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Zach Saucier's thoughts

  • So you want to learn web development?

    I’ve had several friends come to me seeking advice for how to get started programming for the web. Most haven’t given too much thought to the idea, but are intrigued by code or websites and want to learn more. If you’re in that position or somewhere similar, this post is for you.

    What follows is a collection of recommendations that I have for a person starting out. I’ll keep updating it as time goes on. If you feel like it’s missing something or have a question, don’t hesitate to contact me at!

  • Creating an animated desktop background using a webpage

    I love life. Relatedly, I love change (when it comes in appropriate ways), customization, and interacting with stuff. That’s a big reason why I really enjoy the work that I do, creating new and unique ways for people to interact with each other and with the content I am providing.

    On a seemingly different note, I have warm memories of the screensavers from when I was kid. The brick 3D maze, the pipes, and the rainbow colored shape that kept morphing into a new shapes entranced (distracted) me as a ~7 year old in school.

    Also, ever since I got into animating, I’ve wanted to include the things I make into more areas of my life. One area that has come into my mind several times was my desktop background.

  • A brief introduction to electronic music

    If you want to follow along with the music without opening all of the pages, I created a YouTube playlist for this post that includes all but the first 3 songs.

    I love music. Especially music that varies throughout the song (not all verses and choruses are the same), layered (multiple instruments are playing harmoniously), unique, the quality of the instruments (including singers) is high, and music that gives off an emotion or feeling (generally energetic and happy is my favorite). Regardless of the genre or creator of the song, if a song has these characteristics it’s likely that I will really enjoy it.

    The genre that I’ve listened to that most often has these characteristics is electronic music. I was introduced to it as a kid by an older friend and I’ve been an avid listener for about 10 years now. Today I hope to help you better understand why I fell in love with the gigantic, diverse genre that is electronic music.

  • Spiral learning

    A spiral outlook of learning

    Most of the little time I spend on Tumblr is spent looking at awesome pictures of nature, seeing how math is found in nature, or analyzing animations from pros, but every so often I come across something that has a larger and more direct effect on my life. The most recent was caused by this image:

    A spiral stair case with two children walking up and the text: 'The path isn't a straight line; it's a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.'
    I have since found out the image was by an illustrator named Budi Kwan and the quote is by Barry Gillespie. While I disagree with Gillespie’s outlook on life, I think the quote describes my thoughts on knowledge well.

    The conventional way of looking at knowledge is very segmented and generally linear. Learn one thing, then add onto that, then continue to add on new pieces. While this may be helpful for looking at some types of knowledge, I feel like it’s not a very accurate way of at the learning process in general.

  • Create useful things

    There are a whole lot of people in the world. Everyone creates something, a lot people create stuff every day. Thus there is way more stuff in the world than people!

    Now, our time in this world is limited. That means that we should make use of the time that we do have. Which means that we all have some important questions to answer while we can, like “What is the purpose of life?”, “What happens after I die?”, “What is God like?”, and many others. If you want to discuss what I think about these feel free to message me.

    But our limited time also means that we should spend our time creating and doing things that are valuable. Now, there are a lot of things that fit in this tag and it depends on the individual and the situation. This is a good thing that makes us unique and diverse. What we need to have is good judgement as to what is important and what is not.

    The most important questions are the ones like those I posed above. Belief about spiritual, family, and life matters should always come first. In addition to this, we all work at one point or another and we should attempt to make our work meaningful. But sometimes we just need to work to get money to provide for what is most important so that doesn’t always happen.

    However something that we do have control over is what we do with our free time. The time we spend doing side projects and learning different things. This is what I want to focus in on today.

    When I started getting into web programming, I created a lot of small projects to learn different programming techniques and skills largely based on StackOverflow questions and recreating things I saw. These were invaluable and taught me the majority of the things that I know now about web programming.

    I continued to create these projects for some time. However at some point, I stopped learning something from creating them but continued to make them because they became easy. I was recreating gifs using CSS, but to what end?

    I regret this period of time where I spent my free time building projects that didn’t teach me anything nor were helpful to very many people. My time, like all of ours, is more valuable than that.

    Once I realized this was happening I decided to change. Now whenever I am working on a project in my free time, I make sure that it will either teach me something worth learning or is helpful for other people to a significant capacity. Optimally it does both!

    I suggest that you do the same, whatever your field is, because I don’t want your or my time to be wasted.