In The News – Ruby/Rails Programming for Beginners

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Hello everyone. I wanted to give you a brief update on what I have been up to for the past few months. I found this great free course given at Coursera by the University of Mexico – Web Application Architectures. The course gave a basic overview on how databases play a major role in Rails applications and how to start a blog in Rails. The course touched on HTML, CSS, Javascript, Jquery and Ajax as well so that you could get an idea of how these tools all work together as a whole in creating your project. I have also been learning Ruby (Learn Ruby the Hard Way) and Javascript  by myself as well.

What I realized going through the course was that backend programming is not as hard as I thought it would be. With a little patience and free time you can have yourself set up and creating small programs in a few weeks. I’ve also joined a few Meetup groups which gave me the support and mentoring I needed to keep going and learning along the way. Coursera will also offer a free programming course from the University of Michigan..check it out here.

As always…happy designing!

In The News – Learn A New Programming Language This Year

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If you are like me and want to desperately learn a new programming language but don’t have the time OR the funds to make a full-time commitment, Harvard College is offering an entry level free/paid course in programming as part of their Computer Science program. They discuss theory and practice with a chance to earn a certificate as well. You can study at your own pace and audit the course for free. If your not ready now you can register for other free courses in the future by joining their mailing list.  Full details here

Happy New Year!…Let’s Start Designing

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“Image courtesy of Staurt Miles /www. FreeDigitalPhotos.net”



Let me first take a minute to wish everyone…. Happy Holidays!
I hope your holiday was filled with family, friends and good times. Of course this time of the year is always a reflection of what we have accomplished and what we are looking forward to achieving with the new year. On that note I wanted to fill you in on some of the great online learning sites that can definitely help you on your way with your New Years resolutions if they involve coding and design.

I have been learning Ruby at Code Academy for the last few months. They have many other great free hands-on courses like CSS, Javascript, and Jquery. I like the fact that they keep in touch with you, ask you about your progress and offer help. That makes me feel like they really want me to succeed. They even give out badges along the way so you can see your progress and keep yourself motivated. I recently joined a Meetup in my city with other Ruby friends so we can learn together. I have found other great Meetup groups that get together monthly which make learning code fun as well as informative. Check for groups in your city.

If databases are your thing, Code School has a great Try R introductory course that can get you started learning this new language right away. But if your not really sure what interests you right now and want to try something new, give Udemy a look. They have courses on just about everything: Photography, Coding, Excel, and Adobe just to name a few.

I also wanted to mention a few design conferences starting in the New Year in case you can make one of them.

Mobile and Web Devicon San Francisco – Jan 29-31, 2013  http://www.mobilewebdevconference.com/

Style Frames NYC – Feb 7-8th, 2013  http://www.styleframes.tv/newyork/

An Event Apart Atlanta – Feb 18-20, 2013  http://aneventapart.com/event/atlanta-2013?/2013/atlanta/

SXSW Interactive Austin TX – March 8-12, 2013  http://sxsw.com/interactive


Please share any design conferences in your area as well.
Ok..so let’s get those creative juices flowing!..Happy New Year!

Looking for An Upcoming Design Online Class or Conference?

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Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I’d like to tell you about a great online course that I am taking through Stanford University. The course is called Human-Computer Interaction and is taught by Associate Professor Scott Klemmer. The course explains the process of how projects are developed using prototyping, surveys and user experiments all the way through to completion and implementation by the final end user.

This course is offered for free online https://www.coursera.org/course/hci and there are many other courses available as well: https://www.coursera.org/courses.



Here are some Design Conferences coming up in the next few months:

The Front-End Design Conference
“The Front-End Design Conference is an annual event dedicated to content, presentation and behavior. The speakers and attendees are made up of awesome people from the web design and development community.”
When: June 8, 2012
Where: St. Petersburg, FL, USA at the Palladium Theater



NXNEi Interactive
“With over 80 presentations, NXNEi bridges the gap between creators of all kinds and interactivity. Whether you’re a musician, film producer, marketer, public relations pro or community manager, NXNE Interactive programming has you covered. Join us for three days of tech and social media exploration to learn how to boost ingenuity while enhancing your marketing and business efforts.”
When: June 11-17, 2012
Where: Toronto, Canada



Reasons to Be Creative
Reasons to be Creative is a festival for creative artists, designers and coders. The festival brings together some of the most respected and brilliant minds from the worlds of art, code, design and education to share their passion, knowledge, insights and work. Expect two days packed with talks, networking, inspiration and learning.”
When: June 14-15, 2012
Where: New York, USA



The Rich Internet Application Conference
“The Rich Internet Application Conference: Where architects and developers of all levels gather to share and learn about creating the next generation of web and mobile based applications. At RIACon you’ll get to network with fellow industry professionals and community leaders while being exposed to the most up to date skills needed for building great applications leveraging the best technologies available today.”
When: August 6-7, 2012
Where: Washington, DC, USA



An Event Apart
“An Event Apart is an intensely educational two-day conference for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design. If you care about code as well as content, usability as well as design, An Event Apart is the conference you’ve been waiting for.”
When: August 6-8, 2012
Where: Washington, DC, USA at the Westin Alexandria



UX Australia
“UX Australia 2012 is a 4-day user experience design conference, with two days of workshops and two days of presentations about designing great experiences for people.”
When: August 28-31, 2012
Where: Brisbane, Australia at Sofitel Brisbane Central

Full list here: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/02/10/upcoming-web-design-and-development-conferences-for-2012/#jun

Getting Started With jQuery

Recently, I got an invite to learn jQuery in 30 days. Now, I’m not a programmer by definition but it’s always a good idea to add to your skill set and I love to learn new things so I was definitely curious. First off, I wasn’t really sure what jQuery was and why I would need it.

This is a brief definition of what jQuery is:

“jQuery is a library that makes it quicker and easier to build JavaScript webpages and web apps. Often with jQuery you can write a single line of code to achieve what would have taken 10-20 lines of regular JavaScript code.

jQuery is itself written in JavaScript, and comes in the form of a single .js file that you link to from your webpage. Your JavaScript code then accesses the library by calling various jQuery functions.”


Ok, sounds good, but what does that mean to me? So I go in search of a better explanation:

Huh?? Did you get that?..I sure didn’t. Lets try that again:

Ok..I think I got it. I’m very intrigued now and will see if I can at least wrap my head around the basics in the 30 day tutorial lessons. You can download jQuery and use it for free. There are tutorials available on the site that will get you up to speed fairly quickly. If you use jQuery and have any additional tips  I would love to hear them.