Ricardo Sanchez
Coder, Photographer, Youtuber, Blogger

The Basics of Photography

This is a great time to get into photography. High-quality cameras are now accessible to most people, and getting an awesome shot is now more possible than ever. Let’s keep in mind that while easier, there is still skill and experience needed to get the most out of your camera.

In this post, I’ll describe two things you need to know to learn the basics of photography and take it to the next level; composition and exposure. If you are already an experienced photographer, then you can skip this blog post, and I hope you come back at another time.

Basics of Photography

In photography, you need to learn about composition and exposure to capture great photographs. At its most basic level, composition is the framing of the image and the composition of the subject/s within the frame of a photograph. Exposure refers to the amount of light allowed into the camera. Exposure is divided into three important items: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO.

Composition

Composition is all about the way you want the visual elements in your picture to appear. Composition is subjective and there is no a single way to get it right, you have to feel it, and the best way to get better at it is to practice. However, there are some techniques you can follow to help you make your pictures better.

Composition example

1/125 sec | f/8 | ISO-100 | 19 mm

Look at the subject from different angles, pay attention to the light, shadows, and don’t shy away from getting down on close to the ground to get a different perspective. Continue Reading

Adios 2016 and welcome 2017

2016 was a very particular year; it was full of changes, experiences, learnings, and also frustrations and disappointments.

2016 is the year I realized my kids were getting older; my daughter started her senior year of high school (and began to send college applications!), one of my sons started high school, and our youngest moved up to 4th grade. Anyone with kids finishing and starting high school will understand about all the happiness this brings as well as the many, many, many challenges.

2016 was the first year I took a trip with my two older kids, just the three of us. It was fun. We went to San Francisco, and while it rained every day, we had an amazing time together.

Continue Reading

How to add simple logging to your Web App using Elmah

Logging is a crucial part of any application. Logging can be used to track events, identify code issues, security holes, etc. In this blog post, I’ll describe how to add logging to your ASP.NET web application using an open source logging framework called Elmah.

Elmah has been around for a while, it became very popular for its pluggable framework. Elmah can be dynamically added to a running ASP.NET web application, or even all ASP.NET web applications on a machine, without any need for re-compilation or re-deployment.

Another common open source logging framework for .NET is a port of the excellent Apache log4j framework to the Microsoft .NET runtime, log4net. However, in this blog, I’ll focus on how to enable logging for your ASP.NET web application using Elmah.

Install Elmah

Get the latest Elmah version by typing the following into your Package Manager Console.

PM> Install-Package elmah.sqlserver

In this example, I am using the Elmah SQL package that comes with the files and configuration needed to log errors in a SQL table. After running the command above, you’ll see a new directory, App_Readme with two files in it.

solution1 Continue Reading

Introducing RethinkHub

It’s been a while since I launched a whole new project, the last one was Startup Interns, and that was about a year ago, and the project is doing pretty well. Today I would like to announce Rethink Hub, a subscription service that provides fully managed websites for small business and entrepreneurs.

Rethink Hub is going to be the fastest way to get a WordPress site up and running without having to worry about settings, configuration, plugins, security, etc. The best way to explain that is with a little tour.

Step one. Visit Rethinkhub.com and select a plan.

Step two. Tell us the location of your current site.

Step three. Visit a demo site showcasing your existing content (we’ll create this site).

Step four. Provide feedback, approve. That’s all!

We will take care of your website so you can take care of your business. See some of the services included in every plan: Continue Reading

Hiking in Hawaii

Hiking is one of those activities that always seem to be fun and easy in the beginning before you start doing it (e.g. cooking,  running, etc.). Hiking is just walking so it should be easy right? Not quite. Once you are in the middle of a hike, while still fun, it doesn’t feel as comfortable anymore. But once you finish, it always feels good; there is a sense of accomplishment. The best part of hiking for me is that it allows you to explore a place in ways you couldn’t do it otherwise. Hiking often takes you to a high peak where you can discover the true beauty of a beach, a city, etc.

Last July 2015 my family and I adventured to Hawaii. We visited two islands, Oahu and Maui. We decided to visit Oahu since it is the island where the largest and most populous city of Hawaii is, Honolulu. The beaches in Honolulu while very busy, they are beautiful and have calm waters to allow anyone to swim in its clear water. We loved it there.

Our trip started in Austin, TX where we took a direct flight to Los Angeles. Our layover in Los Angeles was a few hours, and it allowed us to get some food, coffee and just be ready for our next flight to Oahu. We didn’t experience any delays, cancellation or anything like that. Our flights to Los Angeles and Oahu went very smooth.

Arriving to Oahu

Once we arrived at the island of Oahu, we decided to take a cab and head to the hotel. It was a bit surprising to see how big and busy Honolulu is, at first it looked nothing like I had imagined. During our ride from the airport to the hotel, it rained twice and the sun was always out, so it gave us a nice little introduction to this tropical climate.

oahu hawaii

We decided to stay in Honolulu during our time on the island of Oahu, right at the center of everything. The area is very busy, but it also offers all the convenience of being in a populated area. We chose this area to make sure we had everything we needed since this was our first trip to Hawaii. Continue Reading

A day in Grand Central Terminal and Top of the Rock

My family and I enjoy road trips very much. This summer we started our road trip in Washington, DC, then drove to Brooklyn, NYC, Niagara Falls, Toronto Canada, and then back to NYC where we flew back home to Austin, TX.

This post is a photo essay about one of my favorite days in New York City.

Grand Central Station

We started the day as we always do, looking for what to do and where to go. As much as we plan to schedule, must of our decisions about places to visit and things to do we do on the spot.

Grand Central Station Continue Reading

A weekend of code, ideas, and diversity

This past weekend I attended the 2016 Diversity Hackathon organized by Women Who Code Austin. This event was a 3-day hackathon and a celebration of diversity. This type of event sparks my curiosity and creativity in a very particular way. There are always constraints of time, resources, equipment and space. And yet, somehow people at these events create interesting applications. It is very exciting and motivating to be part of a hackathon.

Photo: 2016 Diversity Hackathon

ATX Diversity Hackathon 2016

 

These events usually start with a networking meeting where hackathon participants have an opportunity to talk about their ideas, listen to other people’s ideas and to form new teams. The networking is also a good ice-breaker, and it helps participants feel a bit more relaxed and comfortable, knowing they’ll be working surrounded by strangers for up to three days.

Many people participate in hackathons as an opportunity to try a new programming language or framework. Others are looking to start a startup and see a hackathon as the perfect place to create a prototype of their app and perhaps even find people who can join them in their efforts. For example, I met a group of individuals who had just completed a computer programming boot camp in Austin, TX. They signed up for this hackathon to force themselves to write an application using the newly acquired knowledge and skills. One of them created a chat application using Angular, FireBase, and Bootstrap while the other group ended up creating something using Heroku, React, and MongoDB.

When I first heard of this hackathon, I noticed they were looking for mentors, and so I signed up as one. But after the second day, I didn’t have much to do, and so I decided to create a little app of my own. My goal wasn’t to use a new programming language or framework. Instead, I wanted to see what I could do with the Stack Exchange API. After brainstorming for a bit, I decided to visualize user data from StackOverflow.com on a map using the Google Maps API. The result was a fun application that lets you see where developers are in the world and what countries, states, and cities have the biggest concentration of them. I called my project, Hacker’s Map.

In the last day of the hackathon, there was a bit of chaos as the deadline to stop writing code was approaching. We had until 2:00 PM to write code and by 2:30 PM we had to send an email with a link to the app’s code repository, the app name, description, tech stack used, and some screen shots of the application. By 3:00 PM teams started demoing their project to all attendees, including a group of judges who was voting for the top 4 applications.

Everyone had a chance to explain what their app did. Each team had only a few minutes to present, so you needed to get to the point and try to show and describe your app as much as possible in just two minutes. It feels great to do a presentation under this pressure. There is something about it that I enjoy.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Three days of code, ideas, and diversity. I enjoyed mentoring, meeting people, writing code under pressure, eating sandwiches and drinking tons of coffee. I am already looking forward to the next hackathon.

If you are a new developer and are trying to get more experience under your belt, hackathons are a perfect place for this. Also, if you are an experienced developer but haven’t had a chance to participate in a hackathon, I urge you to sign up for one as soon as possible. You can take part as a hacker or a mentor. Either way, you’ll get the benefit of being surrounded by intelligent people, wanting to create something from scratch, under pressure, and with a very tight deadline. It is great, trust me. I am already looking for the next hackathon.

Many thanks to Women Who Code Austin, Capital Factory for hosting it, and everyone else involved in making this such a great event.

How to Monetize your Blog with Google AdSense

google adsenseHow to monetize your blog? When you’ve had a blog for a while with plenty of content and visitors, one of the options you have it to monetize it is displaying ads.

You care about your site and your content, and you should care about the ads you choose to show in your website.

Google AdSense offers relevant ads and it gives you control over the look and the position of these ads.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use AdSense to monetize your blog. Continue Reading

How to remove the date from your WordPress blog posts

In this blog post, I will show you how to remove the date from your WordPress blog posts without losing traffic. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform out there, it is widely used not just for blogs but also for full featured websites by professionals and businesses. One of the reasons of its popularity is that you can get a simple blog started within minutes. There are a multitude of free plugins and themes available to you to help you create and launch your blog in a short amount of time.

One of the most common mistakes people new to WordPress do when starting a blog is to leave the default permalink option. The default permalink option often includes a post id or the date and name of a post. While the date and name of post isn’t the worst option, it is also not the best one if you care about search engine optimization (SEO). Continue Reading

Photography, beyond the hobby

One World Trade Center

It is a passion and a potential opportunity for income. Photography is something that I, like most people have always been interested in. It all started with snapshots and eventually evolved to more elaborate shots. The person who started it all was my wife. She has been documenting our lives with photographs for many years. My sons and daughter are also my inspiration as they have the talent and creativity that I can just dream of.

Despite that I never had any formal education around photography, it didn’t take me long to learn and understand some of the basic things like good lighting and composition. This has giving me the opportunity to appreciate photography even more and has motivated me to keep learning. Continue Reading