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July 2007 Archives

July 1, 2007

Best Books for Learning the Basics of Web Site Design (XHTML + CSS)

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTMLAs mentioned earlier, I've been delving more seriously into the subject of web site design (development), starting with » XHTML, CSS & Dreamweaver.

I'm finding the design aspects offered by CSS more interesting than XHTML, which (tho necessary) seems boring by comparison. CSS is cool, cuz it lets you do cool things.

Most agree it's best to learn HTML/XHTML first. W3Schools lists both these topics before their tutorial on CSS. Many books (such as this one) tie the topics together, feeling they go hand-in-hand.

During academic years, my strategy was to master the basics. Advanced topics then come more easily. That's still my strategy.

While researching what books might be helpful, I found *two* stood out:

Continue reading "Best Books for Learning the Basics of Web Site Design (XHTML + CSS)" »

July 9, 2007

First Full Weekend Visitation in Months | Fireworks

Spent the first full weekend with the Bug (Fri-Sat-Sun) in several months. I had previously been donating my Saturdays to his mom .. but decided, recently, to take more time with the little guy.

Never ceases to surprise me how much depth to the relationship it adds by spending consecutive days together. Nothing like a big chunk o' time to develop the father/son relationship & bond. Very satisfying.

It's difficult to make blog entries when I have him (impossible, actually, 'less he's nappin'). So he's normally gone when I sit down to write.

Difficult to watch him go. Afterwards, it feels like my heart was ripped out. Messes me up. To say it's disorienting is an understatement, but that's the best word I can find to describe the feeling. Takes me a while to recover (re-orient).

I don't really understand *why* I feel so whacked afterwards, cuz I know it's good for him to be with his mom, and she takes good care of him .. and by the time she comes to get him, I'm pretty whupped anyway.

Continue reading "First Full Weekend Visitation in Months | Fireworks" »

July 11, 2007

Theory of Learning Behind the Head First Series of Books (from O'Reilly)

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML

Been reading a new book on XHTML/CSS. O'Reilly claims its books in the Head First series represent a "learning experience." (not a reference)

Normally I just want the facts .. stripped of extraneous info. (For example, I've never cared for preachers who infuse their sermons with much emotion, which I feel is manipulative.) So it surprises me I'm actually enjoying this book.

The introduction (12-pages) addresses the book's theory on learning. Below I've listed the key points (many of which I've long subscribed to, and tried to implement here).

Their main theory centers upon the notion that » your brain craves novelty .. continuously searching for something unusual (like a hungry tiger, hiding in the bushes, waiting to eat you).

Your brain, consequently, does everything it can to stop ordinary thoughts from interfering with your attention to "things that matter" (hungry tigers, fire, etc.).

So you need to trick your brain into thinking the material you're learning is impotant. "How?" you ask. Good question.

Continue reading "Theory of Learning Behind the Head First Series of Books (from O'Reilly)" »

July 17, 2007

First Impressions of Head First XHTML/CSS Book

Head First HTML with XHTML & CSS

Been studying new "Head First" book on XHTML/CSS .. currently ~200 pages into it (1/3rd way thru), now reading chapter 5.

Haven't seen much new material I don't already know (having learned most of my tricks from viewing the source of other web sites). Tho I have learned bits-n-pieces of cool info from the book, especially regarding the names (terms) of things (.. which I've been using for years).

So in that regard, it has (so far) been only slightly useful. But it's good to know that I know what I know .. ya know?

Especially since HTML is a prerequisite for learning so many other cool web technologies, such as scripting & databases.

NEXT chapter is titled Serious HTML ("Standards, Compliance & all that Jazz"), which sounds more interesting (than basic HTML).

From perusing the table of contents («PDF), it looks like the really cool stuff (stuff I don't yet know) starts in the second half. Looking forward to that.

Funny how they use a fictitious web design company named RadWebDesign (a "seemingly experienced firm") that always does things wrong. =) [Re: pages 148 + 156.]

Continue reading "First Impressions of Head First XHTML/CSS Book" »

July 20, 2007

Musings on Being a Part-time Dad & Milestones in Potty-Training

Baloo + Mowgli | Jungle Book is one of the Bug's favorite stories

Played Rad-dad the last few days. This was the first time I changed *no* poopy diapers. Woohoo! All poopies went in the toilet. (A beautiful thing.) Let the celebration begin.

He seems to enjoy this new activity. "Dada, come look," I hear him call from the bathroom. Eyes gleaming with pride. High-fives ensue.

Quickly tho, he dismisses me with a wave, saying » "Dada, go away." (Plea for privacy.) Sometimes he even slides shut the door behind me.

And I have another 'first' to report » he took a shower with me today. No, not a major milestone, but worth mentioning. The shower-head here is detachable, allowing me to better control the nozzle's spray.

The bug slept over last night. Good snuggler, he is. (Good sleeper, too.)

After telling him a story ('til he fell asleep) I lay awake, listening to the sound of his breath. The bottoms of his little feet rested on my legs (just above my knees). His head lay (peaceful) on my arm. My other arm drew him tight. Pretty dang close to heaven on earth.

Continue reading "Musings on Being a Part-time Dad & Milestones in Potty-Training" »

July 23, 2007

Difficulty Relating to an Enthusiastic Parent | Skinny-dipping in the Baptistry

Before becoming a dad, I had a job where one of my bosses spoke often & enthusiastically about his kids (teenagers at the time). Despite my best efforts (to suck-up to the boss), I had difficulty relating to his stories.

Pool at Mariner's church (in Newport Beach) doubles as a baptistryI remember thinking, "If I ever have kids, I need to realize that people who don't .. might have trouble relating."

Of course, when it's your boss, you try extra hard (to relate) .. laughing when he laughs, even when you fail to see any humor.

I even remember feeling it rude of him to expect me to care about his stories (when I had no kids of my own). Like I said, it wasn't like I didn't try.

At times I even felt inadequate, cuz I hadn't bred (yet).

Since becoming a dad, I can see that good parents *should* be tuned to their kids. Obviously, there's a ditch on both sides of this road.

A parent can be so absorbed they have no life outside their kids. Or they can be oblivious, not realizing when their kids are hurting. (I think this is called empathy, a natural part of parenting.) Balance is the key.

These days I tailor my conversation to the person sitting across from me. If they're a parent, I'm free to discuss whatever parental topics arise (cuz I know they can relate). If not, I find other subjects (unless they lead).

Even with the Dog, my best friend of many years (who has outstanding social skills), I've found a certain —distance— has developed. The Dog is excellent at relating to my challenges with the bug's mom, but struggles (I sense) at relating to my experiences as a dad.

Continue reading "Difficulty Relating to an Enthusiastic Parent | Skinny-dipping in the Baptistry" »

July 26, 2007

Mid-way Review of Head First XHTML/CSS Book

Head First HTML with XHTML & CSSHalf-way thru new (650-page) Head First XHTML/CSS book. Completed first 7 chapters, which cover all things pertaining to HTML/XHTML (the *structure* of a web page, such as setting up » headings, paragraphs, images, links).

Chapter 8 (« 3-MB PDF), which I'm starting now, begins discussion of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), which is cooler than (X)HTML, cuz it deals with *presentation* (as separated from structure).

Clearly tho, this book was written for those who know (absolutely) nothing about HTML or web site development (uh, not me).

To this point, I've (already) known most of what the book has been teaching .. tho the last few chapters, increasingly, have shed light on gaps in my knowledge. Examples of things I never knew:

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July 28, 2007

United States Naval Nuclear Power School | An Inside Look - Part I

United States nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarineThe Wikipedia entry for the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School says » "It is regarded as one of the most difficult academic programs in the world."

The phrase in the world caught my attention.

Never quite sure how much I can (or can't) say .. cuz the curriculum is comprised, largely, of material labeled confidential (with a big red stamp). I'm sure I'll get a call if I say too much.

Much has already been written. Official NPS web site » here. I was enlisted, but the website for the officer's version of same program is » here.

"Nuke school" was located in Orlando when I went (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). Navy moved it to Charleston in (uh .. not sure the year .. probably mid-to-late '90's).

Biggest thing I remember (in looking back, reflecting) is the ego .. associated with being 20 years old, flying to Hawaii .. to run a reactor plant on a billion-dollar nuclear sub (the ultimate in WMDs).

And the Navy trains well .. best program of its kind .. due to a combination of Uncle Sam's unlimited budget (as reactors tend to be expen$ive) and Rickover's guiding influence ...

Continue reading "United States Naval Nuclear Power School | An Inside Look - Part I" »

July 31, 2007

U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School | An Inside Look - Part II

Officers & the Nuclear Culture

United States nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine

This entry continued from » Part I

Far from being coddled, Nuclear officers were taken to task and held responsible.

Do you recall the fiasco at Abu Ghraib prison? .. the one where the officers in charge claimed ignorance? before fingering the enlisted folk? That would've never happened under Rickover's watch. He would've had their officer nuts hanging in his office by sunset.

Nobody told Rickover, "Sir, I uh, didn't know that was going on ..." .. uh, not if they wanted to keep their jobs. In Rickover's Navy, not knowing about something (ignorance) is *worse* than condoning it.

Not a single one of them had the balls to stand up and say, "That prison was my responsibility." Every one pointed the finger and claimed ignorance. Zero accountability.

If you research the case of the nuclear submarine that ran aground, you'll find they were given bad maps (said so in the 60 Minutes interview) .. which didn't include the underwater mountain. The Captain *still* took responsibility .. claiming he should've verified the maps .. by checking them against other sources.

How's *that* for a contrast with what we've seen from officers (in the news) from other military services? (But I digress. That stuff frosts my @ss, as you can probably tell.)

Continue reading "U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School | An Inside Look - Part II" »

About July 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Ye Olde Rad Blog II in July 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2007 is the previous archive.

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