Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dabbling in Linux again

A few days ago I needed to play with a wiki, and like everyone when I think wiki I think Wikipedia... and in turn  MediaWiki. Being this was for fun I thought it would also be a good time to try Ubuntu Server. I've used their desktop for years, and even though I find myself in the terminal more and more I've always been afraid to completely ditch the GUI.
That's no longer true.
In less than three hours I had a VM of Ubuntu Server 11.10 with Apache2, PHP5, MySQL, phpMyAdmin, and MediaWiki ready to go (that includes the time it took to download the iso). I either became a genius since the last time I tried, or they have really made this stuff easier to setup and administer. I suspect the latter.
True I did find myself looking up Linux commands and following how to instructions, but it all worked well. I know I'm not the only one who has followed a set up Linux instructions to the T only to run into errors.
The main reason I'm posting all this is to share this little tidbit of information from The Geek Stuff that made some things begin to click for me. The picture on the right sums it up well.

Also, while working on this project I came up with the idea sudo should be replaced with yo. Still makes me chuckle.

yo apt-get install whatireallywant

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Geekwagon Logo

Here I am writing about my website again, but it's not really about me or my website. It's really about web design in general, and sharing the few neat things I've managed to figure out. I'll be able to post some good information about a site that is not my own, but I helped create, some time in the future. For now I created my own problem to figure out: a logo.

What self respecting website doesn't have a logo? What better way to recognize a brand than a well designed logo. It's part web part marketing, and let's face it I am no expert in either. I'm just going to make a post about it because I did learn some tricks tackling this.

The logo criteria I made up as I went along.
  • site name is dominate feature
  • more than 2 colors
  • selectable text
  • hidden meaning"> logo

Because everything on has bee coded by hand, it made since to make the logo look like a bit of code. The purple highlighted brackets was inspired from Notepad++, and gave it some color. To make the text selectable I knew there was going to be some combination of HTML elements styled with a sheet, perhaps in some sort of cascade. A view of the source will reveal it's just some HTML with a few silly class names and comments with all the CSS contained in the page (because this made it easy to copy and paste into and manipulate). It uses all of two images. The blinking cursor I nabbed from an image search, the foreground fade I made with

Lessons Learned:

  • To get the fade to work right I had to use z-index, and it is a pain in the butt that requires position: relative; In some places. Experiment until it works (at least that's how I do it).
  • span and div elements really are different, but only by default.
  • The CSS shorthand for background is useful, but took a few trips to to get it down.
I'd like to take this time to reiterate I am a newb at all this. Despite that, it has been a fun learning process. I have found the only way for me to learn these kinds of things is to just sit down and do it over and over.

What about the hidden meaning?

I'm glad you asked, there are actually two. First, an observant person will notice the numbers on the left are line numbers. They stop at 1336 because falls short of leet. Second, is a self closing bracket because it is a self serving website. Not terribly cleaver, but they made me chuckle.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

ahead of the curve

While I'm sure this picture was only possible (at least for me) on the first day new Portal 2 downloadable content came out, I was semi-excited to see I beat the curve by a good margin.