How To: Do something (anything) to enhance your skill set

Dear Internet,

In the last six months of job hunting, I’ve begun paying closer attention to the fluidity of the requirements of positions. While my background is  pretty diverse, I wanted to start thinking more of becoming a specialist in a few areas rather than just being an overall jill of all trades.

(Yes, yes, I know I ranted about unicorn / blended / full stack librarians and how it is bunk (still is bunk) but girl needs to pay her bills and the profession doesn’t move that fast.)

Part of the problem in having a huge variety of interests is they’re closely related fields so there is a lot of crossover but this is slowly not becoming a problem as I start breaking out the pieces I was most interested in and fitting them into a puzzle I can better understood.

After going over my interests, it became pretty clear what I wanted to do, as much as I loathe to say these two words, is to become a full stack developer. I want to know the back end of the server but I also wanted to learn how to develop and optimize the front end too. I’ll be writing more about how I’m doing on these things the upcoming weeks as I continue to sort and shuffle to make it work for me.

(And how you can do most of this training for free.)

For today though I want to to give you an idea how to get started if all or some of things interest that interest me and might interest you. Fill out the comment box below if you have more suggestions.

Back End
I’ve done some back end server stuff a million and a half years ago but that stuff is getting beyond rust. I keep it on my resume as most places want to know you can understand and move along the command line, write a few scripts, typically things many of us can do in our sleep. I wanted to reboot my back end education and this is how I’m starting:

  • Step one: Buy a book on linux. Yes, yes, I know there are a trillion and a half websites that will teach you a-z of linux, but I am a tactile as well as a visual learner. I need a book next to me when I’m working so I can take notes and what not. If websites work for you, awesome. I will probably use them for troubleshooting and quick reference.
    • I recommend The Linux Command Line for a couple of reasons, even if you’re familiar with using the command line already. This is a thorough walkthrough from setting your terminal shell to writing scripts. Caveat: Do not buy a flavor specific book (Redhat, Ubuntu, etc). While 95% of the commends work on all flavors, that 5% will get you if you buy a Ubuntu book and you’re working on Redhat.
  • Step two: Download VirtualBox, a virtual machine software. Some like VMWare or, if you’re on a Mac, Parallels but I found both to be clumsy and / or resource intensive. Things may have changed in the last few years since I looked at them, but they left such a terrible scar on my soul I refuse to use them.
  • Step three: Download your flavor of linux. You’ll need to download the ISO separately from VirtualBox but you’ll install your flavor within VirtualBox. To clarify: VirtualBox doesn’t come with any OSes and you’ll need to get them separately. Which I suppose I could have just said outright.
    • Choices are: Ubuntu, CentOS, RedHat and a metric ton more. You’ll want to make sure you’re downloading the desktop version for your experimentation. Now that you have a virtual machine, you can download variety of flavors to see which one works for you.
    • What’s the difference between the flavors: Think of cars. Every car on the planet has similar set up: four wheels, an engine, doors, steering wheel. What makes them different is design, size, and features. That’s exactly the same thing for the differing flavors of linux.
  • Step Four (optional): If you need something beyond books or websites, look for online classes. Udemy has classes fairly cheap but I found their classes to be hit or miss. Linux.com has suggestions. If your library has a subscription, Lynda.com also has pretty intensive courses.

Front End
I use “front end” to refer to not only the coding but also the organization of information, how it works, and its accessibility. These are a lot of different whole positions in themselves but I’m curious as hell about all of them. There is a lot going on here but just so we’re clear most librarian positions do not expect you to have expert knowledge (they may say so but really, what they ask for and what they want are two different things) in any or all of these things. Most will refer to front end as strictly web development / coding. If you decide to work outside of library land, YMMV.

  • SEO Search Engine Optimization is easy to learn but with libraries difficult to implement. The basic idea behind SEO is to better improve your site’s rankings in search engines so you can be found, but with libraries it becomes moot as most people use “name of city library” in their search bar and the first hit is usually that city’s library website. What SEO can do for libraries is optimize their sites for accessibility, which is important. It’s also a good skill to have if you’re looking to consult or move out of library land. Some things to know:
    • There is currently no industry standard certification on SEO. If you find websites that claim to get you industry certified, it’s bullshit.
    • Be weary of sites that want you to download software, even free, as most of them are ad ridden, unneeded, and only for Windows. A lot of the tools, if not all of the tools, you’ll need are already available online.
    • SEO Beginners has a good list of sites to read if you’re interested in keeping up with the hows and why of how search engines work, the research, the techs, and new techniques. (Google’s algorithm changes enough that what works for SEO in one version won’t necessarily work in the current version.) I read moz.com and searchengineland.com on the regular to keep abreast of changes and news.
    • Books are hit or miss. Mainly miss and mostly bunk. As of July 2015, a lot of SEO books just cull information from the internet, slap it together as an eBook, and call it a day. Don’t be fooled by most of the books that have high rankings — you’ll notice a lot of them are not verified purchases (which if your book is only available on Amazon and in eBook form — how in the hell are these people giving A++ stars?). I do recommend Adam Clarke’s SEO 2016 eBook. While I originally gave it three stars, his amiable response and updates were significant enough to move that up to a 4.
    • You can take classes at Udemy and there are a ton of free ones. The ones by moz.com are going to be legit since they are the SEO experts but look for highly rated popular ones to step your toes in.
  • Social Media This is more of my expert area as I’ve been writing, using, and lecturing on social media for years. What I’m more interested in is not what is popular and what the youths use in so much as what social is (ir)relevant to libraries, how to manage and produce content, and getting started. My stance has been, and will be, not all social media is for all libraries. I’ve fallen off the wagon for this but bookmark the above page if you want to get updates on the regular, which I promise to do.
  • User Experience / User Interface / Information Architecture These are fields I’m really interested in and the ones I really need more instruction on. I have given introductory talks on very, incredibly, simple introductions to UX, but a lot of what I’ve gleaned over the years has been listening / learning from experts. Smashing is a very good resource. Listen to the LibUX podcast which is run by twitter friends Michael/Amanda for talks, resources, and more. The holy grails on UX/UI are The Design of Everyday Things and Don’t Make Me Think. Amazon has a wide variety of books on UX, UI, and IA. I have the first edition of Information Architecture (looks like I’ll have to update), which is also a holy grail. IA is typically tied in with UX/UI in a variety of fashions (mainly usability).
  • Coding I will freely admit I am eating crow on this topic. I postulated for years not every librarian needs to learn how to code to work in tech (and why I get my knickers in a knot when a lot of the librarian tech stuff is mostly coding), and while I still maintain this to be mostly true, I’ve conceded I need to learn how to code. Something. Right now I’m mainly interested in HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Ruby on Rails.
    • First, I’m going to sing the praises of teamtreehouse.com. My local library has a subscription to the service (and they also have a subscription to Lynda.com), so for me it’s free. Their classes are fantastic, well organized, in-depth, and some places (Like CodeLouisville) consider them to be a standard for learning. Plus the instructors are professionals in their field, not some Tom, Dick, and Harry who can put up a class on Udemy. Treehouse also has a large variety of coding  tracks (WordPress development, Ruby on Rails, etc) that are comprised of variety of classes within those tracks. Plan on spending between 25-40 hours per track. Don’t be an idiot like me and do 40 hours over 3.5 days for reasons. They are going to include tracks on soft end development like SEO and currently have a track on starting your own consulting firm and digital literacies. And if my library dumps Treehouse, I am going to cough up the $25/mo to get their service as I love them that much.
    • Second, in addition to Treehouse there services like Udemy, UdacityLynda.com, and others have loads of free (and cheap) classes to take on a particular language. Lots of languages (I’d hazard most if not all) have classes/tutorials set up already on their or related sites.
    • Third, if you’re going to code, hie thee over to cloud9, a cloud based development workspace. You get one work area for free in which you can run one whatever at a time. e.g. If you install and muck about WordPress, you won’t be able to install the environment for Python. You’ll have to scrap your WordPress workspace to do Python, but hey!, it’s free. (They also have paid tiers which allow you to upgrade to more workspaces and so on.)

Additional jazz

If you’re going to program/web dev/whatever, you’re going to want to find a local geek/nerd/hacker space. L-ville has CodeLouisville (where I’m going to be taking in-person classes on front end web dev starting in the spring) and as well as a few other hacker spaces. Almost every city I’ve been to has some kind of *space where you can muck about, learn new things, and find your peoples. If you search MeetUp, you should find specific groups, e.g. Louisville Linux, where you can meet people, learn something, participate events, and so on. Last but not least, find mailing lists of what you’re interested in to keep you fresh on what’s happening in that thing. Alternately, you can get updates from their websites via RSS or mailing lists as well.

tl;dr

I’ve covered a lot of ground today but this should give you a good idea of where to pick up training, information, and etc if you’re interested in any of my topics or you can use these techniques for your own interests.

As mentioned, I’ll be updating over the upcoming weeks on projects and things to keep me on track and so nosey people can follow along.

Au revoir!

lisa the geek

As many of you probably know, I recently acquired a Macintosh. I know I know, no — hell hasn’t frozen over. Basically what happened was that in the process of doing Y2k inventory, all the “junk” machines such as the production machine I was doing IEAK on, were not being included and were going to be sold off. I bought a Macintosh Quadra, 17 inch monitor, CD-ROM reader/writer (SCSI) and an external SCSI drive for, get this 100 bucks!. I’ve been spending all weekend getting it hooked up. The only fucked up part is that it’s a 68k Mac and NOT a power PC. gash. But anyway, you would be surprised how much software is still available for the 68k Mac. So I’m sitting here, doing the chronicles on my Mac (named imhotep) while my linux box plays Ned’s Atomic Dustbin God Fodder.
This so owns.
See, this was part of the problem. Mainly I wanted to have two boxen: One would run linux of some distro (now it’s Mandrake aka RedHat on crack) and some sort of gui based OS. The problem was that with Linux, many of what I use and do, there is nothing out available for it. I tried doing TLC on a linux boxen and lemme tell you, it was not easy. Mainly the thing is my spelling (very important of course) sucks major ass — and I needed a spell checker. There was NO getting around that. The only thing I found for linux was iSpell, which is okay but it kept saving the files to /home/lisa/temp — which was pissing me off. It would save the files as “12aksjdhf.tmp”. Then doing a hunt and peck looking to see which file was what with pico ain’t my idea of fun. I needed something that was literally easy, I could run my lame ass apps (like Aol/IM/ICQ/Eudora) and where i could also fuck around in linux. I wanted best of both worlds. heh.
Anyway, the problem with running solely Linux was the fact that half of my hardware wasn’t running. We are talking about a second generation Sony Vaio (200mhz) which I had pimped out with 12gig’s and 64mb of ram and a PHAT 56k modem. heh. Anyway! Moving right along, sound didn’t work — and with no sound when lisa is working makes for a very unhappy lisa. Everyone and their brother tried to help me out — nothing was working. It was some sort of legacy issue — that and PnP of course. But, thanks gods for Justin. I walked away from my comp the other day and he sat down, reinstalled Mandrake, got ipchains working, setup the firewall AND got it so that my sound was working. So now I’m jamming to Ned’s and typing on mah mac. 🙂
This rocks.
ph33r my elitness
grey cell green
So, nearly 10 days ago when i wrote my last missive, shit has been fucked up all around. My car got towed and I owed the City of SF 600 bucks to get it out of impound. I’ve been playing “Am I getting fired today?” at work (very long story — and no I’m not). I’ve been uber depressed. Been walking around listening to nothing but Front242/FrontLine Assembly/KMFDM — anything industrial/techno/gothic based. Spending too much time being really down on myself. I wish I had something specific to pinpoint as to WHY I’m feeling like shit — I mean — depression is coming. I knew when I went out and bought “raven mist” hair color and painted my nails “seduction” (aka blood red). I know shit is fucked up all over — and it didn’t seem to get better. I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know how to handle it. As obvious by Justin shaking me on the corner of 2nd and Stillmen when my car got towed. I’m slowly going INSANE. People are commenting left and right to me that they haven’t quite “seen” me like this in eons — and I know what it signifies. The next couple of months are going to be ultra-crucial. I’m moving to VA on October 7thish, I’m going to Atlanta, I’m moving to a new state — starting a whole new life. I should be FUCKING happy and I’m not. I keep degrading myself down to these pitiful little holes of hell and it’s driving me mad. I just wanted to be happy — and I think that everyone wants that as well. But I’m finding that all my old “things” that I was so angry at are resurfacing. Read anything before TLC came on-line in July of 1998 — you’ll see what I mean. Many of it still seems to be tripe to me — but a lot of echoes how I feel right now.
My mom is joining a convent soon. How quaint.
I’ve been trying to write a TLC for days now — but finding it harder and harder to do so.
I don’t know what’s happening to me.
Paul said I need to face my fears and only then will I be free.
Maybe.
I just fear some major heavy ultra-rejection.
I don’t know how strong I’m supposed to be and how much stronger I need to keep being. Sometimes I just want to die. I won’t lie to you. I’ve been calling the music I’ve been listening to “Slit Your Wrist” music. I’m not kidding. Do a search for Front 242 lyrics for the album “Off” — you’ll see exactly what I mean. I’ve been walking around going mumbling “just be myself, can i just be myself”.
I told someone 30 was my cut-off point. If I don’t accomplish a lot of what I want to do before I’m 30 — I’m gone. Now before you start going “Um, Lisa, that is SUCH a cry for help” and calling your local suicide hotline, don’t bother. 98% chance that I won’t off myself (I made a funny!). Anyone who has known me for years that these things pass with time and I’m never serious — however, I know that many of us feel, that from time to time, life isn’t worth living. And sometimes I’m happy that I made it through my first suicide attempt 10 years ago, and other times I wish I would have died. But that is neither here nor there. I’m just telling you how it is folks, that is why you are here.
I will make no illusions that I’m being serious. For a few days, i was dead serious. But, I have (and will always know) that this passes with time. Being bipolar manic depressive isn’t cool kids. It sucks major ass. Lemme tell you.
But things are looking up. I’m removing myself from one situation and starting anew life. I’m really digging someone I’ve been digging for 6 months and he’s mein gott (g). I had to say it to taunt him.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, there is so much, that you as a general public are not aware of. So much lies behind me then what meets the eye. Some people are not comfortable with knowing THAT MUCH about me — others want to own my soul. I give what I can — when I can. I give to those I feel deserve it and when I feel they need to have it. It’s not a game — it’s my life.
i’ve always been strong — and I’ve always attempted to make some sort of peace within my life. I’ve always strived to be the VERY FUCKING BEST that I can be. And that threatens people — and it’s harmful to others. My megalomania can be daunting. Fuck, I just created a new IM name: LishaIsGod. heh. Cos, I am god. this is my fucking world and I’m letting you enjoy it. If you piss me off, nothing a little DENY won’t work magic on.
I’m rambling.
Someone once asked me long ago the purpose of this site. I’ve been on slashdot, I’ve been linked a time or five from UserFriendlys website — People know of me. I’m not some nameless person in the crowd (well — heh). I am someone.
And see, in some sick twist of fate, this is NOT what I wanted. I never wanted to be known as se7en’s exfuck (which, two years later, still fucking haunts my ass), or anything other than myself. This website was purposely for my own purposes — I write to feel better. I write to create. I write to look back and laugh at my own stupidity or my own wisdom. You, the general public, just think I rock on with my frock on. And that’s okay too. I’ve created new identities for myself and I’ll keep creating till one fits who I am. Things are looking up. I’m hopeful, I’m optimistic, I’m moving on up (to the east side!).
I’m okay — really.
I’m telling you all this now because how could I not tell you. For over a year now, my life has been an open book Many people probably know WAY more about me then they want to know — but, that’s okay. I’m here and I’m still kicking and screaming and that says something. I’ve always known that if I was going to off myself, I would have finished the job that I started 10 years ago. But, I know that many things are going to happen, it does get easier and I have a 6’6 sadistic motherfucker waiting for me in Atlanta.
Things aren’t what they always appear to be — and I know that. And I’m rational enough to know that only I can control my fate (I won’t tell you WHY I’m subscribed to getting my daily horoscope, i can cos it’s cool) and i only can make the decisions to make my life better. For the first time, in a very very long time, I feel more confident in all my abilities than I have for a long time.
And what does lisa do when she’s down?
She goes out and buys new shoes of course!
And can someone PLEASE explain to me why the fuck I can’t find bra’s in size 36Ds? It’s not like I’m that big — jesus. I found bras in 36DDs but not single Ds. Sunofabitch.
I’m tired now. Carolyn (Cathleen’s sister who is staying with us temporarily) and I wear the same shoe size. We are going out this weekend
looking for bitchboots (imagine — 5-6 inch platform, knee high leather boots). Woo doggie. I can’t wait.
BRING IT!
I tired and I go nini.
happy thoughts
Today I actually left the office and sat in SouthPark and ate a burrito from Pepitos as I enjoyed the beautiful summer weather and read Henry Miller. Regardless of the crap that has been occurring — doing the little things really makes me glad to be fucking alive.
x0x0x0x
LishaIsGod

little mikey norton

mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike mike
the ferrets made me do it.
if i were going
“you give it all but i want more”

okay.
damnit.
I’m getting bitchslapped on all sides about not updating this. it’s been nearly a month. i know i know. so do i play catch up with info or do i just delve into what’s a happening now?
what’s a happening now.
your attention please
first off, props off to my boy greg dulli from Afghan Whigs. his being the inspiration these last few days when i’ve been hanging out at work. hanging out at work. can you believe I’ve been at slip.net for 16 months? I’ve never held a job this long. responsibility scares the living hell out of me.
this morning Cat, Scott and I were in the car on our way to work (car pools all the way baby), I was sipping my cawfee when suddenly I couldn’t swallow. Cat was going on about her father (we were comparing life stories) when next thing I know i coughed up cawfee all in front of me and the dash of my car.
You know, I think there is something about Cat being around me. Last week we were walking in the parking lot on the way to my car, when i went flaying towards cement poles and landed on my ass. I did not trip over anything — that’s the weird part. Sat up in shock but amused — had busted open my hands and my knee and elbow. Heh. nothing like gleaning sympathy from everyone around me.
10 days till my birthday
learn it.
love it.
know it.
all gifts of cash, flowers, hardware, software, lap tops, iWhacks, books, clothing, and CDs can be directed to me. OH! and any tall geeky guys too 🙂
naive | go to hell
Okay, last Wednesday some fucknut stole my icq UIN for home. Think it can’t be done? heh. Wrong again buckeroo. Did some extensive searching and found out by using certain software your UIN could be stolen. And if you put your email address in the profile, it’s more like to be stolen (and easier as well). So, please check the contact for an update on my UIN’s and other info. This just pisses me the hell off. Someone said I should contact ICQ, but have you seen their site? It’s like schizophrenia at it’s best. It’s damn annoying. You can’t find ANYTHING on there. Argh. And the fucked up part is that I went searching for information on how to steal my UIN back and I found all these sites that were like “yo d00d, like tell your mate or your enemy to put his email address in his prefs, and you can like, steal the password to grab the UIN.” uh DUH!. So, I found a program that will do it if you compile it in c. so i tried compiling it and found out that the program had a ton of errors as well as as i was missing a few libs. blah. it went dormant for two years before i resurrected it again, I’m not stressing it. what’s sad is that all these people will icqing him and thinking it’s me. 🙂
heh
oh yeah.
When James was in town visiting me, we installed linux on my box. wooo. 12 gigs and think of all the pr0n one can muster. well. i had partitioned 4gigs to linux and the rest to winders. I’m getting pretty proefficent, the only problem is that when updating this site is that I need, NEED a spell checker damnit. iSpell in linux works aight, but the problem is that it saves the file in /tmp/somefuckedupfilename, and not in my directory of my choosing. So, once I edit a file and save it, then i have find it and the copy it back to the main directory. fsck that. Doing it in winders is a hecka lot easier 🙂 so I’ll be swapping back and forth while i find decent software to do html in. and no, pico NOR vi are the way to go baby. so don’t even bring up that argument. 🙂
what i want
a few days i started a chronicle on the precept of what i wanted from a man.
instead, i found that it should have it’s own piece. so if you are interested in reading in what i want from a guy as my luvah, check this out.
x0x0x0x0x
moi