From what I hear, men do not have the ability to give birth so I’ll just have to assume that this is what it feels like. After a long ass time of fiddling with stuff, I have finally created my first blog on a LAMP stack. Disclaimer: I did not write the PHP myself, I just copied and pasted it from this Cutting Edge Tech (which was an awesome guide!).
So why was this project important? Well, asides from proving to me that dreams can come true, building this blog really taught me how front-end development and back-end development come together to make the websites that we know and love.
It’s a lot like when I first started watching skateboard videos.
When I watched my first skate video, my mind was blown in a way that could never be unblown again. Up to that point, my skateboarding experience consisted of rolling outside of my friend Daniel’s house or the skateboard park at the local park. The Tiltmode Army video (that I got from Westbeach on Boxing Day) was the very first time that I saw “street skating”, which was people doing tricks on the street. From that day forward, I never saw architecture the same again.
That set of stairs? Perfect for a 360 flip. That rail? Dying for a kickflip to crooked grind. Everything on the street became a canvas for what trick could be done on it. Even to this day, I’ll see a big ass handrail on the street and thing of what awesome trick I would love to see be done on it. I think that building a blog with a LAMP stack is the same thing. I can see how things are made. Wordpress? Looks like PHP linked to MySQL with some nice CSS on top. Facebook? Looks sorta like PHP and MySQL but crazier. I’m probably not entirely right, but at least now I have a glimpse into the interactions between the front-end and the back-end and how information is retrieved and stored.
I’m barely scratching the surface of what it takes to see a web app and see how that problem is being tackled, but I am starting to sort of get it. It’s been a really rewarding experience to bang your head against a wall for so long and finally see something come of it. I’m already googling other easy PHP/MySQL projects to do for the future and I hope I get even more skilled at how to do this stuff.
After months of hearing about this device from blogs and on reddit, I finally was able to get my hands on one of these devices from my coworker. I spent the better part of yesterday trying to get Raspbmc, a linux distribution based on XBMC on my device and for something that cost $35 dollars, I’m tremendously impressed with how well it’s performing. That’s not to say that there aren’t any flaws (you can’t really change the fact that the device is, and always will be slow) but it’s definitely a fun project for anyone that’s interested in stepping their linux game up.
I was able to get everything up and running and was able to stream some of the canucks game using the SportsDevil add-on.
After a couple hours of trying to manually install the LAMP stack, I’ve officially decided to give up on the manual install and just use TASKSEL to do it for me. TASKSEL is a command that will automatically do very common tasks, such as setting up servers, installing common programs and, of course, install a LAMP server.
Here is literally the only line you need to type in order to set up a LAMP server:
sudo tasksel install lamp-server
Why did I give up on setting up the LAMP server manually? I’ve decided that the level of headaches from setting up the server manually in Ubuntu was just not worth the amount of time that I was losing from not advancing in learning. Every minute I spent investigating why things weren’t working was making me jaded and contributed to the slowing pace and interest in completing the overall goal of writing my own blog in PHP.
I’ve always had an ongoing inner monologue about actually knowing everything about a certain task and knowing enough to be proficent at doing the task. For example, when I first started playing bass guitar in high school, I taught myself how to play specific songs using tabs which taught you where to put your fingers rather than learning musical theory. I got good enough at some songs to the point where I was able to play in front of my high school for a lunch time concert. However, I was overwhelmed with the constant feeling that I was a huge fraud and that I was basically guitar-heroing and not really a valid musician (a massive concern when you’re a kid in high school).
I ended up saying “fuck it” and sold my bass guitar on craigslist.
Flash foward to a couple years ago when I first started cycling. I was convinced that I wanted to build my own bike from scratch, until I learned that the holy grail of being a bicycle mechanic was the ability to build a wheel. Now, building a wheel is something that requires an insane amount of concentration and precision – but most of all experience. Almost all tutorials of wheel building will stay that a wheel is properly tensioned when it “feels” right or, I shit you not, it “should be a G [musical note] with plain-gauge spokes and an A [musical note] with butted spokes” when plucked with your finger. Clearly, that is fucking insane. After a couple of months, I once again was like “fuck it”, but instead of giving it up I just bought a set of wheels on ebay and was able to get on the road. Ever since then, I’ve become an avid cyclist.
I learned that you shouldn’t let the egotistical act of being an expert stand in the way of actually doing something. Hopefully, by building a LAMP stack the easy way (with 1 command) will allow me to actually continue to learn more about developing and keep moving foward.
Immediately, I’m running into issues with Linux.
I really like the command line interface, it really gives you a direct sense of what the computer is doing. For example, if you’re using Microsoft Excel and trying to open a massive file, the app will just freeze and you’re not sure if the program is working or crashing. For me, the best part is that if I type in a command and I get the next line returned, it worked. And it’s also really cool to type all this stuff and have your screen explode in text like you’re hacking the Pentagon.
The downside for me is that if it doesn’t work, you’re shit out of luck. Since I’m working off a tutorial, any outdated information or any sort of situation that isn’t outlined is going to completely derail this entire process. But I guess that’s technically the fun part.
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I had a conversation last week with a professional programmer named Ryan, who’s the husband of my friend Betsy. As we were all talking about “the internet” over ice cream sandwiches and drinks, I had no choice but to ask the question that I think affects Gen-Yers today:
I have a lot of business ideas and thoughts for tech startups, but I can’t program. Is it worth going back to school to learn Computer Science, knowing that even after I graduate I will not be as good as you are now, let alone at where your skill level will be in 2 to 4 years?
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