A month without Facebook

I’ve been a month without Facebook… well.. I say I’m a month without it – but truth be told a few days ago I reactivated my account for the day to see if there’s anything I miss.

 

There wasn’t.

 

I have a few gripes here. The first thing is the new interface on the Facebook App. My first thoughts were this: “Have Facebook fired their UX team?!”. There is a new user interface which, after I looked at it for a few minutes I came to the very quick conclusion that I intensely disliked it. It’s ugly, cluttered and for someone who was wondering if he wanted to come back to Facebook, it turned me off immediately.

 

There is a theory which applies to web design which I guess should also apply to app design – you have 5 seconds to grab the users attention. If you don’t, they will leave. Facebook for Android certainly didn’t grab mine. Not in any sort of positive light.

 

I’ve been told that I’m not alone here. Earlier on I received a text message from one of my friends which said that she had “Joined the ‘Delete your Facebook’ bandwagon”. Up until that point, I was unaware that any such bandwagon existed. After I looked into it a little more, I found that there has been an outcry of concerns regarding the new “Identify TV and Music” feature. This feature listens to background noise as you are making a post from your app to give the option to add this detected information to your post. People are concerned about their privacy and that’s something that I do understand. It is a bit creepy.

 

When I decided that I needed a break from Facebook, it wasn’t out of any moral standpoint. It was because I needed to get things done. I needed to spend some time learning and improving my web design and front end skills. I’ve managed to do this and am happy with what I have achieved so far. Then I realised that for many people, Facebook is more than just a community, more than just a social network. For many people, Facebook is an extension on themselves. Facebook is not just used as a communicative tool, it’s like another part of you. Not just part of your life, but part of you as a person.

 

This isn’t what I want to use the internet for. As a tool for communication – absolutely, the internet is amazing. As a learning resource, the internet is amazing. I want to use the internet to improve myself, to improve my skills and learn new ones. I want to make connections with people who I don’t know who have the same interests, passions, motivation and drive as I do. To collaborate towards something that can ultimately make a difference. To learn from each other, teach and to help. Shouldn’t this be the case? With so many people, this just isn’t the case any more. There is one website they visit. One website they have any sort of interest in. Isn’t it just a little sad?

ChromeOS – But it’s just a browser..

“But it’s just a browser” is something that most people say when they hear of the Google operating system. I’ve been using a Chromebook since Samsung released the Samsung Chromebook. My old Acer laptop died a death and I needed something quickly which wasn’t going to cost me a bomb. So a Chrome OS based laptop seemed like a good idea.

 

Chromebooks are generally marketed at people who use the devices as browsers. Maybe you want to take a look at Facebook, listen to tracks on Spotify or search for something you’re interested in. But the longer I used Chrome OS, the more I realised the potential of what it could be. It’s not just a browser. It’s not just something to use for social networking. It can be used for a lot more and has the potential to change the way people use desktop and laptop devices in years to come.

 

I started learning front end web development and web design a few months ago. I needed to find an IDE which would support me on Chrome OS and what I found were massively powerful environments which rendered my need to use anything desktop based obsolete. Almost. We’re starting to see more and more applications being powered in the cloud and this has huge advantages in an IDE. Codio is my most recent discovery. Codio is in its beta stage and it doesn’t just support HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript. Languages and databases it supports include:

 

Languages: C, Node, Ruby, Python, PHP (and Composer), Go, Haskell, Java, Lua, Pascal, Rust, Scala

Databases: MongoDB, MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, Postgresql, SQLite3, Redis, Memcached

 

This is fantastic and provides a seriously powerful application that you can do just about anything you need with it. This isn’t the only web based IDE available. You can also check out Codenvy, Cloud 9 and a whole heap of others. The Google App store gives a fantastic list under development tools that can give you a great experience.

 

This of course can be used by anyone with a Chrome browser, not just someone with a Chrome OS device – however, you’re only paying a fraction of the price for a Chromebook, Chromebox or a Chromebase. It is most certainly worth it if you are a front or back end developer.

 

One drawback for me though is in design. The best software I can find for design has been Pixlr Editor. Pixlr is great for what it is, but it’s lacking some simple features.. even a ruler would be nice. This makes it a bit of a hassle creating a mock-up design before bringing it in to front end. I am however convinced that this will improve with time and maybe even companies like Adobe will provide applications (at a subscription I would assume) for developers and designers running a Chrome OS system. Until that day though, I am going to have to take a look at my options on a Windows or Mac system.

 

I’ll conclude with this. Chrome OS is in its infancy and has already made a big dent into the market. When Google released the Pixel, it showed other manufacturers what COULD be the future. Some companies like HP have taken this idea and provided the HP Chromebook 14 which is an awesome system with an awesome display. I believe within the next 5 years a MASSIVE amount of software providers will realise that internet speeds have increased so dramatically that they can provide great cloud based software. I believe that the future is on the cloud and while I love Chrome OS, I know it’s not quite there yet – but it will be.

Time for a change.

When I was a kid, I built websites. Mainly websites for my bands, a wrestling e-fed I used to run (I forgot about that) and another for a digital label I used to run. But then I stopped.

I had no formal IT qualifications – mainly because when I went to school, studying was the last thing on my mind, but I always knew what I was doing… or could at least bluff it.

After being a personal triner for a few years and my current stint in the Civil Service.. which is more boring than you can possibly imagine, I have started some courses with Codecademy and Treehouse for web design and front end web development.  Because I knew the basics of HTML when I was younger, the first couple of weeks had been a refresher on what I knew already, but jesus these websites are phenomenal.  Codecademy is free and Treehouse is $25 per month, but well worth it.

So begins my own self taught education into the web. I’ve been learning for a month or so and its been awesome. Lets see if I can make a career change!

Two years…

Its been two years since i’ve made a post here. That is utterly insane! It’s easy to get distracted on the internet and I swear the biggest distraction of all is Facebook. What would life without Facebook be like? I would put money on that I would be thousands of times more productive. You open up the internet, you open a few tabs and it’s almost a guarantee that the first thing you will open will be Facebook.

 

I like the idea of social networking. I like the idea of staying in touch with my friends and keeping each other updated on what we’ve been doing – but to many people, Facebook is an obsession. They’re addicted.

 

A more interesting model of social networking is Google+. My circles in G+ are generally based around the Open Source community, Linux, Chrome OS and Web Design. A few close friends are there too which is awesome, but Google + helps encourage productivity in a way Facebook never has done so.. is it a time to commit Facebook Suicide?

 

We’ll see if I have the balls!

So it turns out, if you missed Numskull – you missed Numskull

Yeah, here we go. It’s sad and it’s exciting all at once – but personally for me it’s hard not to be a bit sad.

Jamie, John and Mark came down to Simsie Manor (my tiny apartment) on Saturday to have a few drinks, write some new songs and figure out where we were going. It was pretty clear very quickly that this was not going to be Numskull from 4-8 years ago. John and Mark had some amazing songs and I cranked out a killer that’s been bugging me since about 2007. We started writing and arranging and what came out wasn’t pop punk anymore. 

This is serious punk rock. It’s heavy, fast and more importantly – it’s well written. Gone are the twiddly bits and three chords and in comes powerful riffs and kick ass choruses.

We couldn’t put these songs in the same set as ‘I Think You Made My Brain Hurt’ and ‘Beauty Queen’, so we decided to change the name and start from scratch.

It’s hard for me to let go of Numskull as I was always so attached to the idea of the band. It’s hard not to love four clueless idiots who just want to have some fun. There’s a whole innocence thing around Numskull – nothing to hide, we are who we are now please give me a beer. I guess the whole Numskull thing was an extension of our personality – and that’s why I never let go.

Fear not though, you ruffians! Our new band (We have a name. We even have an album title. I’m just not telling you.) isn’t going to be that far away and while i’m sad about Numskull being put on ice – for the moment anyway, talk to me again in 4 years, i’m excited beyond belief to show everyone what else your four lovable rogues have to offer. We’ve got some great ideas, some great sounds and I can’t wait to show you.

To the few of you that loved my pop punk, don’t worry.. I have a lotta songs. I think i’m gonna need a second band.

 

Ooh yeah – welcome to my new blog.