FINALLY! SOME UPDATES! This website is being reconstructed. Some content will go away soon. If you want to see my new stuff, visit my github: https://github.com/jrcharney/.

September 8, 2011

A Relatively Neverending Process

If you've stuck around this far, you may have noticed that this blog doesn't use Wordpress, Drupal, Joombla, or any other Content Management Software (CMS). There are no Faebook or Twitter widgets, no theme created by some guy at Tumblr. Things look very minimalistic and drabat the moment. Green on top of Black never was my original plan for a color scheme for this website.

This page, and the pages that are associated with it are ongoing developments. A work in progress. Or for the potential employer who wants to see a finished product, a relatively neverending process.

What irks many Facebook users (or users of any website to be more accurate) is when the sites creators constantly change around stuff. They add new features. They don't give the user a chance to beta test the newest version. They change the security settings without telling everyone at least two weeks ahead of time. Or they do something that breaks all of the user's candy-coated widgets which are more than likely being used to scrape user information. (In the mind of anyone at Facebook, if anyone is going to be scraping for user information, it's going to be Facebook, not some weird third party website.)

In order to avoid anger and bitterness by the users, the adminstrator must make chages that are subtile or at very least tacturn.

For instance, this site until just a few hours ago was using HTML5. It's still using HTML5, but now the page has been split into smaller parts using PHP. I really wanted to use Python, but I really have no experience using Python for web development...yet.

In the coming days, I hope to set up this site to be in classic two-column format. It seems to work out very well for just about the majority of websites, and it will allow me to be more discipline in using HTML elements. (See yesterday's post with the use of table and list elements.)

As I have stated, this site will use HTML5. That means, anyone who is still using Internet Explorer will find this website to be about as plesant as a basic cable TV package. (You get nothing but the local channels, the religious networks, and all the home shopping and paid programming channels. Even HDTV users have better options than this since they can access the side channels.) Come to think of it, why the hell does anyone use Internet Explorer or even Windows for that matter any more? Mac OSX is pretty popular among personal computer use. And Linux has found interest among businesses and developers looking to cut costs and not sell their IT deparment's soul through endless vendor contracts with companies like Microsoft, Oracle, or IBM. If the company is not happy with what they have, they can switch to something else and not be punished for it. (If only phone companies worked like that.)

But the most important reason to use HTML5-compatible browsers is the <canvas> element.

For more than a decade, I've really wanted to find a way to integrate interactive graphics within webpages. I'm sure there are some folks in the computer science industry that have been trying to do this for much longer than I have. As a teenager, I learned about VRML (Virtual Reality Markup Language). While it really was something to jump on board with the mid-1990s fad of Virtual Reality, my use of it was much more for creating simple models and to show off what I've learned from reading the parts of my high-school math books which included a bit of three dimensional vector calculus that even my college professors wouldn't even teach. Eventually, I found better books on the subject of vector calculus. Most of them at the local book fair being sold for about $3. By that time, VRML had been forgotten.

It should be noted that while I was looking up more information about the subject of VRML, I took at Computer Aided Drafting class in high school where we used AutoCAD 14. One of my favorite features of AC14 was something that all versions of AutoCAD still use (hopefully): The Command Line.

While graphical user interfaces (GUIs) have wiped from the majority of the public's memories of the strength of a classic command line interface (CLI), I fell in love with the fact that by typing in a few words, the computer could draw and edit these line on the screen. It is what motivated me to use my mathematical interest toward computer science. A simple hand written line of code was like witchcraft or spellcasting. I wanted to tell people that they can do it too and that it is easy.

However, some books, academics, and business leaders would rather tap the already existing skills for their profit value rather than learning new skills and developing new things that could improve the lives of others. Where I can understand and present things through the display of formulas, sketches, visual representations, the world is filled with the clutter and obsfucation of verbose text that minds of those whose brains have been hotwired with short attention spans with the poison of television and pop culture has usurped the need for a scientific industrial society that creates new things developed from new ideas. In fact, why do I need to explain my reason for doing what I'd like to do with this technology? HAVE A TASTE OF THIS!

Isn't this cool? Now, PHP can do this, but if JavaScript can do it and with animation and interactivity, that's way better!

I'll likely move this demonstration to another page in the near future.

I'd like to add some interactivity and some animation to this demostration (a simple rotation of the roses for the moment), but that should be added shortly. You'll notice it soon.

Meanwhile, here's a short shell script that makes the computer calculate π. I was using a modified version of this to correct my math in the above demonstration. I feel it is important enough to share. I'll fool around with this in future posts.

#!/bin/bash
# pi = 4 * arctan(1)
pi=$(echo "4*a(1)" | bc -l)
echo "$pi"

Let's see that formula in MathML (another feature of HTML5) π = arctan π 2

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