Scratch the Surface: Set up Local Environment

Alright, well this morning was off to a slow start. While the world anticipated Labor Day Weekend and getting the last modicum of work done, I read a chapter from a novel by Elizabeth Gilbert while drinking a hot cup of coffee and spent hours improving my chess notation. It was unproductive, alright.

After wrestling with the paralysis of being able to do anything and everything, I decided on a simple goal: make a WordPress site from scratch!

So far, I’ve only learned HTML, CSS and Javascript and stayed in the realm of the front-end and the comforts of the browser. I kept finding myself in situations and projects where I simply did not have any idea of what to do, where to start or what it entails. It was only evident that I develop a working knowledge of server environments and the back-end. Eventually, i’ll walk the walk and talk the talk as a web-developer.

How to get started: Set up local server environment on the computer

  • Set up a local “LAMP Stack” style environment – http://localhost:8080
    • LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP(/Python/Perl). It’s an open source bundle of software applications that creates a dynamic web server environment. There is also MAMP and WAMP, for Mac and Windows, respectively.
    • Whether you have a PC or a Mac, just download MAMP and install it on your computer.
  • I had a hiccup opening port 80 for Apache, administering as occupied, and found a simple solution on Stack Overflow:
    • Run MAMP
    • Click Preferences
    • On Preference window click Ports
    • While on Ports change Apache & Nginx Port to 8080.
      click ok
    • Start Servers.
  • Along the way, I learned that Port 8080 is a place to host a secondary or alternate web server. It is commonly used for proxy and caching.
    • The computer has 65535 potential ports to use over the internet.
    • Your web browser works on port 80. Port 8080 is typically used for a personally hosted web server, when the ISP restricts this type of usage for non-commercial customers. If you were going to host your own website from your computer, you would prefer to be able to do so on port 80, since this would mean that anyone connecting to your computer wouldn’t have to add a port number to the end of the WWW address you paid for. They could just connect to it, or to your specific IP address, and they’d have the website visible in their browser, while being served from your desktop or laptop.
    • Some ISPs want to avoid people paying for a cheaper home connection, but using it for commercial webservice. So, they restrict access on port 80. To get around this, you can use whatever port you like. You could use port 12345 if you wanted to. Port 8080 is the just the default second choice for a webserver.
  • Test PHP
    • I saved my html file to a php and opened it on the local server.
    • To test PHP, we can insert the pho tag anywhere into html. Anything that goes inside the opening tag of <?php and the closing tag of ?> work it’s magic on your server and return HTML.
      <p>Hello, world! The year is <?php echo date('Y'); ?>.</p>

      The code <?php echo date(‘Y’); ?> uses a date function to find the year. The HTML interpreted is just “2017”.

Yay, I  now have a local server and run all the PHP code I want!!!

 

Setting Up Virtual Hosts

Next Step: Setting Up Virtual Hosts

I’ve successfully added a virtual host: from allowing virtual hosts on apache, allowing SymLink Override and to adding a virtual host path. But I got absurdly stuck on removing the :8080 from the end of the URL.

The problem can be reframed from my inability to open up port :80 for Apache. Since I’m not focusing on working on multiple websites yet, which the Virtual Hosts allows me to do, I decided to move on and focusing on my local host. I was comforted by the fact that there was an absurd amount of people who were facing the same problem as I. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any solutions after disabling countless Services and Programs and playing with the configuration files. If you guys have any fail proof ideas on how to open up port 80 for Apache, let me know!

Now that I’ve set up the local server environment and I can pretend like I know that back-end like the back of my hand, it’s time to move on to the main event, WordPress. Stay tuned, self! Can’t wait to see what I come up with.

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Step One: Believe in Yourself

That’s what I’ve been working on right now. After a successful first week transitioning to Austin (finding an amazing apartment, landing couple of interviews, exploring the trail and going to great tech meetups), I found myself going into a job interview for the same job that I had prior. Long story short, it made me very discouraged as I considered a job with a higher pay but lower spirits.  I was reasoning to myself that “I can finally afford that woven chair that would look good in the patio.

But I realize, I wasn’t listening in my goals and desires nor did I believe in myself.

What does it even mean to believe in yourself?! Right after the interview, I called my friend/mentor to calibrate my spirits. A simple reminder than I am inspiring and I am worth it is enough. But to be reminded that I belong in the same room as much as everyone else is necessary. I can be part of the conversation! I don’t have to be a fly on the wall. I may be just a beginner, outsider, minority, or whatever, but those are just labels created to put me down. I believe in myself.

Self-doubt has a way of rippling outwards, perpetuating the closed-loop of more doubt. That paralyzing and greedy inner voice will do what ever it takes to devour confidence and leave no room for logic nor reason. ending the happiness that we worked so hard to realize and achieve.

When we fall outside of our comfort zone or strive to do something great, we fall out of invincibility. We stop believing in our worth.

I’ve been learning how to tame this beast called self-doubt. It starts by being present. Take time to pay attention and listen to how we feel and how we react to things. With a little understanding, self-knowledge and confidence, we start to understand the root causes of our insecurities and take the necessary and active steps to address our fear.

As a consultant in my old job, I learned that there are always ways to do something better. Everything has an opportunity for growth, even in ourselves. Especially in ourselves.

Unemployment aka this darn thing I once called gainful sabbatical, in all it’s beauty, has its ups and downs. I’m learning how to be patient with myself, really listening to the reasons why I quit my job. Yes, that means not returning back to my old job. Give myself some time to breathe. Realize that everything in life comes because our believe that they are possible. I’ve come this far. We’ve all come this far!

So make that necessary trip in front of the mirror and repeat after me: I believe in myself and I am a strong independent woman who belongs in spaces and conversation that I put myself in as much as anyone else. I believe in myself, therefore I make things possible.

My first week in Austin, TX

(Seventh Flag Coffee, Sunday, 8/6/17 1:24pm)

I want eavesdrop on every conversation. Be a fly on the lone star wall. Find solace while drinking a Topo Chico under the same Live Oak as everyone on the patio. Shed as many layers and perspire towards the Lady Bird basin. Leave my mark longer than water ring marks on a sunny afternoon.

I’ve spent a full week here in Austin, TX and I have been far from idle. If I’m not running, biking or climbing, I am perspiring in this heat along with everybody else. If my body’s not moving, my mind is running in circles as I learn the ways of Javascript. I’m slowly getting used to having a light load of things that frustrate me in this new city setting. At times, it seems ideal.

  1. Austin is a terrarium filled with 5’ agave succulents and air plants blooming from live oak branches.
  2. A great outfit is an indication of a great conversation.
  3. Resumes define nothing other than our abilities to listen and follow direction.
  4. This heat is a constant reminder of my childhood days in the Philippines. One is chosen and the other was endowed.
  5. Human beings are particles colliding. When the factor of heat is added, the movement increase as particles become more energetic. When human beings interact in urban settings, ideas are generated.  The states of the matter are always changing.
  6. I’ve been spending my days solving basic algorithm problems and am starting to see a pattern. To arrive to the solution, one must always break things down, perform necessary computational operations and put things back together. The same way with climbing: plan a route, practice necessary contortions and generate power and endurance, then, send it. With cooking: obtain ingredients, mix, add heat, then et voila! Especially with auditing: obtain data, establish controls, analyze, then visualize. Maybe that’s how life is, obtain experiences, meditate… then we die? Maybe we can break that down to defining goals and accomplishing them.
  7. Science helps me understand how the world works. But what else can?

Max Out Minimalism

When the Montreal-based clothing brand Frank and Oak rebranded to replace it’s serifs with sans-serifs logo last year, their creative director writes, “it’s a design approach that confidently stays out of the way when it needs to.” Oh boy, has the world been too burdensome?

You’ve probably seen them all over Instagram or online retail shops. The minimalist branding filled with an abundance of white space, sans-serif and and the friendly soothing doodles in brands like Glossier, Outdoor Voices and allbirds. Being a millennial myself that recently just moved in Austin, TX yesterday, I see this everywhere and even more so now. The grocer shopping at Whole foods with a canvas reusable bag, doing exactly what athleisure means; the small coffee shop near the chaotic boulevard filled with white walls, wood finishing, the absence of any geometric corners and sources single-origins beans from small farms in Burundi; the embodiment of succulents and cacti for self-expression; fast food giants like Cousin Subs and Panera rebranding to reduce any bold, serif fonts and loud colors for sobering clean lines, geometric shapes and primary colors. More brands are rising with minimalist marketing approaches and straightforward customer service, trying to counter any noise that has been established by large corporate identities in decades prior.

After all, we are a fidget spinning, woke feministing, anxious internetting generation trying to find some any pockets of calm and playful humor away from the bullshit of our lives and the clutter of our busy schedules. And I think there’s an opportunity that we can take from all this minimalist branding: it makes me want to scream!

We are drawn to these brands that have taken extra measures to strip away the layers and are good for the environment and the soul. But in end of the day, we are inherent consumers who need to constantly feed our egos. We are human, after all. Sometimes, we need a reminder that other people, cultures and causes exist, we can’t be too sensitized and avoid our problems. That’s why I love the grunge of New York City. When all this minimalist trends, like most trends, begin to die down, it is because of our impulses to express ourselves: to be bold and be loud and be human. 

What’s your cabin in the woods?

Today is the first day of what I am calling “gainful unemployment” until I find a better name to call it. I brewed a bigger batch of coffee, finished packing for my move to Austin in 3 days, and consumed 5 episodes of a new podcast about modern art called “A Piece of Work”. It was a Monday unlike any other Mondays.

I am taking some time to unwind. Giving myself the space and time that I had been clawing for. No more building anxiety from having to fit in learning how to code after work hours, no longer committing myself to a suffocating work that I couldn’t find motivation in. I am learning to do the things that I want to do. I can be ideal in this little cushion that I have given myself.

“I can be creative again,” I told myself. I can take my time. Learning how to feel feelings, take on projects, explore the newness of a new city, feel its energy, be inspired by exciting people, sit in silence, just read all day, create, learn, sweat, sleep and repeat.

Climb that mountain, but keep going!

There’s a lot of be learned from Alex Honnold’s successful free-soloing attempt of Yosemite’s El Capitan in 4 hours. This guy really sees the world differently and certainly has no fear.

In his interview with Nat Geo, he described most of the things during his climb as “ultra-chill”, “super chill” or just overall chill. “I didn’t feel that stressed because in a way I had already committed to autopilot and just put everything aside,” he noted on the base of El Cap. His strategy was to treat it like “a super normal day”. He was not phased by how much of a big deal it was. He didn’t even tell his mom (because “She’s really bad at differentiating between free climbing and free soloing.”)

The biggest thing I took away from following his journey was his humility.He had been working on this dream for 4 years, training and familiarizing himself with every pitch and every hold. Although knowing him, everything he’s done so far probably contributed to his accomplishment.  Summiting El Cap was not the end and certainly was not a reason to retire for rock climbing. 

During his climb, he was already thinking about his next goal (sport climbing 9a) and the importance of the US staying in the Paris Accord. He focused on things that was beyond his current limits, as though his current goal is a stepping stone to the next. And it is. You’ve got to keep going. Remind yourself of the bigger issues out there. Focus on achieving the best version of yourself. One day at a time, you can work to anything you set your mind to. See where life takes you on the other side of fear. And maybe, try not to die along the way.

For now, I’m just happy his next project involves ropes. Thanks for being a true inspiration, Alex Honnold. 

“The whole pursuit of this dream has allowed me to live my best life, that makes me hopefully the best version of me. Just because I’ve achieved a dream doesn’t mean that I just give up on the best version of me. I want to be the guy that trains and stays fit and motivated. Just because you finish a big route doesn’t mean that you just quit.”

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

$14K. That’s the price of the coding bootcamp that I was accepted to. That’s the price of quitting my current job as a consultant, applying for more loans to add to the current student loans I have in order to successfully pivot away from my career in healthcare finance and finally follow my creative passion in web development.  I never typically prescribe myself into traditional pathways to success. I was always limited by my means and learned how to thrive within my restrictions. However, I was able to reason to myself that $14K was the price of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As the dust of decision making starts to settle in, I am submitted by how far I’ve come (I got accepted to a coding bootcamp) and how many times I have been declined of loan application and payment programs. These are not news to me. I’m used to this by now, I tell myself.

I’ve never doubted the decision to go to a coding bootcamp, but the financial realities of paying for it has set me back to reality. Is it really all worth it?