10 December 2014

Win 8.1 Invisible context menu actions

I'm not sure when I first noticed this, but while using the context menu (right-clicking on a file) I noticed there were some blank options which is not a good sign. Testing them seemed to launch Acrobat so I went looking for the cause.

I found the solution on the Adobe site. It seems this behaviour is the result of having the Google-drive desktop application installed. I suspect it's more likely an issue with having the Adobe suite AND Google-drive installed but since the behaviour seems to affect Acrobat, the Adobe fix is to remove Google-Drive (I wonder if Google's fix is to remove the Adobe suite?).

Anyway I tried it and sure enough the invisible options are now gone. You can still use G-drive by going via the browser so it's not a major loss. I'm sure Google will fix this in a future version (if they haven't already) but for now paranoia levels are back to satisfactory. Incidentally when I logged back into the browser version of G-drive I had some invisible files there and it prompted me to see my 'new look' G-drive. I followed this link and after setting my view back to list-view, everything appeared back to normal.

8 December 2014

Code School Revisited: Back 2 Skool?

A short while ago I wrote a pretty scathing post about Code School following some difficulties I'd had with their Angular.js tutorial. Strange issues with a very retentive stance on how variables should be named even though it was not necessary to follow this convention to get the code working. I also reached a point very early on in the course where I could not progress.

Today I found myself learning to use Git & Github. My first tutorial came from http://try.github.io and I thought that was a really good starting point. It somehow linked me through to the whole open badges thing and then afterwards I noticed the big orange 'Continue Learning' button which takes you to gitreal.codeschool.com. I have to say that this offering from Code School was a much more pleasant learning experience than the free Angular course. The video training was good (maybe a little fast paced if I hadn't already done the previous tutorial) and the challenge seemed intuitive, offered help at just the right places and more importantly didn't argue about the unimportant parts (e.g. user.name) having a certain value or using specific case... AwE$0m3

I found the first chapter (which is all you get without paying) to be a very positive experience and through these two tutorials I now have a much better understanding of Git. I will no longer automatically rule out Code School in future. One thing I do think is missing from their system is some sort of ability to make notes. There didn't seem to be a quick recap button for when you miss a point being made (Pluralsight by comparison has a button to make the video go back 8 seconds). Also when you do the exercises you are trying to remember what you've just seen but you need to press pause to make notes. A simple "Note-this" button which takes a .jpg of the current video frame would be ideal and of great benefit when going through the challenge at the end.

Anyway well done Code School.

3 December 2014


I really wanted to like Bootstrap 3 however I now think it's oxidizing my hair and I get the feeling I'll be bald by this time next year if I continue with it.

It's a shame as at first I was really impressed when my return to javascript seemed to be going so well. I was following my mentor heading due N (-tier) and I managed to get my json into a javascript object and make it look pretty in an all-mobile-apps-look-like-this kind of way. The world was my lobster and there wasn't a cloud in sight even though I was making use of other peoples clouds. All was well with the world...

...and then the sky fell down (or was it the network admin guy?). Ninety minutes of no connectivity, no productivity and a resolve that I must be able to continue my work and I've reached the point where hair-loss might just be the first step towards a padded cell. It seems I cannot replicate the same pretty results on a local server that I get when using the maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com cloudy links, even when using the same libraries.

I am grateful to those who have gone before me. The best guide I found was at Revillweb. Unfortunately the results I got were not equal to those shown. I suppose it could be me trying to power everything locally using the Analog-X simple server but my results using nginx on Linux Mint have also failed (less surprising since I never used it before today). It seems that every browser I test insists on rendering the example files slightly (or completely) differently. Nothing new there then, except now we have all these tablet screens to cater for as well.

My options now seem to be either revert to using the maxcdn links (and hope they never ever go offline or change... ever!!!!), see what happens in another developer environment (like xammp maybe) or accept that network downtime is a fact of life and that most of the users were probably more upset about being unable to get to Facebook than our applications not working. It's a real shame as the initial results with bootstrap looked great but when the project is expected to go live in 12-18 months time I really am concerned about how those links could change. I suspect the best way to avoid sudden panic will be to come up with our own similar looking style sheet. I will miss the bootstrap grid system, but not the strange results I'm currently getting.