Heck of a few months…

Well, I finished Java by pulling more almost-all-nighters than I’d care to think about. I was also in the midst of, you know, working, so I couldn’t do actual all-nighters. But I survived on something like five nights in a row of under four hours of sleep. And then did it again for three (?) more nights.

But I passed, in the end.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any kind of break between Java and PHP I.

So, PHP is kind of the reason I wanted to take these classes in the first place. My previous workplace had a web app built in PHP, so I thought to myself, “Self, you should learn PHP so you can actually sort of kind of understand what people are talking about.” Essentially, I was just so tired of always telling my clients “I’m sorry, I’m not a technical contact”, and I was tired of not fully grasping what the devs at work were talking about.

However, in order to take PHP I (and then PHP II), I had to take:

  • HTML 5/CSS 3
  • SQL Essentials
  • Fundamentals of Java Programming

So I did all those. I did HTML/CSS (which was a nice refresher, but I learned all about media queries! HOORAY!) and I did SQL Essentials (I can create database tables! And query them! And stuff!) and then I suffered through Java, but, ultimately, I emerged victorious.

And finally, PHP.

I don’t know what I was really expecting. I’d known of PHP for years. I’d edited old PHP scripts, used PHP includes. It wasn’t a complete black box to me.

And yet, that was a hell of a difficult course. Not sure how I passed my final exam because it was pretty rough. Still, I passed the exam, did well on my assignments… well, the two of the three that I know of, anyway. The third assignment is due in less than half an hour as I write this, but I finished it 90 minutes ago or so and that completes my obligations for PHP I. I didn’t even really need to do the assignment, but it got personal. Stupid databases and displaying them as tables in HTML using PHP. Still, I learned a lot of stuff. Database stuff, especially, but also things like foreach loops and all about arrays and sticky forms! Note to self: redo your personal website (not this one) and incorporate not just pretty forms like you learned in HTML/CSS, but sticky forms.

I gotta say, it’s come in handy. Work, which is going well, supports some stuff built in PHP, so a customer asked me why a subscribe button wouldn’t display on her site. So I went and it was displaying for me. And then I realized that she must be subscribed to her own list. So I checked the code and, yep, right there — if user is already subscribed or if the third-party site is unreachable, don’t display the subscribe button. Of course, it was in PHP and not basic English, but I understood it just fine!

So that was exciting.

As to work, I’m getting into the swing of things. Still learning, but I don’t feel completely idiotic anymore, which is nice. I’m heading to Seattle in October for a conference, so that should be fun, especially because I’m finally going to get to meet Sandra, who I first met online in late 1994 — and we still haven’t met. She is the oldest online friend I have whom I’ve not yet met. Well, not old in that sense, but the person I’ve known the longest, consider a friend and yet haven’t met. I won’t have a ton of time due to work conference stuff, but should be able to steal a couple of hours to meet up.

So I work from home and that is such a lovely thing. I decided I would redo my spare room into a home office. I remember from working at About.com that it was important to have a workspace and a living space, so I, uh, might have potentially gone a little bit overboard with the home office thing. To begin, I got my parents to take me to IKEA… All we could fit in the car was the Alex Riser so I assembled that on the Friday night before my delivery was due.

Me, about to start building things.
Alex Riser from IKEA
Building the Alex riser.

Then, on Saturday, the desk arrived and so I started building that stuff. It’s not an actual desk, per se, it’s two sets of drawers and then a countertop, basically. It’s the Linnmon/Alex “desk” from IKEA.

Alex drawers
Gotta start somewhere, right?
Drawer building
The outer shell.
And drawers to go inside!
Completed drawers.
Voila. One set of drawers done. That was enough for Saturday.

On Sunday, I started anew with the other set of drawers.

More Alex drawers
Drawer set number two.
Inventory of the pieces. Yep, everything’s there.
The shell
The shell.
Completed desk.

So once I’d finished constructing everything, I screwed in the middle leg and added the riser. Looks pretty great, right?


Backlit desk

Why yes, that is a blue-coloured light coming from behind my desk. Why Julie, how did you achieve this? Simple, the Philips Hue Light Strip Plus. I MAY have gone a little nuts and spent, oh, a few hundred bucks on smart lights I can control with my phone. I have two in the living room (soon to add another three) and I’ve got four bulbs and the light strip in the office. The light strip is actually stuck on the back of my desk. It’s great.

Desk, with monitor and computer.

So this is what my desk started out as. Oh, yeah, did I mention the Light Strip Plus has sixteen million colours? Because it does. 🙂

The monitor is an ASUS VC279 (27″) and it’s perfect for me with its large desktop, allowing me to put less important applications on my work laptop. The large grey pad is a Corsair Gaming Mouse Mat and I have a Fellowes wrist support I got at Staples with a Logitech USB wireless mouse. The keyboard is an older version of the Apple Magic Keyboard,

The lamp is also from IKEA — a Klabb. It needed an adapter to be able to take the Philips Hue bulb I had bought for it, so it’s not lit here.

Computer workspace
The adapter did arrive.

What you see under the monitor, under the riser, is my Sony bluetooth speaker. It’s not great — I usually let it hook up to my iPad when I’m in the kitchen — but it works nicely here. Still, it’s a temporary solution. I’m planning to get actual speakers. Also a riser for the laptop.

Oh yeah, the lamp bulb is also 16 million colours!

I stole my own floor lamp from the living room and put in three Philips Hue Ambiance/White light bulbs in there. So they don’t change colour, really, but they can be one of 50,000 shades of white. Bright white, blue white, yellow white, etc. It’s very cool. I actually went out and bought an identical floor lamp to put back in my living room and I’ll purchase another three bulbs to place in it. Mwahahaha.

Of course, there are all these icky cables everywhere.

Cable management
So I decided to do something about it.

I bought ALL KINDS OF SHIT, yo. And I put a lot of it to good use!

Power bar stuck on to the back of one of my drawers.

The desk is a little further out from the wall than I’d orginally wanted, but there’s just no way to keep it closer if you want things to appear clean.

Cable management
See the hooks? They carry the power cable to the OTHER side, where I have another power bar hooked up, which is the one that actually plugs into the wall.

It’s not perfect. I probably should spend some time re-doing parts of it, but it’ll do for now. Just gotta get those speakers and the laptop riser and I should be good to go.

I like the setup so much that I want to get a second one for my PC desktop computer. I kind of want to put it on the opposite wall as the work computer and just have that be The Computer Room, but I do think it’s smart to keep business and pleasure far away from each other. Or, at least one room away.

I definitely need a new main desk for my desktop, though. We’ll see, we’ll see. 🙂

So that’s what’s been up with me. PHP II starts in about three weeks, so we’ll see if I manage to do anything with my personal website before then. 😉

Oh, and my eldest nephew, Henry, turned three on Sunday! Here’s a selfie of me with the birthday boy.

Henry and me on his third birthday.