Wednesday, May 06, 2009


It was a warm December night at the RC12 refugee camp somewhere near the southern Chad-Sudan border. The sun was beginning to creep down the sky as Joseph leaned against one of the scattered temporary floodlight poles near the edge of the camp and watched Ben play soccer. The breeze blowing through the valley stirred up the dust in little tornadoes on the slope lifting the southwestern region of tents up slightly above the rest of the camp. Because of the higher elevation, this is where the Red Cross housed most of their volunteers and gave out rations.

For fear of increasingly assertive attacks from the Sudanese Janjiweed militias into Chad, that corner was covered with camouflage mesh canopies and none of the brown tents in the camp bore the Red Cross insignia…that red cross may as well be a target for any militia hoping to disrupt relief efforts in the area. The Red Cross manned their tents two to three days out of the week, and the Peace Corps, which gave the soccer ball and some other small toys, checked in weekly. Though the help wasn’t much, it was still help—and that’s all that mattered.

To the north, there was a water reservoir where the women would gather every Tuesday morning to gossip, sing and wash what clothes they could in a common basin before the limited wash water became too soiled to actually do any good. Their chatter sounded like a thousand larks. Joseph couldn’t imagine what they could talk about that vigorously for that long…then again, what else was there to do in this camp?

The tents that composed the camp seemed to represent the lives of their occupants: scattered in each direction, tattered, torn and missing various parts. The rake that had brought all of these leaves together had not been gentle or kind. Joseph had brought what was left of his family three years ago to this place from Darfur. To be anything but a Muslim in Sudan, especially Darfur, may as well be a death sentence waiting to be carried out.
Ben, his only son, had been a lucky kid since birth. In the war ravaged Darfur, Ben’s mother, Sarah, died in a raid on their village. Joseph had been out in the fields, and could not reach his beloved wife in time. Ben would have died as well had it not been for the Red Cross doctor who appeared like a guardian angel in the aftermath. Ben lost his arm that day. The bones in his forearm were splintered beyond repair, and with no proper hospital for miles, the doctor was forced to take the arm at the elbow. Had Ben not survived the surgery, Joseph would have followed his wife and son soon after. Joseph had been devastated by Sarah’s sudden departure but at the same time envious. Envious that she no longer was oppressed, no longer had worries of waking up to a gun to her head or a knife at her throat. Envious that she no longer woke up each morning and wondered if she would survive to go to bed that night.

Joseph had moved on, or at least tried to for Ben’s sake. He remarried so that Ben would have a mother in his life, he moved to Chad so Ben could have a chance to escape the hell of Darfur—his whole existence was for Ben now.

Joseph glanced back at the children. Ben passed the ball down the makeshift pitch, and his teammate scored. Raising his arms, he ran to the boy that scored and hugged him. They looked at each other, laughed and ran to the other end of their field. His missing arm meant nothing here, he was treated just like the rest of the children. Disfigurement from the militias was commonplace. Ben’s smile was electric—and contagious. Joseph found himself smiling. Ben was a special boy. In the midst of all of the pain and suffering, he found a reason to be happy, to smile.

Just having that soccer ball was a reason to give thanks. The camp was one of the more fortunate ones. Being in Chad, the Janjaweed hadn’t yet discovered this little group of tents lost in the desert, this gathering of defiant ‘infidels’ as they were called in the Khartoum regions of the north.

There was movement by the Red Cross tents. Volunteers were setting up tables and were lugging out heavy pots. Evening rations were being prepared for distribution.
Supper, yet another miracle that was given to the refugees here.

“Ben! Time for dinner. You can come back out later if it’s still light out.”

ø ø ø

Justin was almost finished wolfing down his second steak; oblivious to the looks of disgust he occasionally received from Hope when he crammed so many fries into his mouth that he was very well close to gagging. Hope gagged for him.

Being grounded for the umpteenth time, Hope sat glaring a hole alternately through the center of her untouched food and various table mates, occasionally breaking her statue-like posture to reach for a sip of water or adjust a stray hair.

Tim, the newest man in a seemingly endless line of boyfriends after Bill (Hope’s father) walked out, sat ignoring the half eaten medium steak and cold fries before him waiting politely for everyone to finish. He glanced at Hope and smiled, she grimaced, flipped her hair and looked away.

Molly couldn’t stand the silence anymore. In the 20 minutes since the four of them sat down, hardly a word had been said. After three weeks of casually dating, Molly finally had asked Tim over to dinner to meet her children—and they hadn’t said a word.

“Justin how was your Saturday? I haven’t seen you all day”

“If vath okay I gueth, Tham and a fe-”

Hope curled her upper lip and grimaced. “Finish chewing you pig,” she said as she replaced her water glass.

Swallowing, Justin took a drink as well. Continuing, “Shut up Hope, it’s not like you know what eating is like anyway.”

“Oh, you little bra-“

“Justin! That was rude. And Hope’s right, don’t talk with your mouth full.”

Rolling his eyes at Hope, Justin turned back to Molly. “Anyway, Sam and a few of us went to American Adventure and raced go karts.” Leaning back in his chair folding his arms behind his head and smirked. “I won two races.”

Hope flipped her hair over her shoulder and crossed her arms. “Ugh, that place is such a dump.”

Justin raised an eyebrow and sat up in his chair. “Yeah? Sort of like Gloria’s house…but you can’t ever seem to leave there on time.” Cocking his head, he said, “Oh, I forgot, how was the Next Top Model Marathon today? I’m so sad I missed it”

“Mom, Justin is the one that tore up the siding in the back yard, not some guy vandalizing our house.”


“Well Hope and her friends are the ones that broke the ceramic goose on the mantle.”


“Justin sneaks out every Wednesday night to play craps down the street.”

“Hope drank all of the vodka in the cabinet and filled the bottle back up with water.”

“THAT’S ENOUGH!!” Molly pointed at the stairs and looked at Justin and Hope in turn. “Both of you. Rooms right now! You will both be hearing from me later!”

Justin rocketed out of his chair, upending the fries on his way up. He swept the fries off his polo, leaving bits of salt all down the front. “You know, I don’t even know why we dressed up. It’s not like he’ll last long anyway.”

Molly threw her napkin down on the table and pointed again. “ROOM! NOW!”

A furrowed brow, squinted eyes and pursed lips was Justin’s answer as he turned and bounded up the carpeted stairs two at a time. At the landing, he turned left and disappeared with a slam of the door. The Yield sign hanging there fell and toppled down to the landing, the clatter muted by the carpet.

Tim cleared his throat. “Hey, Molly, it’s ok if I use your bathroom right?”

Molly reached for his hand. “Yes, I’m sorry, it’s past the stairs on the left.”

Tim got up and walked briskly past the stairs and to the left.

Molly watched him go and turned to Hope. “I said both of you”

Hope flung her arms into the air with an incredulous look. “What did I do? I’ve been stuck in the house all day! I can’t use the phone or watch TV and you made me suspend my Facebook for the weekend!” Hope looked down the hall and back to Molly. “I got so bored I even did all of those ridiculous chores you made me do to ‘Get ready for Tim and the dinner tonight,’” she said loudly.

Leaning forward Molly frowned and cocked her head. “As I remember, you kept me up all night Thursday night wondering where the hell you were.”

Hope shook her head. “I already told you! Gloria and I lost track of time,” she said as she looked away.

Molly threw herself back in her chair with her own incredulous look. “Hope, you came home at 2 – a – m on a school night! You didn’t call or tell me where you were, and when you left all you did was shrug and tell me to mind my own business.”

Hope looked Molly right in the eyes. “It’s true! Mind your own damn business every once and a while!”

Molly hit the table so hard it shook the glasses and stood up. Leaning over the table with one hand amidst the glasses, she held up her index finger. “ONE! I am your mother. TWO!” Molly held up a second finger. “That makes it my damn business to know where you are going, who you are going with and when you will be home. THREE!” A third finger. “Don’t ever tell me to mind my own business. This is my house and you can and will live by my rules!” Molly sat back down. “You won’t be getting Facebook back for a while,”

Hope looked up. “What?!”

Molly continued. “and you aren’t going to homecoming with Mike, or with anyone for that matter…you’re going to be here that night.”

“But I’ve already got my dress and he has dinner reservations at the Pier!”

Molly tilted her head. “It’s a dress Hope. Wear it some other time. And reservations can be cancelled.”

Looking at the table, Hope stood up slowly, ensuring that her skirt stayed just so. Pushing her chair out, she turned and walked up the stairs slowly, surely, silently. She too reached the landing, stepped carefully over the misplaced sign, and turned right, disappearing behind her own door.

Molly put her head in her hands. Hot tears began welling up, but she held them back. She had company still. She took a deep breath, stood up and walked around the table to Justin’s now empty seat and reached for the bowl the fries had previously occupied, missed, fumbled and finally clutched it.

Tim, upon hearing the door shut upstairs opened the bathroom door slowly and walked back to the table. With a sigh, he picked up his plate and walked to Hope’s side emptying his leftovers onto her plate and stacked them.

“They’re not always this bad you know.” Molly wiped her eyes with a spare napkin.

“I hope not for your sake.” Tim reached across the table, avoiding the greasy platter in the middle, and grabbed the other two plates.

“Don’t you remember being that age?” Molly set down the repopulated bowl of crinkle fries.

“My brother and I fought all the time.”

“I guess.” Tim shrugged. “I just don’t remember my fights with my brother being so cruel,” He tossed a stray fry into the bowl.

Molly reached over and pushed in Justin’s chair. Her shirt exposed her belly for a second before she pulled the hem back down. It was fairly warm in the room, but she had goose bumps.

Taking another deep breath—in the nose…out the mouth—Molly reclaimed the bowl of fries and turned toward the kitchen.

Tim emptied the plate waste into the platter. “Well, I guess every sibling pair has a different temperament.” He smiled, picked up the platter and plates and followed Molly to the kitchen.
She pulled the cabinet door under the kitchen open and slid the trash can out. She emptied the bowl and turned away. “Yeah.”

“It’s over now though.” Tim emptied the platter into the garbage. Molly was still standing in the same spot, hugging the bowl as if it were a small child.

“I remember when Justin was 3. He fell off his trycicle and cut his knee. I heard him crying. When I came outside Hope was holding him and waiting for me. They used to care for each other.”

Tim slid the bowl from her arms and placed everything in the sink. “They still do. It’s funny how they show it.” Tim put the stopper in the drain, started the hot water and squeezed some green soap into the sink.

“But, you know,” Tim turned. “I’m not sure if your kids need another source of stress at the moment.”

Molly leaned against the counter and with her palms on the edge. “What do you mean?”

Tim sidled up next to her against the bar with his arms crossed. “Molly, let’s be honest here.” He nodded towards the stairs. “I don’t think they took too kindly to me being here.”
“Well yeah, but” Molly hugged her chest, “it’s the first time they met you and it was a long day.”

Tim put his hands in his pockets and looked away. “I think there was a little bit more to it than that.” He walked over to the sink and turned off the water. Turning back, he said, “Hey, let’s face it. It’s been what three weeks?” He looked at Molly for confirmation.

Her eyes were already red. She sniffed and wiped her eyes as she nodded.

“It was fun, but it’s pretty clear to me that there are some issues you’ve got to take care of here. I can’t deal with all of that baggage right now.”

Molly looked down and after a second, back up. “You don’t even want to try?”

“Look. I had quite a bit of time to think about this in the bathroom. I’m about to get really busy at work. I don’t feel like I would be as available to you as a boyfriend should if you had another one of these bouts with your kids. You would want to talk to someone about it and I just won’t be able to be there.”

Molly traced the grouts in the kitchen tiles and looked out the window. The red and yellow leaves in the yard were blowing in a chaotic mess. The yard seemed to have turned into a mess of red, yellow and orange. “That just seems like a cop out to me Tim.”

“Take it how you will, but it doesn’t change anything. Your kids need you more than you need a boyfriend.” Tim crossed the kitchen one more time and drew Molly to his chest, surrounding her with his arms and whispered into her ear, “Get things right with your kids and then we can talk.”

Tim walked to the door and turned. “You have my number, call me when you’re ready.”
He opened the door and closed it behind him. His steps became more quiet as he walked to his car. The car door made a muted thud as it closed. The engine came to life with a purr.
It got quiet as the car left. The only sound to be heard in the house was the occasional sob as Molly sat on the floor and cried.

ø ø ø

I made a few changes from War and Peace

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Lois and Clark have nothing on this!

So I just had a major break through in my web-authoring career.

All semester, I have been working with PC to make a site for Good Hart Bible Church. Until now, I was using HTML and CSS to make the 'twas a very basic site. I then implemented JavaScript in a Photo Gallery. I used LighBox, so it's not like I all the coding from scratch...that would be time and life-consuming...but I did have to go through the code and adapt the JS set to what I was doing. That was an interesting experience to say the least.

All was going according to plan...until PC decided that he wanted a different color scheme...2 days before a module was due anda week a half before the final site was due. I had to come up with a new color scheme and logo layout in 2 days...this process usually takes weeks.

But I did it and rolled with the new stuff. I was doing pretty good too. I then stumbled upon my next hurdle: making the contact forms requested at the beginning of the year. This was all in PHP and, up until tonight, I had absolutely no experience with PHP. Luckily, I had gotten a really cool program for Macs called Rapidweaver a few weeks earlier from JMullens. It's like DreamWeaver, but it practically does it all for you. One of the many things it does is make PHP forms that spit out emails to a person...exactly what I wanted to do.

I created a site in RW and built a Form. The only problem with RW is that it mothers the user a little bit too much. It took me forever to figure out how to view the workable code of the form and figure out which files I actually needed out of the seemingly endless files RW created for my faux-site. Finally I did and I set off on my quest to discover the secrets of PHP forms.

Only then did I realize that AFS does not allow PHP to function. I have discovered the limits of AFS...and that is PHP! Desperate, I scrapped my brain for any possible solution to this problem.

Remembering that JMullens has his own server which hosts sites for some extra clients, I called him in a panic. He was able to set me up with my own partition and FTP where I was able to host and test my PHP forms. It worked beautifully.

About 20 cups of coffee, 1 Menna's Break, seemingly endless headaches and 1,000,000 screams later, I am happy to say that I have successfully made 2 functioning forms that send emails containing the feedback of submitted forms to a predetermined eMail address. The forms have contingencies for successful submissions, failure to complete all required fields, a SPAM deterrent, check boxes indicating a users want to stay anonymous, a telephone call or email reply and a reset button if the user needs to start over. All of this was done while adhering to the template used throughout the rest of the site. Aside from the FavIcon changes and the change of URL (which cannot be helped), the user cannot tell the difference between the form pages and the rest of the site.

To most any other web author, I'm sure this is nothing new and I'm basically telling the world that I discovered electricity today, but to me, this is a monumental occasion. I learned basic PHP on my own...that's pretty freakin good

It's this time of year

Ok, so it really is that time of year yet again...pulling hair because there is so much to do, wondering where the last 9 months of my life went, wondering how the hell I'm going to get everything know, finals week.

It's been fun and I have learned so much in the past year here at State. I'm ready for it to end, but at the same time, I wish it would keep going. Alas, it really is down to the last week before RHA kicks me out of my room and I go to a better place (Abbot and Division). </ nostqalgia >

Now, for the final push

Monday, April 27, 2009

Journal 61: Templates

Today, I found out that I need to export my sites from now on...i found this out by the fact dreamweaver refused to let me create a new page from a template...hella annoying.

Also, Right Away, Great Captain is a great artist that is TOTALLY worth checking out...brings to mind Modest Mouse. Brett Dennen and Good Old War are also amazing.

Now that I've gushed about my latest discoveries, I'm gonna go do work son!

Journal 57-60: The last hoorah

1) What assignment was the most beneficial for you and why?

So over the course of this semester, we have done several very large projects. The one that helped me the most would probably have to be the Killer Web Design module. Not only was it a little refresher on CSS, it made me think about what makes good and bad design.

2) What assignment was the least beneficial for you and why? How could it be changed to be more helpful or be replaced by something that will be useful?

I have a decent amount of experience with web authoring before this class. With that said, the first two modules of this semester were of little benefit to me. I'm not saying those modules should be changed in any way, because honestly, that's how I learned how to code myself. I was just a little ahead of the curve.

3) What have you learned over the course of this semester? How will it help you outside of this class?

Over the course of this semester, the main thing I learned is that content should never take a back seat to design. Content is why someone goes to your site...not its aesthetics. There is a healthy balance between content and design...and when one strikes that balance, it's a beautiful thing.

4) What are three new-to-you, helpful pieces of advice, tips, or strategies you got from our last two readings?

See number 4...also, A List Apart is my homepage now.

5) How would you define the role and purpose of a web author?

A web author is the person that brings you information in an aesthetically and intellectually pleasing manner.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Journal 56: Sweet (semi) success!

So today, I made a template for the more having to change links and such EVERY TIME I made a change...I wish I had learned how to do this at the beginning of my project...lots of time could and should have been saved.


I spent the better part of 24 logged hours trying to figure out what the hell sam hill was wrong with my permissions settings in AFS that made it so that nobody but me could see my fracking pages...I don't even know what I seems as if it happened over nite. >:@

Off to write a paper!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Journal 53-5: Readings Wrap Up

So over the weekend, I had another meeting with PC...and now the site is going to look 20,000 times different...the only thing we really kept was the basic layout (minus the independent scrolling...that was just dumb on my part) and that was because I really didn't feel like changing the CSS which I have slaved over for the past month. I did work out a logo which is really nice, and the color scheme looks really good. We also went in and decided on the font choices (PC had the nerve to ask if Comic Sans MD would work...yes, he really went there) Also, I got some really good material for the final identity doc. PC wants to keep the conservative identity while looking contemporary (so obviously, comic sans would be the best font choice) I get to play around with that...all in all, a very productive weekend...this project should be a blast!

Now, for the in-class stuff:

  1. Who's visiting the site?

  2. Existing and potential members of GHBC as well as people looking for information about the Church or GHBC related activities.

  3. What does she what to know?

  4. Information about the church. Specifically where it is, how to contact the church and any activities the church is a part of or sponsors. Also, after the site has been built, there will be a place devoted to streaming and downloading audio content of weekly sermons.

  5. What does he want to do?

  6. Most likely, if the user is a returning visitor, they will be looking for updates on current church events, the pastor's blog, and the weekly sermons. If they are a new visitor, they will be looking for information about the church, it's beliefs, service times, and possibly a sample of PC's preaching.

  7. With these in mind, what potential questions/tasks will you have for your users on Wednesday? List at least five possibilities.

  8. Were you able to successfully navigate the site to information you were interested in?
    What is your take on the left nav column in combination with the cross element? Was there any interferance? What did you think of the photo gallery?

Now with that out of the way, I have to do some major scrambling since I have to redesign a whole site by wed...


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Journal 52: Photoshop stuff

So today, I started the first of 2's supposed to be's gonna be, off to take a French test

Monday, April 06, 2009

Journal 45-51: Module 4....the Thinking behind My site

Part of what made Albert Einstein the great thinker that he was stemmed from his ability to ask almost childishly simple questions that were maddeningly complex (most notably, “What is time?”)…and his ability to answer those questions. Following this example, perhaps the most fundamental question about a website for a designer is this: Why am I building this site? It seems simple, but upon further reflection, the answer may not be so much. This one question, to be answered properly, brings up numerous others to be answered first: What is the purpose for this site? Who do I want to address? Who are the main users? In this write-up, I will attempt to answer these questions and then delve into an analysis of my design for this module.

Good Hart Bible Church (GHBC) has a proud history stretching back for over a century, but until recently, there was a period where we were losing members and frankly, becoming a little dormant. About 7 years ago, however, Pastor Gary Compton came in and began reshaping this beautiful church from the inside. We are proud to say now that we have increased our average attendance by at least 300%. We are becoming very active in our community with new ministries, a Sunday school program for both adults and children and an addition to our building almost doubling its size. There still is, however a feeling in the community that GHBC is “that old church house out in Good Hart.” With this website, among other things, GHBC hopes to change that perception. Big things are happening at GHBC, it’s time we told the world about it.

The purpose of this site is to help members and potential members of GHBC to connect each other and with the Church itself, obtain information about the Church, Church related events and Ministries run out of GHBC as well as increase awareness of the new GHBC in the community. By including several forms including a contact form and a prayer request form, GHBC hopes to become more accessible to its members and the surrounding community. Also, the contact information of GHBC is readily available in the footer of every page, further extending the accessibility of GHBC to the community at large which is paramount for a successful church.

With this site, GHBC hopes to address its members, potential members and the community as a whole. GHBC believes that it is of the utmost importance to have its doors wide open to any and everyone that needs its services. While this is a well-known fact to many, it may be hard for one to contact GHBC if they do not know where to look. GHBC is not the most well known church in the area and having a website with contact information readily presented and an in-depth explanation of who we are and our beliefs is the most clear answer to these problems.

With this said, however, the main users will most likely be the members of GHBC itself and those hoping to contact us or find information for church services and events. The main demographic that I expect will use the site are people ranging from late teens to early 50's in the lower-middle to middle class. Good Hart is not very close to any major cities, and therefore users will most likely have slower connection speeds. Also, due to the economic standing of the main demographic, there will most likely be older computers and technology which means slower machines and smaller computer displays.

So now with the question of why answered, answering how the page is put together would be the logical next step: The first thing the user sees is the banner at the top of the page clearly informing the visitor where they are. Next is the navigation bar with links the user, new or returning, may find useful. To the left, there is a div with service times, a link to Google maps where the user can obtain directions to the church, links to the contact and prayer request forms as well as a link to the page about the pastor (which are still under construction). There is also the address, the phone number and an email address of the church in the footer.

As for the content, on the homepage, there is a 3-column system in place. The left column, as mentioned, has service information and other important links. The middle column is the where the most important information appears with a general welcome for new and returning users followed by pertinent information and announcements. The right column is more for human interests with a preview and link to a daily devotional, the pastor’s blog and perhaps small clips of news. The second page I built for this module is the photo gallery. Its layout is almost identical to the homepage. The banner, navigation bar, left column, footer and background image are all the same. The only change is the area where the middle and right columns would be. This area, while identical in size, has transformed into a gallery of thumbnail images. When the user clicks on an image, they see the full-size picture pop onto the screen via a JavaScript called Lightbox.

The layout of the homepage itself is very simple. Many users will most likely be older and less apt to dealing with a visually complex site (most of the congregation is in its thirties). Along with this is the contingency mentioned earlier that many users will be using slow internet connections on older machines. As a result, I designed the website to be as simple as possible. There is only one image on the homepage and it is relatively small in file-size. The rest of the content is mostly text-based, rendering the page friendly to slower machines and text-based browsers. Along with the streamlined content, I have made it so that the user does not have to scroll down the page. The two columns with information scroll independently. Because I have no solid information as to what screen sizes my user base will be using, I compiled the page with percentages rather than finite pixels. This allows for a relatively elastic site that can perform on most screen sizes. With such a simple and universal layout, I have greatly reduced the chance for confusion and frustrations.

Possibly the best result of the simple layout is that it is not overwhelming to the user upon arrival. I have seen too many sites to count that bombarded the user with navigation, too many bright colors and graphics scattered all over the place. This site is practically the opposite. There is one image on the homepage, there are relatively few links, but still enough to navigate the site efficiently and possibly most significantly, the colors do not look like I grabbed random crayons out of a box to decide the color scheme. I chose neutral earthy colors (more about this later) and an overall color scheme that is soft to the eye.

The main reason I was able to do all of this comes from the fact that I used CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets to design what I had constructed in HTML. In days past, people would build their site entirely in HTML with design attributes written in-line. This was a hassle for obvious reasons in that every time a change was made, if one wanted the site to look consistent, they had to go back in and change every single attribute that had the same property. Things could fall through the cracks very easily…and little details that look wrong can ruin a web site. Enter CSS. CSS allows for consistency across the board and it also makes it harder for one to miss small details. Fonts, indents, margins and colors on text only have to be defined once in a CSS sheet rather than all throughout a document. Something new CSS allows is that it allows the author to define line widths, which makes it that, much easier to make columns rather than the older table method. In short, CSS allows for a cleaner HTML document and changing the look of web sites faster and more consistent.

When designing a site, one must keep in mind that not all people are fortunate enough to have full function of everything it requires to fully access a web site. In the article “Understanding Disabilities When Designing a Web Site” Leona Tomlinson presents some guidelines I incorporated into my site to ensure full access. I ensured my link text was as descriptive as possible as well as made my page titles descriptive but not overly verbose. I also plan on making succinct alt text on the images once they are ready to be put into the site and titles and headlines will be descriptive. I will not be using images of text and all the text is re-sizable. My color scheme has relatively high contrast and my design will be consistent from page to page seeing as I will be incorporating a template for my site.

I also am taking into some guidelines from “User-Centered Design and Web Development” by the Society for Technical Communication (STC). The first guideline the author mentions is to make the memory load of the site as low as possible. I accomplished this by only including one image on the homepage and putting a script into the gallery that makes the images preload. I am also making information “highly accessible” with drop-down menus in the navigation bar and the quick links in the left column. This enables the user to find wanted information while not overwhelming them with links. Perhaps the most important guideline I incorporated from the STC was making the site “interesting but uncluttered.” Again, there is only one image on the homepage and the color scheme of the site stems off of the background causing the user to be drawn into the site and because I made the rest of the site is text-based and fits into 2 columns, it is uncluttered.

And now for the color scheme: as I mentioned earlier, I am going for a relaxing feel where the user can feel comfortable and at home when on the site. With only 3 colors, the user is not bombarded with a sensory overload upon entering the site and by making the major color white with complimenting shades of green, gray and brown, the site gives off a natural, organic tone. In Photoshop, I put a blur effect, a transparent white overlay and a Gaussian blur on the edges. The result is an image with muted colors and no definite ending of the image. This creates a dreamlike tone to the site causing the user to relax and feel at ease. And by using the predominant colors of the image for the color scheme on the site, I am able to create a visual intrigue causing the user to become subconsciously drawn farther into the site.

Jouranl 44: Classroom Shenanigans

So in mod 4, I learned quite a bit about myself, making a website and how percentage heights are worse than I ever could have realized...ugh

About myself:

  • I can write a 5 page, single spaced paper in approx 6 hours

  • I can fill a giant div with multiple pictures of M&M's

  • I enjoy web design

  • I can learn a new application (Lightbox) in 20 minutes

  • I am acutally better with CSS than I ever thought possible

  • The Spartans are in the national championship tonite!!!!!!!!!

About making a website:

  • Percentage height is probably the most annoying thing ever

  • Testing for different computers and browsers and screen sizes feels endless and is tedious

  • Lightbox is awesome

  • CSS makes it a bitch pain in the ass butt to make columns line up side by side on a site

  • A horizontal nav bar is created with a list that is displayed in-line

About percentage heights:

  • So you know that feeling when you're having a dream and you're being chased by a monster but all you can do is sit there and suck your thumb?

  • nuff said

Monday, March 30, 2009

Journal 43: Jeeesh

Well, Blue took hella longer than predicted (surprised by this? Not I at this point...). I just finished...twas a great experience...I picked up a couple tricks that should prove useful in the final battle (there's that poetry leaking all over the place again)...One of the things I wanted to do was to have scroll bars for the two divs that would have info...and as you can see in the sidebars of Blue, there is just that. the only problem is going to be figuring out the heights that I need...I think I want to make the page all above the fold and have separate scrollbars on the data (info) divs.

Just as a note...I am listening to Take Me Alive by Chris Cornell...trippy stuff for a guy at 1:26am on a caffeine crash...seriously.

I am a little dissapointed...I had to scrap my plan of having flanking menus with a fluid center...I got pissed the hell off frustrated and just resorted to absolute'll be interesting to see what happens when I'm not on a huge ass screen (the ones in the lib are the new Cinematic Screen Macs that are bigger than my TV in my dorm). I also wanted to put in a javascript that would make all the images in the sidebars scramble when the page reloaded...Whatever man...I'm getting what sleep I can since I have to go to work in 7 hours...fml


Journal 42: And he's off

So with much adieu and all that other stuff...I am officially putting my design to code tonite...I will shortly be writing the first bits of code of perhaps the rest of my life...well, I guess that's a little too much. I am also working on another site as a little warm's devoted to the color blue...well instead of just goin on about it, why not just look?

Will update as I go...peace fo now fool

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Journal 41: 3 Columns

I promise I haven't forgotten about my flow chart for users of GHBC but I have something I need to bitch complain about that is extremely frustrating to me...multi-column CSS.

For the last week and a half, my progress in this field has been increasingly frustrating and stagnant. I just can't get the damn thing to work right. I really don't want to resort to absolute positioning because I know deep down in my geeky, web heart that it's just not good practice. It feels like a cop-out. I know there should be some way to do it...but it's just not.


I FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
zomgwtfbbq I am soooooo pumped right now. Byahhhhhhhhhhhhh

Monday, March 23, 2009

Journal 37-40: This seems really familiar

So now that I have my sobfest out of the way, I can write a good entry that actually has some meaning to it...hooray.

1) In the reading, "Design Decisions vs. Audience Considerations," Ragle - Davis states that, "If you know who your target audience is, you can tailor your site’s look and feel, content, and action areas to appeal to your audience and draw them in. If you know what your site visitors want, you can use that information to mutual benefit." She then proceeds to walk through an example of a site for a political candidate by illustrating her knowledge of who the audience is and what they want. How would you answer this for your final project site?

Well, my audience base is actually very wide. However, it is a unique little niche...seeing as I am designing for a Church, there is a certain look and feel that is expected by visitors...and a lot of the time, they have no precise definition of that idea. I do know that as a church site, it is important that the site makes one feel at home and comfortable...and a lot of the regular users are going to be people that don't have the best web skill-set,* so when I make my design, I want it to be very transparent (I am meaning easy to use and navigate here) and not a whole lot of navigation and as much pertinent information on the index.

2) How would you chart out your audience as Ragle - Davis did?

We're going to save this for another entry...let's just say current and prospective church members for the time being.

3) How would you categorize your content based on audience (as the Ragle - Davis example had action items and regular content)?

I have already made a Photoshop prototype of the site (see below somewhere)...I have service times, directions and contact information as a static box on the left which never changes no matter what page the user is on. This=good for potential members and anyone else that needs to contact the church. I will also be using a vertical nav bar with dropdown menus for church functions and more in-depth information about the church and the pastor.

4) In looking over the other readings for today, what suggestions did Verba, Rester, and Boulton provide you with that might assist you with your work on Module 4 and, potentially, your final site?

In the article about brainstorming by Boulton, I got some really good tips on getting feedback from the powers at be (currently PC) on how to proceed. I am hoping this summer after we get the first edition of the site up that we can sit down and take a look at what we want to do...and this article really provided some good insight on how to gather these ideas.

5) The readings for today all dealt with various aspects, including design implications, of usability and accessibility. How do you see yourself addressing these within your final project site?

I already answered this question in a previous post, but in short, I plan on keeping images to a minimum because many users will have dial-up and I am also planning on making 2 different page sizes to cater to users with smaller screen sizes.

6) Now that we are two-thirds of the way done with the semester (time is FLYING by) what are your thoughts on the definition and role of web authors? Are they the same as coders, or "code monkeys"? Why or why not? Is your definition of web authors the same as your initial thoughts when you signed up for or started this class? Why or why not? Use evidence not just from this week's readings, but from previous readings we have had in the course including Zeldman.

My definition has never changed...we are the people that make being on the web enjoyable and useful. I see my role as a facilitator. I am not, and will never be a 'code monkey' because that assumes that the person is just regurgitating what they are given...the monkey see monkey do principal. I will fight to my last breath to change that image about web designers.

*that's a gross lady at my church that was interested in contributing pictures to the gallery absolutely refuses to keep digital copies of her photos...and does not and will not learn to use a flash drive...oh the horror

Journal 30-6: Epic Fail

Hello world!! I am the biggest procrastinator at Michigan State it seems. I have managed to avoid any semblance of work until 5:30 am on a Monday morning. And now I have to write for a half hour on what I have done that is digital in nature.

One major update on my site project...I have been gathering pictures for the gallery and now have 2 albums, 2 envelopes filled with pictures and approx 8 cd's of pictures about WTBJ with possibly more on the way...wonderful...this simply means that I have about 5 hours of tedious, mind-numbing photo-filtering looming in my future. fml

fun Chuck Norris fact: Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are known today as Giraffes.

I was also relieved to see that our CSS project is not due until next Friday...this week was going to suck so much balls I didn't even want to think about it...I have a test in about 7 hours followed by another test and a hefty amount of homework due on Wednesday. Not that I'm in the clear at all for this class...I have to generate 2 layouts for an in-class exorcise (guitars...), find a house for the summer so I don't have to live out of my car and bathe in the Red Cedar when I am working for the State News this summer, possibly find another job to pay for said house and car and booze, schedule summer courses, find time to get my(fat ass)self to the gym, clean my room, get a haircut, do laundry and on top of it all, I've got to get some sleep...

But in all truthfulness, I may complain, but I love what I am doing and accomplishing in this class. What with learning how to make 3 column layouts and color schemes.

State News update: It's awesome! I have learned sooooo much there already it's ridiculous. I actually have this sense of good and bad layout now! I also know how to use Adobe Illustrator. And on Friday, I was introduced to the magic of alpha channels and non-destructive editing!

Another Chuck Norris factoid: There is endless debate about the existence of the human soul. Well it does exist, and Chuck Norris finds it delicious.

With that note, I am going to bed and wishing Sunday was indeed today and not wasted on yesterday...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Journal 28-9: Review

Yeah, so I didn't do anything whatsoever over spring break academic or otherwise. That includes writing in my favorite online journal...yeesh. Well, really I can't say that I had a spring break seeing as Monday, I was gifted with a nice foot of snow...and it just went downhill from there.

So, where we stand on the whole website...I talked with PC and we are rolling ahead with my original design...maybe a change in font seeing as I think Helvetica looks too clean in comparison to the rest of the site and PC thinks whatever I think is just dandy. I am still waiting on content for the site so I'm going to have to move ahead with filler text...ugh.

I got a bunch of pics from the congregation so I can start looking through those and making a photo gallery. That should be terrible and I will want to die fun...

In other news, I am currently down 17 journals...go me. This week is going to be terrible and I will want to die great fun.

I still can't figure out what exactly I'm going to do about the 2 columns...I think iFrames would make it easier for my dad to do maintain the site if I don't have the time...but just having fixed columns would be soooo nice.

You know, I don't think I like having a spring break*...I really don't see the point in taking a week-long break where profs feel no remorse in giving a weeks worth of homework and sending the students on their merry ways. I certainly didn't do anything, and I was sitting on my ass at home...what makes anyone think that the people that actually went somewhere did anything more? And now I have a shitton of things to do to get back into the swing of things including unpack, do homework and start piecing my schedule for the summer and next year together. Why can't we just get done a week early and call it good?

*I will most likely be eating my words once I actually go somewhere over break rather than twiddle my thumbs on my couch surrounded by snow

Monday, March 02, 2009

Journal 27: It's like coffee-energizing

I got my first test of JavaScript this weekend. I went online and found some code for JS alerts. I set several alerts to show up when the page loads up and seeing as my site had several videos, I made it so that when you mouse over one of them to pause it (they autostart too), it gives you an alert and you have to go thru a painful process of trying to pause the movies and acknowledge the alerts at the same time. I've also been looking thru stuff on W3C schools learning the minor stuff on JS like conditional writing and stuff like that...more when I can actually explain it


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Journal 25&6: Hatred of stupid technology

I think I might want to kill the computer lab here at the Union (Student)...I tried 3 different computers (all Macs...I can't stand the Windows the U provides) to open Dreamweaver...and none of them frackin work!!!!!! AGHHHHH!!!!!!

Let me repeat that for emphasis:


*deep breathing exercises*

Not only could I not get Dreamweaver running, on all 3 of the puters I tried, the vertical scrolling ball on the mighty mouse didn't work...which starts out as a nuisance, turns into an irritation and finally blows the lid and makes the user's not that bad on a small screen because you can always just move quick to the side of the window...but on anything bigger than a 6x8hundred res screen, scrolling is a necessity and I will not be denied!!

So enough about MSU's half-arsed attempt to provide it's students with necessary technology...I have a very diabolical plan for my killer website...I'm probably going to put in more animated GIF's, a lot of illegible text, and...wait for embedded, hidden and looped wav file that consists entirely of the intro of Baba O'Reiley by The Who...of course there's going to be some broken links, more "Chipmunked" videos and such.

For my secondary page, I'm gonna pull the good old angel in the clouds ploy...have everything in white with a white background...with a note at the top that tells the user to highlight everything in order to read things...and I'm gonna have more annoying sounds in the background...maybe some simple JavaScript things that pop up or something not sure yet

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Journal 22&4: Un Petit Update

Yeah, so last week seemed to come rolling right out of hell on some demented crazy train and took a huge, steaming dump all over my life, socially, academically and mentally...I had tests and a certain (vv) project (ahem) at the end of the week, I was having emotional issues with letting go of advertising and going to PW (pshh...yeah right), I was and am still trying to figure out what in the hail is wrong with my car (not running is one problem), I'm pretty sure that I saw my friends about twice, I'm still trying to catch up on sleep from last week and on top of it all, I still had homework in all of my pardon the laziness in posting a project for my week's journals...

So, for the update...I have done almost nothing productive this week to compensate for last week...I am managing to do some cool stuff with AI (Illustrator)...I learned how to make that cool text effect that you see on classic comic books (Effect>3D>Extrude & Bevel)...I was gonna show off with that by putting a pic in...but it's taking too long and I'm not feeling the enthusiasm 45 mins into it...I am also in the process of tracing a sketch I made for an ad with the pen tool...that's really fun (and by fun I mean tedious and time consuming)...I am wondering at this point just how much work I'm willing to do for a spec ad tho...

Oh! Fun stuff...for the State News staff photo this year, we are vectoring ourselves onto superheroes and then we will compile the pics together for the final proj...I'm pumped as I'm gonna be Syndrome from the Incredibles...w00t!!

I'm also going to be making a profile page for the State news...I might want to kill HTML by the end of this year...but I did notice that there is a copy of the JavaScript Bible at SN...YES!!!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Module 2 Paper AKA 17-21

So I thought that making my module 2 paper my journals for this week would be appropriate. I spent a lot of time on this paper...and every single other thing I had to do this week...

Module 2: Analyzing Web Code

A comparison of and

The page I analyzed for Module 1 was, so I thought it fitting to analyze its underlying stricture for Module 2. I am comparing the code with that of Jeffery Zeldman’s site, Zeldman is considered a God of sorts for web design and his site acts as much as a creative outlet and blog for Zeldman as a standard to which authors should compare their work. I am going to deviate slightly from the original assignment. I will be analyzing the CSS sheets used in the sites. I am pretty familiar with HTML, but not so much in CSS. As this assignment is to serve also as a reference sheet of sorts, I figured CSS would be a good substitute for HTML in my case.
In general, Jeffery Zeldman is my hero (of web design)…he is renowned in the field of web design and has a site viewed by thousands of people every day. His site reflects his prowess in web design and passion for user experience and learning. The first thing I would like to mention about his CSS sheet compared to TIME’s is the little disclaimers/explanations he leaves like easter eggs throughout the document. He fully intended for other people to look at his CSS code and learn from the way he went about designing his site. TIME, on the other hand, looks like an intern got carried away with the copy and paste button and then went through and changed what they needed. The code is sloppy, disorganized and unnecessarily redundant. It appears to me that TIME jumped on the web bandwagon as an afterthought and spent only as much time and money constructing the site as necessary to create a skeleton template…and have not had a major overhaul to their site or a significant update in quite some time.
In TIME’s defense, they do have a lot of information that has to be presented…which means a lot of formatting. And being a novice in CSS coding, I am not in the best position to be tearing their code or process apart. But all the same, I’m almost positive that there is a simpler and better way to lay this site out using CSS. It would also help if they put in little explainer tags to help future authors (including themselves) to know which things are which as Zeldman did.
I really enjoyed this assignment…main reason being that I use this sort of process for learning about web design on my own. I usually will go through the source code of a site to see how it works…maybe even open th e document in Dreamweaver’s split view and see which elements correlate to which lines of code.
I must admit, I read through Zeldman’s code more than TIME’s…mostly because the TIME CSS to me, seemed like a jumbled mess. Zeldman did a very good job with making his code accessible and readable. I did learn a lot from Zeldman’s code about the process of laying out using CSS. Background images and divs are key elements in contemporary layout design and Zeldman demonstrated perfectly how to use them. I also picked up some seemingly good shortcuts on how to code in attributes…especially background attributes…rath er than have several separate attributes such as an image attribute, a color attribute and so on, just have one background attribute tag with all of the attributes specified inside of it.
Here’s an example of what I mean:

div#wrapper {
background: transparent url(/i04/wrapinner.gif) top left repeat-y;

As per the rubric, here’s a lis t of reoccurring elements I found in both TIME and

• min-width—sets the minimum width of an element
• border—define the borders around an element
• display—sets how/if an element is displayed
• text-align—aligns the text in an element
• margin—define the space around elements
• padding—define the space between the element border and the element content
• color—defines the color o f an element, be it text, border or other
• font—defines the font of the text…usually supply the specific font as well as the root font and serif family
• width—sets the width of an element…usually div’s
• height—defines the height of something…usually div’s
• font-size—defines the font size…usually using the ‘em’ unit
• list-style—sets the type of the list-item marker (the bullet points)
• position—defines the pos ition of an element…like a picture or a div or whatnot
• line-height—sets the distance between lines of text…’em’ units work best
• letter-spacing—sets the distance between characters…’em’ works best
• text-transform—defines any special characteristics of the text…so you can make everything uppercase or small caps or whatnot
• background-color—sets the background color of an element
• a:visited—a pseudo class for hyperlinks that defines the appearance of visited links
• a:hover—a pseudo class for hyperlinks that defines the appearance of links when hovered over by a mouse

I feel very confident with using basic attributes like –color, -image, and –position—mainly to do with the fact that I have used programs dealing with visual elements like Photoshop and Illustrator, however, a nything dealing with text is still relatively foreign to me…I think it has to do with my inexperience with manipulating text…I am getting better at using text manipulating attributes however.
I would just like to say that W3C Schools is the BEST PLACE EVER to learn anything about anything web…from definitions to tutorials on how to do different tasks to basic walkthroughs and even learn how to get a certification in any web authoring language recognized by the W3C. This is where I got all of the information pertaining to the attributes and where I have been learning code. I constantly have a tab in my browser devoted to W3C Schools in the event I have a web-related question
So in short, TIME needs a major overhaul on their site, Jeffery Zeldman is a web authoring GOD and I have a long way to go before I can do anything close to what I have seen in this project.

• Very cluttered…every attribute has an identifier…makes it a pain if one was ever to go back in and edit it
• Lines and lines and lines of code
• Most images are actually in the CSS…especially for the RSS feeds and background images
• All the attribute id’s are individual…rather than consolidating them
• Color tags
• Text font families
• Margin/padding
• Links have their own id’s and colors and most have attributes for diff a:hover
• Images: default
• There’s a lot of information on how the page looks and how things are formatted

• clean and organized
• There are small explainer tags that describe the function of different things
• He seems to have designed the CSS with future editors and the common viewer in mind
• The images are also in CSS, but the tags are different…rather than have the tag as background-image, he consolidates all of the bkgd attributes into one tag…
• Color tags
• Text font families
• Margin/padding
• Links have their own id’s and colors and most have attributes for diff a:hover
• Images: url(local image path)
• There’s a lot of information on how the page looks and how things are formatted
• This version looks a lot cleaner and simpler to navigate
• Plus there are little explainers throughout the doc letting you know where you are

So there's my paper...and I'll get around to posting more progress later...when I actually have things to talk about...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Journal 16: Tabs and other things of interest

So for a while, I've wanted to learn how to make hyperlinks automatically open in new tabs...and how to make text appear as a comment when you hover over's kind of frustrating not knowing how to do either...especially since I know as a user that it's nice knowing where a link is taking you before you click, and after you click, to not have the link take you away from the page you were viewing. You can do this already by right clicking the tab and saying open in new tab, but I want to make it more convenient for the more Layman user.

I went to Grand Rapids this weekend to meet with was loads of fun and I learned quite a bit about using basically builds the site for you...which I think will be really useful in learning code because I can generate pages and then look at the source code for it and learn how to make my own code.

I also made a couple of contacts with guys that do the kind of stuff I'm getting into for a living...those should be really good to have around for questions and things of that nature.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Journal 14 &15: Apple Apple Apple

So big news...I heard from Apple today...about a month ago, I applied to be a Campus Rep and they finally got back to me! They want to talk to me tomorrow (Wed, 2/4/09), well, today now...

Anyway...Meeting with PC went well. We got a lot done...he really liked my mock-up, and aside from any major changes, ^^ is how it's gonna you can see, it has a very calm, earthy feel...lots of greens and browns...and the text is grey sans rather than black serif. The NavBar is going to have a lot more on it than this however...I just didn't have time to go in and change anything since's also going to be in drop down format with a gradient the same color as the far right...The 2 columns of text are going to be iFrames that scroll independently of the background (the trees and the gradient), which is going to stay static.

There are going to be a couple logos surrounding the banner, which is most likely going to change a little bit as well...I'm not sure about the font...I like the sans Helvetica, but I kind of want something more organic...not Papyrus organic...but something not as clean...Helvetica thruout doesn't seem to go right with the earthy motif.

There's also going to be a JS photo gallery as well as several php forms for prayer requests, CD ordering forms and more. This is going to be a biiiiiiiiig project...but I feel like when it's done, I will be 20 times the web designer I am right now...

I have been neglecting my digital portfolio lately...I should probably look into that...HAH! that's going to happen between the State News, classes, the GHBC site and possibly Apple...I kind of want to go in and redo it to look like a newspaper...predominently black and white with an Old English Banner...and NO TABLES!!!** I will use CSS for all of it...but that's gonna be a pet project that may end up being done this summer (which I will be spending in East Lansing beeteedubs). Eventually, I want it to become a personal homepage with a downloadable resume, the folio, and an info site about me...but again, this is something down the road...right now, I'm stuck in the mire of classes and work and trying to fit friends into the whole picture...I can't forget friends...that's what happened at the beginning of High School and that was possibly the worst time of my life...

But I'm not going to end on a depressing note so here's a synopsis of good things that have happened to me in the very short past:

  • I got hired at the State News as a graphic artist

  • I finally got GHBC to the planning stage and out of the gray maybe areas

  • Apple is considering me to be a Campus Rep

  • I finally was able to escape the clutches of Caf Work

  • I've got 2 gigs of cool new music to explore (all of which is legal)

  • I finally realized what I want to do with myself after college and found a path for that

  • I'm going to Grand Rapids to meet with one of my really good friends to learn more web stuff on Saturday!

  • All good things...and I'm happy to list them!

    **More into my feud with tables later

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Journal 13: Seldom heard from Mr. Trump

    So today, I was hired by the State News to be on their Graphic Design Team!!!

    The hiring process is pretty complex, I must say: First, you submit a resume, then you get which time, if they like you enough, you are given a call-back at which point, they, in effect, test drive you by having you work on an ad (in my case it was a V-Day ad for a florist)...and if you find a way to not screw that up, they hire you...for a probationary semester...after which they decide if they really want to hire you.

    I am at the probationary semester phase...for some reason, I feel like something like this should be on a TV show...


    Well, anyway, I am the newest Graphic Designer at the State News...I may work my way up to web design as I get better at coding and the like...but for right now, web stuff is basically going to be confined to my WRA class and any downtime when I can be reading up on things I need to learn.

    So in the words heard only once annually from the venerable MR. Trump, I had the privelege of hearing:

    "Josh, you're hired"

    Sunday, January 25, 2009

    Journal 11 & 12: Forms

    Well, I think I have a slight bug on my portfolio...I have no idea where the feedback saves I have to write in the code where the feedback goes? If so, that's a whole different can of worms that I'm gonna have to open! I always wanted to know how forms work...and also, how comment functions work on blogs...I'm going to be learning how to write my own blog code at some point and one of the main features is the whole notion of does one write code to save comments on a blog or portfolio?

    I finally think I found something that I can throw myself at...web design. Every time I turn a corner, I find little things that just blow my mind...every time I have an idea, it's a little adventure to figure out the solution. Plus, with this huge explosion in online use, there are so many sites out there that are completely obsolete and, quite frankly, suck. I think I might like to fix that...maybe (virtually of course) burn the code that runs JC Penny's site and rebuild it from scratch so people can buy mediocre clothes at terrible prices conveniently*. It still astounds me at how bad this site really is...maybe I'm being a little bit harsh...but the first experience I had with JCP left me in a tailspin trying to figure out if I were going to be getting 1 or 2 pairs of pants, what color the aleged trousers were going to be, how much I would be charged, or if I was going to get a pair of pants at all...and in order to cancel my purchase, I couldn't do it online, I had to call some lady from like the middle of West Virginia to tell her that I wasn't going to be needing those jeans at this time, but thanks...and that's how I feel about JCP's site...questions?

    *I think I would start at the bottom of the code and literally hold the delete key and watch every single little character be erased

    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Journal 9 & 10: Grids and other observations

    So lately, it seems that everyone (well, just a couple of sites/blogs I follow*) is redesigning their sites and they are mentioning the use of underlying grids...I'm curious as to what exactly "grids" mean...are the grids actually in the code or is it just something used in the mock-up? What determines what kind of grid is used?

    The intrigue builds with this next bit of dad (aka Pastor C or PC) and I have scheduled a meeting to discuss the church website...he even sent me a project brief of sorts...I did find several tutorials on how to make drop-down menus with CSS, but the general consensus seems that the best way for menus is to use JavaScript, especially if you have more than one layer of drops...with js, evidently, you can mouse slightly out of the area of the drop-down and the menu won't just snap shut like it would in CSS, which enables one to mouse down thru a menu diagonally...which connects to the church site b/c one of the main ideas PC has is regarding drop-down menus.

    PC also has some ideas as to what tone he wants to set (contemporary and ultra simple), which leads me to think an appropriate color scheme would be mostly white with some green, brown, maybe blue...some kind of Zenn scheme with completely sans-serrif font overall...but definately a gray text...I feel that's a must in this situation.

    I feel pretty excited about the whole business...I know I have an extraordinary amount to learn still, but then again, this is something I want to learn...not something I have to.

    *I have made some small attempts to contact the authors of these blogs...I think they may be some really good contancts to have

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    Journal 7&8

    I think my my favicon problem is that I am using a Dropbox public folder to publish my the browser may not recognize that I have a favicon...I'm not quite sure, but I think that's my main problem...

    For an honors option, I think I would like to make my final project a web site with a couple of extra sub-pages and JavaScript or Flash embedded in it...maybe make my portfolio into a whole personal website...with links to my portfolio, my blog (perhaps learn to make a blog layout on my own) and maybe some other things...

    Another idea I would be really interested in is making a website for my church...the idea has been floating around with the leadership team at the church and I was planning on getting the ball rolling this summer due to the fact that I was kind of waiting on some content from them, but I could put together a general template that could accept the content later on... i was planning on putting in at least 5-6 pages for this one including a web gallery, a blog/announcements page, a podcast page, a general overview of the church, and some others...because of the size of this project, I probably would not use JavaScript seeing as I would still have to learn and master that language as well as research how to make a working blog, a page for downloads and an effective web gallery...also, the demographic of the users would make it difficult to use Flash or JavaScript on the site as most of the users would have dial-up connections and relatively older machines and JavaScript and Flash would lessen the accessibility of the site to them.

    I would also be willing to tutor people in the class for web coding...I am pretty familiar with HTML and CSS coding so I could be of some help to students who may not have that much experience in web coding...maybe a powerpoint presentation to the class on some common things they will see when using HTML and CSS coding like link tags, div id's and so on...

    And of course, I would be open to other ideas as well...

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Journal 6 thing I'm working on at the moment is drop down menus and rollover effects...I can't remember how to do the code, but it is something I have been working on.

    Also, I can't seem to get my favicon to work...I've been trying for like a half hour now and still no headway...urgh*


    Monday, January 19, 2009

    Journal 4 &5

    Well, there really isn't much else to report at the moment...oh! I finished the favicon gif (left)...I still have to convert it to .ico, but I did finish it...and I know how to put it into code for my's really just an href tag in the header that new browsers automatically use as your icon...pretty nifty huh?

    I didn't really know what to do that represented me while still being memorable, so this is what I got*...maybe eventually I'll make the favicon my logo rather than this lil guy...but who knows...

    One other thing that came to mind as I'm sitting here at like 2 am...I want to know how to make links to downloadable files like pdf's and podcasts...I'm heading up the web design for my church and one of the things I wanted to do was to make my dad's (aka pastor Compton) weekly sermon recordings into a podcast that could be downloaded from the site...I still have to do some research as to how all that stuff would work, but mainly I want to know how to link to downloadable files...any help from the blogosphere?

    And how do you make links that open in new tabs? I always find it a pain when I'm reading something and I click on the link and it leads me away from the original site I was viewing...most likely, if I make a link inline, it's supplemental to what I'm talking about so I want the reader to be able to stay on the original site but view the other page at the same exactly do I do this?

    *it's a little bigger than real life ;P

    Friday, January 16, 2009

    Journal 2 & 3: Still Under Construction

    CSS. I like.

    So I just recently finished my digital least the major body of it...I still need to add descriptions to my pictures and Next and Previous buttons to the pages. And some other minor things like adding a Favicon (thanks to Jam's wonderful insight and guidance).Tedious comes to mind.

    Now for the actual meat of this post. So for a few days now, I've been trying to add a little banner in the corner explaining that my site is still under construction. From my previous life as a CSE 101 student in the Web Track Program, I knew the best way to do this was to make a div and tell the index where to put it with the all-powerful CSS sheet that Photoshop so conveniently generated for me...sounds pretty simple right? I already did it once with the link (a picture ) for my Homepage (which is still in the virtual womb with only that maroon rectangle in the background to show for my extensive work*), so I knew generally what to do...absolute positioning and 0px top and left...but it wasn't working. I had put the div in the line above the < / body > tag...if it's absolutely positioned, it really doesn't matter where you put the div as long as it's in the body...but no what about right under the <> tag? I want it at the top of the I'll put the GIF at the top of the What about just inside the top <> tag? Random place, but it might WTF? So for about a week, I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong...and one day it hit me...what if I take out the space in the div id?** Turns out that little space makes all the difference.

    I now have a Still Under Construction banner in its rightful place...but it was a pain...moral of this story...with div id's, no spaces or else

    *building a table half from scratch is a pain in the ass!
    **my div id was .under construction

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Journal 1

    First thing...I really want to know how to make those little GIFs that appear by the URL navbar (see right) prof told me that the code for this is in the head...but a lot of sites have tons of stuff like CSS code and stuff like that in looking for something I don't even know the name for is really kind of annoying when it's burried in CSS and other random crap.

    Second thing...JC Penney has a terrible website. It is never clear about what is actually available to order and what is out of stock, the load times are uber slow, the pics of the clothes are extremely innaccurate; the consumer has to go through like 5 different links to actually order an item and there is no place to actually redeem gift cards once you are finished navigating the labrynth of pages you have to go through before being able to complete an order. I'm already predisposed against online shopping and this experience definately didn't help. A company website that involves potential revenue is definately not something you just hand off to your interns and temps to play around with.

    Third...I am going to have a rough semester and this journal most likely will be an outlet for complaining and stress...I really am not this angry all the time. ;)

    Online Journal

    So to anyone out there who happens to know the background of my blog...the content here at The Way I See It is going to be changing drastically...unfortunately, over the past however many months it has been, downtime has become a commodity...including the time to write out coherent and interesting posts. Because of this, I will be using this site for my web authoring class as an online journal. Feel free to comment on the posts as many of them will be posing questions about web authoring and telling of frustrations I have with whatever I am working on...but no more real 'Blog-ish' type content from my end.