Piano Practice

We recently moved our Casio keyboard back to the living room, and it’s been a delight to play again. (It was kept high up on the shelf after our recent move.) I took lessons all through elementary-10th grade, but after hs/college/work, there wasn’t always a lot of opportunity to play, let alone to the degree during my school years.

My fingers act like they remember the tunes, but they slip and stumble, especially with a piece with f and c sharps. I have to replay the piece many times and remind myself to be patient. Getting back to the skill level that I desire is not going to happen overnight.

As I was playing this morning (while baby and toddler pounded away on the lower keys) I was thinking about how much this relates to my endeavor at learning HTML and CSS. I’ve been back to working on codecademy.com and even though it has been only weeks since I’ve really delved in to the work, my fingers were a little slow when arranging the CSS of a navigation bar on a website. I *knew* how to do it, but there was a slight brain fog, just like when you dust of an old favorite piano piece. It’s the same with my coding practice. Sneaking in 20-30 minutes a day will put me bounds and leaps ahead of a two-three hour stretch once or twice a week.  So, it’s back to the keyboard(s)!

Girl Develop It

Girl Develop It, Inc.

You’ve got to check this out–  Girls Develop It (GDI) –  is a Minneapolis page on meetup.com.  GDI is a non-profit organization devoted to helping women in the tech and computer science fields, and inspiring girls to learn to code.

Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their every day lives.

Girl Develop It

I love these types of groups supporting women in tech.  GDI hosts “coffee-and-coding” meetups, puts on different tutorials on the many facets of the tech world such as on WordPress, JavaScript, and Photoshop for example.  They also post all of their course tutorials online. Here are the permalinks for the JavaScript class.

1:http://www.wordstream.com/images/improve-my-writing-skills-baby-shoes-never-worn.jpg and Day 2: http://amlyhamm.com/gdi/intro_to_javascript/day_two/#/

Mama Codes is back online

So, you may have noticed it’s been nearly two months since my last check in. Family life has kept me occupied (my baby is too quickly learning to crawl and almost walk! not allowed!) and I deemed it prudent to step back from the blog and focus hearth and home.


Even though neither my husband and I work in academia, and I haven’t been in school for six years, the fall seasons feels like such a natural “starting again” time. Time for routines to be set back in place after the business (and unstructured) play of summer. Time to jump out of bed earlier, greet the rising sun, and get back to reaching goals and finding joy mundane routines of life.

I’m looking forward to getting back to work and posting a least weekly. I hope you stick around – I’ve got a new ideas brewing so stay tuned!

Summertime and the living is easy…

Time For your CheckUp!
Time for your Check Up!

Hello! I’m back today with not a lot on techiness my mind, but just with a kid-summer-fun roundup. I packed up the girls and we are staying with my parents for a couple of weeks. DD1 is Grandpa’s shadow. She loves going on walks and helping pick up sticks and branches that have fallen from the windy storms that graced the Midwest over the course of the week. We have gone to the zoo, had a picnic with GreatGrandma, and visited many friends and fellow toddlers. Today we had a pool-and-pizza party in my long-time childhood friend’s yard.

DD wearing Auntie's sunglasses
Looking good in Auntie’s childhood shades!

I was thinking I would have a lot of free time to work on my hobbies as well…but it turns out that toddlers and babies don’t magically sleep better at Grandma’s. 🙂 But we are making a lot of great memories!

How to use JSBin

Now that we know how to create a webpage by saving an HTML file on your desktop, I want to tell you about a really helpful tool: JSBin.com. It serves as a type of Notepad or TextEdit, but breaks your screen into multiple screens and immediately allows you to see what your code will look like when run. jsbin html code example   The great thing about JSbin is that it will indent and auto-populate many parts of the HTML for you. In the above example, I only had to add the < p > paragraph section – everything else was already there when I went to the website. There are also options to add CSS or JavaScript code, but we will work on those later.

HTML Lesson Two: Text Editors for HTML

html-154434_1280Welcome to my 2nd lesson in HTML. Today, I will explore the different options for compiling and running your program.

When I was first introduced to coding, I wrote and ran a webpage that read “Hello, World.”** It was so cool to see these words print on the screen, since I commanded them to appear. Computers are essentially bits of metal and plastic that cannot do anything unless told specifically by the programmer – and in this case, me!


The easiest way to compile HTML code is in the standard Notepad program, (or Text Edit if you are on an Apple.)

The Steps to Compile “Hello, World” in a web browser.

1. Open Text Edit or Notepad on your computer.

2. type in:

<DOCTYPE html>



<h1> My First WebSite </h1>


Hello, World!




3. Click “File” — “Save As (somename).html. It’s very important to save the file as a .html file for this to properly work. The default is a txt (text)file. Additionally, save it on your Desktop, rather than imbedded into a folder.

4. Once you have saved your work, go to your Desktop and you will now see a file with an icon such as below if you are using either Chrome or FireFox.



5.Doubleclick the icon and a new web browser should appear! Congrats this is your first website!


**Some cool computer science info: Hello, World is supposedly the first words printed in a computer program. While this can’t actually be proven, it’s a fun legend and nearly all books and courses will have you type “Hello, World” as your first program.

Frank the Crooner

HTML Lesson 1

By some miracle, both babies are alseep, so let’s get to work before they wake up! Playing bubbles must have worn them out:

HTML has a basic structure that might look daunting at first glance:<!/ h1>

 sample HTML Code:DOCTYPE html


       Let’s break down the code together.

< > and </> —- these angle brackets are called “tags” and when we place certain commands or words inside, the browser will understand you are providing prompts to display some text or graphics in HTML. There are two sets < > are used at the beginning of a line of code, and the backslash </> closes the tag. This closing tag is needed to indicated to the computer that you are finished with a section or paragraph of text or graphics.

<!–DOCTYPE html> — The computer needs to know what type of file you are creating, so here you delcare doctype html within the <>. Easy enough.

< head > — Just like this happy crooner, (Let’s call him Frank) HMTL code has a head and a body.

The head is the identifying part of Frank. In HTML, the < head > tag is where you can store information regarding your webpage, such as the title of the page, a link to the style sheet, or metadata, which will be necessary for Google and other search engines to find and track your page.

< body > — the body tag will have all the additional text and graphics that you want to include in your webpage. It will have a lot of additional tags for your site content that I will outline in my next post. Stay Tuned! (and yep, the kids are awake!)Frank

HTML5: Week 1 Review

NYCIn my last post, I suggested trying out the EdX.org course on HTML5. I started it this week, and it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but I am still plugging away at it. It is definitely not a course for HTML beginners. Instead, it is assumes you have a solid foundation of the basic HTML. Most web designers are using HTML4 (although it is not really called that). HTML5 was released last year, and it was the first revision of the language since 1998. So much has changed in the tech world in 15 years, so the developers of HTML thought it was time to also revise HTML. HTML5 attempts to streamline and fix certain aspects of the HTML code that everyone currently uses.

For example, a large focus of this week’s material has been on the new structural elements. In the normal HTML(non-html5) code, the

tag (which stands for division) is the commonly used tag for dividing up a page into sections. If you wanted a header section, a sidebar for navigation, and a regular “body” section, you would create a div for each part. Now, with HTML5, you could simply use “header” “footer” and “nav” tags instead of making them div tags.

Additionally, the course contains mostly pages and PDFs to read and work through, not videos as I was expecting. That is okay, just different than the other online courses I have used. I haven’t taken the quiz yet so I’ll check back in when I have the results!

W3C HTML5 Course

Hi Everyone! I’m back with a suggestion for a great new course that will be offered through EdX and the W3C organizations. W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is a community that helps set the industry standards on the Web, and it has lots of helpful learning tools in its website. This June, EdX is offering a 6 week course on HTML5- the latest version of HTML for web design.

I have signed up and will be blogging about my weekly assignments and work. I received an email today about the course, and it said only 18% of the 60,000 enrolled students are women. So, I challenge anyone who is interested (and especially women readers!) to sign up and check it out!