15 votes

Timasomo Post #2: Reflection for Week One of Four

Timasomo FAQ

What is Timasomo?

Timasomo is "Tildes' Make Something Month," a creative community challenge that takes place in the month of November. It was inspired by NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month.

What are the rules?

Timasomo is self-driven and its goals are self-selected. On November 1st, participants will commit to a creative project (or projects) that they plan to complete within the month of November. There is no restriction on the methods/products of creativity: writing, painting, code, food, photos, crafts, songs -- if it's creative expression for you, it works for Timasomo!

Though most will be participating individually, collaborations are welcome too!

What is the schedule?

Timasomo begins November 1st and ends November 30th. All creative output towards your goal(s) should be confined to this time. This week prior to the start of November is for planning, and there will be a few days at the beginning of December given to "finishing touches" before we have our final thread, which will be a showcase of all the completed works. The showcase date is TBD and will be decided by the participants toward the end of the month, once we have a better idea of what we'll need to do wrap up our projects.

Can I participate?

Yes! Timasomo is open to anyone on Tildes! If you would like to join, post your goal here. The greater Tildes community is also encouraged to participate in discussion threads even if you are not actively working towards a creative goal. This is meant to be an inclusive community event -- all are welcome! If you are interested in participating but do not have a Tildes login, please e-mail the invite request address here for an invite to the community.


Thread #2: Reflection for Week One of Four

One week down, three to go! Why does it feel like we just started but also like there's not a whole lot of time left?!

Give a Progress Update

How's it been going? Tell us where you're currently at!

Breakdowns and Breakthroughs?

With any creative process, there'll always be unexpected flashes of brilliance or unexpected fizzles for what seemed like good ideas. Have you encountered anything that didn't go like you wanted it to, or something that up and surprised you out of nowhere?

What's Coming Up This Week?

With seven days down already, what do the next seven look like for you? Let us know where you're headed.

Discussion Topic of the Week: Making Time

How do you make time in a busy schedule for creativity? Do you find it hard to balance your creativity with other life demands? Do you have any tips or tricks that enable you to put more time and effort into your output?


As before: best of luck to ALL participants! Let's go MAKE SOMETHING.


Meta

Suggestions

If anyone has anything they want me to add to this post or suggestions for the next one, let me know either here or by PM!

31 comments

  1. [13]
    Keegan
    Link
    Website/blog/thing I never committed to this in the commitment post, but I did mention it in the ideas post. I am starting a site for personal use to put ideas into, shill a script I made, and...

    Website/blog/thing

    I never committed to this in the commitment post, but I did mention it in the ideas post. I am starting a site for personal use to put ideas into, shill a script I made, and some other stuff.

    Updates

    I installed all the components for Jekyll for a static site, and got it up and running on localhost. I changed the configs to match me, and wrote my "about" page and made a first post.

    Breakdown

    I think it is going to be difficult to me to write about myself in the blog, but I will try. I can only make so many ideas in my head, and I don't want to just copy stuff I see from news.

    What's next

    I am going to try to customize the CSS for the site, leaving the default theme as is, just changing colors. I also want to write another post or two before putting the site live on either GitHub or GitLab (which I still have not chosen between). I lean towards GitHub, which I use more, but I like the idea behind GitLab.

    Further down the line, I need to figure out domain options and budgeting that out, but that is optional and would really be a last step in my process, after seeing that I can sustain this.

    Making time

    Between classes and activities I am doing okay with making time to work on stuff. I just get sidetracked easily and work on other stuff instead sometimes.


    The first post

    My first post was about SMS bridges and sending email to SMS and vice versa. I will comment the full text of it below, as it is written in markdown. Please leave any criticisms of it there.

    9 votes
    1. [7]
      Keegan
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      sending SMS through email There are many scenarios in which email is great. It is ubiquitous and easy to use. Everyone has it. But there are some situations when a simple text message can be...

      sending SMS through email

      There are many scenarios in which email is great. It is ubiquitous and easy to use. Everyone has it. But there are some situations when a simple text message can be effective and provide a more reliable method of communication.

      This is why sending text messages through email is an interesting concept. Referred to as an "SMS Gateway", all major cell carriers provide a service that will bridge messages from email to SMS, and often vice-versa. This works by assigning every phone number an email address according to their carrier. These are often in the form phone number@carrier domain.tld. When a person sends an email to that address, it will be routed through the servers of the carrier to an SMS. This extra step can lead to extra scrutiny by a third party, since it greatly increases the number of systems that the message has to pass through, so I cannot suggest using it for any sensitive information.

      You can test this really quickly. Open your email and type in your phone number (do not include the nation code (1 for US) at the front), followed by the suffix for your carrier in the chart below. Add a subject and whatever body you want. It should probably be in plain text. Using the SMS suffix is faster but the MMS one allows a second message to stay in the same "conversation" on the phone, as it will send from the same number. If your carrier is not listed, Google is your friend.

      Carrier SMS Suffix MMS Suffix
      AT&T @‍txt.att.net @‍mms.att.net
      Sprint @‍messaging.sprintpcs.com @‍pm.sprint.com
      Verizon @‍vtext.com @‍vzwpix.com
      T-Mobile @‍tmomail.net @‍tmomail.net

      Take care not to send an excessive number of texts, as your carrier may block your email from sending through their gateway, but I have sent many texts and have had no restrictions. Standard data and messaging rates DO apply, so if you pay by the text do take care.

      Based on how email works, the process of sending an SMS through email is very simple. All that is required is an account, an internet connection, and a device to send from. This simplicity, and lack of a SIM card requirement, opens up many possibilities for usage in IOT (internet of things) devices. One can set up a Raspberry Pi weather station that is connected to the internet that can send weather updates from your house to your phone at work, making it more accurate to you. Another idea is to set up a Raspberry Pi with a motion sensor to track how many people enter or exit a store, save that time-stamped data into a database, then be able to determine the "hot" hours for your business and view trends. There are infinite other possibilites.

      Capitalizing on the concept, I have developed a Python script that makes it simple to send SMS messages from your email address. Since it is in Python, it can be used on practically any device. It can be found on GitHub as (link removed for now, I am trying to condense code). It has a graphical and command line interface. Instructions for usage are in the readme.

      I intend to post about this again after making a "weather station" with my Raspberry Pi that will send weather updates.

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        Gyrfalcon
        Link Parent
        Hmmm this could be useful for a similar but simpler project I have wanted to make. The idea is just to have the weather, either from sensors or some API, and have it let me know when it's cooler...

        Hmmm this could be useful for a similar but simpler project I have wanted to make. The idea is just to have the weather, either from sensors or some API, and have it let me know when it's cooler outside than in so I know when to open and close my windows in the summer. Not so much updates as "hey open the window," but a text would reach me easily.

        3 votes
        1. Keegan
          Link Parent
          Yeah a lot of home automation stuff can be handled with this, and I'm planning on doing the "weather station" after I make a wifi repeater with a Pi Zero W (my wifi struggles to reach the far...

          Yeah a lot of home automation stuff can be handled with this, and I'm planning on doing the "weather station" after I make a wifi repeater with a Pi Zero W (my wifi struggles to reach the far corners of my house and I'm not prepared to run ethernet through the walls [way more expensive than a repeater]).

          An API would be very simple to do with your idea, but I think having your own sensors could be nice if you live in a rural area or the weather forecasts for your area aren't the best.

          2 votes
      2. [4]
        Keegan
        Link Parent
        How can I change the @'s in the table so they don't link to users? :(

        How can I change the @'s in the table so they don't link to users? :(

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          You can use a zero-width joiner to accomplish that. Click "Copy" on this page and then paste that character in between the @ and first letter on Tildes. E.g. @nolink.blah Edit: Or you can put...

          You can use a zero-width joiner to accomplish that. Click "Copy" on this page and then paste that character in between the @ and first letter on Tildes. E.g. @‍nolink.blah

          Edit: Or you can put those @ lines inside an inline code-block by putting a backtick ` before and after each section. E.g. @nolink.blah

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            Keegan
            Link Parent
            Oh a zero-width joiner. Isn't that what some people use to catch plagiarism?

            Oh a zero-width joiner. Isn't that what some people use to catch plagiarism?

            2 votes
            1. cfabbro
              Link Parent
              I have never heard of it being used for that, but that definitely sounds plausible.

              I have never heard of it being used for that, but that definitely sounds plausible.

              1 vote
    2. [3]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Write the most egregious, fantastical shit if you can't think of anything actual. "Born in an Atlantis suburb. Reborn in <more factual location>". "Once dreamt of Chuck Norris – and lived"....

      I think it is going to be difficult to me to write about myself in the blog, but I will try

      Write the most egregious, fantastical shit if you can't think of anything actual.

      "Born in an Atlantis suburb. Reborn in <more factual location>".

      "Once dreamt of Chuck Norris – and lived".

      "Crowned the King of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on my 13th birthday".

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Keegan
        Link Parent
        Interesting. I like that concept. Then I elaborate on it and make it into a fictional short story type thing? I have been told that I am okay at writing fiction pieces but I think I am worse with...

        Interesting. I like that concept. Then I elaborate on it and make it into a fictional short story type thing? I have been told that I am okay at writing fiction pieces but I think I am worse with fiction than analytic, argumentative, or nonfiction.

        3 votes
        1. ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          If you want to. The idea is to make a positive impression of yourself immediately. People will generally recognize the ludicrious nature of your claim – and understand that it's purposeful, and...

          If you want to. The idea is to make a positive impression of yourself immediately. People will generally recognize the ludicrious nature of your claim – and understand that it's purposeful, and chuckle. If you do it right – in that, you don't make yourself out to be a pompeous ass – you'll get your good impression.

          3 votes
    3. [2]
      scrambo
      Link Parent
      Hey, I've been trying to do the same thing! Not for Timasomo actually, but it kinda lined up with November perfectly. I might make a goal to get two more blog posts out before the month is over...

      Hey, I've been trying to do the same thing! Not for Timasomo actually, but it kinda lined up with November perfectly. I might make a goal to get two more blog posts out before the month is over now. Thanks for the motivation :)

      3 votes
      1. Keegan
        Link Parent
        Definitely go for it! It's a challenge at times but it's very satisfying when you get the posts done!

        Definitely go for it! It's a challenge at times but it's very satisfying when you get the posts done!

        3 votes
  2. ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Working on the systems to put into the manual. Right now, the biggest pain in the neck is the combat system – more specifically, whether I need a combat system at all. Sure, the place the game's...

    Working on the systems to put into the manual.

    Right now, the biggest pain in the neck is the combat system – more specifically, whether I need a combat system at all. Sure, the place the game's set in is dangerous, and the field is meant to be more-or-less even between any two combatants. The goal of the system is not to have the least elements, but the few it needs to be meaningful and not more.

    The issue I have with combat systems is that the ones I've seen are either one-roll or however-many-rolls-it-takes. I was toying with the idea of timelines of actions, where each action takes X seconds, but it quickly grows to be a complicated mess that can hardly be resolved without specialized digital assistance – and that's not how good tabletop systems are designed.

    Then there's the inventory system – or, "how much can I carry around and still be able to walk with my back straight". I absolutely don't want players to track exact weights and volumes, even if some of the games I love do that and I love them doing it. In a video game, that's fine because the CPU does everything for you. In a tabletop game, it's a straight path to players' ire.

    One solution I foresee is using denominators instead of physical values: that is, items can be Miniscule (bobby pins and matches and the like), Small (a pistol magazine – or a pistol), Medium (a household metal pipe), or Large (a hunting rifle). The assumption is that characters can only carry a certain amount of items with them for a given equipment set: without a backpack you can only carry n₁ Miniscule items, n₂ Small ones, n₃ Medium ones, and no Large ones (only handling one). Finding backpacks or advanced carry systems would be important for the search party's long-term survival outside of cities and settlements.

    Whether it's a good system is up for debate. Looks simple enough on paper, but the devil is in the playtest.

    I'll start writing the manual once I have the systems settled on. If I can't come up with anything authentic through the next week, I'll omit the section. It's the first draft, I'm allowed to miss out on stuff.

    Also, I'm thinking of hosting the draft on Intergrid in read-only mode – which is something I've been meaning to put there anyway.

    9 votes
  3. [6]
    Gyrfalcon
    Link
    Fragile Little World This is the working title and logo inspiration for my website at the moment. I am liking it so far, but like everything else it's open to constructive criticism. Progress I...

    Fragile Little World

    This is the working title and logo inspiration for my website at the moment. I am liking it so far, but like everything else it's open to constructive criticism.

    Progress

    I have the site hosted here. I decided on Netlify because they seemed geared more at making a website for the purpose of having a website, versus Gitlab Pages being more aimed at having a website for another project. Right now it just has a first pass of the about page and some placeholder articles from the Jekyll starting guide that I used to help hash out the appearance of some of the pages. The code for the site is also hosted on Gitlab. I am open to any feedback, suggestions or ideas on both the code and the design!

    I also have a gzip plugin as well as some plugins suggested by the Jekyll starting guide set up, and I should credit this random blog with providing a small Ruby script to get my excerpts working properly. I know I mentioned using pagination in my last post, but with compression it should be long enough before my archive needs it that I can leave that until after this month.

    Overall I am much further along than I thought I would be, but I will have to see whether I regret that when my real deadlines show up.

    Looking Forward

    Right now I am working on an article discussing the design of the site in terms of reducing bandwidth and energy usage. There's not as much out there on this as I hoped but I'm going to try my best to avoid making something that is too reliant on any one source. Not sure if it will be done by the end of next week but maybe I can get a rough draft up.

    Making Time

    This week making time was easy just by chance. The thing I am going to have to work on for the coming weeks is balancing working on this with my school work, and trying to minimize time spent aimlessly online. Hopefully that mostly means a reduction to reddit and youtube and not as much of a hit to Tildes but we'll see.

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      What do you need a gzip plugin for? Compression is handled in-server, after user makes a request for content.

      What do you need a gzip plugin for? Compression is handled in-server, after user makes a request for content.

      3 votes
      1. Gyrfalcon
        Link Parent
        Hmmm I thought I did need it because it didn't seem like things were being compressed but looking it up it seems like that is something Netlify should do. I'll run a quick test and get back to you...

        Hmmm I thought I did need it because it didn't seem like things were being compressed but looking it up it seems like that is something Netlify should do. I'll run a quick test and get back to you on whether it makes a difference.

        1 vote
      2. [3]
        Gyrfalcon
        Link Parent
        It looks like it doesn't make a difference. I'll leave it off and just remember that if I want to self host or something I'll need to put it back. Thanks for catching that!

        It looks like it doesn't make a difference. I'll leave it off and just remember that if I want to self host or something I'll need to put it back. Thanks for catching that!

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          How do you host your files? If you can upload directly to the server's filesystem, you can enable in-server compression. All you need is a text file with a few lines in it. Search htaccess gzip...

          How do you host your files? If you can upload directly to the server's filesystem, you can enable in-server compression. All you need is a text file with a few lines in it. Search htaccess gzip deflate online: there are plenty of guides.

          1 vote
          1. Gyrfalcon
            Link Parent
            The files are hosted on Netlify, which is connected to my Gitlab repo so it rebuilds the site whenever I push. I don't think I can upload a file separately. I don't think I need to though. I meant...

            The files are hosted on Netlify, which is connected to my Gitlab repo so it rebuilds the site whenever I push. I don't think I can upload a file separately. I don't think I need to though. I meant that it doesn't make a difference because the files still appear to be compressed even disabling the compression in the Jekyll build process. I will definitely keep the htaccess information in mind if I change my hosting around.

  4. moocow1452
    Link
    I really didn't get nearly as much as I wanted to done here, between work picking up, other commitments that get in the way, and the x factor that I like to ignore, that there is a two year old in...

    I really didn't get nearly as much as I wanted to done here, between work picking up, other commitments that get in the way, and the x factor that I like to ignore, that there is a two year old in my head that has executive control over what I spend time on and they think writing is dumb when I could be doing LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE!! But it's my weekend now, Netflix stuff is too much of a commitment, and I'm out of podcasts, so I'm feeling confident about my chances of having a productive day.

    7 votes
  5. [2]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    So, the novel I am writing this month for NaNoWriMo, which I've given the title Inhabitant, is coming along okay-ish. Quality-wise, on a scale of 0 to 10, I would give it a -2, but I am making...

    So, the novel I am writing this month for NaNoWriMo, which I've given the title Inhabitant, is coming along okay-ish. Quality-wise, on a scale of 0 to 10, I would give it a -2, but I am making progress. I've failed to put down 1,667 words a day most days though. That needs to change.

    As far as the story itself, things are okay. I've written the intro, the protagonist waking up, some stuff happening that makes them special (how's that for avoiding spoilers?), and now the caravan the protagonist is a part of has just arrived at a survivor settlement called Ulm.

    (I'm pretty sure every single name for every single thing in this story is going to be changed before I am happy, but it works for now.)

    Anyways, some shit is going to go down at the settlement and that is going to be the actual start of the adventure.

    There are, however, three things I am really struggling with as far as writing the story:

    • The protagonist is keeping a secret from the reader and everyone else. I think I made that obvious at the beginning of the story and keeping that secret hidden is supposed to be a recurring thing, but I'm not sure how to further integrate that idea with the rest of the story.

    • The protagonist is, for reasons I won't get in to, supposed to have "powers" or "abilities" that give them, a regular human being, a pretty big advantage when dealing with all the scary aliens and creatures in the story. However, I have totally failed to nail down exactly what has been granted to the protagonist, how they can use their abilities, and their limits. I need to figure this out, soon.

    • Like any good adventure, the protagonist has companions that they will be traveling with. Unfortunately, I feel like I am pretty bad at writing dialogue or trying to represent multiple characters in a conversation. I should have put more work into deciding who these characters are and what they are like before I started writing them into the story.


    So, for the next seven days I think I am going to be diverging greatly from the planning I did for this novel in October. Mostly because I actually didn't do enough planning.

    I so, so wish I had the time to go back and edit, revise, and utterly change everything I have written so far, but I know that, if I do that, I'll never reach fifty thousand words by the end of November.


    As far as making time for writing, I have been very careful in making plans or committing to things lately. I have been completing my homework early, making sure assignments don't take up too much of my day. I've been learning to love writing in the morning. Perhaps most importantly, I've been going to sleep at a uniform time every night and waking up at a similarly uniform time every morning.

    (Except for last night, when my cat decided 3:00 AM was the perfect time to throw up. Clearly, his feline wisdom dictated that this was the perfect way to start the day, for both of us.)

    7 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Fuck that. Let loose a little. Write some stupid shit you'll regret in December. At least you can edit the stupid shit you have.

      I so, so wish I had the time to go back and edit, revise, and utterly change everything I have written so far

      Fuck that. Let loose a little. Write some stupid shit you'll regret in December. At least you can edit the stupid shit you have.

      3 votes
  6. anahata
    Link
    I've written a few things that I've shared here, and I have some ideas for things to write tomorrow as well. I started writing something else that I turned out to not be happy with at all; it...

    I've written a few things that I've shared here, and I have some ideas for things to write tomorrow as well. I started writing something else that I turned out to not be happy with at all; it didn't have the emotion I needed it to have. I took a bunch of notes on what I wanted to do with it, how I wanted to improve it in a rewrite. So far I'm not upset with myself for slacking as I'm putting in regular effort.

    As for breakdowns and breakthroughs, I've realized that my poetry tends to have the same kind of rhythm, the same kind of variation in meter. I have a style I like and I'm comfortable with it, but I'm wondering about exploring other rhythms and meters to see what I think of them. I should be clear that I like my current approach to rhythm and meter, but I'm thinking about exploring other ways of expressing myself. I have something I started before timasomo which I haven't finished yet which is a deviation from that, more immediate and ... staccato, I want to say, in one stanza. If I get that poem, or the one mentioned above, in a place I'm happy with, I'll be sure to post them. I'm concerned about my work becoming staid, worried about digging too deeply into the comfortable groove I've established. So I'm going to try experimenting with other approaches to see how they work for me. This is part of my goals with doing timasomo, to explore and grow as a poet.

    Making time is easy for me. I (intentionally) don't have a lot going on in my life. I work 40 hours per week on a regular schedule that doesn't deviate. I have a lot of spare time, and I have trouble identifying with people who are busy, so I'm afraid I won't be able to provide advice there.

    6 votes
  7. Icarus
    Link
    Decided to hand write for a journal as I have a lot more empty notebooks than I realized. I've enjoyed it so far for the most part. The hardest thing right now is finding time where I won't be...

    Decided to hand write for a journal as I have a lot more empty notebooks than I realized. I've enjoyed it so far for the most part. The hardest thing right now is finding time where I won't be interrupted. I live with my fiance and the end of the day is 'us' time so its hard to time it right at the end of the day. The mornings can be difficult too because I'm not always on schedule with enough time to write for 15 minutes. The biggest benefit I can think of from this exercise is getting comfortable with putting thoughts and feelings on paper, rather than keeping them locked up in my mind.

    6 votes
  8. euphoria066
    Link
    Give a Progress Update I have done 11 rows of my top-down crocheted sweater! Breakdowns and Breakthroughs? I am still bad at crocheting this sweater. I did the first 4 rows 3 times, had to frog it...

    Give a Progress Update

    I have done 11 rows of my top-down crocheted sweater!

    Breakdowns and Breakthroughs?

    I am still bad at crocheting this sweater. I did the first 4 rows 3 times, had to frog it out all three times because my stitch count was coming back wrong - then I figured out I was reading the pattern incorrectly, so I started over, and when I joined my second round I saw that I had somehow twisted the yoke. Having pulled the yarn out like 6 times at this point I figured it had been through too much and just cut it off and started over. I do think I understand it now, at least! Also I watched like 4 youtube videos on how to join and turn a round, and it turns out that I have been crocheting with my hook upside down? It's faster to have it the right way. so that's a benefit.

    What's Coming Up This Week?

    I'm hoping no surprises - just working my way down the main part of the sweater - I haven't really investigated the "Adding sleeves" process yet so I hope that goes well but I don't think I'll get there this week anyways.

    Discussion Topic of the Week: Making Time

    It's hard not to compare yourself to people on the internet or whatever. I have a full time job and commute, social obligations, the pastimes I usually do, 4 pets, and my house can ALWAYS use some cleaning. So I am just trying to grab a half an hour here and there, as often as I can, progress not perfection!

    6 votes
  9. kfwyre
    Link
    So, I've officially got the basics of Ren'Py under my belt. I can write dialogue, allow user choices, trip flags and branch my story based on them, and include graphics. I've officially written...

    So, I've officially got the basics of Ren'Py under my belt. I can write dialogue, allow user choices, trip flags and branch my story based on them, and include graphics. I've officially written the first scene of my story, which made me realize that I need to take a step back to the drawing board, as I never made an official "story map". I think that's going to be essential for doing this right, as including even a few choices makes things quite complicated, especially if they're going to have meaning later on rather than just immediately branching and then rejoining the main trunk.

    I initially framed my goal as wanting to just write a kinetic story, with choices as a bit of a stretch. I also wanted to include artwork by default. At this point, having played around with things, I'm going to revise my scope a bit: I want my story to have at least a few choices that are meaningful to the player, and I don't think I'll have full graphics.

    I quickly learned that assembling together art from different sources makes everything come across as patchwork in a bad way, with different art styles clashing visually. This is particularly noticeable with the characters, as I couldn't find one artist that had character designs I could use and was thus cobbling together whatever was available from several different sources. Furthermore, because I'm using freely available art, the character designs didn't really match the characters in my story. I found including graphics for them jarring. If this ever became more than just a hobbyist project, I'd have to collaborate/commission an artist to do character work for me. All told, I think I'll simply use backgrounds for different scenes without including character art.

    The last bit that remains to be seen is whether my story will actually come together. Instead of going for something simple or light, I instead opted to go all in on a serious, heavy story. While it has the potential to be good, I think it also has the potential to be overbearing, anvilicious, or just outright unappealing. Time and effort will tell. I plan to spend the coming week trying to write out scenes that are both meaningful and accessible.

    As for making time, that's far from a strength of mine. I'm an incredibly efficient worker when it comes to discrete and straightforward tasks, but something like this, where I don't know how much time to allot to any given session, throws me for a loop a bit. I also had a busy week last week as there was a lot to take care of given that I missed an entire week of life due to severe illness. So, this past week included a lot of catch up, some of which has spilled over to this week. I'm hoping to get in some good writing time this weekend, as my husband and pretty much everyone I know will be busy with the new Pokemon game.

    4 votes
  10. [2]
    bilbodwyer
    Link
    My website is coming along nicely, I've hit the minimum viable product stage and it's now live on the internet! https://sircurse.com I'm keen to keep the site as lean and lightweight as I can, so...

    My website is coming along nicely, I've hit the minimum viable product stage and it's now live on the internet!
    https://sircurse.com

    I'm keen to keep the site as lean and lightweight as I can, so I'm using Skeleton CSS to benefit from the grid system and to make it look decent on mobile. It's pretty bare bones, just pure CSS and not much ready-styled stuff. I've used Bootstrap before, so there's been a small learning curve involved, and I've had to manually style certain aspects that Bootstrap handles for you. On the whole, it's been quite easy to use though, and I feel pretty confident in using it now.

    On the subject of keeping it lightweight, a big win for me earlier this evening was converting the album artwork from a png to a jpg, which has trimmed the filesize down dramatically (~4MB to ~700KB!), and increased the page's load time quite a bit (especially on my phone's spotty LTE connection).
    The next thing to do is to try to find a way to get the icons to load more quickly - font awesome is terribly slow. I'm using 6 icons, and (I assume) it's pulling in the entire stack on page load. I've done a bit of research already, and it looks like I'd need to save a font file locally instead of pulling it over the Internet... This looks more complicated, but I'm up for the challenge. It might be simpler than I think, but when I was looking this evening I was quite tired from work and the gym, so I wasn't taking much in in terms of documentation. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated!

    I also got a mailing list set up for the band, which is something that all the marketing people tell us is a great thing to do (I've yet to be convinced). Hopefully we get some good results from that, but it was a good exercise in learning how to make forms work. Admittedly I copied and butchered the code offered up by Mailchimp, but I get how it all works (I think!).

    As I started writing this post, I thought that my next steps would be to change up the styling somewhat, to better reflect the band's image (in a word, exciting!). But I rather think that if I get stuck on styling, I'll be there forever trying to get it exactly perfect. I may still tweak the front page a little bit, I like the idea of putting some kind of banner image behind the quotes to break the page up a little, but my brief experiments with that so far haven't looked very good.
    In any event, the next steps are going to be to get gallery, bio, and upcoming shows pages up and running. I'm not certain how I want them to work just yet, I quite like the single-page setup I have now, as it's very (maybe too) simple. I don't know how navigation between pages will work without overhauling the design a little, but that's all part of the fun I suppose.

    The bio and to a certain extent the gallery pages will both be easy to do and can remain static - I don't anticipate much trouble there (except maybe getting the copy together for the bio). However, the upcoming shows page is something that will be more challenging.
    I want to be able to keep it updated with minimal work from me. There are tools out there that plug into Google Calendar and display events in a nice list, but that would involve setting up a separate calendar from ours, as we plan practice and block off availability on it, and I don't think it's the most elegant solution (not to mention how little I'd learn from just using a drop-in tool). More research to be done on this I think. My current half-baked and sleep-deprived plan is to use JS or PHP to read a simple text file and create a table from there. I'm not sure on the finer details of this though. I assume it can be done, but I've not started to really think about how it'll work yet. Again, any suggestions here would be most welcome!

    All in all, I'm really enjoying the process so far. It's been a few days in the making to get to this stage, and I've not made as much time as perhaps I should have. But my evenings are opening up for the next few weeks, and I have a couple of 3-day weekends coming up too. Should be lots of opportunity to work on it :)

    4 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      The website's looking good! May I advise you also put it through optimization? Shrink the album art to about half of what it is: the user won't be seeing a bigger version anyway in the current...

      The website's looking good!

      a big win for me earlier this evening was converting the album artwork from a png to a jpg

      May I advise you also put it through optimization? Shrink the album art to about half of what it is: the user won't be seeing a bigger version anyway in the current layout. Then try Squoosh: might be able to cut out something like 33%~50% without visible loss of quality.

      There's also conditional image display possible with HTML5 that lets you show a smaller image (dimensionally, not visibly) on smaller screens. More often than not, it means your mobile visitors will have to download less and will see the page quicker. It can wait until you finish other optimizations, though: this is me informing you that the possibility exists.

      it looks like I'd need to save a font file locally instead of pulling it over the Internet

      FYI, this will also help with the Google font you're using. There's an excellent Heroku app for saving Google-served fonts locally.

      It's an intimidating prospect, mostly because there are minor details that, if missed, will ruin the whole affair. After you're settled with that, fontwork will remain the easier part of web design and development.

      I'm using 6 icons, and (I assume) it's pulling in the entire stack on page load

      That's correct: when loading a font (including icon fonts), you load the whole file by default.

      Once you figure out hosting fonts locally, you can use IcoMoon to form an icon font out of only the icons you need. Font Awesome is one of the icon fonts available, and you have to select it within the app to be able to pick icons from it. This will reduce the weight considerably.

      But I rather think that if I get stuck on styling, I'll be there forever trying to get it exactly perfect

      Browse online for themes and color schemes and font combinations, and pick what seems closest to the band's idea. This is the 20% of work that will get you 80% there.

      If you want a solid look, I would advise that at some point in the future you hire a professional. A good designer's work is not cheap, and what you have is pretty good to start with, so reach out for professional redesign when your position on the scene is stable enough for regular income.

      There's a couple of small things I would change in the current design, but overall, it's looking good! Well done, and keep it up.

      1 vote
  11. ReapersGale
    Link
    Django Blog: Progress: At least got django installed and the dev environment setup This week: Catch up for lost time Making Time: Last week I was on-call for work - the extra pay (and the idea...

    Django Blog:

    Progress: At least got django installed and the dev environment setup

    This week: Catch up for lost time

    Making Time:
    Last week I was on-call for work - the extra pay (and the idea that I technically got pad to go to the gym, watch TV, etc) is nice but being plugged into an alert feed 18x7 definitely takes it's toll on trying to focus on something.

    3 votes
  12. xstresedg
    (edited )
    Link
    REFLECTIONS One week down and full of shouldas. However, we still have a long road ahead, and a lot of time to get there. Let's do this! PROGRESS As noted above, there have been a lot of shouldas....

    REFLECTIONS

    One week down and full of shouldas. However, we still have a long road ahead, and a lot of time to get there. Let's do this!

    PROGRESS

    As noted above, there have been a lot of shouldas. Depending on which part of me you talk to, I'm not where I want to be and I'm ahead of where I thought I could reach. The current system has combat almost fully completed from the player character's (PC) perspective, and I have one enemy created, though not finished. The HUD has been developed, displaying health (HP), magic (MP), and the amount of gold the player has.

    Current Progress | Progress # 5

    BREAK DOWN OR THROUGH

    Had lots of pains building the first enemy and as its still not done, there will be more pain in the future, I'm sure. I did find a nice way to display the money though, so that it is adaptive depending on the amount the PC has. Whether its 1 gold or 150, 000 gold, it displays right up against the "Gold:" header. I'm sure there's a better way to do it but the way I designed it works.

    WHAT'S NEXT

    I'm honestly unsure as to how the next week will be. My partner is switching shifts for the rest of the year so she'll be home every night, but she's also really supportive of this venture. I just have to work with her to find the right middle-ground.

    Personal stuff being said, I hope to finish the first enemy and begin work on the menu system, and perhaps a minimap or something to go along with the menu, though the minimap isn't in the original scope so I don't know if I want to add on more before the rest is complete.

    MAKING TIME

    How do you make time in a busy schedule for creativity?

    It all depends. For me, a lot of it comes down to mood and what I'm doing that day or evening. Creatively, it isn't an issue yet, but simply just a time restraints thing. If I go hard after work, I may end up staying up until 02:00, and being a wreck for the next day of work. I'm also just a go-with-the-flow type, and I don't plan very much. I prefer to have an open schedule, that way plans can be made whenever, and plans can't get ruined if they're made last minute.

    Do you find it hard to balance your creativity with other life demands?

    I can, depending on what is going on. I'll work on my project over doing things like cleaning, most days, but I'll spend time with my partner over working on my project. So I guess yes, I do find it hard to balance it all, as there are things I'd rather do than life, but also things I'd rather do than work on something.

    Do you have any tips or tricks that enable you to put more time and effort into your output?

    Hyperfocus. Focus hard on your task at hand. Work at shutting out external stimuli during your work time. BUT, you need a balance as well. Don't forget to eat or sleep. Designate times that you will work and times you will play, as it were. Burnout is a real thing and tends to sneak up on a person.

    Find your balance.

    EDIT: I've also now set up a Discord server for my website which can be accessed here.

    2 votes