Have you considered a river cruise?

River cruises in Europe

I’ve wrapped up my latest contract at Amazon. As much as I like having a job, a career, with a company, heck I usually like going to work. But, sometimes my job offers are far between. I’ve been thinking, recently, about hanging my own shingle(s). I don’t know if my future success and happiness lies with trying to get job after job after job.

new project new direction

What to do next…

I’m working with a couple who’ve developed a (what seems to be) medically and proven cognitive program for youngsters with autism. I’m helping them get their web presence started. They’re fantastic folks, great clients, and (among other activities) I don’t consider myself to be unemployed, really.

I’m the type of person that sometimes wants to recreate the wheel. To figure things out myself, to develop my own process streams. I have an excellent memory, I learn immediately from mistakes. I have the makings of an entrepreneur, some people (much smarter than myself) have told me.

In my past, I seem to have an affinity for online selling. I really like doing my own marketing and sales campaigns. I’ve sold on eBay for years, off and on, I’ve started and managed a few online stores (one was quite successful, one was just so-so). My niche seems to be high end men’s clothing – limited strictly to reselling previously owned clothing. There are multiple selling platforms and multiple sources of inventory available.

I am experimenting with growing a few things that are in demand. Yes, as in food items, in some sort of grow medium, and nothing illegal or weird. Those two items can lead to marketable, salable profit centers.

The very last week of my 11 month contract at Amazon, what came through the door made me very excited:  Wool The Graphic Novel. This is the adaptation of the blockbuster seller serial novel, Wool, to graphic novel, under the Amazon imprint Jet City Comics. I got to work on the 8 page sample to show Jet City Comics how good the book could look on the Kindle.  Amazon is now accepting pre-orders for Wool the graphic novel’s November 12, 2013 release. It is to be a graphic novel serial, anticipated in 6 parts. Kindle Serials are stories published in episodes, with future episodes delivered at no additional cost. As of writing, it is $4.99.

wool the graphic novel

As the novel series would demand, the art in this
GN is very compelling. The QA editor and I worked together to produce the first 8 page sample which wowed the Jet City Comics management. While not being technically demanding, there was a double page spread that was originally produced as two separate pages. Putting the two pages back together as one image really made sense – it occurs right at the beginning of the novel, and it provides a very powerful beginning to this fantastic work of fiction.

Hugh Howey wrote Wool while working as a bookseller, writing each morning and during every lunch break for nearly three years. Originally self-published in 2011Wool has grown into a New York Times blockbuster.
Wool as you’ve never read it before: The New York Times bestselling novel is now told in graphic novel format. This contemporary dystopian classic—hailed by Justin Cronin, New York Timesbestselling author of The Passage, as “an epic feat of imagination”—will captivate readers both familiar and new.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

Wool is accepting preorders for November 12, 2013 release.


One task I’ve been asked to do for my new freelance client is to integrate a membership / protected content plug-in for their site.

My initial research has returned a few candidates.

For their purposes, I believe we’re going to implement Membership plug-in.

instaMember has a $47 pricetag (for a single website, $97 for unlimited website installation.) Fair, perfectly, but the less talking into paid solutions to my client, the better for me.

PaidMembershipPro had a major flaw, in that new users had to go through a payment portal or a pay-by-check option. Selecting the pay-by-check option, however, granted immediate access – site admins had no option to confirm payment first.

WP-Membeers was a very simple solution… but I had some problems configuring its registration fields on the form page. The required fields were difficult to manage, and sometimes the text fields themselves didn’t even appear on the page.

So far, Membership is the winner. It provides a PayPal payment option, a by-mail option where the membership customer will receive sign-in information through email when the check clears. Its interface and footprint in WP was also the smallest. Individual pages, posts, or all pages and/or posts (even *parts* of posts/pages) can be hidden from non-registrants.


There’s a new line of Kindle books coming out for the Mexican market.

This did not pass QA.












This did.












What’s the difference?

See in the first picture, how the right side of Gaturro’s mouth is just about to touch the right window border? Yeah. Not good. Had to adjust the width of this popup two pixels.

Two pixels.

  • CIW Web Foundations Associate Done
  • CIW Web Design Specialist Done
  • CIW JavaScript Specialist Done
  • CompTIA A+ Done
  • CompTIA Network+ Done
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Database Admin Fundamentals Done
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Windows OS Fundamentals  Done
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Web Development Fundamentals Done
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Networking Fundamentals  Done
  • CompTIA Project+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CIW Database Design Specialist
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Windows Server Admin Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Software Development Fundamentals

Well, here’s something that hit me: Use your blog to keep track of successes, accomplishments, lessons-learned, etc. when they happen. I’m not one to remember all the great things I’ve done at work, when it comes to job interviews, and I’ve struggled to remember them.

So, from now on, I’m going to document them here!

What, you already do that? Thanks for telling me.

I work a contract at Amazon in Seattle, with the Kindle publishing section. Based on my previous experience at Ascentium producing graphic novels, I’m familiar with the whacky publishing template Amazon uses for its ebooks. And in my two-months-plus time there, I’ve learned a heck of a lot more.

Most recently, how to alter the flow and layout of a book depending on its orientation. Oriented specifically, that is, depending on the direction the user is holding their Kindle – Portrait or Landscape.

Reflowable books are those that allow the user to change the font settings on their device. Reflowable means that the text flows differently depending upon font settings.

There are two main types of reflowable books. Books like novels that are dominated by text, and cookbooks that have many images.

Reflowable books are the mainstay of Kindle books: the user can increase or decrease the font size. Normally, with text-heavy books like novels, it’s not much of a trick. However: when you include lots of images and specific styling, like art books or cookbooks, things get challenging.

This is a page from an Italian-language art book. The publisher wanted the caption to the piece either underneath the art if in Portrait mode, or to the right if in Landscape mode. As a ‘reflowable’ book, this task hasn’t been tried. However, using device reader in CSS, it’s doable. The image to the left is how the book is expected to appear in Portrait mode. Easy enough. But Landscape. That was tricky.

Here’s the finished product. Normally, with a wide image in Landscape, there’s no room for text, so it would merely be pushed below the image, just as it appears in Portrait mode.

In order to ‘flow’ the caption based on device orientation, we need to make use of media styles.

Usually, it’s just necessary to include changes for one orientation or the other. Build your book as it should appear in either portrait OR landscape. THEN, to alter the appearance for some elements in the OTHER orientation, include the @media screen and (orientation:landscape OR :portrait)

These following few rules caused the appearance for the landscape orientation shown above. Without this rule, the caption would just be placed underneath the image.

/* Landscape */
 @media screen and (orientation:landscape) {
 /* Landscape styles */

The above set of CSS rules helped produce the Landscape oriented Kindle presentation in the second image above.

CIW Web Foundations Associate Certificate Earned

On Saturday December 15, 2012, I passed the assessment and earned my Web Foundations Associate certificate through Certification Partners!

web foundations associate certified The certificate is the first of fifteen that I’ll earn in my progress towards my BS in Information Technology through WGU (Western Governors University.)

This particular exam tests on fundamental knowledge and skills in Site Development, Internet Business, and Computer Networks. It is a culmination of CIW’s curriculum of Site Development Associate course, Internet Business Associate course, and Network Technology Associate course.

Thanks to my experience in web building, the Site Development and Internet Business modules were quite easy. Not knowing much about Network Technology made that module challenging. In the coming months, I will earn CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ certifications. This Foundations Associate certification will serve as a solid basis of knowledge for those more demanding certificates.

html5 game development for beginners

Picked up (what I hope will be) a great book, HTML5 Games Development by Example by Makzan, published by Packt.

Let’s check in with the first project in Chapter 3. We’re going to build a memory-matching game, but we will be taking small steps with regards to animating in CSS3.

card flip start   card flip after

HTML (the guts):

<section id=”game”>
<div id=”cards”>
<div class=”card”>
<div class=”face front”></div>
<div class=”face back cardAK”></div>
</div><!– .card –>
</div><!– #cards –>
</section><!– #game –>

This is an example of flipping from back to front.

<script src=”js/jquery-1.7.2.min.js”></script>