.

I’m hoping by Friday I can sit down and complete one rapid prototype of basic function. HTML/CSS are definitely my favorite things to do with web, but this shouldn’t be too bad.  Speaking of web design, check this out:

Its. So. True.

I’ve created a little how-to for myself when it comes to how to do the actual prototype and the key elements in making a good one. If you would like to see it just email me and I’ll pass it along, but I got most of the information from here:

http://www.slideshare.net/pbakaus/rapid-prototyping-with-jquery

I feel slidershare’s are underrated. They do some awesome stuff.

I need to get back to my JS academy… Peace, love and divs.

The light of all things development is shining down on me…

Not so exciting morning: scrapping ice off my car when I am supposed to be living in the south.

Exciting morning: indulging in the <canvas> tag of HTML5 and learning how to complete my Capstone! Cue a less-stressed Carey.

Some of you may think my ‘exciting’ moment is not-so exciting. Well poo poo it is for me and if I could I would stick my tongue out at you.

Capstone is really starting to roll and I can feel the tension with our individual projects vibrating throughout the room. I’m personally trying to avoid the freak out by pacing myself as Cassie and I have created a very hefty first half of the semester calendar. Basically, we don’t want to be doing too much by April.

Anyways, I’m reading yet another fantastic, straightforward, easy-to-read book “HTML5: The Missing Manual,” and they dedicate an entire section on the canvas element, which is basically a drawing board in an HTML browser. (Have I told you how awesome HTML5 is? IT’S AWESOME!).

This drawing board is going to allow me to implement Cassie’s map into the HTML and (hopefully) draw paths over the map with this <canvas> function. And, yes, these paths are curved! Here’s a little code snippet:

var canvas = document.getElementById(“drawingCanvas”);

var context = canvas.getContext(“2d”);

// Put the pen where the curve starts.

context.moveTo(62, 242);

// Create variables for the two control points and the end point of the curve.

var control1_x = 187;

var control1_y = 32;

var control2_x = 429;

var control2_y = 480;

var endPointX = 365;

var endPointY = 133;

// Draw the curve.

context.bezierCurveTo(control1_x, control1_y, control2_x, control2_y,

endPointX, endPointY);

context.stroke();

It’s basic JavaScript, best implemented in a separate .html file for better browser speed. The bezierCurve is the line and the control var help identify the curving points of the path. Best part, I can repeatedly create start and end points, which is exactly what I need to make this app work!

Here’s an awesome little tutorial to learn how to create perfect path trajectory that you’re looking for. Basically how to do the math without thinking too hard:

http://tinyurl.com/html5bezier

And for all those nit-picky people out there, the <canvas> tag will work for a mobile app with Safari iOS. Version 1 to be exact. Let’s be honest, how bad would it suck if I did 3 months of work on this app, come to find it not working all because of compatibility issues. That’s why we should have universally browsing and code!

I feel like I have lost the elephant sitting on my shoulders. This worry weight of not knowing exactly how I am going to complete this app has been making me a cranky, whiney, negative Nancy for the past two weeks, so I apologize to my friends and classmates for my sourpuss attitude. I’m ashamed. In my defense, my degree depends on this project.

(Sidenote: Apparently, I have to pay $100 to graduate. 100 DOLLARS! Um… I believe I payed some big bucks cough3ograndcough to even come here, why does this school keep sucking money out of us? They should be ashamed. The principle of this policy is wrong and the school should really reconsider this charge because it makes them look like greedy SOBs.)

Here’s to a happier and lighter CB. Cheers!

HTML5/CSS3… The crossover

So, briefly, I created an independent study class that focuses on web design and front-end development, a.k.a the love of my life. Ignoring how creepy that is, I decided to start this semester off with transitioning over to HTML5 & CSS3. Which, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the greatest things to happen to all things web AND mobile. HTML5 is compatible with mobile devices, so not only are there a TON of new gizmos and whatnots to use on websites, but they will work on your phone too. Also, we can now create application with HTML5 and JavaScript instead of learning yet another language, such as C++.

Here’s a cool, short vid I watched when beginning this week just to explain the awesomeness.

Anyways, the best way I like to learn is trial and error, guess and check, visually create and watch how it doesn’t work (the last one is probably the closest comparison).  With that said, I transitioned my old personal profile site (which is rather ugly and completely unfinished) and changed it over to HTML5/CSS3. Yah me!

The biggest transition are the tags. HTML5 requires less information for the webpage to work (DOCTYPE) and the tag used in the site require less ‘divs’ more specify better to the function of information put onto the site.  So, instead of naming a div class “head” for my header, all I need is <header>.  Absolutely brilliant!

Working through my old site I realized I was already transitioning over to HTML5 without knowing. This was probably due to Google searches and the most recent information popping up that I need was the new and improved HTML5.

Also, I transitioned all stylesheets, minus the jQuery files, into one. Do I need to explain why? Less work people!

If you’re looking to see how these websites work, check out this gallery. All the sites you see are created in HTML5, and if my site were prettier I would be on there to.

Anyways, if you want to see my site, go here for the HTML5 version or here for the old version.

Capstone

Spring semester of the Elon iMedia program requires all students to complete a very large and very solid project to display the skill set we have learned throughout our months here. Check back and reread months.  And some people may be thinking what could possibly be displayed as solid, groundbreaking, mind-blowing work after months of study?  Welcome to the iMedia program.

Cassie (my partner) and I are designing an iPad application that will repurpose the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” aka the Game of Thrones series.  For those of you who have read the books, you know how extensive these books are, but also how they redefine the literary world.  The rich detail and profound character development creates blister fingers from the fast page turning, and then George R R Martin goes and kills that character.  He’s not afraid to do it, making him that much better of an author.

I love the development work I have learned and create from this program, but what I also love is reading.  I consider myself a bibliophile and I wish I could preserve all books in the entire world.  By joining these two forces, both Cassie and I have created a passion that is needed to complete these projects in the allotted time we have.

The app will be a companion to the series, allowing readers to follow the viewpoint characters in the book through the world map that Martin has created.  Character information, along with house and religion facts will accompany the app, yet it is important to have readers better understand and dig deeper into such a great series by comprehending it more.  I, myself, had to backtrack and reread past sections to understand all the plots and I read the five books (that are out) back-to-back.  It’s intense. And now its an HBO show and I could cry by the amazement of the show reproducing the story, but like all book adaptation, pieces get left out.  Hopefully, the show has led viewers to read the series, and hopefully this app will help those readers enjoy the series that much more.

Cassie will be completing the interface design, while I will develop the application in iOS.  The project is due in May, the 11th to be exact.  Hopefully, we will have heard back from the author and HBO on our project.  Till then, check back to see ugly, sleepless pictures of me as the weeks go by.  Did I mention we have to take other classes parallel to our capstone?  It’s gonna be fun.