in Learning, Reflection

Recent Learnings: Week of January 28, 2018

Overview and Inspiration

The last few days I’ve been thinking about a simpler way to document all the various forms of learning that I do. I firmly believe in the importance and power of lifelong learning, and constantly seek new knowledge so that I may share it with others. I’ve also struggled to come up with the best method of documenting my learning. Last May I decided I wanted to begin a learning log series, but found that I quickly fell behind.

I’ve decided to remove as many barriers as possible and to just start documenting the various things that I read/watch/do and then just add commentary as I have time. I think that the most effective method for this is to document as I encounter, or even to spend 30 minutes or so each morning writing about what I did the previous day/evening. Until I implement that, I’m going to cluster several things together into this post.

Learning: Week of January 28, 2018

I’m going to split this into two categories: video, which includes progress made in various courses as well as completed videos, and reading. In order to keep the momentum, I’m going to get started and then add reflection as I recall it. This is why a daily reflection would likely be a better method!

Videos and Courses

I’ve split this into isolated videos, which are single videos from sources such as YouTube, and progress made in online courses.

Isolated Videos

Gulp JS Crash Course – Traversy Media: This was the most impactful video I watched this past week. I’d long been wanting to get a better understanding of what Gulp JS is used for in modern web development and so I decided to watch a quick video that separated it from the other tooling it commonly is paired with. As such, I worked through a sample project creating a gulpfile.js and worked through each Gulp function. I understand Gulp’s uses and have been inspired to use it in a project.

I’ve recently been doing quite a lot of work with P5js (both personal exploration and content creation for the upcoming Digital Harbor Foundation Creative Programming course). As a result, and due to my recent success spinning up a subdomain for my Hugo notebook, I decided I wanted to make an equivalent sketchbook subdomain that would serve up various p5 sketches that I create. P5 sketch project folders include an index.html, a stylesheet, a sketch.js file and the p5 libraries. I figured that the best way to serve my sketches is to condense everything into a single sketch.html file and then link to each sketch on my sketchbook page. I decided to use Gulp to do this. I’ll document it once I finish it!

p5.js Workflow – Daniel Shiffman: This led me to another highly impactful video and tool that I discovered this week, the p5 manager tool developed by Chiun Hau You. This fantastic command line tool quickly generates p5 sketches. Anyone who has worked with p5 will instantly recognize the convenience that this provides! Hugely beneficial! I discovered this tool while watching the always fantastic Dan Shiffman series, Coding Train.

Online Course Progress

I constantly watch courses on both Lynda and Kadenze and I decided I want to start informally documenting my progress. Here’s a list of courses I’ve worked on:

ES6: The Right Parts by Kyle Simpson: I worked through about 55% of this course this week. I’d been wanting to solidify my knowledge of ES6 and this course stood out since I’m familiar with Kyle Simpson’s high quality work. Admittedly I need to take a deeper dive into some of these concepts, but this provided an excellent overview of some of the pros/cons of the new features in ES6. One of my biggest takeaways is the importance of evaluating each feature by its own merit instead of merely bandwagoning. As Kyle said (paraphrased): “Try to avoid jumping into the ‘let is the new var’ crowd and make your own decisions about each feature.”

Learning Puppet with Josh Samuelson: I watched about 25% of this course so far. After having done lots of server configuration in the last two weeks I was interested in looking into Chef, Puppet, and Ansible, especially since this is an area I’m not familiar with. I arbitrarily decided to start with Puppet. I’ve started brainstorming some methods to apply these skills to solve issues at DHF, such as configuring multiple youth Minecraft server instances for our Programming Minecraft course. I’m still not informed enough to decide, and I need to do more digging.

Those are the most substantial gains I’ve made this week. As stated my goal is to build a much more organic workflow where I can add my reflection as I progress instead of a massive weekly post, but I wanted to at least get the ball rolling!


I read several articles this week. I went on a bit of a Hackernoon and Medium kick. This is where it’ll be highly beneficial to document these each day instead of at once. I’m going to attempt that for next week, and for now I’m going to just say that my current interests have fallen into the following buckets: generative art/machine learning in arts,, the decentralized web, and web technology (particularly JavaScript trends). This week I’m going to be more diligent about linking each article as I read it.

I’ve greatly enjoyed the articles I’ve read this week and want to actively document as I go this week so that I can have a record of my interaction with them.

For now, I’m going to just leave this as a ‘do better this week!’ kind of thing. As a result of the readings I did this week I have a pretty solid amount of bookmarks for future reads.

Personal Goals Accomplished

This week I completed the following goals:

  • Got Hugo configured and running on my notebook subdomain. Configured so there is a post-receive hook on my server so that anytime I push to a GitHub repo locally my server rebuilds and redeploys my content.
  • Got an instance of Reveal JS running on Hugo by using the linked theme. This took lots of hacking and configuring but I was able to get it together!
  • Read several articles related to current interests: machine learning in generative art,, and upcoming trends in internet technology (particularly JavaScript).

Looking forward to another productive week! This time with more proactive documentation!


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