Dev Notes #3

Welcome to The Vault of Ideas Dev Notes!

This is a place where I offload some production ideas, discuss thoughts, just your general banter.

[29/08/2022 03:33AM GMT-3]

A cold night here, and I'm eating ice-cream from McDonald's. All wrong this person that writes you.

I had to adjust how often we update content here on the Vault from once a week to once every two weeks. It is more realistic; with a lot of work from college I don't get to be here as often as I'd like to.

The last couple of months in this college semester I registered a few ideas on paper. Usually I stack them on paper notes or even a plain .txt before actually committing them into my spreadsheet, what takes some time to consider how to organize the information in a way that it will be remembered (by future me lol). 

It feels very important not to forget to write down an idea for me, even if it turns out not to be so great in the end. Ideas are rare bro, and I don't understand exactly how they just pop into your head. Sometimes, and this is very frustrating, you have an idea, but it slips your mind quickly, leaving a "vanishing" feeling. No matter how hard you try to remember it just doesn't come back. These are very frustrating ones.

I don't really remember if they were good ideas, probably not, since 99,5% of the ideas are actually not great and don't even make it to the Vault.  

I'll review this stack of paper notes now, see what comes out from them. Turns out a few ideas came up. I'm going to log them on the Vault on the next days, starting the new group of ideas 151-160. Great, new ideas!

[30/08/2022 09:01AM GMT-3]

After carefully considering this, I feel that it is time to take a closer look into The Vault of Ideas presentation to you users. To tell the truth, the Vault is a disaster when it comes to general presentation, and mobile support. 

The main page welcomes the visitor to a 6min-text read. The menu is way to long, it even does that awful thing of not fitting in a single view screen. Although I've tried to give the user many ways to access the ideas with buttons on main page, I feel like we could think about this more thoroughly.

Friendly, mobile support is non-existent. We were unable to cover these issues up to now, being more focused on content. This is also because of my own prejudices towards this little devices. I don't usually browse websites using my cell phone, unless I'm away from home and not carrying my laptop, something that never really happens. This particular view reflect what mobile web browsing was five or six years ago, when things were very different. I didn't really took the time to notice how things changed around me, I didn't care to.

But the World did change, and poor is the man that gets stuck in the past. Smart phones brought, for better or worse, new features, and I admit I have found myself enjoying immensely how you can just work from anywhere you are, from a bus stop to a doctor's appointment. We are either slaves to our own prejudices, or we choose to free ourselves from them. 

So I'll be using the next days to restructure our cherish Vault into a place where people can access from their gadgets too. At least most of the times. 

A statistician, a physicist and a mathematician walk into a bar...


Lets share here what Analytics tells me about the tech issues on The Vault of Ideas.

We've had, since the Vault was up [May 2, 2022] 702 visitors. Of those visitors, 677 accessed by desktop computers, 18 used mobiles, and 7 seem to have been lost in Analytics math. So, roughly for each user that uses a mobile to access the Vault, 37 others use desktop computers. It is well established that, right now, desktop wins big time.

We will not worry about analyzing specific operational systems for mobiles because, with only 18 users, it hardly provides any statistical meaning.

But for desktop users, we've got: Windows OS (72,8%), Macintosh OS (15,9%), Linux OS (6,6%), and Others (4,6%). 

Others are made up of OpenBSD OS (1,8% of total desktop), Chrome OS (1,5%) and something called NetBSD OS (1,3%) that I'm unfamiliar with.

By far, the most important screen size used by Vault readers is 800x600. This resolution accounts for 91,7% of all users, while the second most popular (1920x1080) accounts for only 4,0%. This was a big surprise for me. I have never given much thought about screen resolutions except when it seems that image is screaming at me for being so grainy, then I adjust as any chip monkey would do, by trial and error. 

I have a theory. Lower resolution does make icons look bigger, although that may not be the best way around in magnifying things. Old people are always complaining that things are too small on screens. So the people who are reading the Vault, by far, are older people. Older people also tend to resist more to use mobiles. Well. I'm amazed at my deductive powers.

Without more user interaction on the website, it is hard to really confirm this. We will leave it at that for the moment. 

Comparing browsers in the desktop users, there are three distinct classes. First, the heavy hitters, the ones that do all the work, Chrome (79,6%) and Firefox (10,8%). Then, the ones that on occasion, show up for the meetings, Safari (3,2%), Internet Explorer (2.9%) and Opera (2,4%). Finally, we have the ones are really just there for the after pizza, IE with Chrome Frame (0,6%) and Mozilla (0,3%). Pardon me if I offended your favorite browser there, it is just what the stats say. 

We really should focus our optimizations for Chrome and Firefox, although I'm not entirely sure about how far can Google Sites be tweaked for browser optimization.

And that is it, these are the main figures that I could find out with Analytics. Quite something, this tool. Sometimes I get lost in it and can't return to a statistics, though.

[18/09/2022 00:22PM GMT-3]

Oh, snap! College got me again. 

I just started my very last year in college, when we are supposed to do this huge assignment [a 75-page scientifically oriented undergraduate thesis, that must be presented to an unforgiving evaluation board in the end of term]. I must say I never been more terrified of an assignment in my life. Stakes are high. 

Here on the Vault I was promising to do a few things, let's recap them so I can start tackling them:

That is it, plenty of work to go around. Listening to Foals, "Late Night [Solomun Remix]", great stuff. 

[10/10/2022 11:00PM GMT-3]

I'm all set for a late night working on the website. Set aside a solid 5h to work here, guilt-free. Hopefully I can get more of that list crossed out. The night promises to be good, and I'm feeling generally optimistic, despite the fact that I'm on a gruesome schedule with my College work. There are days when I'm grateful you are only supposed to graduate once in your lifetime, for all the hassle it is. 

I'll focus on the Fruits Challenge, because I have a deadline on it. 

[21/10/2022 03:40AM GMT-3]

Just dropping by to leave a note. This night I worked mostly on our landing page. I'm handwriting the long cover letter, so it won't force an user to scroll down for ages and yet give those 1% users the chance to read it in full. Plus it is artsy that way. However it is long and painful work to all that writing, but I believe it will be worth it. I plan to do a quick TL;DR part too. Trying to get the Vault better and better, every day!

[26/03/2023 21:56PM GMT-3]

It has been a long while since I've been active on the Vault, aside from checking plummeting statistics every now and then. Well, it is expected that we would have less visitors after so much neglect. 

I've finally added a new section of ideas, and I'm slowly writing on it. I found out an old tool I develop for a teacher some years back, a script to draw cash flows, when I was more involved with Numpy and matplotlib usage. After translating the user's manual, it was ready to be published here. Right now I'm working on a second mini-idea, a mathematical problem I came up with many years ago, that is very curious, the Squares Problem. It apparently leads naturally to a statistical distribution, although my statistics knowledge is very limited and I can't quite place the exact distribution that fits the problem.

[01/04/2023 22:59PM GMT-3]

I feel like the way to go now is a long session of illustrating The Vault. I have added another mini-study that needs to be completed, an attempt to make an atomic filter using an inclined plane and holed plates. I still need to detail thoroughly the idea and the results from a spreadsheet, as well as translate it to Portuguese afterwards  Lots of work!

[06/04/2023 01:26AM GMT-3]

I ended up looking up some SEO websites, as I suppose it always happens when someone develops a website, and instantly hated the whole thing. I'm afraid tailoring keywords to users is a compromise I'm not willing to make. I also can't enter in a single SEO website without hitting a paywall, not to mention the grandiose claims of success rate.

But still, the Vault needs SEO improvement, I suppose. I found out that only our landing page was being indexed by Google, something that does not make much sense since the website is developed in Google Sites. 

To make matters worse, I suspect that it may be impossible to add a sitemap to a Google Sites website. So the only way I could find was to actually index pages was to manually request, every single page, in the Google Search Console. Google limits these requests to a certain number per day, so it will be a while before I get all pages requested. 

Well, it is improvement!

They are guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys...

[08/04/2023 02:08 GMT-3] 

After a 6h long session of illustrating the Vault, my hands are hurting like crazy. I've completed 14 new illustrations. Barely noticed the passage of time, meanwhile I was semi-watching "Days of Future Past", great movie. It was a childhood fantasy of mine that I'd develop X-men superpowers when I got older. Well, I suppose in a sense we all have our superpowers anyway, it is just a matter of getting to know them in time. My mind wanders to to an old part of a Death Cab for Cutie song, "President of What!?", where there is a guy who says "All boys and girls are born with their own special talents, these talents have the greatest chance to grow, in a friendly loving home." Could not agree more. 

I've added two tasks to the TO-DO list:

[16/05/2023 19:52 GMT-3]

I believe that all web pages in the Vault were requested for indexing with Google, finally. Now all I need to do is to remember to ask for indexing whenever I create new pages. 

[03/06/2023 05:27 GMT-3]

Just chilling to some Patsy Cline while tending to the Website. Her voice imprint is mesmerizing, by the way, I highly recommend it. I have the company of a very large and bright moon in the window in front of me, a somewhat yellowish Moon, a day from full, making its long trajectory to disappear in the horizon. Part of me wishes I could pin it in the sky forever just so that I could admire it, but I suppose we must accept the fleeting nature of things. Is there such a thing as a moonset?

All is well in The Vault. It is mostly maintenance stuff, digital things have a way of breaking themselves apart with time. I confess to be in dry spell for ideas these days. Usually it helps to take long walks, when the mind wanders, but real life issues are preventing me from doing so. College has not been very thought provoking this semester, so no luck there. I guess it is up to me and my random walks through the Web, to fire the imagination. 

I'm redoing some old illustrations that didn't turn out so fine, just to make good use of this time.   

[26/06/2023 04:45 GMT-3]

The Vault is now a social butterfly! We've created a twitter account and an Instagram account. I vouch to announce new content Twitter to make it easier for our users to keep up to date, even though I hardly use social media, personally. I'll need to learn a thing or two.  

I'm also considering recording some videos for the website, covering our top ideas. it will be a lot of work but I think it will make things a little more engaging. Exciting times - I just noticed that in a matter of minutes a few people viewed our first tweet.

[18/07/2023 23:53 GMT-3]

Most of the work the past days have been maintaining a presence on Twitter. Vacation time is finally here, and I'm trying to make the most of it. Ah, what a joy it is to have (almost) unlimited time for creation, flexing those imagination muscles. I'm currently working on a very fun and interesting project, but I decided to keep this one for myself. After all, I'll need to be able to support myself too in the future. 

I'm sharing the time with my work on my graduation thesis, that is a personal idea I've turned into a full-fledged Project. It was a risky thing to do, and I'm not sure yet if this was a mistake. This Project also involves physically building a prototype robot, so it is not just simulations or calculations. It has been extremely challenging, and I've been in a lot of scrapes developing it so far. I've learned first hand that turning a hobby into a job is a sure way to kill a hobby. It has been difficult to maintain motivation in this prolonged struggle. In sheer number of hours, it has been by far my most developed work.

BANNER IMAGE CREDITS: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)  The image has been cropped.

Want to know more about this image? Follow this external link.