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Learning HTML and CSS (with My New Book, Out Now!)

I’ve always been a learn-by-doing kind of guy. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking about other things when something is explained to me, or maybe people are bad at explaining things. But either way, a concept doesn’t really sink in until I do it, or until I see an immediate application for it. When I learned HTML and CSS, I learned it by doing it. I’d make a page in Microsoft Front Page one then see what the generated source looked like.

Eventually, when I moved to using Notepad (or more accurately, Notepad++), I’d try something and see what happens, or copy someone else’s source and modify it. It wasn’t ideal, and today there are lots of great alternatives. I’m happy to add a new one to the fray: my new book, HTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide.

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Switching to Windows with my new PC

Earlier this year I decided that I needed more power in my production machine. The 2017 fully loaded Macbook Pro, much to my dismay, was not cutting it and I wasn’t even doing 4K videos. When faced with the option of dropping $5000+ on a new iMac Pro (which I could not afford to do), or spend half of that on a PC, the decision was pretty easy…I was switching to Windows. Here are my thoughts on the transition so far.

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Mobile Browser Testing

So this Responsive Web thing is all the rage these days, and rightfully so. As mobile browsers get more powerful, we can do a lot of great things that used to be thought of as only possible on  the desktop. We no longer need to have redirects on mobile that take our users to a separate site; we can have it all, no matter what device they are viewing our sites from. I recently updated both my site and my blog to be responsive (I’m still working some kinks out of the blog- I’m sorry for the mess). However, as mobile browsers are becoming powerful and plentiful, we run into the same issues we’re seeing on the desktop- we need to test our mobile friendly versions in several different browsers across multiple platforms.

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The Web is Dead

In Wired Magazine’s latest issue they proclaim, “The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet.” I was pretty intrigued by this and decided to read the article (and subsequently subscribe to Wired. Well played, Wired). It’s divided into 2 parts, Blame Us (consumers) and Blame Them (corporations), and is very well written. I decided I’d have my students read it so we could discuss it in class; I wanted to get their perspective as college freshmen- people who have been using the Internet probably since 2003 or 2004 (age 11 or 12). I think it was around here that we really started to see the web change (MySpace was 2003, Facebook 2005), so it would be interesting since what we have today is the Internet as they know it. This will work  the same as the last class discussion on Facebook Places. I’ll pose my questions, write the class consensus, and then my thoughts.

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My Thoughts on the iPhone 4 Press Conference

At the risk of starting a flame war (though I don’t think my readership is big or diverse enough to do so), I’d like to post my thoughts on the iPhone 4 Press Conference the Apple & good old Steve Jobs held today. Mostly because I like to show people (read: fanboys) that Apple isn’t any different from Microsoft, but also because I know a lot of my friends will likely ask me what I thought. Well, here you go.

First of all, Steve gave a lot of stats, which I’m not particularly a fan of because it’s easy to cook stats like that. For example, he said the return rates for iPhone 4s at AT&T stores were very low (1.5%). How were the Apple Store returns?  He says he’s gotten over 5,000 emails saying the iPhone 4 works perfectly. How many has he gotten complaining about the antenna? He also says that “a lot” of smart phones have this problem, and he showed videos of three different phones with three different OSs doing the same thing. I’d like to know how much testing they did. How many of each phone did they try? How many other phones did they try? What did they find with those phones?

Jobs said that they were sending out a software update to fix the problem, keeping with the open letter Apple HQ sent out last week. Jobs also announced that iPhone users would get a free bumper or other case to fix the problem; if they still weren’t satisfied, they can return the undamaged phone. This is great, but something is missing.

What I didn’t see was Jobs or Apple admit they’ve done something wrong. That is my biggest gripe with the press conference. They can say the antenna problem has existed on other iPhones, and that it exists on other smart phones, but certainly not to the same extent as it does on the iPhone 4. I follow the tech world pretty closely and this is the first time I’ve see an antenna issue like this crop up. There is something wrong; just admit it. What they are essentially doing is putting a band-aid on a wound they aren’t acknowledging is there. Consumer Reports straight up said they can’t recommend it because of the obvious hardware issue. If Apple can’t own up and admit to this kind of mistake, there is no way they are the good to Mircosoft’s evil.

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The Difference Between Good, Fast, and Cheap

These are the three sides of the project triangle- Good, Fast, and Cheap- and these three sides are things that every client wants. But, there are trade-offs to each one, and many people outside the development world don’t see that. The catch is you can only pick two.

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Manage Email Correspondence with GMail

GMailThis seems like a silly title, since GMail is an email client and all. However, wouldn’t it be nice if you could have all of the conversations you’ve with with the same person in one place, at the click of a button? As it turns out GMail’s search and a labs function called Quick Links makes that very easy to do.

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QT: Manage Your Blackberry Email Online

This is for all of use Blackberry (possibly only on Verizon Wireless) users. The Blackberry Web Panel allows you to manage (add/edit/delete and filter) all of the email addresses going to your blackberry device. You can also change PINs if you ever switch devices. I use it to skip sending emails I send to my device, as well as a few filters to make sure I don’t get repeat emails. I strongly recommend taking a look at it if  you have several email addresses forwarding to your Blackberry.

Blackberry Web Panel