Friday, January 30, 2015

Day 30

Plan (Days 29 - 35)
  • Copy and paste every week's goals into the top of each daily blog post
  • Whiteboard discipline
    • Plot out the first few hours of my day on the whiteboard every night
    • I must write down the actual TIME I would go and do my run
  • Do NOT sleep past 10pm
  • Think about how to use sites like niice or to create a Spotify or TV-like service
    • I want to be able to glance at these pretty things when I'm bored, kinda like having a TV in the background
    • I want to do this to develop taste, because I don't really use Instagram as much as a lot of other people do
  • Observe and continue releasing it and following already released channels
  • Build a login/accounts system into the boilerplate

This is the goal for today:
  • Get accounts working
  • If there is time left, brainstorm about the journalling app and/or the design TV
Let's see how far we can get.

So it seems I was able to finally write down a process flow for how the accounts system will work. Now I just need to get to it. I spent a little too long watching a movie this morning when I probably didn't need to. I just really needed to pull out my notebook and start drawing.

Perhaps what I really need to do is to put my notebook somewhere easy to access. Because today, I would've had to reach into my backpack and fetch the notebook before I could draw out the user accounts flow. That probably contributed to the reason why I did not get much work done.

Tomorrow's goal:
  • Get accounts working, finally.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day 29

Plan (Days 29 - 35)
  • Copy and paste every week's goals into the top of each daily blog post
  • Whiteboard discipline
    • Plot out the first few hours of my day on the whiteboard every night
    • I must write down the actual TIME I would go and do my run
  • Do NOT sleep past 10pm
  • Think about how to use sites like niice or to create a Spotify or TV-like service
    • I want to be able to glance at these pretty things when I'm bored, kinda like having a TV in the background
    • I want to do this to develop taste, because I don't really use Instagram as much as a lot of other people do
  • Observe and continue releasing it and following already released channels
  • Build a login/accounts system into the boilerplate

I have even more hopes for the next 28 days. One idea that I might work on is to create something that can take the place of this particular blog. The things I would like to do to win today is:
  • Brainstorm next site ideas
    • Journaling
    • Design TV
  • Take a look at the accounts system
  • Sleep before 10pm
Let's see what we can do today :)

Well I certainly did make a breakthrough today. I finally figured out how to use the accounts templates. This will save me a LOT of time when compared to writing everything myself. I have a basic idea of how it works, so tomorrow I can really dive into make it part of my boilerplate project.

It's rather simple actually. First, you should clone the project over so you can make changes to it as a custom package. And then when you try to include the form, you have to tell it what state it should be in. Like {{> atForm state='signUp'}}. That's what I was missing this whole time. In any case, I look forward to finishing the accounts system tomorrow as well as perhaps writing a tutorial on how to use it.

I have some ideas for the journaling app, but almost nothing for the design TV. I'm going to have to think about it some more. At any rate, tomorrow I only have one goal:
  • Get accounts working
  • If there is time left, brainstorm about the journalling app and/or the design TV

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 28 - Weekly Eval. & Product Launch

Every 28 days, I should be launching SOMETHING. And this first time, it's The last 7 days has felt like it was forever. I can't believe it was only a week. Every single day was packed with things to do, things to learn, people to see. It feels good to know you are productive and making progress though, although it is a little tiring.

I've released my site onto Hacker News, and I am anticipating strong negative feedback. Mostly in the lack of depth of my site and the unviability of my business idea. It may look like a veiled attempt at collecting e-mails, but it really isn't. It's my first app in Meteor and I want it to be good. In any case, I need to remember I should FAIL FORWARD.

Any criticism I get, I will take and see it as an instruction for how to proceed with the next project.

Anyway, let's get to this week's evaluation.

Last Week's Goals

  • Take a look at some of the design-based Instagram accounts
    • I don't look at these as much as I would like to though
  • Plot out my morning routine, at least the first couple hours of it
    • Massive fail
    • I need to write this on my whiteboard
  • Publish two posts on my personal blog
    • I almost didn't make it, I need to copy and paste each week's goals into the beginning of every day's blog post to keep myself reminded of my weekly goals
  • FINISH b4YouGo
    • Felt pretty good
    • Could've done more, maybe added a commenting system? Although the whole accounts thing threw me off quite a bit.


  • Exercised and ran every morning
  • Completed
    • Bought domain
    • Setup e-mail and e-mail collection
    • Added Google Analytics

Needs Improvement

  • Sleeping earlier; waking up on time
  • Do not get stuck in trying a bunch of pre-built solutions
    • Sometimes you just have to buckle down and do it the old-fashioned way
  • If you get depressed or discouraged, reach out to a friend or an online community
  • Do not get cornered into giving yourself this ONE task. If you really can't get that task done, maybe it's because there are more worthwhile tasks to be done.
    • I should've spent more time working on creating an effective landing page rather than learning the login system
    • I can learn the login system afterwards anyway
Plan (Days 29 - 35)

  • Copy and paste every week's goals into the top of each daily blog post
  • Whiteboard discipline
    • Plot out the first few hours of my day on the whiteboard every night
    • I must write down the actual TIME I would go and do my run
  • Do NOT sleep past 10pm
  • Think about how to use sites like niice or to create a Spotify or TV-like service
    • I want to be able to glance at these pretty things when I'm bored, kinda like having a TV in the background
    • I want to do this to develop taste, because I don't really use Instagram as much as a lot of other people do
  • Observe and continue releasing it and following already released channels
  • Build a login/accounts system into the boilerplate

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day 27

Build the login system FROM SCRATCH, and then prep for launch. That's pretty much all I have to do today. Let's see if I can do it. No. I WILL do it.


Well, I've focused more today on the launch than anything else. I added a link on each page that leads the users to an email collection page. We're going to sell the ability to receive in your mailbox, the SIM card and farecard you'll use. This way, you can really "HIT THE GROUND RUNNING"

I also added Analytics, but it doesn't fully work yet. Oh, we also have our own domain now too. How exciting!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 26

Today, I worked more on getting my boilerplate down. I spent a lot of time providing access to alter the styling of the header bar. This was perhaps not the best use of my time, and I probably could've left it until I actually needed to change the styling of the header bars in my projects. Nevertheless, my header bars are now highly customizable.

I also started learning a CSS preprocessor known as Stylus. It makes CSS a LOT more readable, and overall it just feels way more efficient and less bloated.

I spent way too much time not being productive. I keep looking at these pre-built login and accounts packages but none of them work quite well. The only one that works well doesn't jive well with my DOM structure and it just messes everything up. I need to just roll up my sleeves and do it myself. I wasted so much time looking for pre-built solutions that I forgot that life is just a series of decisions between the right way and the easy way.

Cheers to tomorrow, I hope I can get an accounts system working by then. And then it's final prep for launch of b4yougo.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 25

So I wake up this morning, by reiterating the goals I stated last night, which are:

  • Learn about the accounts system on Meteor
  • Listen to some podcasts and write at least one blog post on
I'm going to do the podcasts thing first because I'm pretty drained from programming a lot yesterday. This will be good, today will be a good break. I slept in today because I think I've burnt out yesterday. One thing I really need to make sure to do is to sleep on time. That takes discipline, and I need to devote some time to think about it. So maybe I'll add that to the list as well. So now the list looks like this:

  • Learn about the accounts system on Meteor
  • Listen to some podcasts and write at least one blog post on
  • Think about how to implement discipline in sleeping earlier
I'm come back later tonight and finish off this post.

So I did end up doing some blog writing, but eventually deleted it because it got really irrelevant. I was going to write a blog post about setting up a meteor project. But throughout the course of that, I discovered that it made a lot more sense (and a lot more fun) to just write a bash script. So I ended up learning a lot about how to write bash scripts. I also started a project (now on github) which I plan to develop into my meteor boilerplate project.

I say today I've achieved 75% productivity. Being at the Blenz coffee shop was definitely not so productive though. I need to be more okay with staying home. Tomorrow, I want to have completed the accounts system. Nothing else is required. That should be my one goal to win the day.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 24 - Seize Each Day

It's not just "seize the day", it should be "seize each day". It's easy to forget that we must make it a habit, and not just read the quote and feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I'm going to try to seize the day by using these blog posts to establish my "things I have to accomplish today for it to be a successful day."

Today, I must:
  • Complete the travel site to the point where all I have to do is wire in the backend
  • Complete info page for Toronto
  • Flesh out my one page productivity plan
At this point, I will leave this post and go about my day. The following paragraph will be written by me at the end of the day. I'm going to keep this pattern up every single day.

Well, I more or less did what I planned to do. I encountered a bug with the site, but for an MVP it's really a non-issue. Instead of launching with 10 cities, I'm going to launch with 3. And that's alright, because an MVP should be minimal. The pages that I DO have set up are beautiful, and that communicates my vision. That's what counts.

Regarding the final point, I have been so engrossed with programming that I didn't really get around to developing my productivity plan. I did read over it, but didn't really critically or creatively think about what I could add to my habits. In any case, tomorrow is going to be a new day, and another day of creation.

I plan to:
  • Learn about the accounts system on Meteor
  • Listen to some podcasts and write at least one blog post on
  • That's it!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 23

Today I met with someone I met over two years ago. It was an interesting experience. I found out that we were both very enthused with the entrepreneurial space. I think we will get along just fine.

Today I met with yet another person I haven't seen in a long time. Unfortunately, although he liked to build stuff and have dreams of entrepreneurship, it was obvious that there was a difference in energy levels between him and the other person.

I caught myself considering to read more technical books today, it's good that I stopped myself and closed that tab. It's important to go back to the one thing I need to finish. I have 5 days before launch, so that means I need to concentrate on getting everything ready for launch.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 22

Today I spent a lot of time working on the site and also summarizing Peter Voogd's ideas. The UI looks more impressive every day. I also finally settled on three metrics and have made a mockup of a page. Tomorrow I should hammer out and refine what should or should not go on the page. I need to be more certain of how the information will be displayed so that I can finally start wiring up the backend for it.

If I have time, I'll also have to think about if it would be a good idea to have accounts. It would take me some time to figure out how to set it up, but I think it would be good to learn it anyway. I'll eventually have to get good at that.

I should also think about how I'm going to fetch a lot of the data, or maybe I'll just have to manually do it or recruit some friends. got Nomadlist started by tweeting a Google Doc. But at that time, he already had a lot of followers, so I don't think I can replicate that same kind of success.

Worse comes to worst, I'll simply launch with 6-8 cities and see what people think on Hacker News and Reddit. Remember, you only start learning when you launch.

Hmm, maybe that means I should put in an e-mail or a comment box so people can comment and give feedback on their suggestions.

Also, I'm going to start doing daily point form summaries so I can easily refer back to this post and know what I was talking about.


  • Tomorrow:
    • Refine design on info page
    • Prepare for wiring up backend
  • Consider adding accounts
  • Think about how to grab information
  • Launch with 6-8 cities perhaps
  • Put up e-mail or comment box

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 21 - Weekly Eval.

Ugly is good if it can help me launch faster

Wow, it's been yet another week. It feels like it's been a long time! This past week was great because I'm finally settled into Vancouver and I no longer have a lot of social obligations. I don't have to travel and I can keep a nice schedule. I've been able to wake up early (before 6am) consistently and for the past few days, at 4:30am.

I've also pared down on a lot of things. I am no longer consuming as much and I'm producing much more now. I need to keep on doing this, because I realized that I am not trying to get a job. If I was trying to get a job, then maybe I would need to know the technology better. But I'm just trying to get shit done. himself doesn't even use databases, he simply stores things in plain text files.

In any case, I'll leave it to the point form notes below:


  • Added Disqus comments and Google Analytics to my personal blog
  • Designed and built a mock-up prototype on Meteor here 
  • Finished Meteor tutorials (to the extent that I need to)
  • Wrote summaries of books/podcasts
  • Blogged a good deal
  • Exercised and ran in the morning, every morning
Needs Improvement
  • I need to start my day with more intention and planning
    • I still have not made the habit of plotting/scheduling my day
  • Need to continue to stop obsessing about the details, its so important to build launch fast
    • Ugly is good if it can get me to launch faster
Plan (Days 22 - 28)
  • Take a look at some of the design-based Instagram accounts
  • Plot out my morning routine, at least the first couple hours of it
  • Publish two posts on my personal blog
  • FINISH b4YouGo

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 20

A lot of progress so far. I have learned a lot about Meteor, Foundation, and just making sites in general. I used to say I knew how to make sites because I made some a long time ago, but it really isn't until you get into the habit of doing it do you really get good at it. There's just so much that you need to know off the top of your head. I'm glad I am getting quite comfortable with Meteor's templating system. However, I haven't really done anything interesting in terms of logic, so I don't actually know much about how to make Meteor's logic work well.

Nevertheless, I was inspired by how this guy built his sites in PHP without any database at all, he stores all his data in plain text files as JSON. I'm now pretty confident that trying to normalize a huge complex schema isn't the right way to prototype fast. MongoDB's document model is great for this, and Meteor interacts very well.

There were many times over the past 48 hours or so that had me wanting to quit the travel site project. However, I know that even if absolutely nobody uses it, it's important I get into the habit of FINISHING things. So I am 100% committed to finishing b4YouGo. It's not the achievement or the goal that's important, it's what you become and how the process develops your character that counts.

The person you become in the process is way more important than the goal. Tomorrow is evaluation day, and I have a feeling I might be setting a deadline for completing b4YouGo by Day 28. How exciting!

Things I learned to do today:
- top bar for Foundation
- document modelled denormalization
- sticky footer
- detect scroll
- autocomplete/typeahead

Monday, January 19, 2015

Day 19

Two days left until evaluation day again. Today I actually had a really good day. I've gotten through enough of the Discover Meteor book that I can begin building my own things. So I did! I started building my prototype for the travel info app. I felt like I learned a LOT of Meteor today, and it's been pretty good so far.

 One thing that I think I could've done better was to not obsess over so many details.

It's important to get a good idea of what you want before you start. Because if you try to figure it out along the way, you're going to get slowed down with non-stop decisions and end up not being very productive. You want to get the design phase out of the way and have a design "freeze" so that you can concentrate on making it REAL. Otherwise, you'll never make it out of orbit, let alone the moon.

As a result, I'm going to take a page from and make sure I have a pretty clear idea of what I want my site to look like before going forward with all the backend wiring. This will require me brushing up on scary CSS, but it's about time I faced my fears and got good at that.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 18

Long day today. I ran 2.5 km to the McDonald's in the pouring rain hoping to get breakfast only to find out that it is not open. It was only open 24 hours for the drive thru. As a result, I just ran all the way back.

I did some Meteor tutorials today, and it did actually feel quite good. I am considering investing in a graphics tablet for my computer so I can draw stuff with my hand, however I am not sure if it is a good idea at this point. Perhaps I need to keep my focus on Meteor for now.

There's also the issue of developing good design taste. A friend of mine informed me that I should follow people on Instagram with good design. Looking at things with good design will help develop taste, so I should do this. However, I don't know if I'll actually look at Instagram that often though.

I believe I'll end tonight by reading a book: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

The Author's Note at the beginning of the book is quite enticing:
“IF YOU WATCHED a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen. The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo. 
But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either. Here’s what I mean by that:”
Excerpt From: Donald Miller. “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” iBooks.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 17

I woke up early today, and ran. It was actually quite nice and I think I will keep it up. I've pushed the alarm to 4:50am now so hopefully I will be able to make 4:30 by the end of this week. The biggest issue I have is getting a place to have breakfast since the McDonald's does not open until 5am on weekdays and 6am on the weekends. I went to Denny's this morning, but the price of the food is several multiples of what I am comfortable with. I should consider cooking.

I had been putting off Meteor tutorials for the longest time, but today I finally sat down and got to it. To my surprise, it was actually a lot more enjoyable and went a lot faster than I could've imagined. As a result, I think I need to keep this in mind for the next time I try putting off something. I think I largely tried to put it off because I knew it would be a long road, but if I always hesitate at the beginning of long roads, then how will I accomplish anything worthwhile?

I've begun cold showers again now that my cold has almost left me completely. It is difficult, yes. But it is nevertheless very invigorating and a good mental test right at the beginning of the day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Day 16

I'm adjusting back to the Pacific Time Zone and today I woke up without an alarm at around 5:30am. This is great, but I have to make sure I sleep around 10pm or so if I want to keep this up. This is doable, but I just wanted to write this down so I keep it in mind.

Doing the bed after you get up is actually quite nice, it prevents you from going back to sleep or just lying there and doing unproductive things.

I've been thinking about the Canva tutorials, and I can't really say I'm absorbing much from them. Perhaps it's best that I focus on getting Meteor tutorials out of the way first. In fact, yes. I'm going to make it my ONE FOCUS. I will say that the blog posts on Canva are really great though.

I tried getting around to reading one of the many blog emails I get from various blogs I subscribe ti and I found this quote:
A problem is created when we look at the benefit we want without considering the surest way to get it.
 It's always exciting to be working towards something great, but just like the tennis example I mentioned before, it's important not to be so excited about the benefit that we forget to experiment and try to find the best way to do things. I started off trying to do a lot of very different things all at once and I ended up failing on that. The only time I ever get anything done is by focusing on one thing and one thing only. That's the case with studying in school and also with finishing certain topics or books. I'm pretty sure I would have never finished To Mock a Mockingbird if I was trying to do random tutorials on the side.

More and more, I am starting to realize I need to put 100% focus on Meteor.

Today I wrote a blog post summarizing a video on what Unique Value means.

Day 15

I need to plot my day better. I woke up and I just felt that there were so many things I needed to do but I did not know what exactly.

I felt really tired this afternoon, and no doubt it had something to do with either the large meal I had or the jet lag. Nevertheless, being tired and not being able to focus on reading something is a very important issue I need to deal with. The only thing I can think of is perhaps listening to podcasts or talks. I wonder if there are any productive activities I can do during my tired mode. I should make a post on the Fastlane forums about this.


I finally finished my summary of the 7 Day Startup here. It took two hours. What's interesting is that I was originally thinking of doing some Meteor tutorials, but ended up procrastinating by writing that blog post. Interestingly though, I would've felt too tired to start a new blog post, but the fact that it was half-written made it a lot easier to get started into the task.

Maybe that's what I need to do with Meteor tutorials as well.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 14 - Weekly Eval.

Well it's that time again, the time to evaluate my previous week. I know this won't be a very good one because I had been bogged down with a lot of last minute goodbyes as I leave Hong Kong after an extended stay. Being that I'm also travelling today, this post was probably mostly written in the lounge at the airport or on the plane itself.

With respect to taking notes from Canva tutorials, I no longer think that is effective. Developing taste requires a more organic approach and it isn't just a checklist that you keep in your back pocket. I'll still try to complete the tutorials and read their posts on design, but I think looking at top templates from Theme Forest actually help quite a bit.

As with the previous weekly evaluation, let's find out what worked and what didn't work. Point form summary follows below.


  • Built on the Jekyll blogging platform
  • Cut out taking notes on Canva tutorials and over focusing on reading Javascript: The Definitive Guide
  • Used themes as content for learning design taste
  • Read the 7 Day Startup
Needs Improvement

  • I let social obligations destroy my productivity
    • Or to phrase it better, I did not prioritize my work enough
  • Need to really hammer out the Meteor tutorial

Plan (Days 15 - 21)

  • Daily Routine
    • Develop an actual routine
      • Should include looking at ThemeForest/ElegantThemes themes
      • Exercise
  • Finish polishing and launch the adrianmcli blog
    • Also come up with a plan on making regular contributions
  • Meteor tutorials

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 13

Yet another day of final social obligations and then packing up to leave. Always remember to pack light and refrain from buying bulky material goods. It'll always come back to bite you when you have to pack to leave. Thankfully, I've managed to pack everything I needed into my baggage and I will be back in Canada tomorrow!

Two themes possible for my travel site idea:

Also, I think some of the landing pages out there can be used as well.

I've bought a book, called the 7 Day Startup. It talks about the story of a guy who tried to build his own startup over a year and it didn't work out. Then he did something a little different and it took off in just 7 days. I can't wait to read this on the plane!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 12

Two days left until evaluation day 2. A hell of a hectic day today, running on only one hour of sleep. It was possible, though, and I succeeded in attending all of my social obligations. Obviously, it's not ideal, but it's important to know that it's possible. Unfortunately, I did not do much at all today in terms of my goals so this will be the end of today's blog post.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 11

Here's a video of how to get started into web development. Below is a summary of important points to keep in mind (for myself personally):

  • Are you on the same playing field?
    • SASS/LESS/Stylus
    • Build management systems
      • Bower/Grunt/Yeoman
  • GitHub
  • What text editor do you use?
  • Jquery
    • good with selectors; DOM traversal
    • user events
    • AJAX and CRUD
    • plugins
  • Job history
I also found a really great post from Reddit that led to a great book recommendation:

The book that the guy read was called The 7 Day Startup. And it seems to have good reviews on its ability to get you to simply start and stop waiting and reading this and that. I'll considering buying it since it's priced at only $5. I keep thinking "maybe once I read this book, I'll actually do ..." and it's just not right (look at yesterday's post on a similar topic. However, this got someone with less skills than me to start something in 7 days. So why can't I start something even better in 7 or less days?

There's also this podcast interview of the author. I'm going to listen to it and hopefully get back tomorrow for a better review of his background and his product.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 10

Staying up late is a bad idea. I stayed up really late and was very unproductive as a result. In any case, I've been trying to get the blog together at I think it's acceptable, and even a pretty good idea to start with a pre-made template of what you want your site to look like. However, I think it's also important to customize it in such a way that you create a rather unique identity.

I found the site, which is an image search engine. It's very cool, because its stated purpose is to allow you to create "moodboards" and build inspiration from images that already exist out there. I'll have to think about how I can use this to turn it into something I can do daily to build up my design "taste".

Still little-to-no progress on the Javascript front, however. Perhaps it's for the best, since I am kind of focused on trying to get the blog done so far. Will recap more when time goes on. I'm also finding a lot of social obligations to be clogging up my remaining time here in Hong Kong. In a few days, I'll be making my way back to Canada, specifically Vancouver. I can always hope that things will be better when I'm there, but I know that change needs to happen, and it needs to happen now (or yesterday). It's always an excuse when I find myself saying "oh, it'll be okay when I finally ... ". Because it's usually an indication that something is wrong within myself right now, pushing the blame to external circumstances always serve to undermine your own determination for self-improvement.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 9

So I discovered that I don't really need foundation, at least not yet. Originally, I wanted to use Foundation to build my custom personal website and blog. However, while I was searching for good hosting, I discovered something I had long forgotten: that GitHub provides free hosting! And on top of that, it turns out that they also freely host a minimalist developer's blogging platform named Jekyll. I prodded further, and found this great tutorial, by Joshua Lande. I clicked around some more and found the Hyde theme to be just what I wanted! Within a couple hours, I had my own blog up at A lot of work is still left to do, but at least now I have something on the domain!

The (temporary) deprecation of Foundation is good, because it means I can focus more on learning Meteor itself. I will eventually be moving at least some of these blog posts over to as well, but until then I'll keep plodding along here for now.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 8 - Getting a Foundation

So I've been trying to play with Foundation. And honestly, it was quite intimidating at first because I haven't done websites in a while, and I was very temped to just use the templates. However, I think I will try to approach this by trying to do it from scratch. I've got a rough idea on how I want my personal site to look like: I'd like a persistent sidebar on the left, with a main page that scrolls on the right (taking up about 70% of the screen width).

Some things I learned about images and text from Canva tutorials this morning:

  • Use transparency to make text pop
  • Add transparent shapes to make text pop
  • Layer two photos of different transparencies
  • Low-transparency icons can subtly fill empty space
  • Crop high-resolution photos for textures (that can be used as backgrounds)
  • Remove saturation to get black and white photos, then overlay a coloured transparency
  • White icons work well with blurred background images
  • Neon text works well with darkened and desaturated backgrounds
Regarding goal-setting and whatnot, I'm finding it hard to have a consistent pace on the Javascript: The Definitive Guide book along with the Discover Meteor book. I find that I have completely stopped on Meteor and focused completely on Javascript. I suppose that's not necessarily a bad thing, but I need to make sure I'm not spending too much time on Javascript: The Definitive Guide. The Meteor book is going to be more important for getting stuff off the ground.

I considered assigning myself a reading of a-chapter-a-day for the Definitive Guide so that I could finish it in 14 days, but upon further reflection (of the chapter contents), I think it makes more sense to advance my focus onto the Meteor framework and refer to the Definitive Guide for reference instead. One of the primary reasons for this is Gary Fung's statement that he "printed money with php soup". At this point (so late in the game), it is more important that I get started at making SOMETHING than trying to be real good at making it. That can always come later, but the habit of creating is so important.

What I'll do from here on out:
  1. Do Canva tutorials daily
  2. Build something on Foundation for
  3. Go through the Discover Meteor book
Maybe it's a good idea not to do more than three things per day. So hopefully this will provide more progress in the near future.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 7 - Weekly Eval.

This is an intimidating post to write because it sets the tone for all subsequent evaluation days. Nevertheless, I'm going to go through the posts of the last 7 days (Day 1 to 6) and pick out the important things and think about how my next week should look like.

This week began when I was at my sickest from my cold, and unfortunately I used that as an excuse not to do much. However, it wasn't a total loss.


Needs Improvement

  • Didn't put anything on my domain
  • Brainstormed with the picture generator, but didn't do any building
  • Did not establish a daily routine
  • Did not build anything in Foundation or Javascript (or anything at all, really) 
Plan (Days 8 - 14)
  • Daily Routine: Canva tutorial
  • Put SOMETHING on the
    • Use Foundation
  • Build SOMETHING in Javascript
    • Related to a picture generator
The idea is to make sure I'm doing SOMETHING. Even if it's nearly a blank page, the fact that I made SOMETHING would be really important. The difficult part of this, is that I foresee I might be intimidated by the fact that there are two things to do. Perhaps I should only choose one of the two. I will still aim to do both this week, but perhaps the priority should be on the use of Foundation for putting something on We shall see how the next week goes.

The next evaluation is: Day 14.

Day 6

No picture today, I didn't do much today so I'll simply recap on a few things.

I'm almost all better from the cold, so that means I need to start kicking things into gear. This cannot come at a more perfect time, because tomorrow is Day 7, and that means it's evaluation day.

Regarding the picture generator I wanted to make, here are some notes from the Canva tutorials I mentioned I'd be taking.

Font Rules:
  • Choose fonts that contrast
    • Bold/Light (Regular)
    • Bold/Script
    • Sentence Case/All (or no) Caps
    • Tall/Short
    • Thick/Thin
    • Regular/Italics
  • Use size to show hierarchy
  • Resize text to fill a shape
  • Experiment w/ letter spacing
  • Experiment w/ alignment

Colour Rules:
  • Bright colours go w/ White
  • Complementary colours are on opposite sides of the colour wheel
  • Monochrome colours are different tones of the same colour
  • Analogous colours are colours close to each other on the colour wheel
  • A Tint is a lighter version of a colour
  • A Shade is a darker version of a colour
  • Do not use more than 4 colours
  • Use a vibrant feature colour to stand out from the rest (maybe neutral colours)
  • Eye-catching graphics only require 3 colours
  • When matching colours to a picture, pick dark, medium light colours from it

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 5 - Hard Work and Tennis

I definitely need to get that image generator up as soon as I can.
Lately I've been down with a cold, and only recently have I gotten a bit better. So today, I decided to venture off on a short hike. Just to give some context, about a week ago I decided to see how far I could hike and challenged myself to a 50km hike. It was intense, took more than 12 hours, and it made me walk with a limp for about a week afterwards but it was worth it. Mostly because of the following quote:
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
- T.S. Eliot
This is the most inspiring quote I have found to date, and I really hope it'll lead me to do more this year. It's not even about the hike, it was more about the kind of person you become while going through such a tough (at least for me, it was very tough) challenge. In any case, while I was hiking today, I was thinking about all the people who say hard work is not enough. And I think I want to reframe that perspective with an analogy that I came up with.

If you are trying to learn how to play tennis, and you find that you keep hitting the ball out of the court, the way to improve is not in trying to hit harder. What you need to do is to try harder to hit more accurately. And the only way to do that is by adjusting your angle of contact, your stance, the position of your arm, your stroke, etc. These are all variables that require adjustment and experimentation.

The point I'm getting at, is that trying harder at doing something that hasn't really been working out for you isn't going to work. What is really important is to try harder in being able to look at a problem from different perspectives. And that requires stepping out of your comfort zone.

In the tennis analogy, maybe you've had the same stance with your feet since forever and you've been able to hit the ball. And you fear that if you changed your stance, you might not even make contact with the ball, let alone hit it out of the court. However, we must be willing to take these risks if we want to find out how to truly improve in a meaningful way.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 4

Today I dropped a pack of kitkat while boarding a bus, these were all I had left.

I should really establish a daily routine. I want to get better at design, so that the things I make in the near future won't look ugly. So one of the things I need to do is go on the Canva Design School site at least once a day.

Speaking of routines, I want every 7th day to be a re-evaluation of the last 7 days. It's important to continuously be evaluating and improving in this way.

I should also get used to using web front-end design frameworks like Foundation, for example. Perhaps I should be making a page each day for two weeks, or one per week for the entire year? I dunno, still thinking about it.

It matters that you've tried.
Citizenship in a Republic

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 3

Yet another photo from a hike.
So as you can see, I have not been able to think of something better than using my hiking pictures to put at the top of my blog post. Yesterday's post was also published late because I fell asleep before I could click publish. Maybe this is a good idea after all, to do things in arrears.

Hmmm, I wonder what other things in life might be good to do in arrears? Facebook has a built-in ability to schedule your posts, and there are a bunch of sites for scheduling Twitter posts as well. The first "annoyance" I can think of is thinking about when to post things, so I just stopped caring about the timing of posts. Oh well, an interesting musing nonetheless.

I haven't done much today because I'm still quite sick with my cold. It's amazing how difficult it is to be productive when you are sick. I wonder if there's an idea in there somewhere?

On another note, I have submitted this post in arrears again because I fell asleep before I could remember to hit publish.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day 2

Part of a hike I took a while ago.

So today, I bought my domain name at There's nothing there right now, but I bought it for 10 years thinking that it will be my personal brand and if I needed to get a job I'll direct people there. Now I have to think about what to put up: a static page, something dynamic?, a hub of my favourite go-to links? I'm not quite sure yet.

Making this post, I wanted to put some kind of picture on but I didn't have any special photo or picture at-the-ready. So an idea I have is a blogging platform that allows you to use HTML5 to draw directly into your blog post. That'd save me the time to have to open up the paint software on my desktop, draw, save, and then upload it.

In the mean time, I just chose a random photo.