a web thing

Tag: education

Little pieces

I’m riding a train this morning to work. Not the subway but an actual train from Philadelphia to NYC. It brings back potent nostalgia for Barcelona.‬

When I was a teacher I would take a regional train from BCN to Molins del Rei. I didn’t mind the commute, in fact I got excited every time I got on the train. I got excited because I was SO new that I could feel myself getting better every class I taught.‬

I also loved the small amount of money. I can’t remember but I think it was about €60. I got paid daily, in cash. The day that it was enough to cover rent that month, felt like such an accomplishment: one more month I could make it as an immigrant.

Aside:
In the United States right now that can be a heavy word, immigrant, but to clarify my circumstance: I moved to Barcelona with two suitcases of clothes, a good amount of savings and a plan to support myself teaching English. I used my savings, taught English, but was unable to secure a visa. So, being undocumented really limited my travel. I couldn’t hop around Europe as I hoped, but Catalunya was enough for me. I also couldn’t go back to the USA until I was comfortable with the possibility I’d be barred from coming back to my new home in Barcelona.

When I filled my envelope under the mattress markered with RENT, the rest was mine. Each day I went to work was another 40 to 60 euros for cheap beer, jamón serrano, galletas Principe, wine, subway tickets, pay-as-you-go cell phone “top ups.” They had ATM style kiosks around shopping centers where you type in your phone number, insert the cash, and then your available balance on the phone gets updated. Wow.

So, each time I got on a train I would look out the window and soak up the sequence of quotidian landscapes. I didn’t know how long I would be there. Each day was an exciting step and I just wanted to keep going.


I can’t help comparing this feeling to present day. Now I ride a train and feel that nostalgia, but rarely look forward to work. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the daily reward and the Pavlovian effect has worn off. I definitely need work to pay the bills, but it’s no longer a day-to-day survival. I also don’t feel that daily progression that I did with being a new teacher. Now I work with a big company that only dares take incremental steps toward some undefined goal of “generate more money/customers.” Most employees aren’t needed for a specific day like a teacher is required each day for a class to happen. My work is spread out over the course of weeks, months, and then I don’t see a final result sometimes for a year.

There isn’t an inherent negative to taking the long view. In fact sometimes it is most valuable. [The Long Now Foundation] I also recall feeling a little lost in Barcelona, taking life in little pieces, with no idea how they added up to a big piece or what the next big piece should be. I’m sitting here on the train again, no longer at a loss for the big pieces, but missing the delight of the little ones.

Perhaps writing is one way to get them. Actually writing this very message feels like mixing the pallet of big and little, but to get meta about it, the act of writing is small in itself. I like that.


Links for Tools

This is a quick note that I made for a class to have access to some reference links. I might expand on it later.

[edit: updated with moar links for another presentation]


Tools

Sketch Mirror (iOS)

Allows real-time device mirroring.

Prototyping with Invision

+ Craft Plugin

Hint: I don’t think it’s very clear, but you’re downloading an installer. That means after you install what you’ve downloaded, you actually have to go to Applications and open Craft (the installer) to install for Sketch or Photoshop.

+ Invision Viewer (iOS)

I use Sketch Mirror most of the time, but this does double duty of displaying prototypes as well as some “live” interactions that can’t be seen in your screens due to embedded web content. For a ton more about this app, read their blog post.

Sketch Toolbox

Use this to install and keep track of all your plugins. I usually browse around or discover plugins elsewhere, but prefer to use the Toolbox to install them.

Sketch App Resources*


Specific Articles

Discovering Sketch
Older article, mostly to convince people about how great Sketch is. It also works as a decent overview of some features, but not exhaustive.

Sketch Keyboard Shortcuts
If you love getting into the shortcuts like I do, this is a decent list of all you need for Sketch.

Getting Set Up With Sketch

Using Shared Styles & Symbols

Okay, just check out the author’s page. He has a lot of handy ones. Aaron Tenbuuren.


Collections of Articles

.Sketch App
Short articles about Sketch on Medium

Design + Sketch App*
Another collection of articles about Sketch, but these tend to lean more toward tutorials.

Sketch Tricks

Pretty self-explanatory ;)


*Warning: try not to get lost in the template swamp. Steal a few good things, make them your own, and build from there.

Public Service Announcement

Educational Websites —

Courses
Coursera
EDX
University of Reddit
Lynda

Books
Bartleby
Gutenberg
Librivox
Poem Hunter

Videos
Academic Earth
C. G. P. Grey
Crash Course
Khan Academy
Minute Physics
The New Boston Tutorials
TED
Unplug the TV

Documentaries
Documentary Heaven
Top Documentary Films

Languages
BBC Languages
Busuu
Duolingo
Live Mocha
MemRise
Verbling

Eastern Philosophy and Buddhism
Audio Dharma [ podcast ]
Teachings of Ajahn Chah
Alan Watts Lectures

Music
How to Play Piano
Justin Guitar

Music Theory
Play Bass Now
Teoria

Programming / Development
Code Academy
Coding Bat
HTML Dog
Learn Code the Hard Way
Ruby Monk
Trypython

User Experience Design
UXMas
UX How
UX Myths

DIY/How-To
Howcast
How Stuff Works
Instructables
The Daily Miscellany
Wiki How
Wonder How-To

Math
Math Run
Project Euler
Wolfram Alpha

Cooking
Cooking for Engineers
Cooklet
How2Heroes
Reluctant Gormet

Helvetica, Objectified, Urbanized: The Complete Interviews

This looks like a Kickstarter well worth supporting! My only wish might be that it comes with an audio collection as well. Obviously they took the time to transcribe these recorded interviews.

… while each conversation might last two hours or more, we only get to use maybe two minutes of it in the film. So if you’ve watched my three documentaries, you’ve actually only seen 3% of the conversations we recorded. That means there are almost 100 hours of amazing interviews that we weren’t able to show you. So we’re going to release the full text of these interviews in a book!
Gary Hustwit • Kickstarter