Eclipse With Karel The Robot

Bethany Hamilton, survived a shark attack and returned to professional surfing.Last week I decided I would apply myself to revisit being a software engineer more than focus on a career in SEO. I already had a career in SEO and the experience left me with the knowledge as part of my DNA. I am keenly aware how important developers who know about SEO are, and how mixed their skills are. At least with me, I can be confident the SEO instruction set is as simple for me as playing with Legos.

For building more complex systems, I’ve dabbled in SSI and created my own CMS systems, relying only on WordPress for learning how to code custom plugins and themes for SEO clients. I am much more interested in new frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap with Ruby on Rails for my own sites moving forward, and as the backbone of how Sidecar 2.0 works. Search Return is going to be a house that is built with Gems.

In anticipation that I jump in on a summer of code, I’ve needed to install Eclipse.

Computer Science Hacking

It’s hard not to think of hacking computer science classes while essentially taking the courses as a matter of hackademic hacking an computer science education. Having written cryptograms for Kevin Mitnick to use for the paperback version of his Ghost in the Wires, his story that I followed since I was a teenager, all I can think to do is hack my way to accomplish higher goals.

The trouble is, compiled source code is something I only dabbled in before making too much money to care in SEO. I don’t regret a thing but the SEO career made me lazy about sharpening up my code skills. It’s time I changed all that. Even with Sidecar 1.0, the approach uses Javascript in a near pure form and I want to take Sidecar 2.0 much further. The basic hack is in.

To build the full-blown application around Sidecar 2.0, I’m going to need mad skills and polish my rusty old tools. I recall writing Java applets in my twenties starting around 1995. For about two years I worked for a firm that produced multimedia for the Web. In those days, compared to today, I was rolling stones around like they were wheels living in the stone age.

Sometime around when I was scoring top positions for frames-based sites for terms like “disney Collectibles” and “rare coins” I was hired by Multimedia Marketing Group that launched my SEO career. There is no real Java in SEO. Multimedia itself was a bit wrong-headed at the time too. Of course taking a pile of money and looking the other way while you craft SEO for big brands was a great consolation.

Nows the time. SEO is changing so fast it’s actually important that I revisit my old skills and get back in practice. One of the outcomes will be a better backend for Sidecar 2.0 for powering Search Return as a platform concept versus a simpleton robot. I can only really make that clear by demonstration. Still, if you happen upon this post looking for SEO, you’re in the wrong place.

Over the last few years, hacking computer science by way of auditing classes online has dramatically improved. It’s to the point where the venerable Standford University has published CS106A in full form. You can watch the lectures on YouTube, and follow along with all the class material in hand. It’s all completely free. The way to hack is to take these courses as California ramps up.

The governor in the state of California is pushing its universities, offering financial resources for them to more aggressively move towards more online education. The Stanford CS106A cite above is completely free.

There are a number of fast-paced private programs that can cost much less than a University which can leave you in debt. San Francisco’s Dev Bootcamp recently opened in Chicago too. A certificate of completion in one of the better known organizations can be worth a good fraction of a complete degree from University by way of specialization. It is a true foothold in the market if you want to be a developer.

Responsive WordPress Themes

Update: WordPress default themes are now responsive too.

A number of nice Responsive WordPress Themes are coming out. Running several experimental sites I get to test across some of the better looking ones. Not all free ones are ready for primetime and they also might come with link payloads, so lookout. I have only tried a handful of paid ones and there aren’t that many paid ones out now anyway. That will change.

A nice paid one launched today called Appetizer. Appetizer is mainly targeted at restaurants but you can tune to anything you like if you’re handy with hacking on WordPress. If you would prefer to start from scratch, try the free bootstrap theme. I’m checking out Bootstrap version 2.3 and it’s good, if you don’t mind commercial messages in the admin area.

I don’t like this so much and will torch it for my own framework. One of the problems of historical WordPress blogs are the plugins and themes from the past that may contain bits your client is tied to commercially or emotionally. That means finding a viable alternative or replacement that can retrofit content for a purpose in the upgrade. One particularly nasty thing can be a haphazard multi-site installation for a client who was sold on it for no good reason. Look for something I might write up on that.