October 5, 2020
If this is your first time visiting my site, welcome and I hope you like it! If you've been here before, welcome again and I hope you don't notice any changes--other than faster load times! 😉
Taking a cue from Wes Bos, and also with some help from Tania Rascia's excellent article, I recently decided to migrate from Wordpress to Gatsby. I wish I could say that I was solely motivated by performance, but truth be told, I was also looking for an excuse to cut my hosting bill. (In case you didn't know, Vercel offers free HTTPS-enabled custom domains on their blazing fast serverless platform. This means, if you can
build it, the certificates will come. 🙏🏼)
In addition to saving on hosting, I can also say goodbye to all the server maintenance that--while genuinely fun for me to troubleshoot and maintain--was getting in the way of my ultimate goal of building out my projects portfolio, as well as gaining more experience with development.
Gatsby turned out to be an excellent choice, then. There's lots of other options, but what really pushed me over the edge was the sheer amount of plugins and community support avaiable for Gatsby. I've been able to find tutorials for pretty much any scenario that I needed. In addition, I was able to put all my React skills to work, and I've got another repo in my GitHub that I'm proud to share with the world.
As you can see, the Lighthouse score for my site is now mostly green, and there's a great article on FreeCodeCamp on eeking out even more performance, which I may re-visit in the future. For now, though, I'm happy to leave this be for a while, and start working on some new projects!
A huge shout-out to the Twenty Twenty Wordpress theme, which is what my old site was using. There are some small differences (some intentional, some just because I made calculated decisions about whether they were worth the effort), but it is very true to the original. Wrestling with Material-UI was less fun than it has been in the past, and I may re-visit Tailwind CSS for my styling needs in the future. However, I still love Material-UI for quick-and-dirty styling for simple web apps, like those in my portfolio.
Feel free to poke around the source code, and let me know if there's any changes I should make. I'm always looking for ways to improve. ✌🏼
June 19, 2020
As part of my learning regimen, I've been doing a daily code challenge on Codewars. So far, it's been going very smoothly, and I can often think up an algorithm and get it coded in under an hour--with some solutions coming to me immediately.
Today, however, I had to use my first life line, after racking my brain for over an hour.
The problem, as described in the "Kata", involved finding unique characters in a string. Specifically, checking whether a given string was a "pangram", which is a sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet (e.g. "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog").
Of course, my first naive approach involved all kinds of desperate Regex patterns, and keeping a counter, and then checking whether the total count was at least 26 (one for each letter of the alphabet), but I had to abandon this path when I realized just how lost I had gotten.
Fortunately, it didn't take much time to search online for a hint, and my pal "Google" led me to Set, which immediately got me to my solution:
const isPangram = (string) => [...new Set(string.replace(/\s/g, "").toLowerCase().split(""))].length >= 26;
I know every experienced coder will tell you that the best skill one can have is Googling the solution, and I strongly agree with that, but it also feels nice to be able to think up an algorithm all by myself. However, I won't beat myself up too much, because the next time I need to find unique values in a set, I'll know exactly where to look!
"One Of My Lies"
May 17, 2020
Inspired by all the fun videos that musicians are putting out (particularly the Goldfinger ones, since they're a band that's near and dear to me), I decided to challenge myself to do a similar quasi-live video. Here it is:
Since I'm not the greatest guitar player, I decided to stick to something that I could handle (or at least pass off as "good enough for punk music"). 😎
I went with "One Of My Lies", off the Green Day album "Kerplunk", which has always been one of my favorite songs, even though I didn't know all the lyrics until last week.
In the spirit of capturing a quasi-live band performance, I did these in full takes, without editing. I did about three drum takes before I was happy, maybe a dozen bass takes, and roughly a billion guitar/vocal takes. Haha. I kept fucking up the lyrics (I still did flub a couple tiny things, in the end), but mostly I was just messing up the guitar-playing, which is an impressive feat when you consider that Green Day is not exactly a band covered extensively by Guitar Player magazine.
Anyway, this was a blast to make, and I'm excited to try another one soon! Maybe something even easier on guitar? 😂