Thursday, March 20, 2014

Java Fail on Old Mac

While working on the last assignment for my Java class, a Hangman game, I got the following error on this bit of code:

case "new game":
case "quit":
//quit, how?
//it has to be a letter


Cannot switch on a value of type String for source level below 1.7. Only convertible int values or enum variables are permitted

Unfortunately, the suggested fix broke EVERYTHING. 

A little reading on Java's website revealed this:

        Mac OS X Version 10.6 and below
Use Software Update available on the Apple menu to check that you have the most up-to-date version of Java 6 for your Mac. Java 7 is not supported by these older versions of Mac OS X. If you have problems with Java 6, contact Apple Technical Support. does not provide a download for these systems.
Indeed I have OS X 10.6.8 and can't upgrade my old Mini any farther. I guess I'm headed off to school early today to finish up in the computer lab.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


We've been talking a lot about meetups this week. There was an assignment in my PHP class to research web development meetups, we had a guest speaker, a recruiter from Amazon, encourage us to attend meetups, and I asked the folks at Foundry Interactive what they thought of meetups. It seems like a good way to get involved and network. I want to research it a bit more and find a good one at a location that I can bus to. I'd also ideally like to find one that meets regularly rather than sporadically so that I can make an ongoing connection over time more quickly.

Friday, March 7, 2014


I feel very schizophrenic about Java. Whenever I turn in a completed working assignment I feel great, like I'm da man, and I know more than everyone. Then in class, we'll be asked to do something simple, and I have no idea how to. Up and down. Up and down. I don't feel like that in other classes, maybe because they hold our hand more. Maybe also, I need time to think and ponder and stew, but in Java class we're asked to write some Java right now. That's hard for me.

Guinan's Galactic Bar & Grill

I completed the diner assignment we've been working on in class for weeks now. Mine is called, Guinan's Galactic Bar and Grill. It took awhile to complete because I didn't want to overwrite all my customizations with Sarah's new fixed code, so instead, I compared each of her files to mine and made only the changes I needed to. It still didn't look great after that, so I spent a bit longer tweaking the CSS so that things flowed well on each page.

The page is fairly hideous despite my changes, partially because I wanted it to be purple, like Guinan's typical outfit, partially because I chose an awful spacey font for headings, and partially because we had to load the page with silly videos, maps, forms, and images. I tweaked the colors this morning and it looks a little better. However it looks, it's fully responsive! That was the main goal.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

This week I purchased a new domain name and hosting from Dreamhost so I could complete some assignments that required an external ftp site. I bought I fell like it could be a good future metaphor for a web dev business. I'm excited to have a real place to explore ftp.

I successfully created a MySQL database (of starships, of course) on it. You can view the data here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


This week we're diving into MySQL databases in PHP class. I can already see how databases are going to allow us to make dynamic changes to a page based on who you are or what you want to see. Think log-ins, shopping carts, flowers by number, etc. Super cool.

Bug Simulation

I worked on the Bug Simulation in Java a lot this last week. I was also sick. :( Logan came over and taught me a few critical things that made a huge difference in my ability to program it:

  • my understanding of how 'this' works
  • realizing that we were really dealing with POINTERS to arrays in Java
  • thinking of classes as INSTANCES of an object, not just a generic version of one

After these concepts settled in, programming from there was quick and painless!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


This week we're working with forms in two of my classes. The PHP is a little more complicated than other things we've done, but I think I'm still understanding it well enough. We're using some borrowed code, so understanding it takes more time than when you make it yourself.

reCAPTCHA is awesome. I'm blown away by what a good idea it is! reCAPTCHA works by using text that was hard for computers to read while scanning old books and crowdsourcing the problem while simultaneously making sure people and not bots are submitting real data. So cool!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I've been having good meetings with my client, Bri, for her website redesign. We've met twice for interview questions, once for followup to ACTUALLY start taking over the website, and a meeting later this week to meet her web developer in a Google Hangout. I'm looking forward to this work, even though I know nothing about Joomla.

I enjoyed writing up multiple user personas in great detail. It's like the pre-writing for a play.

Monday, February 10, 2014

We Wait Update

I updated the We Wait web app with new things we learned today in class, specifically $_POST instead of $_GET to hide data from the user and a THIS_PAGE define to make moving the page in the future easy. Useful stuff!

Check it out: We Wait
"We Wait" uses the number of people waiting as a clue to arrival time. The formula is top secret, but essentially, as your gut tells you, more people waiting means the bus is coming sooner. It's surprisingly accurate!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Today I read a lot about Opera.
I like Opera is a backup browser, and Opera Mini is nice in a [data] pinch. I also like Opera's newish browser for the iPad, Coast, though I think it has a ways to go before catching on. It feels slow even though my initial tests show it to be nearly the same as Safari, which shouldn't be too surprising since it uses the WebKit engine that it is required to for Apple products.

I caught up on my PHP page splitting homework last night after being sick all week. I'm still farther behind than I'd like to be on homework at this point. I'm trying to free up my day tomorrow as much as possible for The Big Game.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Responsive Design with CSS

We made our first responsive design using only CSS today [sic] in class! Pretty cool. Check it out:

Michael's Diner

It's based on this great, simple, clean template from Nick La.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I worked on Breakout2 for maybe 6 hours yesterday and today. I'm fairly pleased how it turned out, but I worry it could have been tighter. It works!


We did a lot of work on arrays today. We also got in to loops like for and foreach. I liked that. Arrays are so useful, and it's cool that there are different ways to make them.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Foundry Interactive

This week I did homework in the office of a local web dev company called Foundry Interactive. Started the quiz for ITC 240. I also downloaded some great coding apps for the iPad so that I can work better remotely.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

PHP Include

Today in class we practiced chopping off headers and footers (footer always first) then including them back in with PHP. It really streamlined the main code you want to deal with regularly.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Breakout Blocks

I spent about 3 hours on Saturday working on a Java program to set up a breakout game. The programming went really smoothly. I'm really liking Java. I'm especially proud of this little bit of code inside nested for loops, though I'm not sure that it's good code:

//Decide fill color based on position
brick.setFillColor(Color.RED); //We know the first two rows should be this color, so no need to check which row right away. Also, this makes it default back to red if more rows are added later or something goes wrong.

if(rows == 2 || rows == 3) brick.setFillColor(Color.ORANGE);
if(rows == 4 || rows == 5) brick.setFillColor(Color.YELLOW);
if(rows == 6 || rows == 7) brick.setFillColor(Color.GREEN);
if(rows == 8 || rows == 9) brick.setFillColor(Color.CYAN);

On the one hand, there's no reason to check if rows is between 0 and 1 because that's where it starts so we can just assign it. On the other hand, it means for everything else it gets assigned twice. Which is cheaper, if statements like this or assignment?

Lynda Videos

Yesterday, I watched a bunch of Lynda videos. I spent about 1.5 hours on videos and questions for WEB110 where I learned all about CSS and HTML. I knew a lot of the HTML tags already, but it was good review. I'm really excited to use CSS. From the videos I learned a new font word: leading, meaning the space between lines of text.

I also spent about 1.5 hours on videos and questions for ITC240. We're really getting into the good stuff for PHP, and the code syntax is starting to blur with my Java class. I'm pleasantly surprised how powerful it seems.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Guinan's Galactic Bar & Grill

Coming soon to a webpage near you dynamically displaying the daily stellar special using php. I worked on this for about 2 hours today. I'm excited.

Update: The page is up! Check it out. Source code below:


A fictional webpage for Guinan's Galactic Bar & Grill
that dynamically displays the daily special including
name, image, price, and brief description.

Specials are:
Served very fresh.

Romulan Ale
The blue, banned moonshine of Romulus in a glass.

A Cardi favorite, served neat.

Prune Juice
A warrior's drink.

Rokeg Blood Pie
Just like mom use to make on Kronos.

Samarian Sunset
Made in the traditional style. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you enjoy it.

Root Beer
Bubbly and happy, just like the Federation.

$dayOfWeekNum = date('w');

if($dayOfWeekNum == 0)
   $special = "Gahg";
   $price = "3";
   $notes = "Served very fresh.";
   $image = "gagh.jpg";
if($dayOfWeekNum == 1)
   $special = "Romulan Ale";
   $price = "4";
   $notes = "The blue, banned moonshine of Romulus in a glass.";
   $image = "romulanale.jpg";
if($dayOfWeekNum == 2)
   $special = "Kanar";
   $price = "3";
   $notes = "A Cardi favorite, served neat.";
   $image = "kanar.jpg";
if($dayOfWeekNum == 3)
   $special = "Prune Juice";
   $price = "2";
   $notes = "A warrior's drink.";
   $image = "prunejuice.jpg";
if($dayOfWeekNum == 4)
   $special = "Rokeg Blood Pie";
   $price = "4";
   $notes = "Just like mom use to make on Kronos.";
   $image = "bloodpie.jpg";
if($dayOfWeekNum == 5)
   $special = "Samarian Sunset";
   $price = "3";
   $notes = "Made in the traditional style. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you enjoy it.";
   $image = "samariansunset.jpg";
if($dayOfWeekNum == 6)
   $special = "Root Beer";
   $price = "3";
   $notes = "Bubbly and happy, just like the Federation.";
   $image = "rootbeer.jpg";



<h1>Guinan's Galactic Bar & Grill</h1>
<img src="images/guinan.jpg" />
<h2><?=date('l')?>'s Special</h2>
<p>Only $<?=$price?></p>
<img src="images/<?=$image?>" />



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Reading about escape

Today I spent 2 hours doing more of the readings on PHP. I learned about the escape operator, the \. I just read for my HTML class about the escape codes for special characters like &copy, so it was confusing/interesting to compare these two methods for dealing with similar problems.

I also spent 5 minutes making sure I had updated my profile on Canvas. I spent another 15 minutes finishing the form for time tracking. I'm not sure how to use the form yet, but I'm sure we will go over that in class.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Created Blog and Took Quiz

Today I took the syllabus quiz and created this blog. Together those took one hour. I missed one question on the quiz because I misinterpreted it. The question was:

[T or F] When a site moves to a server side language like PHP, we'll likely leave the .HTM or .HTML extensions for that site behind forever.

I took that to mean that we'd leave the real .html files on the server forever. I answered false because I knew we would change file names to .php whether they had PHP code in them or not, so we would have to delete old HTML files. What the question meant was, will we stop using .HTML extensions forever? That is true. *facepalm* Oh well. 85 out of 90 isn't so bad.


I will be posting my progress as a web developer here while I attend classes at Seattle Central Community College. I will label each post with the class it pertains to for easy reference by teachers. This will be a boring blog for anyone but my teachers. Sorry about that.

Here I will:
  • Make daily updates of my progress and time spent on assignments & tasks
  • Document problems encountered and what I have learned
  • Document next steps in my project, and courses of action I am considering