Sleeping Through the Storms

The last few days worth of rain and wind has certainly left it's mark on the residents in and around Vancouver. Trees have fallen, streets have flooded, power has failed for many, people have been forced from their homes … and oddly enough, the water is contaminated.

This last point is the only one that has directly affected me, though. I use quite a bit of water every day … not being able to drink as much will certainly leave my throat dry.

And despite all this … I've slept through the worst of all the storming.

Typically I dream of only three things:

  1. People I care about

  2. Work

  3. Mistakes

    Work is the most common of these three (sad, huh?), and it's not really limited to the software I write, but the data structures that are required to make things work. I have often woken up hours before the alarm with solutions to some of the most complex logic branches I've had to devise, as well as crystal clear coding structures required to make a certain function work in the real world. Lately, however, I've been thinking about the functions and methods of PHP and how I can integrate them into this site.

    One shining example is the random image that will appear in the upper left hand corner of the site (the polaroid). Before today, that was a static image. However, by extending some of the other simple scripting I had seen elsewhere, I found that I could easily adapt the technologies to make that image random with each page load. After writing that function, I added another 8 polaroids (thanks Photoshop!) and voila!

    10 minutes to code and test, then 30 seconds to implement.

    PHP is something I should have learned years ago. I've known that it would become really big since it's early uses, but never really got on board due to personal grudges against the people that touted its superiority to existing web technology. This has really held me back on some pretty exciting areas of the programming world, and has probably kept me from moving to Japan that much sooner.

    In Japan, I find that most programming positions require people to be very familiar with PHP and MySQL. In North America, this has started picking up steam, but has been limited to certain business markets … none of whom I've ever needed to work with. But as I learn more and more about this language, I'm seeing some phenominal potential for its uses.

    To this end, as I dream up new things to add to this site, I'll try to implement them. I'm sure that I'll eventually reach the end of what I can do on a personal site … but I feel this would be a great testing ground. My server has a laughably slow processor (compared to actual production-level servers) and very limited capabilities. If I can maintain a great looking site while also keeping the functions fast and smooth, then I should have no problem transferring these skills elsewhere. At the same time, I'll see about learning even more PHP and JavaScript as these seem to be the main technologies in use across the ocean.

    Finding work in a foreign country is never easy. But hopefully by attacking this learning curve with my usual passion, I won't be caught sleeping through the next storms.