Since I’ve already had some experience using HTML and CSS, and I just took an XML class last semester so I’m feeling pretty confident that I understood this week’s readings after skimming, I decided to spend some quality time with the HTML5 tutorial from our readings. Then I did some Googling to find a good responsive design template to use. I didn’t do anything super fancy — I changed a few colors, changed the blog posts in the template to links with brief descriptions, as per the assignment, and because there was an image requirement, I of course used my favorite avatar from Plants Vs. Zombies. Here is the result. I should probably get around to making a real website and portfolio for myself, one of these days. Looking at the ePortfolio system is definitely a good reminder of the importance, these days, of having some kind of professional web presence. You know. When I have that “free time” thing other people are always talking about having.
I’m going to try to set up my practice system next. I’m a little nervous about it, because I haven’t even turned the generously-donated ancient computer *on*. But hey, worst case scenario, I’ll just make another instance of Ubuntu Server VM and call it a day.
I would say that the part I felt like I got the most out of was the reading from the Nemeth book. I tend to have a very verbally-oriented learning style, where I understand best from the written or spoken word. Yes, hands-on experience (tactile/kinetic) is very important, too, especially when dealing with new technologies, but I like to learn the theory behind stuff first before I try it out.
Also, I found the video about “Mr. IP” hilarious (I especially got a kick at the random dig at Apple).
Unfortunately, my primary system went kaput at a very inconvenient time this week (my poor little Macbook Air is refusing to turn on!), so I’m hoping that it’s back up and running by Tuesday, so that I can finish the bridged-mode work. Before it died, I still hadn’t gotten my VM’s internet connection to work in bridged mode. I had tried editing /etc/network/interfaces, to no effect, but I’m thinking that I had to set a fixed IP instead of using DHCP. Or maybe I had to change my wireless network’s security settings. I’m *really hoping* the answer isn’t using an ethernet cable, because it turns out Macbook Airs don’t even HAVE ethernet ports. It would be ironic if the ancient practice machine turns out to be easier to configure than an expensive new computer, but stranger things have happened!
Anyway, worse comes to worst, my plan B is to set up a new VM with VirtualBox on another computer that has an ethernet port and finish the assignment that way, but that sounds really time-consuming and I was hoping to set up my practice machine tomorrow, so here’s hoping they get my Air fixed, and I can figure out bridged mode on it!
When I first looked over the instructions for this week’s exercises, adding user accounts in a variety of different ways to both the server and desktop VMs, I was a little afraid that it would take a really long time and be really hard. But everything was pretty straightforward and took under an hour. I must have lucked in to trying Webmin when it was up and running properly; judging by a bunch of my classmates’ posts, its server has some issues and it might have taken me a lot longer to set it up and read the instructions if I’d tried at the wrong moment.
One cool thing I happened to discover was that VMWare Fusion has an option of doing a “single window’ display where you’re using the guest operating system like normal, but also, a “unity” display where each of the applications running in Ubuntu showed up as a separate item on my OSX dock. I’d done something similar with Parallels in the past, but I hadn’t realized it was an option for this until I accidentally clicked the wrong button!
Overall, this is a pretty easy week, but the permissions readings are still vexing me. I think I understand the file stuff, but the directory stuff is harder. For the life of me, I *cannot* get the 2nd quiz question — maybe I just need to try to make a directory that has those same permissions and try to mimic the scenario and see what actually works?
So there was this question in the Ubuntu Server assignment asking why the bashrc file doesn’t need sudo, while the sources list does. And I mean, it’s obvious why the sources list does — you can take away the sources you need, or put bad ones there, so you don’t want everyone mucking about in it, and even if you’re allowed root, you probably think harder about mucking around with a file you have to use root to edit. But then I was thinking about it, and couldn’t the bashrc file also do bad things to the system? Like, what if you changed all the commands to weird aliases and then couldn’t even get back into bashrc to fix it? Hmm. Maybe one of my classmates will post the answer.
So anyway, on to my vi experience. I’ve never really done anything programmer-y enough to need to use a “real” text editor (actually, the few times I have had to use a “real” one, I just used Komodo or Kod, so I guess I just skipped a few generations). But while I can definitely see the utility to emacs, vi just feels kind of outdated. Even the video tutorial said its big advantage was that it would work on keyboards without arrow keys etc. Which isn’t really a problem that’s going to come up much these days, I don’t think. And having to esc and then go back into edit and esc again… it just seemed like a lot of repetitive motion. I do find keyboard shortcuts to be faster than using a mouse or trackpad a lot of the time (again, though, emacs does that without being modal), but I didn’t really feel like changing modes actually was saving me time (although perhaps that would’ve come with practice).
Oh, and can I just say, “It Works” was a really happy-fying thing to see in my browser. Doing tech stuff can be such a rush!