Sneak Peak

I am continuing to work on the blog that will be attached to brianwardwell.com. However, as this will be attached to the site as the blog, it’s very likely going to be part of the redesign. Due to the fact that I don’t know exactly when that will be, I would still like to attach this design to the site as the blog and then add in additional pages and functionality. I’m attaching a sneak peak, however, there are many things still to change as you can see it even still says “Just Another WordPress Site”. Soon.

sneek

Blog Migration

Another very simple post

I have already begun writing a child theme over the top of another WordPress theme to highly customize in preparation for hosting this blog on BrianWardwell.com as well as gearing up to host some PHP/MySQL samples/examples among other things. I moved to West Fargo at the beginning of this month as well as moving forward in my career. However, this blog (and further enhancements to the website) are just under those in priority.

…updates soon

-Brian Wardwell

The Great Chaos of 2016

It has been far too long since I have updated this blog. Consistency is key.

I’ll start on the topic of school/furthering education and expertise:

My current instructor, who will be the instructor for at least 90% of the Web Application Development certificate, is nicely someone who challenges. One thing I am trying to improve is that my transition moving from procedural programming into object oriented programming is a little trickier than I expected. Previous standards and syntax, such as defining and calling a function for example, have me becoming lost even though the concepts can be broken down simply.

So far in Java, my confusion lies in how much deeper it goes into data types than other server-side languages I have worked with, such as PHP. Such as converting an integer value to a double value so it can be multiplied without throwing another error. Java’s ability to access ASCII characters and codes is another complex issue.

In the recent chapter, we are throwing decision structures such as if/else if statements into the mix. Of course, looping and decision structures are something I’m very familiar from working with JavaScript, Python and PHP. However, Java (and C++ so far as well) has me in such a new world that even concepts and structures I normally would know, have me lost.

When it comes to Java in particular (and object orientation), it has certainly driven OOP (object oriented programming) concepts such as the levels of classes, permissions within objects, methods, constructors. Of course, it certainly has its challenges, but I actually prefer its strict syntax to C languages (so far). Java, I can typically trace myself back to a solution unless I’m off in the mud somewhere.

We have been using Eclipse so far. I’ve always been more interested in Netbeans. This is mostly because Netbeans IDE has so many add-on capabilities. I’ll admit, however, that I haven’t had a chance to dive into Eclipse’s deeper capabilities. Window Builder (JFrame, JPane) is certainly a major aspect I want to master in regard to anything that would pertain to the web such as forms.

C++, though we haven’t dug terribly deep into it yet, has me clenching my jaw much more than any other language so far I think, other than maybe JavaScript in the beginning. It’s syntax is far more loose which worries me on vulnerability to errors. This is more true because C++ often doesn’t say, “hey buddy! There’s an error”. A scary example that the instructor presented was when you calculate outside a data type’s range. Rather than throwing an error, it wraps around to the beginning. So, if a range is -100 to 100, if it calculates to 101, it will actually return -100. This would be a devastating result if this occurred in an application such as calculating a user’s balance in a subscription to a web application. It appears we’ll be working far more with C# in the second class of these similarly syntaxed languages. However, I’d honestly rather get C++ out of the way and have the fun for later.

SQL and Database Design has been another favorite course as I’m finally getting pretty familiar with Microsoft SQL Server as well as the Visual Paradigm program. I suppose it is slightly geeky when I laugh and get excited when it’s realized that if you pull the same field from the wrong table, you’re often getting completely different data which thus equals incorrect data. I took Microcomputer Databases at MSCTC, however this course (at Minnesota State College – Southeast Tech) shows that it’s likely rare in this field that a developer is only dealing with five or fewer tables. In fact, it’s far more likely there will be dozens at least.

Another course, Network Management, has made even understanding permissions built into Windows 10 (such as the Security tab) have pretty cool power if desired. Learning group policies, security groups, organizational units, and so on helps me understand the vast amount of authentication troubleshooting that I (we) end up doing at my job. I personally think authentication to the cloud is only going to grow in intensity as more platforms continue to move to cloud based products. Even Adobe has halted selling standalone, physical versions of products such as Photoshop and Illustrator in exchange for Creative Cloud. A tough field for those who specialize in authentication as I have learned it can be very tricky and picky. Which, regarding security, is likely a good thing.

Now flipping to overnights at work, I am hoping more time will be available to hit these topics and more. Though I am still organizing and designing how I want the repositories to actually be set up, my GitHub account can be found here. I am playing with the idea of having a repository for each language.

That is all for the time being. Have a wonderful Monday.

Quick Note

*This is simply a quick note that I am currently working on a child theme for a true add on to my web portfolio (at brianwardwell.com) because I currently have this as the main blog. It, of course, would be better if it directed to a blog I have developed myself. I am working on it as a WordPress CMS blog, but am open to a Drupal CMS blog if that seems to work better. In any case, I still need to develop something Drupal friendly.

I am also planning on developing more ways to show code samples and examples on my portfolio as well. So, there will be many changes coming to my Web Portfolio. Thanks to my very attractive new Alienware laptop, this will be efficient.

E-Portfolio Update in the Works

Just a quick entry this time. The last two days, I’ve started to migrate my current E-Portfolio (brianwardwell.com) from its current HTML-only state into a PHP-based site. I admit that I did a victory dance when I moved the jQuery code that runs the show/hide feature of the “Academics” page despite using PHP includes and moving the jQuery code to inside the body. Three of its pages are already done and beings that I am actually fixing some of the CSS container issues I didn’t like previously, the rest should just be filling in the content on the new pages. I’ll let that FTP-upload and then from there, I’ll add in the blog engine for on there.

I also hope to add more functionality as well as time goes on including “click-to-run-example” programs such as a Python calculating a week’s wages, taxes and net pay.

Take care everyone,

Brian Wardwell

Improvements Coming to My Online Portfolio

BrianWardwell.com

(My online portfolio):

bw_tanlogo


While I’m sure that no web developer, or most other professions, reach to the point where their project is “that’s perfect”. My online portfolio is no exception although it has helped me strive to continuously improve and “tweak” as needed, as I’m sure will always be the case. This year has thrown some curve balls and some unexpected decisions needed to be made. I’m deciding to try and enter the Web workforce a little earlier than expected and also consider switching my Computer Programming AAS to a Web Application Programming certificate. Why?

I am now looking to gain experience and though I don’t mind the extra work, some technologies such as RPG Programming (an old IBM report generating language) and COBOL. I can shorten my time completing and the certificate also adds in many things the Computer Programming AAS does not, such as C#, ASP.NET, and Object-Oriented Programming.

In addition to this, I want to further develop on languages and skills I already know including more complex PHP, MySQL, and working at becoming far more proficient at JavaScript and many of its libraries. When there is time, I also plan on teaching myself Ruby (another server-side programming language) and possibly Perl if needed. However, for now, what is seen is more on the portfolio front. Here are some changes I expect to make and working on designing to add:

Added Content:

  • More photography (art photography, portraits)
  • More of my personal Adobe Photoshop work (have been using it since 2006)
  • Programming examples: Even if screenshots at first, I’m working to showcase my PHP, MySQL, and Python skills.
  • My goal: Some programming user interaction examples such as changing the color of a box with a mouse click.

Added Functionality:

  • Images: Choice of standard gallery page or carousel/slideshow.
  • “Pagination” example using my course list and descriptions.
  • Page transitions.
  • My goal: Some programming user interaction examples such as changing the color of a box with a mouse click.

Blog:

While this blog will remain, I would like the blog link on my online portfolio to be my own WordPress (CMS) blog hosted as part of the site. This will be easier for the user with more customization.

  • Social media updates such as Facebook, Twitter, etc
  • Further documentation as I begin to learn more skills in August such as Java and C++
  • More focus on aspirations I have as a web developer and even organizations I would like to create or updates from other sites that I am administering

Files (PHP):

Due to a problem with the school server this spring, the site I was able to upload to my own domain is only in HTML so far as the PHP on the school server was broken. I plan on rewriting the files to be set up with PHP for much better functionality and capabilities.

Optimizing speed of the website. I consider it to be on the slow side right now, unfortunately


I also think it would be very fun to help showcase and even review some local businesses and services. Being a native Fargo resident, I’m proud of how the city/smaller-metro is developing in caliber such as food, did someone say “Drunken Noodle“? These would also be unsolicited “mentions”.

Brian Wardwell
July 16th, 2015

“Break”

spartanbyte
SpartanByte

December 30th, 2014

Winter “Break”: In quotations due to the fact that I believe that I rested that weekend after nearly falling asleep during a teleconference which was the last item to do for the fall 2014 semester.

I am working on completely redoing my school portfolio website. I am taking a Web Portfolio course, so if my ideas interfere with my instructors requirements, I’m already preparing to keep the design and structure open enough to adapt it as my own portfolio as well, rather than just a school website. I spent an entire day building a fairly different navigation system. I believe I got a little too excited when it finally started working the way I intended :-). I have my own site requirements when it comes to content, but still playing with the main sections even though the header and footer are complete.

Another project that I have been working on, which was a long planned idea that turned into my Content Management Systems final, is a music blog ( http://musicbytes.us/ ) which will, hopefully, feature one other author at least other than myself. My goal for MusicBytes is to be objective but make sure to have fun with it as well. I have that site pretty far along but nowhere near public eyes yet. The current home page is simply just an “under construction” page, that makes it able to be bookmarked. That was honestly my only goal for that page.

I’ve been playing around with other ideas such as reading up on the Python web development framework Flask even though I want to get to Django (Python framework as well). I also got books on Joomla and Drupal but of course things take time. A friend seems to be “thumbs up” on Joomla, so that may beat Drupal to the line on my second CMS (learned). Also looking into:

  • JSON
  • AJAX
  • XML
  • deeper into jQuery/Angular/etc
  • deeper into CSS frameworks
  • Object Oriented Programming (OOP) Terminology/Concepts

Already, the main challenge in grasping Flask is it’s object oriented. It is fun trying to grasp the tougher concepts though and understanding its purpose. Although, Flask is already refreshing my memory on Python, so it may be half the battle. I was near taking Java this coming semester which has a strict syntax and wouldn’t have let me avoid object oriented concepts as it thrives of it, but I swapped classes when I realized how time consuming it was. I’m not sure if that was the best move to make considering I’m leaning back toward sticking with the second degree, even if it’s not at my current school. It’s been a massive stress on trying to decide that, which has moving out of city/state attached to it, finances, etc all in one move. I suppose that would freak most out though. One adviser notes that I likely have enough “tools”, but another adviser (from the other program) makes me question especially when I know myself that we haven’t gotten heavily into OOP yet or dynamic content. I’m hoping this spring semester changes that. Although, keeping my second major will give me another Associates degree from only 39 extra credits. Granted there are two algebra classes, the rest isn’t so bad at all :-).

As for fall, though I have a lot to learn, I think the last semester helped me realize that I’m not a “noob” anymore. We got into a lot of fun projects. This is especially true in our Web Applications I class playing with:

  • HighCharts
  • Google Maps API (and other APIs)
  • more customizing and making JSON calls with jQuery
  • Building a database with CouchDB
  • Sass (which runs on Ruby, so I’m playing with that as well)
  • Knockout, Angular, Backbone and other JavaScript frameworks (which taught us concepts on data binding)
  • An introduction to Git
  • Coffescript

…and so on. I’m planning on tackling the Virtual Machine/Ubuntu Server project that I had to abort as my final project due to hardware problems. Also learning through forums from current web developers, programmers, designers. I’m not quite sure what clicked this last semester as far as suddenly and naturally finding good content resources, outlets, and really affordable ways to keep learning..even if it’s my own idea of “Oh, I wanna learn this (geeky giggle)”.

As for a new blog for myself. I plan on getting one going up as soon as I get the domain registered and such. I was a little frustrated when I saw Microsoft’s new browser was named “Spartan”. Having a funny feeling I won’t be a fan, I’m already rethinking my “SpartanByte” alias. Stay tuned on that as well, (grins).

Imperfection is inevitable” <— Someone said this.

-SpartanByte

Early Morning Update

A Break In Homework

It’s one in the morning and I’m breaking in my homework, starting to create my first database, using Microsoft Access, for my Microcomputer Databases class. With the heavy 18 credit course load, I am thinking I am going to just put up a small reminder whiteboard as well for small projects that aren’t as important as homework of course, but still important. Granted, the semester just started Monday but my last post here was on the 2nd. If I want to try and bring people back for tech fun, current events, etc…it needs to be more frequent. I do have a few projects other than school in play as well but I’ll get to that, and yes, I like to stay busy.

Dropbox heated up the “cloud storage wars” and is now offering a breathtaking 1 Terabyte (1TB) of online storage for $10/month or $99/year. Right now, I’m having to split my storage with my free OneDrive account, which is now going up to 15GB, plenty for most people. I just still don’t trust Microsoft. I want to, but it’s difficult to. Potentially though, anything is crackable. So anything I truly want secure, until I know far more about security, stays on a hard drive that I can disconnect until it is needed. When it comes to backing up school work, website work, the Dropbox will be great as I can use a desktop external hard drive to back up the files but use Dropbox to have it portable. I use two machines currently and that’s just at this point (gadget geek). I like to work from a variety of places for inspiration as well, schoolwork included. OneDrive will, no doubt, fire back with something as well and at least match Dropbox. “I bet my drive’s bigger than your drive”.

Projects 🙂

We love our projects don’t we? Of course school comes first, that goes without saying, but I also have come to a point where I feel I’ve finally hit the intermediate level instead of just a “noob” on everything. I’m still a “noob” on many things and technically I’ll always be a noob at something. However, at using the skills already learned such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and so forth. I’d like to keep practicing those as well instead of nearly forgetting about them until I get rusty and then have to use them.

First, and foremost, I am taking a Content Management Systems (CMS) class which, at the least, will be teaching me how to use and modify, manipulate the WordPress software CMS (not this website). Which means, eventually, this blog will move to it’s own domain. Moving the blog itself will be a first for me since it will move to a new server, but it will be a fun challenge. I’m still thinking about having others post on here and even know of some tricks to make things even slightly more secure that I will have to play with tomorrow.

The other site is building a photography site for myself. From the very start of my Web Development classes, my goal is to learn to work with a team and go through project management for a company and all that, but also learn to be self-sufficient as well. This means taking some extra classes that aren’t under the Web Development requirements such as Electronic Drawing (using Adobe Illustrator) so that I can do logos, Digital Photography (so that I can take better photographs myself), and so on. I realize I don’t have to do everything myself but I’d like to at least have the ability to if needed. I do have a proposed domain name in mind for the site already and am actually working with an old friend, and Graphic Designer, who is very good at what she does for a logo. I just have to start coming up with some concepts on how I want it to look. I don’t want to go with a simple “only letter configuration” like I’ve done for my musical project in the past. That’s simple enough that I can even do it in Photoshop and doesn’t look as flashy unless she were to put some shadow, texture to it. I also plan to put some examples of photo enhancements on the site as well, if I can get enough permissions from the owners of the original photographs.

I am also a musician and there is a project name that’s defined and a musical concept in mind, however, I would be overloading myself to take on that project at the time and wouldn’t be giving it the time that it deserves. So, that will have to wait.

I will update again much sooner with a more technology, “less me” projected entry. There’s a lot going on in the world out there, I’m sure there’s plenty to discuss.

~SpartanByte

Romo’s, Books, and Godsmack

Before I get to to the earlier Tumblr post, I want to plug a well deserved local eatery that I am very proud to find early on, with help of a friend

Romo’s Tacos and Mexican Food, Fargo ND

  • 3402 13th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103
  • (701) 364-9757

Romo

Romo’s in Fargo, North Dakota

A friend got into Romo’s as it’s one of her favorite places. This place has only recently opened and already gained enough popularity to also earn a location in downtown Fargo’s Black Building (118 Broadway N). It was my first time and their $9 dinner sized burrito, pictured above, not only filled me up once but twice as leftovers later that night. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. I’ll gladly return and would highly recommend it to anyone.

Education

In twenty five days, the Fall 2014 semester starts. I have my notebooks, OneNote, folders, new dry/erase board, etc all ready to go. The only thing I’m missing are all my books. I do have two of them early that I have been browsing through. I’m also beginning some work on a book on Perl (server-side language) that comes highly recommended by many technical blogs. The book is from the library, but I’ll get my own copy when I have the cash to do so. I’m hoping to find a better programming series that I like. So far, this book seems to come at the topic pretty straightforward.

I did plenty of thinking and think I have a school plot figured out, with some help of some friends and one semi-mentor lending thoughts. The only downside is I’m too eager to learn. I have to realize that I’m not going to get there all at once. Which is obvious, I know this, but it’s hard to not get excited and “weee”.

Grateful to the Fargo Public Library, I do also have books on:
ASP.NET
Office 2013 (in depth)
Access 2013 (in even more depth)
Making Windows 8 Apps with C++
Wireless Networking
, and so on.

Most I don’t intend to read a whole lot but it gives me an idea if I find it interesting or not. With most computer (or Computer Science/Information Technology) books being so expensive, it’s much easier to do it this way. Then, I go with Amazon typically and by rating since most of these books are rated by geeks anyway.
notebooks

GODSMACK

Godsmack is set to release their sixth studio album titled 1000hp next Tuesday on August 5th, 2014. You can Pre-Order on Amazon now, although I do want to note I see a lot of “clean version” which I’m personally not a fan of. I like the dirty versions, I admit. At the band’s official website, you can check out the link to stream the album for free and hear it now. I’m personally waiting for the “it’s out” moment. Seeing Godsmack in Sioux Falls, SD was very awesome and I hope to see them on the road again very soon.
Godsmack