Technology

Ok I really shouldn’t write up what I’m making for gifts…but I waited too long so most everyone is getting hats!

So what’s been going on lately? I’m a sucker for turn based strategy games.

This past weekend was the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. I didn’t take any pictures though. =( Boo, I totally should have. The Unipiper was there, huge gaming arcade was there, KILLER QUEEEEEEN, and I managed to only buy two games this year, both for my 3DS. (In anticipation of the Nintendo Switch being backwards compatible, yes?)  Continue reading Christmas Plans

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I had this post title written and sitting in draft mode for almost two weeks. For two weeks I spent my days forgetting about it, agonizing over whether or not a little bit of self-pity was needed, and then promptly forgetting about it again. Over the past weekend I have spent approximately 18 hours outside of my comfort zone in two bits of 9 hour increments.

I was at Devsignercon.

My comfort zone over the past two years has been me, my self, my husband, my cat, my family, my knitting, my self-loathing, my job, my social foul-ups, my social anxiety, my Facebook account, and more of my cat. This had to change. Everything HAS to change. And the reality is that it has all stayed the same, and has even gotten better.

Nothing changed, and yet it got better? Yes.

I don’t think the old Nike addage of “Just Do It” applies appropriately, but I threw my hat back into the volunteer ring as a way to gently reintroduce myself to the idea that I have something to offer to the technology community and there would be people there to commiserate and consider my opinion. This may have been the best decision I have made in the past year, and there is no room in my tired brain for regrets.

The Sessions:

(and some of my notes)

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Devsigner – Peter Ramsing

  • Don’t sacrifice Best to do Good.
  • Get feedback: ask someone “Who am I to you?”
  • Practice mindfulness consistency
  • Learn by teaching
  • Make a mission statement for yourself
  • Record everything: failures, successes, everything.
  • Reflection is not deprecating

10 Tools that make Designer and Developer Communication Easy aka Multi-Disciplinary Teams in the Digital Age – Cesar Jimenez

  • Interdisciplinary thinking is key
  • Learn who the other person is, not what they are to the company as an employee
  • Innovation comes from research and conceptualizing the solution
  • Research -> Concept -> Evaluation ->Implementation = Creative Process cycle
  • Use an enabler be it a manager, team leader, or other source, especially for conflict resolution
  • Define roles early and stick to them, but this doesn’t mean tunnel vision on only your part of the project
  • Have a robust feedback mechanism: action -> effect -> action -> effect, etc.
  • Invest in other disciplines, the project is a continuous group effort.
  • Toolbox: xScope, Avocode, Simpli, Appetize.io, Beanstalk, Invision, Marvel

Impostor Syndrome – Dan Linn

  • We are not doing cookie cutter work, it is different every time.
  • What are my triggers?
  • No one expects you to be a rainbow unicorn glitter shitting ninja, and they should not be
  • Test driven personal development: abstract what is an incredibly emotional situation into a logic pass/fail flowchart until you figure it out
  • What is the real bar and who has the real authority for defining success and failure?

My Name is Not Diversity or How to Mentor Outside your Comfort Zone – Letta Raven

  • Mentorship is a Partnership
  • Acclimate to the work culture, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with expecting that same consideration for yourself and your unique culture and background of life experiences
  • The workplace is a bubble, feedback must be acceptable and accepted by everyone
  • Sometimes those hard conversations need to happen, process, but always in a forward motion

Roadrunner Rules aka A Guide for Design Systems – Micah Godbolt (keynote)

  • Design systems are analogous to the systems found in academic linguistics
  • Visual organization as a design system create a visual language that has a common goal and common intention to that of written / verbal language
  • Three points of a shared vocabulary for design: Dialect, Jargon, and Slang
  • Rules:
    1. Methodology
    2. Single Source of Truth
    3. Single Responsibility
    4. Flat single selector
    5. Asset Guidelines
    6. Custom Rules (rules for our design universe)
      1. Visible
      2. Agreed Upon
      3. Actionable

Integrating Pattern Lab Prototyping into a CMS Build – Evan Lovely (workshop, ermahgerd Twig)

  • With group effort, any command line code can be properly figured out and executed
  • Pattern Lab 2 is a little platinum nugget spit shined with diamond filament
  • You really need to see the notes of the talk to go through the workshop and see for yourself.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Images – Jessica Tate

  • All .png’s were not created equal (lossless compression)
  • DO NOT save a jpeg repeatedly (lossy compression)
  • .gif is only valid as an animation
  • Golden Rules for Exporting:
    1. Save the correct file type in context
    2. Save the correct size: largest common denominator
    3. Always pixes, never inches (DPI is a lie)
  • Save for the web in CC Photoshop is being depricated
  • CC Photoshop supports type extensions in layer names to auto-generate subfolder structure and content exporting (Export as -> CCPS watches the parent folder)
  • Retina rule of thumb: produce images twice the pixel size -> developer must scale down via css 50%

Overall, how do I feel about this weekend beyond all the awesome sessions I was able to attend? Well for starters I talked and shook hands with a community of like minded people seriously engaged, plugged in, and willing to step forward and share their knowledge. I felt genuinely welcome to be there though I had been out of the loop for more than two years.

TWO YEARS.

In the words of a friend (paraphrasing, lol): You’re back from the dead. You should come hangout at Saturday’s Mentor meet-up at Metal Toad.

There’s so much in web-dev technology that has changed, but these people have stayed the same hardworking, dedicated, open minded and open hearted, welcoming, inclusive, sharing, creative, innovative, productive, humble, exciting, and exuberant bunch that made me want to come to these events back when I was doing just CSS and doodling basic layout architecture with a pen in a notebook.

And I’m so glad to be back and just listen and absorb and relate, and be a soundboard for all the enthusiasm, problem solving, information sharing, and tool sharing that invariably happens around too much coffee and too little sleep.

And I have nothing to be afraid of.

Special thanks to Greg, Chris, Marlene, Dan, Oliver, and Mikaela…

And also the 10k Pokemon Go egg that hatched on my way home. Aerodactyle…awww yis!

 

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Hah yes I am playing Pokemon Go.

And yes, I am getting out there and walking around, and feeling great!

The game has been launched for a little over a week now and it seems the Portland area has really taken to it. I see people in parks, on sidewalks, in cars (even Lyfts), playing this game! Adults mostly, but I have seen a few teens heads down at a Pokestop with a lure popped.

So far here’s what I’ve discovered in game play:

  1. Level up! Levels will determine what CP pokemon you’ll be able to catch and what you encounter.
    • Level 5 you pick a team: Valor, Mystic, or…that yellow one?
    • Level 10 you get Raspberries
    • Level 12 you get Great Balls
  2. Pokemon
    • The Pokemon are everywhere. Literally. Thankfully Niantic has not placed Pokemon in busy streets and freeways. They mostly pop in green areas and inside city blocks…and yes even in your home!
    • The original 150 are available to catch and evolve
    • Pokemon Eggs are back with your own unlimited incubator. You can get 3 time use incubators from Pokestops or the Pokeshop
  3. Gyms
    • Get with your team and go hit a gym! The highest gym I’ve seen is level 8. That means 8 Pokemon can be set there to defend the gym
    • You can gain Pokecoins and items for holding a gym with your pokemon
    • One Pokemon per gym
    • Fight a gym that is on your team to beef it up! Points matter folks! These are 1 on 1 battles.
    • Fight a gym that is not on your team to topple the king! This is a 6 on (whatever the gym level is and pokemon stored there). So you could potentially take down a gym with 1 Pokemon, if you’re lucky.
  4. Pokedex
    • Pokemon you’ve seen or caught will get registered in the Pokedex
    • You can hold 250 Pokemon at any given time
    • Transfer Pokemon to the Professor to gain an additional Pokecandy of that type
    • Nidoran? Nidoran.
  5. Exploration
    • Pokemon nearby will appear in a menu.
    • Choose one to track! The tracker will blip green if you’re headed in the right direction.
    • 3 paws, it’s far. 2 paws it’s probably about 2 blocks away. 1 paw you’re almost there! No paws, stop moving and wait for the game to update! XD

There have been a lot of unfounded reports of assault and weird shit happening to Trainers. And there have been some that turn out to be unfortunately true. I recommend not going it alone. Pokemon Go is best played with friends anyways, so do it! Go get your friends and explore your neighborhood!

I will post more as I find out more about the game play. So far. Five stars. Hehe.

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A few months ago the App of the Week was this image comic strip graphics generator called Halftone 2. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it and then realized that my habit of taking multiple photos of Lucy in any given space would be perfect for this app.

Kitty Snuggles

 

The app itself is a little fiddly with touch detection, but otherwise super awesomely straight forward.

Look! There’s Lucy grooming herself in such graceful kitty poses.

Cleaning Time

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I think I’m going to start tracking where I come in on the Google scale of search terms for “Cute + Knitting + Portland”.

I’m on page 5! (And this is inclusive of Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine results.)

Out of the box, WordPress SEO only goes as far as clean URLs. (Google Analytics isn’t baked in either. )  And even then you’re limited to the theme template content type slugs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re just blogging away like I am. But this can be a nightmare for sites such as magazines and eCommerce.

So what to do?

I’m not one to do a ton of online research, but if Google ranking is what you want, Google should be who you ask.

Check out Google’s Webmaster Tools in addition to Analytics. There you will find a plethora of how tos and don’ts and avoids.  For me, just being within the first ten pages of any search with the words Portland and Knitting is good enough.

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That’s right, I did it. The most terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad, thing. I opened a collectors item. A ratified, certified Star Trek: the Original Series keyboard!

Star Trek Keyboard Package Front

We bought this little beauty on a whim from GoodWill a year ago for a whopping $9.99. Apparently someone else didn’t give two wiggles about the Original Star Trek. Or maybe someone’s mother did the unthinkable: bedroom sneak for clutter to toss while one is away at university!

I finally had to give in. My old keyboard was finally giving out. The left side shift key was not working with the right hand punctuation. Using the right hand shift key is a huge pain in the butt when trying to use a . or a ” or a : … So opened the box I did!

My need for a working keyboard outranks my need for hoarding Star Trek memorabilia for 20 years hoping to sell it off on eBay for $$$.

IMG_1271
IMG_1272IMG_1277

Underneath the plastic shrink wrap is a ceritification taped to the box. I have #29 of 500. Signed, stamped, and legit.
For realz yo.Like with all new pieces of hardware, this one is taking a little bit of time to get used to.

 

a) It’s not clickly like my old one. It’s a quiet, soft key kind of dealie.

b) I can’t read the keys very well due to the graphic overaly. Especially when I’m slouching.

c) Dude, I opened a collectors item. LOL.

d) Also, Purple.

keyboard

Baller. Status.

I actually really like this keyboard, besides the fact that it works. I thought it would be a cheap, Made in China, with lead paint, kind of experience. Pleasantly, the graphic overlay and key labels seem like any other mid-level Logitech keyboard. The keys are responsive despite their softness and non-clicky nature. It also doesn’t slide around my desk.

My only gripe so far is that the back tabs to prop it up are short. It gives about a centimeter of lift where I need about a half inch to be at my most comfortable.

The Manufacturer: Apparently keyscaper.com is a Portland, Oregon family owned company that provides skinned, licensed, digital hardware. They have Portland Timbers stuff too. Pretty sweet!

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