ken curtis on the beach

Just as the title says, I’ve started a new series on kennethcurtis.com. It’s based on my need to learn wireframing for web design. I decided not that long ago to again try to pick up where I left off on learning Balsamiq Mockup for wireframing. I had started it a couple of years ago and got to a working level with it but I never really took to the concept of creating a site without having a visually pleasing end result.

When a friend asked me to work on a concept that he had been thinking about I thought that this would be a good chance to construct the site in a more contemporary way. The result was that I decided to start a video/written series where I record my process of learning the software. The thought is that maybe there are others out there that may be in the same place I am and would enjoy working along with me. I think my friends somewhat simple site is a good project to work on. I really like the idea on my end if only it gives me an incentive to keep at it. The last time I worked with Balsamiq I simply lost interest in it.

So I’ve been pretty much stuck here for about two months. I won’t give too much info because I’m a little embarrassed of my situation. What I will say is that I’ve been really lazy about getting out and walking around. I’m not really sure why but coming back to America has kind of reset my normal routine that I had in Asia. The things that I did on a regular basis in Kuala Lumpur or Taipei don’t really fit in Clovis, New Mexico. Even if those things were location independent, like something simple like walking. I used to love going for a long walk along the Keelung River in Taipei or doing the 3-mile walk to Little India in KL. Ever since I got to Clovis I’ve pretty much done none of it.

So about two days ago I decided to walk around and take some photos. Who knows, maybe if I’m lucky I’ll find something to start my next project on. I am staying fairly close to some railroad tracks and the trains pass by on a very regular basis. I like trains and I thought maybe I’ll go get some footage of them.

So two days ago I take off for the tracks to film some trains going by. It had been a while since I used my gopro but I thought it would be maybe a good video to have a train going over it. So everything went as expected, and of course I ran into problems with the gopro. No worries, I mean this wasn’t any important, just a possible project in the making.

So yesterday I was kind of tempered with the mistakes that I made the day before, I decide to really make an effort. I took both my camera and had the attitude I’m going to get the footage that I need to create something interesting.

I head out and I’m loving the walking. Seriously, I am thoroughly enjoying the feeling of just walking, the crunching of the gravel and the sounds of birds was too perfect. Before I really notice it I’m probably about five or six miles away from my starting point. Besides, my ultimate goal of this walk was to get some footage of trains for a project. I decide to head back and head toward the tracks.

About a mile away I finally make it to the tracks, it’s a crossroads of tracks and cars. The spot is barely marked and is pretty nondescript. There are two cars parked on the right side faced in opposite directions like the drivers are talking to each other. As I’m walking towards the service road along side the tracks I start to hear a horn honking. I ignored it. Even though I didn’t look, I guessed that it was coming from the parked cars. It honked again and again. I still ignored it. At that point I realized that I was the intended “honkee,” but I didn’t care.

I hear the car driving up to me and I of course turn around. This guy, maybe 23 years old tells me that I’m not allowed to be here. I asked why, and he told me it was private property. I said that I’m not doing anything, just taking some photos and he told me that it was illegal to take photos of a train. What!? I could feel myself starting to get angry and decided that I didn’t need the hassle so I walked off toward the road. I ended up walking about 4 miles along a busy four lane highway. A hour and a half I made it home.

I’m kind of mixed on the interaction this this guy. He was driving a truck that had BNSF on the side, but what authority did he have to kick me out? I don’t think that the guy sweeping up at Burger King would have the gumption or right to kick someone out of the building for not cleaning up after themselves. This BNSF guy was no more than 23 years old and definitely not a supervisor, and I keep thinking, maybe unfairly, that he was a supreme douche. It’s been bugging me all day today, a full 24 hours later. I had barely stepped onto the private property… like maybe 25 feet onto it before he jumped.

This site doesn’t have a Supreme Douche award but it did, you, the guy in the BNSF truck are awarded the honor. You can now go home and brag about how you kicked some guy off the service road for taking photos and being on private property. Maybe your girlfriend will give you an extra hug tonight just for being such a big man.

ken curtis on the beach

It’s Sunday and the day is almost over. The sun is going down and I am trying to accomplish something before the day is completely over. I worked all day on the kennethcurtis.com site refining and adding little bits here and there. Even though I worked all day on it I don’t really feel like got enough done.

ken curtis on the beach
Ken walking on the beach in Vietnam

If you’re new to this site, then you probably don’t know about my other sites. I’ve just finished a hosting site about a week or two ago, and about a month ago I finished my bigger site. The bigger site is Kennethcurtis.com. This site I’m trying to make into a true successful one. A site that gets a decent amount of visitors and maybe gets a following. With all the highly professional, team run sites there are out on the web, it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll succeed. I’m still going to try though.

I kind of set a loose goal of writing a new article about every few days. I’ve been doing it, but sometimes it gets tough to find something to write about. I usually go a few days without finding anything interesting, and then there will be about four or so items that I find and write for a few days. The weekends are particularly weak on subjects.

I sent a person a request to do an interview about a week ago, though the way times flies, it could have been two weeks. As of tonight I haven’t heard anything from him. It’s too bad, I really liked his videos and thought that I’d at least get a response. Nothing though. Not a rejection or sorry no.

Ken in class clowning around

If you’ve been following my posts lately I think I fixed one of the major errors with the blog. I say ‘think’ because it was such an easy fix that it’s almost laughable that I didn’t find it at first go. There are some other problems that I still need to get into and fix, but the one that was really bothering me was that the columns weren’t acting as they should have.

In total, I think a conservative estimate was that I worked on the blog for about six hours. No lie, it was probably closer to double that. In the end it was one css style that was messing the whole blogs formatting. I went through nearly every check that I could think of and nothing was working. I restored the blog to before I fixed the static pages and no luck, everything was like it was before I started working on it, and common sense would mean that it would be like it was, but for reasons I don’t understand it took changing the width of the main div.

It’s fixed so at least I don’t have to be embarrassed if someone goes to the blog.

Just as the title says, the blog is broken. I tried to fix all the errors that I made when I first created the site and for the most part, I did. Well, at least the base pages (the static pages). When I went to apply the changes that I’d made to the blog, it just fell apart. Seriously, it really destroyed the layout. I’ve gone through and tried to fix it numerous times with no luck and the only recourse I have is to start from scratch. The problem with that option is that I don’t really have the time to work on the site with all the other projects I have on my plate right now. I’ve thought about removing the links to the blog, but if people know that there is a problem with the blog, maybe they’ll cut me a little slack.

To give a little idea of what’s been going on, I went through the base pages and made the corrections for the site to be in guidelines for a responsive site. I’m using the framework of Bootstrap and I understand it much better than I did when I first built it. The blog uses the same framework, but it’s different in subtle ways. When I corrected the base pages I made some changes to the css file and streamlined all the cdns that were included. The site was littered with them so I removed the ones that I didn’t need, and tried to do a local call for the files instead of a CDN. I did the same with all the javascript files. So everything was working great and then I moved to the blog, and it was broken. I don’t quite get what I did to break it, I really didn’t change anything that the blog used. The files/cdns didn’t change, I did make some changes to the css, but that really shouldn’t have broken it. In fact trying to figure out where the problem was I used the old css, so in theory the blog should be fine because the style changes I made were on the new css.

So anyway… the blog is broken and I will fix it in the next few days, even if I have to remove the formatting and start over.

So I thought I’d take a moment to give an update to the sites that I’ve been working on. The good news first? Or the bad news? Okay, the good news. Well, I finished the hosting site I was working on, nowse hosting, I really shouldn’t say that it’s done in the complete, I’ll never mess with it, kind of sense. I still need to put in a shopping cart for purchases. I held off because I don’t have a permanent address right now and all the payment processors require and address. Besides, if I’m being real, I’m sick of working on it.

The bad news? The other day I was taking a break from the hosting site and decided that I’d finish this site. I wrote a post about fixing some of the problem I had with it. Well, I fixed everything that I could tell was wrong and uploaded the finalized pages. All good until you go to the blog. It’s all jacked up. I spent about six hours trying to fix it and no luck. There’s a conflict between the css in my regular site and the blog. I kind of know what’s wrong, but I’m not really sure how to fix it. I was trying to be clever yesterday and find some work around, but I think I’m going to have to dive in and redo the blog’s template. The thought of it just makes me cringe. It will be probably a two or three day job.

Back to the good news. The hosting site is based on the same designs that I’ve been doing for the last few years. Big header, responsive design, and kind of big. This time though I decided to use illustrations instead of photos for much of the design and I’m really liking it. It’s the first time I’ve done it and I’m kind of proud of myself. The illustrations are child-like and fun, but I think that they work.

If you’ve got the time and want to give me some advice on the design, or anything else, the actual address is, http://www.nowse-hosting.com One thing that I’m starting not like is my use of shadows in some of the cards. I’ll leave it for now though. I’m so burned out on it that I don’t think I could sit for another hour.