Computing Experiences

Web & Tech Related Info Not Covered Elsewhere

Web Design

I began working on this website in 2007, with the assistance and mentoring from my brother, Brian. This started out as a feeble cry for help, only to gain strength from haphazzard and scattered beginnings to a satisfying hobby.. At the time, Brian was walking me through some entry-level exercises in Ubuntu Linux. That was one of many experiences that would not only convince me to stop using offerings from Microsoft, but also further lead me down the road to web design and development.


WYSIWYG Websites


1995 - 2007

I first started tinkering with computers in earnest during the era of Microsoft Windows 95 and the disposable AOL install cds. I didn't get a clear idea of what the web was all about, much less capable of, until much later.

Inspired by stories of grit and courage from the homeless population in downtown Omaha, NE, I initially wanted to publish stories I was inspired to write. As I became accustomed to the offerings through the Omaha Public Library and Microsoft Windows 95, I learned how to use something known as the internet.

After a few years of aimless writing and steady support from my brother, I decided to try my hand at website development with various WYSIWYG web creators and editors.

The best I was able to manage at the time was a vague try at developing with a WYSIWYG editor, courtesy of Angelfire, Tripod, and Geocities.


Learning About HTML & CSS


1995 - Present

While volunteering in homeless shelters and looking for an outlet to become a published author, I discovered the possibilities that this new thing called the internet could provide, and I set to work asking questions about how to publish articles online.

Most of my time during that period was spent at the Omaha Public Library.

When not there, I would venture into local coffee shops to indulge in the camaraderie of a few close friends that would soon teach me enough to get me started down the expanding field of website development and design, as well as giving me inspiration for stories and poetry I would later be writing.

Someone I consider to be very influential in my early adulthood quest to become an online publisher, whom I will call Red (also known as Torc Binns), took me aside at one of the coffee shops in downtown Omaha and taught me some of the early basics of hand coding HTML.

My big attraction in the beginning was the way various websites were arranged, and I would go about examining the source markup to learn how page elements could be manipulated to do various tasks, or take on a particular appearance.

Through sites like the one Eric Meyer, of Meyerweb, put together, or CSS Zen Garden, I would begin to grasp how I no longer needed to rely on Microsoft Office software in order to design web pages the way I wanted to. I eventually understood that there was so much more to the internet than reading news articles or playing online games in social media.


Personal Project For Tina


Towards the end of the summer of 2014, I began an online project with my wife, Tina, in order to assist her in accomplishing one of several goals - reaching out to our son (who we've lost contact with nearly a decade ago) and give him an opportunity to discover a little about his Mom and I. A link to her site is provided here.


Exploring Programming


As material and time allow, I will be sharing notes that have to do with specific programming issues and applications. Not everything here will be web-based, as I am covering topics shared from my Full Sail Online Professor, as well as relevant material that will allow me to further explore what makes a computer, and website, tick. Some applications will be cross-platform (allowing you to use on any operating system) and as I discover what is and isn't cross-platform, I will be making notes available for you to follow along with.


C#



Geek In Training


Exploring Technology

Here, I will attempt to explain how I began life as a mini-geek in training, moving from my experiences with card punch computers to Apple IIc, then from Microsoft Windows to various distros of Linux. I'm not a computer expert yet, and I will never know all there is to know about computers. I will simply accept each leap forward as a new challenge to figure out.

On occasion, I will wander away from the world of geek tech in order to explore other facets of what makes life so interesting and worth living. Now, I realize it can be easy to hide behind a computer all day and live in the safety and glow of modern conveniences without knowing what it truly means to be alive. Let me reassure you, I have had the opportunity to sample what it means to truly live, and would do it again. I regret nothing. All of life has the power to teach us something about ourselves, each other, and humanity.

I've found a fulfilling hobby with computers, online publishing, and web design. I'm not a professional, it's simply a hobby that helps me deal with day to day issues.

In my experiences with different computer operating systems over the years, I have become less satisfied with the offerings marketed by Microsoft. Back in 2007, my brother introduced me to something called Linux. My first experiences with Linux involved Ubuntu.

I rely quite heavily on outside resources to assist me in getting information. This site is proof of one fact: I do not have all of the answers to any given topic. However, finding those answers is relatively simple once you get down to brass tacks and apply yourself to the task - or set of tasks - at hand.

I believe that the concept of Open Source Software and free distribution (so long as there's a positive social benefit in doing so) is a bit on the idealistic end of things - a bit Utopian. While I do understand and can appreciate proprietary software regulations, I am regularly searching for open source alternatives. Open Source Alternative is one site which provides free alternatives to what would otherwise become expensive investments that may only be used a few times before becoming useless and outdated.


Card Punch Technology


Mid 1970s

I am old enough to remember visiting with my Dad at the Air Force base he worked at, and being in awe of the airplanes and the shiny machines. I clearly recall airplane speed tests (or were they races?) and my fascination with the F-4 Phantom jets. Anyhow, I seem to have wandered a bit down memory lane. Anyhow, I was discussing card punch machines. Dad used to try teaching me how the machines worked and showed me how I could get m name on one of those cards. Those were fun times. I don't recall how they worked, and I would like to share a bit of research here if I may.


Card Punch Technology


Modern data processing began with the inventions of American engineer, Herman Hollerith.


Apple IIc


Mid 1980s

This would become my first romp through the world of computer programming and animation using something called BASIC programming. (I think it would also be known as AppleSoft Basic, but I don't clearly remember.)

Anyhow, the class assignment was for everyone to learn how to make an animated rocket take off. It was pretty interesting, and I now wish I had taken Mr. Stribley's class a bit more seriously than I did at the time.


Research Links



Microsoft Windows


Early 1990s

After a bit of a break during my transition from middle to high school, I traded in everything I thought I had learned about computers for something new to me known as Microsoft Windows. I was briefely exposed to Windows 95, and dial-up internet, then hopped on the Windows 98 bandwagon and rode it all the way to Windows XP. It wasn't until Windows XP was explained to me in a way I could understand that I moved from playing simple games to inquiring about real-world applications. One of those real-world applications was Microsoft Office 2007. I tinkered for a few years with Microsoft Publisher, and I had the impression it was very user-friendly and it allowed me to create simple websites, letters, and the occasional item I thought of as art. Nothing spectacular came about as a result of that series of blunders and now worthless documents. Oh, well. Chalk it up to an uneducated user error.

Once Windows 7 came around, after completely skipping the Windows Vista experience nearly unscathed, I then explored the more practical applications that would become a mainstay for my future goals which included becoming a published author.


Linux & Open Source


2007

Free and Open Source are two phrases that I notice are being used prolifically throughout the message boards and social media websites I frequent these days. Now, if I could not only figure out what those phrases truly mean in terms of software and website development, but also learn how to make that apply to my daily use of computing technology.

I was first introduced to Linux and Open Source Software back in 2007, courtesy of my brother, Brian Wisti of Coolnamehere and RandomGeekery fame.

Try as I might, I apparently cannot frustrate my brother with constant tech or web related questions. He's always been ready with the needed tip or suggestion that involved something he has either experienced or knows how to research. Quite often, he has told me that "Google is my friend", and that I need to learn how to come up with the correct search term or phrase in order to find the information I need.


PC Geekery



Microsoft Windows Experience


I have been a Microsoft Windows user since the early days of AOL Dial-up and Windows 95. I am currently not a fan of the Windows 8 "Metro" home screen, or of the proprietary "auto updates" in Windows 10, and as a result, I am resisting the pressure of converting from being a Windows 7 / Linux user to a Microsoft Windows 8 / 10 user on my laptop with every fiber of my being.


Loving Linux


Thanks to my brother, Brian, I have been a user of various distros of Linux and have been quite satisfied overall.

Fedora (Workstation) is my current pick, giving me the challenges I'm seeking, and the ease of use I prefer in a Linux distro. My brother Brian suggested I learn about the nuts and bolts of how Linux is used for various administrative purposes, so going with that idea, I have it installed on my personal notebook. So, that is my current choice, accompanied by my goal of learning how to apply what I learn in a work setting as time allows between various appointments and household tasks, rather than just looking for the fun stuff and playing around with that.


Apple / iMac


On loan from my college, and mine upon graduation (earning my degree), I was initially in awe and frustrated with the learning curve involved with using it for school and general use, I suppose it's actually better than a lot of Microsoft Windows products I've used in the past. I've had it for several months, and I am still trying to get used to the way the scrolling and trackpad works.

By the way, it's a very nice laptop, with a retina display and approximately 15 inches of viewable screen.


Android


Getting to Know Android

I like to know not only how something works, but why does something work like it does, and what else can a particular product or idea be used for? Don't bother trying to sell me a product replacement or extended warranty plan. I'll void it within the week, anyway.


Kano


It's a computer — and you make it yourself

Awesome and inspirational. I looked over the details in the site, and I must admit that I am quite impressed. The only thing in the way of me acquiring one is my limited fixed income.

You still can't beat the price and the options for customizing one of your own.


Brian's Random Geekery



Web Geek Toolbox