Archives for category: Learning

I am learning about how to use all the different parts of the Open Web. “All the different parts!?” you say, “Surely not.”


On Sunday I went up to the library looking for a memoir.  I’ve started thinking about writing more seriously and Carmel Bird in Writing the Story of Your Life, (another book I’ve borrowed) advises reading a memoir and taking notes. She says:

It is very important that you read at least one memoir you have admired, or one you hope to admire, and that you study how it is constructed and what it is that appeals to you about that particular book. You must WRITE DOWN your observations about the book you read; make notes on its structure and its preoccupations. You must do this as you read, or as soon as you have read the memoir, not relying on your recollection.

I initially thought that I’d reread Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals, which I’ve read many times and think is hugely funny. Then I thought I should read something a little more modern, contemporary even, and close to home.

So I went up the library and chose Emma Forrest’s Your Voice In My Head. I’m not quite sure why: could be that it is quite a short book, or that it is written by a woman who is not a sportsperson or a politician, or that it is about dealing with grieving, or that the author is English living in the US. Or all of the above.

Initially I found it hard going, the writing is good, vivid and clever, but the subject matter is tortuous, but the last quarter of the book is very alive and hopeful. Uplifting even. Lovely.

I was surprised when I found Emma Forrest’s blog that she’s just been in Sydney for the Writers’ Festival. Not that I was here, but it’s nice.

Needless to say I haven’t written up my notes yet.

>I’ve been working on my art blog today and wanted to change the colour of the links. The visited link was coming up an insipid grey, I thought cadmium red, or alizarin crimson would look much better. And it’s been so long since I’ve done any web design work that I’d forgotten all about hexadecimal colour so went in search of a colour picker.

I found this rather useful thing online:
Hex Color Palette Wheel Hexagon,
and for my iPad I found a fun game called What the Hex? which throws up a number and some colour swatches and you’ve got to pick the right one. (Yes the link goes to an online version.)

>I’ve wanted to make artist books for a while and make them available for people to download from my art blog. I’m also not incredibly keen on PDFs, I’m not sure why, I’m just not. So when I found out that you can make ePubs and people can download them to their iPhones, and reading devices, and what not, I thought “Hooray!”.

So in my first step I made a test book using the export to ePub function in Pages, and that worked, and then I made a second book but that one came out a little bit wonky, basically because the word processing program started to put in extra formatting.

Then I found out that you can make ePubs yourself using XML, CSS and XHTML. This sounds very sensible and good to me because it means that I am putting in the formatting rather than letting a machine do it. So my next step is to do this tutorial Build a digital book with EPUB. I will see how I go.

>One of my goals for this year, and perhaps the next 10 years, is to learn to program. I’ve been poking around the edges of this for a long time, learning a bit of HTML and CSS, learning a tiny bit of Javascript, Java and Ruby. Then last year I bought an iPad and started using apps and I thought I want to make an app, how hard can it be? And found out that the answer to that is Very hard.

So, I’ve decided to revise my HTML and CSS and learn about HTML5 in the process, you know, start with the kind of simple stuff first, what I’m confident with.

At the same time I’ve been looking at the School of Webcraft and saw that there was a course called Javascript 101 and thought that it might be interesting to follow along behind the people who are enrolled in the course. And one of their tasks was to write stuff in a blog about how they were finding their learning, so I thought, of course! let’s start another blog about all of MY learning! And I can apply the HTML stuff to this blogger blog, and hopefully in the end, I’ll come out a better person and a competent user of the web.