Blog’s Not Dead

I’m just too damn busy with everything—organizing my life, school matters, a little bit of work, and, of course, play. Heh.

I’m just too damn busy with everything—organizing my life, school matters, a little bit of work, and, of course, play. Heh.

For the past month, I’ve been back playing Ragnarok Online since my cousins told me LUGpRO already has a free-to-play server. I remember the last time I played, Comodo is still new—and that was years ago. While I leave my merchant vending at Payon Town (170, 83), I chat, surf, check my mail, get updates on my online earnings, and download and watch the latest HD fansubbed episode of MS Gundam 00.

I don’t know if I should blame this to my About page, but my professor in ECE 206, and the coach of UST ECE‘s GIQC team knows I have experience regarding quiz bees. He picked me as one of the team members. Help me God—I’m a bit rusty after 4 years without such mental pressure. And, now, it isn’t only about IT we’ll be dealing with like the last time I entered such contests.

School itself has been tough, too. I’m just glad even though I couldn’t help but sleep on some—OK, almost all—of my lectures, I could still catch up on the lessons. I currently have a favorite major subject, which is rarely the situation as they are usually hardly fathomable. Guess what subject it is—yep, it’s Computer (Comp 304). Thanks to whoever taught me logic gates during high school. Now, I understand why 1 + 1 = 1 is true—you go figure. n_n

I think I have one more month to go until I buy my first product of blogging. Earnings are coming steady at around US$200 per month. Should I call myself a problogger now? Not yet still, IMO. I believe I have to improve on my update frequency. Heh. Well, I’m planning to buy an ASUS Eee PC. I know two friends who already have their 4G version. I’m still waiting for the 8G’s release.

Now, that’s the roundup of the last 1~2 months of my life. I hope I could get back to blogging more frequently. I haven’t even checked my bookmarks in about a month already. T_T

Partial list of things to do:

  • Read updates within the last month from Engadget, TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Slashdot, XKCD, etc.
  • Update my WordPress theme; minimize AdSense clutter—they don’t sell much anyway.
  • Update my WordPress installation—2.4 is coming soon and I’m still not on 2.3. o_O

No Windows, No QWERTY

After more than a decade of computing experience, and being stuck with Microsoft Windows along with the QWERTY keyboard layout, my non-conforming self just wanted to be different.

After more than a decade of computing experience, and being stuck with Microsoft Windows along with the QWERTY keyboard layout, my non-conforming self just wanted to be different.

I’ve learned about Linux[1] years ago (ca. late 1990s), but, even though I was interested to see one running, I was hesitant to try because I was neither a programmer, nor a techie back then. So, open-source applications you compile before you execute, command line interfaces, and gzipped tarballs, among others, were still some things I fear to tinker with.

Now that easy-to-use Linux distros, such as Ubuntu, have been available, nothing could stop me anymore. Besides, with a more secure system, a much cooler desktop environment, and a free[2] license, who could ask for more?

The transition to Ubuntu was painless, except for the loss of my favorite text editor, EditPlus, which probably is the only software besides Mozilla Firefox I’d die without. But, I’m trying to learn GNU Emacs anyway. Hopefully, I’d feel more geeky using it. I’ve also tried command line installation of some software,[3] but I must admit Synaptic Package Manager is easier even compared to Windows installers.

On the other hand, I couldn’t remember when I’ve learned about the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout since I love reading about a wide range of information almost anytime I am not busy with anything. I didn’t care much about it back then, because I thought I did not have the proper hardware. After reading much about health, world records, language, and technological history, as well as software developers (all those topics are related, btw), I became interested with the DSK.

When I said those topics are related, I meant it. On the subject of health and RSIs, DSK has been said to minimize, if not eliminate, hand discomfort by incorporating a layout designed to lessen hand/wrist movements, which I hopefully experience once I get used to it. World records show that the fastest typing speed of 212 wpm is being held by Barbara Blackburn on a DSK. I’ve measured my peak on a QWERTY at 59 wpm,[4] and I aim to reach higher speeds. Dr. August Dvorak, the inventor, researched letter frequency on the English language to make a more efficient keyboard layout. History proved the (almost) one and a half century old typing layout, QWERTY, difficult to displace, but two famous software developers, Matt Mullenweg and Bram Cohen, whose products I use and love,[5] use DSK.

So, I made mine DSK, as well. And, it’s hunt-and-peck all over again! Oh, I so love challenging myself.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ And, Tux, its cute penguin mascot.
  2. ^ As in freedom.
  3. ^ Just for experience, and the fun of it.
  4. ^ Measured using Typeonline Speed test without mistakes.
  5. ^ WordPress and the BitTorrent protocol, respectively.

P.S.:

I actually tried to remember my own history with computers as I write this blog entry. Though it remains unclear, I still remember using the Norton Commander text user interface to play DOS-based games probably even before I’ve been to Windows 3.1x—and that was a long, long time ago. I typed this entry using DSK within the span of 48 hours. Tedious, but I’m starting to forget QWERTY, which I don’t know whether it is a good or a bad thing. Heh.

On Freelancing

When would I start if not today?

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? I know I started markup programming since I was 14 years old. Now, I think I have the skills and knowledge to make money from it. Well, actually, I knew months back that I could start making money with my work but I really do not know where to start. One major thing that stopped me was my lack of skills in image manipulation and design — I just do my XHTML really good. And since I thought possible customers were more into design than markup, I stopped a while until I have the skills — the skills that I still do not have that much even right now.

Then I have encountered XHTMLized. There I saw an opportunity that I could just make the XHTML out of the customers’ designs that they can’t turn into beautiful markup. I have done this for a volunteer work with TomWeb on the UST Nursing website and with my friends’ blogs, and now I know I could do this for a fee.

XHTMLized starts their service at $149 — that is PhP7600 on the average! Wow! I can not make that money even with my 4 months’ allowance! Now I am definitely starting my career!

Well, I still won’t stop volunteer work for my school [TomWeb] and for my college [ESC WebTeam] and for my close friends, but for other people that need me: I am going to think about how much it would cost first. 🙂

I know I’ve done free service a lot in the past few years but please consider that I am in dire need of finances right now. And, if I am not going to start making this as a career, I may not be able to start making this as one in the future. I need support for this from you [my friends and readers], maybe you could refer me to anyone who wants to build a business out of a website [those are usually the ones willing to pay for good design and markup] or someone who has just a lot of money and wants a good XHTML+CSS design.

Here are my specifications about my work that may be of interest to those who are thinking of availing my services:

  • I use XHTML 1.0 Strict, unless the design restricts me to do so then I’d use the Transitional DTD.
  • I use XHTML purely for content, using CSS for design.
  • I would accept designs in almost any image format [JPEG, GIF, PNG, preferably PSD for Adobe Photoshop].
  • I would also accept designs in HTML or XHTML that the owner wants to be cleaned up for better Search Engine Optimization and accessibility [for text-only browsers and screen readers].
  • I would make the XHTML look similar [there is no same in rendering between different browsers] in major browsers — Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Mozilla Suite, Netscape Browser; and if possible, Camino and Safari.

I do not intend to compete with those people at XHTMLized. I just want to start my career. Besides, I’ve linked them twice already — my thank-you’s for giving me the idea.

Here are my details if ever you wanted to contact me privately; or just post a comment below if you don’t mind telling it in public.

Thank you!
— Aja Lorenzo Lapus, freelance programmer.

A Bloody Good Souvenir

Not from a field trip — but one I’d really remember. 😛

So many weeks have passed and I haven’t been able to update my blog. School work and social activities, I think, somehow hindered me to do so. Another thing was my host’s hardware failure erasing most of my readers’ comments, which I happen to treasure more than my articles themselves. Most of all, I really had been pressuring myself to write really good articles especially for a grand re-entrance to the blogosphere, which I sadly figured I can’t — that’s too much for my skills. I’m just going to write this like I haven’t been gone. Please bear with me. 🙂

An inch-long skin-peel I have been on a really tight schedule now that I have school for six days a week. NSTP CWTS took my Monday vacation for its weekly activities. I really have been enjoying digging and leveling soil, and moving 50-kg concrete blocks during our off-campus activities. What I didn’t like was the fact the I had to ride 6-7 different public transportation routes and/or vehicles just to get there. This was the off-campus activities’ last day. Fortunately, I’ve had a souvenir. 😆

It didn’t hurt so much, I’ve just peeled my skin off for about an inch long. I just hope it wouldn’t cause infections. That photo was taken about 12 hours after the incident with the iron pick; the wound applied with an ointment. I wish I had taken photo sooner that it would look more bloody fresh and gross. *haha* 😛

Preliminary exams week has just passed making me more comfortable to write something again. Hopefully, this would go on and on again.

A lot has changed about me this new year — more fat, less computer. I’m beginning to hate myself! 😆

Neophyte

Yeah, I am a technophile and a neophyte at the same time. I hope you have no problems figuring that out. I, for one, have none.

After learning so much HTML and CSS, I felt like I was ready for something more, something dynamic. I became interested in server-side scripting (one is PHP) but was unable to learn it myself because of its natural complexity compared to markup languages. I know its tag starts with <?php and ends with ?> but nothing more except for the obvious if-else statements. I think that is one reason I joined TomWeb for they told me beforehand that I need to learn ASP (another server-side scripting language) from their 35-hour (plus) training.

I’ve been blogging and making websites for so long. I already knew WordPress long before the time came that I was able to use it. I have been using Blogger for those months without WordPress that its very people-friendly interface made everything a snap for me. But like what I have said earlier, I need something more than just HTML. I happened to be a self-proclaimed technophile, now I know I still have much to learn. When I was trying to utilize every feature of WordPress after I had it installed, I bumped in to something familiar and unfamiliar at the same time — PHP.

This new domain I’ve bought is a very good experience for me. It helps me develop my interests and, of course, my knowledge about things going around the Web. It also rekindles my interest in self-studying PHP. Well, I don’t know any more reason why it is a very good experience; I just don’t want to terminate this paragraph so soon. 😆

So, yeah, I am a technophile and a neophyte at the same time. I hope you have no problems figuring that out. I, for one, have none. 🙂

I think this would be a good quotation: Everyone has to begin somewhere, so… begin.

And, by the way, I have finished the primary template for this web log. I just haven’t finished its comments part. And since I so love comments, I will postpone template change until I figured out how its PHP code works so I could put it in the new template. 🙂