Sitepoint Books

I have been a fan of Sitepoint books for several years now.  I discovered them when I was first getting into building websites.  I think it was the summer of my sophomore year in college when I began learning HTML and I started with a free tutorial from MCLI.  I guess that tutorial was written back in the days when tables were used for lay-outing pages, so I DEFINITELY do not recommend this tutorial today.  I built one website (no longer online), based on what I’d learned from the MCLI tutorial and it was table based layout (YUCK!).

Even after my first website, I felt like I was really lacking in terms of know-how and best-practices when it came to “coding” webpages.  I don’t exactly remember how I found out about Sitepoint, but I did and the first Sitepoint book I read and finished, in like two weeks, was Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS by Ian Lloyd.  It was good!  I learned so much, especially about writing html that abides by certain standards.  Also, for me it wasn’t boring to read.  What I really liked about this book was that you were actually building a website as you read it and went through the examples, and this is true for many of the Sitepoint books.

I’ve read several other Sitepoint books since and I am currently reading and about to finish Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP and MySQL by Kevin Yank.  If you want to learn how to build websites or are interested in web development, I urge you, if you haven’t, to check out Sitepoint.

Now a word about the people at Sitepoint.  I recently won a photo contest (most number of likes) hosted by Sitepoint on their PHP Master Facebook page.  As a result, I’ve had chance to interact via email with some of the people who work there.  Wow! These people are awesome! Very accommodating, quick to respond to emails, doing what they can to help and fulfill your requests.  I really appreciate and I am grateful for how Sitepoint, the great books they have, and the people who work there have helped me.  Thanks!


Trying Out MarsEdit

It has been a while since my last post.  Been very busy lately.  I was at a youth camp last week for five days.  I spoke there and took a lot of pictures, which I still need to go through and rate.  Today I was reading a review on Pixelmator 2 and this offline blogging software for mac, MarsEdit, which I’m now using to write this post was mentioned.  Well I checked it out, as well as some other software and decided to give MarsEdit a go, since it has a 30 day free trial.  So far, I LOVE IT!  Very easy to use!  Setup was really fast.  I’m kind of a cheapo, but I think the $40 price tag is worth it, but I might hold out until they offer a sale or something like that.  Anyway, if you blog a lot, definitely check MarsEdit out.

Screen Shot 2011 11 03 at 3 54 13 PM

8GB Makes A Difference

Under Mac OS X Snow Leopard with 4GB of RAM and the new Core i5 mac minis or 13″ Macbook Pros, Aperture 3 ran quite fast.  There weren’t very many hick-ups or beach balls when applying adjustments.  However, like many, after installing Mac OS X Lion, things were noticeably slower.  So, I decided to upgrade to 4 GB of RAM.

I’m in the Philippines, so ordering online with a credit card and having items quickly shipped to you isn’t a reality as it is in the US.  Usually you have to go to the computer store and buy it.  Many of the well-known computer stores in Manila finally have websites and I was able to view what products are available as well as download price lists.  I checked out PC Gilmore and PC Express, both of which have pretty good prices – around 1200 pesos ($28 US) for a 4GB DDR3 PC3-10600 SODIMM 1333 chip.  Well, Manila isn’t exactly close to where I’m at, I have to get on a plane to get there, and after calling all the local shops in General Santos City, it seems that RAM prices in Mindanao are twice that of those in Manila.  So, I called up a friend in Manila and had him pick me up 2 4GB chips at the Mall of Asia PC Gilmore branch and had him ship me the chips, which cost around 120 pesos ($3) for 2 day shipping.  I deposited the money in his bank account for the payment.

I received the chips yesterday and installed them this morning.  Right away I fired up Aperture 3 and I immediately noticed the difference.  Aperture 3 ran noticeably smoother, from scrolling and switching between pictures to applying adjustments.  Before, when I would apply sharpening, I would get the spinning beach-ball, but now with the 8GB of RAM the image sharpened without stalling.  I also merged 3 photos using Photomatix to make a HDR image.  I noticed that Photomatix was faster with alignment, noise reduction, and ghost removal.  I checked the Memory usage of Aperture 3 and Aperture 3 is now a greedy-er memory hog!  It was using around 4GB, while the operating system was using only around 2GB!  Oh well, that leaves around 2GB of free memory, which is plenty enough for me.

So, if you have experienced a much slower Aperture under OS X Lion, a RAM upgrade to 8GB should make it speedy again.  If you are in the US, Crucial has some pretty good prices.  I can’t vouch for the quality though, since I’ve never bought from them.