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Monthly Archives: August 2008

I should name this blog Geek’s Corner. Who but a fellow geek would feel a kinship with these ramblings?

Man, web design has evolved to such  complexity. In the olden days of web, there were only pages of HTML, and that was it. Now there’s Flash,  CSS, PHP, ASP, and more alphabet soup with X’s in it. After conquering my fear of the unknown, I discovered that XHTML is not that much different from HTML, so I didn’t have to assimilate a new set of keywords.  It figures. If a keyword was “optional” in HTML, it became “required” in XHTML. Such is the way most programming protocol evolves.

Segue… once in a while, I’d go into a department store, wander up and down the aisles looking at new stuff. My inner monologue goes like this: “Want this, don’t need this, can’t afford this.  Hey! What is this thing?” Mind you, I don’t even know what it is, but I’d try to figure out if it will be useful to me.

These are the same thought processes that rolled in my head when I read about PHP. “What is it, and do I need to have it?” The answer is, thankfully, PHP is not necessary for this website. If I want forms-based actions, or a guestbook, I can just grab a Bravenet widget. As I read up on PHP, it’s fairly simple.  At least I know what it is, if I ever have a use for it.

Same goes for Illustrator. I’ve been afraid of touching it because it’s always been the graphic designer’s tool, and therefore entirely too formidable for me to use. But now that I’m familiar with Photoshop,  I can transition into Illustrator easily.  It’s got an awesome line-fill command.

The subject of this post is “in the beginning.” I was just strolling down memory lane,  procrastinating on the site design.  I remember the good old days, when the college computer comprised a Dec-writer and a PDP 11-60, under a UNIX that had to be bootstrapped.  For an Artificial Intelligence course, my friend had the brilliant idea of our writing a Dr. Ruth Westheimer program in PROLOG, mimicking the famous ELISA program, only ours gave sex advice. Talk about the blind (moi) leading the blind.

One of my most memorable horrors was the time I completed a program the night before it was due. It worked to spec.   As a final step, I had to comment it.  BOOM! I was wiping program splatter off of my keyboard.  After more hours of bleary-eyed debugging, almost line by line — and it was a darned large program —  it turned out to be an out-of-space condition.  But of course, the dump never tells me that directly. It just tries to execute an instruction and Kaploeey, program bits all over the place. Thems was the good ole days.

I rarely swear, even less publicly than in person. If it’s in the title, it’s serious.  This is my moment of sheer fear and terror.

It’s not unusual for me to throw myself into a project. I live sleep, eat, and breathe the building of this website. I am compelled to complete it, because it’s fun and educational. Besides the design and technical challenges of it, there’s an aspect of this site that has me hitting the proverbial creative wall.

As I continue to glean information from the web, I’m starting to feel dwarfed by the scope of his resume. I intend this site, not to be an homage, but it still has to have a certain look that reflects his tastes. I started to get cold feet, not because I don’t want to build it, but because I don’t think I am technically capable of making a site to equal the level of his talent. That was my “oh shit, what am I getting myself into?” moment.

I need to continue to learn, but I also need a break. Eventually I’ll get on with it.

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