In-depth #8

It’s my last blog post this year for In-depth.  Overall, I think it’s gone really well.  I’ve definitely learned a lot, and already, my website looks better.  I haven’t been able to do quite as much as I wanted, in terms of design, but I’ve learned a lot, even if I haven’t been able to put it into practice.  In terms of how I’m going to present it at In-depth night, I want to show my website to people.  I’ll have a laptop (need a power bar), with my website displayed, and maybe a sample of my code printed out.  I will also have a short little paragraph about the differences between CSS and HTML.  I don’t want a really fancy thing.  I want to stay with the theme of HTML, which is simplicity, and easiness of use.  I just want to have a minimum of text, and more of what my finished product is.  I’m really happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish over my two years working with web-design.  I’ve started with little or no knowledge at all, all the way to being able to craft websites, with little help at all from tutorial websites.  I’ve figured out the form and structure I need, as well as how to solve the problems that consistently pop up.  In conclusion, I think that it’s been a really amazing project, and I want to thank my mentor, Ian MacKenzie, for helping me along the way.  He definitely helped my project along, especially when I ran into roadblocks.  HTML and CSS is incredibly difficult at times, but when it works, and I can see my finished project, that’s when I believe it was worth it.

In-depth #2

I’ve gotten off to a good start on my in-depth project.  It was really daunting for me at the beginning, because I just wasn’t sure where to start.  I knew what CSS was, but I didn’t know how to start it.  Turns out, it’s really simple.  I talked to my mentor, and he sent me the link to this site.  I managed to get a much better picture of how CSS works.  Before, I just knew what it was.  It was like the definitions in the glossary.  I knew the definition of a word, but I had never encountered in in real life.  It’s like knowing what meiosis IS, but not knowing how it fits into how the body works.  Same thing with CSS.  I knew what it was, but I didn’t understand how it interlocked and complemented HTML.  What I’ve learned is that you write your HTML normally, with only one major difference.  You don’t include any formatting.  AT ALL.  It’s a difficult concept for me to understand, especially since last year, I did all my formatting by HTML.  But all you do is use your heading tags (<h1>, <p>, etc) and write.  Just include everything you want to say.  No font colour, no font choice, no align-lefts or align-rights.  Just your text.  It looks something like this.Untitled

Then, you add in your CSS.  You create a new file, with the extension .css, with all your css.  An example of CSS would be something like this:


Basically, when it says “body” in the CSS file, it affects everything under the tag <body> in the HTML.  Same thing for the paragraph.  Everywhere in the HTML code there’s the <p> tag, the text will be 50 pixels in from the left side.  I think it’s really cool how CSS works.  It means a lot less work for you.  Every time you try to change something, you don’t have to write a lot of code, with awkward formatting, you can change one thing, and have it affect multiple parts of a web page.  Plus, once you design a CSS page once, you can upload it multiple times, for multiple pages.  That means you can have the EXACT SAME theme for your entire website, but you won’t have to rewrite the code multiple times.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a big believer of not having to do more tedious work than you need to.

The other thing I learned about was the different types of CSS sheets.  There’s three types, external, internal, and in-line.  External is the method I’ll be using, it’s when you create an external file that contains all of your CSS code.  Internal is where you write it actually in your HTML file.  For example, you would write <p>, and then below that, you would include something like p{font-size:36pt;}.  In-line is the trickiest one to use.  My mentor said that I shouldn’t use it unless I absolutely have to, because the whole point of CSS is to clear up your code, but in-line CSS totally defeats that purpose.  It’s when you write something like <p style=”font-family:arial;”> and in side of it, you include your CSS.  Essentially, it’s HTML.  Just with a different name.  It goes against everything CSS is meant to do.  I’m going to use the external method, because, as my mentor Ian MacKenzie said,

you can have full control over every page

I don’t know about you, but I like being in control!

Now that I’ve learned a lot more about CSS, I’m really eager to actually get started on it.  I’m glad I took the time to look through a couple different tutorials, and talk to my mentor, before I started.  Since I now know what CSS is capable of, I’ll be able to have realistic goals, and I’ve got a much better idea of what I want my website to look like.  My goal for my next blog post is to have all my HTML written, and then I’ll start on the CSS formatting part of my website.  Stay tuned!

A Web of Information

So, here’s my blog post about my learning center. I was striving to create the same kind of atmosphere as the real World-Wide Web. I wanted something that was very linked together, had many different unique parts, and had a central focus point from where you started from, much like your home page. I also wanted to keep the spirit of the Web alive by not overloading it with information. In the beginning, Tim Berners-Lee had a student create a very simple browser, one that would work quickly on any computer, no matter how old or slow. He did this so that anyone would have access to the Web, and he figured that the best way to do that would be to have it extremely simple and concise. No fancy images or animations, just text. That’s what I tried to do in my learning center too. I wanted to have short words, not very descriptive, but when joined together, would create something that people could learn from.  I took a lot of inspiration from Tim’s original proposal.eminent person 2010 learning center I tried to incorporate the same sort of directions and parts into my learning center.  I feel like the center part of this image is the words “A propsal”.  Similarly, in my learning center the center part was “Tim Berners-Lee”.  The image then branches out into the main section, just like mine did.  I had 4 main parts.  His biography, the W3C, my interview, and a section about the WWW itself.  I really wanted to keep the spirit of the Web alive, and to try to show my visitors something they could take away afterwards, a little bit about what the Web was really about.  The other piece of information I tried to get across visually.  Once I came up with an idea for this project originally, the one thing that I really really wanted to do was to have it be big.  I wanted to show off the universality of the Web, and how it stretches to all corners of the globe, and even into space.  I thought that having as big a web as I could would be the best way to show that.

It took me about 2 weekends to completely build my web, about a full days worth of work.  I started with just the half-dome in the middle.Dome

Next, I built the top pieces.  It was extremely hard work for me to try to balance them, in the beginning, there was a lot of flopping around.  Just like Tim though, I kept on developing and trying new things, and eventually, I made it work. top stuff

Then I added the two sections to the right and left, and built supports for themEverything without labels

Finally, I had to touch up all the little bits, add all the words to it, and voila!  My learning center was done.

Version 2.0. better, and more improved…

Alright.  So here is the second draft of my speech.  Please, again, comment.  I found it really really helpful that people commented on sections.  I’ve tried to include more personal anecdotes, because that seemed to be the main thing that people were criticizing, and I also tried to fix up my paragraph breaks.  Please comment on a small section, or on the whole thing in general.  I just need something! I’ve placed in bold bits that I’ve changed.

Many people say that no one person invented the Internet. That’s not true. I did. Well, I guess that that’s not true either. What I did do, is transform and advance the technological revolution. That might not even be totally accurate. What I did, was create the World Wide Web, the greatest invention since the television, the most-used way to get onto the Internet, something that’s become so commonplace, many people take it for granted. Lets just clear up a difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet right now. An example I use often, is that the Internet is a highway. The World Wide Web is a car, its just a way of using the highway. There are many cars that have used this highway, it just happens that the World Wide Web is the family car, one that everyone can afford. The others, well, they just became outdated, something that’s been a common theme with many of the other programs.

One of the things that often keeps me up late at night is the….ending of the World Wide Web. Just like the programs that passed before mine, nothing lasts forever. I worry about how long the World wide Web can last for, and I wonder whether it will be given enough time to make the impact that I know it can deliver. I had a vision, of a web that connected everyone and everything, where creating something would be just as easy as reading it. A place where you could keep track of new developments, new people, and new places. There was a lot of inertia against the project from the start, much of it out of incomprehension. Then, as it developed, and people realized just how far ahead I was seeing, much of the resistance came from jealousy. I think that the World Wide Web still hasn’t reached its full potential, and it would be a shame if it passed away before its time.

When I was trying to name my project, I had thought up of many ideas. I originally thought of Mine of Information, but the acronym of MOI was very egocentric. Same thing with The Information Mine. That acronym was TIM!!! In the end, I chose something with a recognizable letter associated with it, W, and it ended up as the World Wide Web.

I’d say that the person who helped me the most during my project would be Robert Caillau (Kai-yo). Before we met, we had had coffee together on the odd occasion, but he was busy getting a programming language going, and I was only there for 6 months. (laugh) I don’t think either of us struck the other as being very special the first time we met, yet, there were so many interesting people, so to be special, you really had to stand out. He mainly was my supporter, my closest friend, and would back me up in front of the bosses. Once, he asked this guy from France Telecom for his e-mail address, and he responded with “Sir, I hope you do not expect France Telecom will support the Internet?”. He hired people, convinced management to give us more resources, got support for the project from the European Union, placed the technology into the public domain, and started the World Wide Web Conferences. He always joked that my consortium was the church and I was its pope, while his conferences were the state, with freedom of speech as the rule of thumb. Robert once joked that the reason that his conferences were so popular was that there was no such thing as a virtual beer. Even though many people credit me with the invention of the World Wide Web, I feel that Robert never gets enough accolades for what he does, but he always was happy to toil tirelessly in the background.

I guess that what I said earlier was totally wrong. There is no such thing as original thought, and its important to bear in mind that anything as important as the World Wide Web couldn’t be created by an individual. Each contribution has to build upon previous work. Everything is tied to everything else. My contribution was just another building block in the development of technology, in the hopes of something better for the human race.

Napoleon test

This was one of the best tests I’ve ever written.  Using anything we wanted, Twitter, Wikipedia, SparkNotes, our textbook, we had to form an opinion about Napoleon Bonaparte.  This was my response to one of the most fun, yet challenging tests ever.

Napoleon Bonaparte had many good, and bad qualities, and should be remembered as such.  He reached for the stars, set goals, and tried to make the world a better place.  But he ended up a tyrant, destroyed women’s rights, tried to get rid of democracy, and on top of that, lied and abandoned his army and post.

One of the best things Napoleon Bonaparte did was his unleashing of nationalism.  It created very strong feelings, and often made people believe in him.  They were utterly loyal, as proved when he returned from the island of Elba, and consequently had his soldiers return under his command.  He is remembered as being a great motivator, who inspired the best in people, causing them to remain loyal.  I think that pulling all of the French laws together into one code was one of his biggest achievements.  It took all the outdated laws from the various parts of the country into one, influencing the rules and regulations we have in place today, strong reminders about the might of the French Empire.

On the other hand, I doubt that he was composed of only these great qualities.  Thinking about him instantly brings to mind his invasion of Egypt and Moscow, both of these to be ultimately unsuccessful.  In both occasions, he abandoned his army and returned to France.  Also, at the end of his career during the period known as the Hundred Days, he tried to abdicate and escape from France, getting his loyal Old Guard to protect his back while he made good his getaway.  This was yet another example of him using and manipulating people.  To further solidify his reputation as a manipulator, each battle he fought, he promised the soldiers things he couldn’t keep, and often used people, such as those of Haiti, for his own purposes.

In terms of learning history, I think that this is a great way to do it.  You follow them through their long, illustrious, and often convoluted careers and life, and by the end, you really feel like you’ve gotten to know the particular person in question.  I think that the only bad thing about learning like this is that you only have it from one point of view.  Yes, I know that textbooks are trying to remedy this, but the saying that “the winners write history” is very true.  Mainly what survives these conflicts isn’t the losers tremendous effort, or their struggles throughout, but instead those of the victors, and their eventual conquest.  One of the things I like about this test is that it doesn’t test how much you can memorize in 5 minutes.  Using all the resources at your disposal, Twitter, textbooks, Wikipedia, SparkNotes, etc, it’s really testing what you think, and why you think it.  I think that this a better way to test the true extent of your knowledge.

Overall, I think that Napoleon, like every other famous person, had their good and bad points.  We remember him as a leader, motivator and strategist, a real hero for the people of France.  Yet we also know him as a manipulator, liar, and generally untrustworthy person.  I think that the last words he said before his exile to the island of Elba were one of the strongest I’ve ever heard.  He asked them to remember him.  And like every person on this planet, I think that’s how it is.  Whether they are bad or not, evil or brilliant, they just want to be remembered.  To not be just another statistic, or just another ordinary person, but to be remembered.

Presenting…My Website! (In-Depth Blog #3)

Yay…I’ve finally finished my home page of my website, and I’m now officially published on the web!  It’s not much right now, but it’s definitely up there which is what counts.

It’s really cool, knowing that anyone can look at your site, go to it, I’m really proud of myself right now.  Please, take a look for yourself, and tell me what you think…I appreciate the feedback and criticism, but I can’t say I’ll take it well :D.  So far, I’m really enjoying the project, and I feel like this is the first BIG milestone I’ve reached.  Like the first step is learning it, the second part is actually using it, then placing pictures on, then the big one…publishing it.  And now I’ve done it, for the first time, so it’s I’m relishing in the fact that I’ve actually done it.  Sorry for repeating myself, but you know, I’ve actually DONE IT!  I’VE DONE IT!!!! yay.  Okay, now that my impromptu celebration is over, I know that there’s a lot that I could do to make it better.  For one thing, videos and other media would be a start, and creating a new page so that I can have my blog posts there would also be good…but for now, I’m going to celebrate!


The Delicious bookmark (hahaha, can’t get over the whole delicious bookmark thing) I’m sharing is an article about “The Dangerous Desire to Adopt Haitian Babies” by a website called Racialicious.
When I first started looking, all I found were history pages, Wikipedia articles, and news articles about the earthquake (I can relate to your pain Rebecca).  So, I decided to type in “Haiti” and “culture” and “aftereffects”.  This was one of the top links I came up with.  It’s about the whole craze with everyone in G7 countries adopting Haitian “orphans”.  It’s a really long article, but it’s very well-written, and gives you lots to think about.  My first impression when I read it was one of boredom, but as I started to trawl through the entire article I realized that it was very impressive.  I agree with a lot of the stuff she writes about, especially her point about how many Haitian “orphans” are not really “orphans” at all, because they have a lot of extended family, or they are unsure about the status of their parents, or the parents may have been separated from their kids during the earthquake.  The officials then separate the children from their biological parents forever by sending them to a random country that’s totally alien to their natural environment, and place them with people they’ve never met.  Hmmm, it says a lot doesn’t it?

Overall, I think that this bookmark gave me a lot of insight into the whole Haitian earthquake, and while I didn’t learn too much about the history of Haiti, I still learned a lot.