AJ Dyrbye

Web Developer and Digital Humanist

Tag: meta

Pardon My Dust

Today marks the official re-opening of this blog. 

When I began this WordPress site, it was bare-bones, no more than a place to hold textual thoughts as I explored programming concepts from a newly post-Masters perspective. I didn’t bother with anything but the most basic setup on the logic that I would be best off focusing exclusively on the words while I built up my writerly momentum. 

Even with this low level of commitment, life got into the way.

It happens. Blogs are started and abandoned with regularity; it takes a particular kind of person to keep one going for the long haul.

So, why revive it now?

It’s a straightforward tale. This site fulfils a more urgent need than it once did, and I now have more time to devote to it. Mercenary reasons are as good as any.

In short, I recently finished up work on a major web development contract. It was time to update my web portfolio to reflect it, and I soon discovered that my post-Masters self no longer has login rights to make the changes.

Moving on from my University-hosted homepage is, at the end of the day, a good thing. It’s long past time I investigated other options. I’m proud of the work I did there, but I’m glad I’ve had the kick I needed to expand beyond it.

I’ve spent the last few weeks revamping this site to act as a new portfolio. I’ve lived and breathed WordPress the last six months, and it made good sense to come back here. In the process, I realized that once again, I had things to say. Where I’ve been, where I’m going, what I’ve learned of late. 

And so, here I am. 

At this precise moment, I write to silence. I have a lot of work yet to do, a publication schedule to establish. A shiny new page structure and a banner image are merely a good start.

We’ll see where it goes from here.

The Learning Process in Fits and Starts

As the Hackathon approaches, I’ve been reminded of a few things important to my learning process:

  1. Having something concrete to work on is important to my learning process. Picking up a skill without a clear application or need is lousy way to develop a true understanding of it, at least for me.
  2. It’s okay to walk away for a while, as long as I prioritize coming back. I lost momentum for a week due to Thanksgiving and other demands on my time, and picked my JavaScript lessons back up over this last weekend.
  3. Sometimes it’s best to come back to a problem. This week, I’ve had a string of days where I’ve been stuck on one concept, and instead of beating my head against it, I stopped for the day once it was clear the concept wasn’t gelling. When I came back the next day, I would usually be able to see where I was hung up right away and then move on.
  4. It helps to talk to people already using what I’m trying to learn. A programmer friend was in town last week, and at dinner, he asked me to describe how I was planning to construct my text adventure at the Hackathon. The resulting conversation pointed me toward concepts I wasn’t yet familiar with. When I got to that point in my instruction a few days ago, remembering that conversation really helped me understand the purpose, value and applications of those concepts

It remains to be seen how the Hackathon itself will go. I suspect I understand more than I think I do, but at the same time I’m certain there are still huge gaps in my knowledge. The experience will educate me in both, and likely point me toward a few more things beside.

© 2014 - 2016 AJ Dyrbye

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