Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Morning Update #1

The first week of my programming courses on Coursera was mixed. I like the Python class, but I'm really skeptical about the Web Application Architecture Class. It's taught at the University of New Mexico, and it has a community college feel to it. The videos are just good enough to not be funny and the professor doesn't seem very interesting at this point...but we'll see how it goes.

The Python class, on the other hand, seems like it's going to be awesome. It's taught at Rice and our projects are making that's going to be plenty awesome. The final project is an Asteroids clone. There are five professors that teach the class, I get the impression that most people who work with Python are pretty fun and have a sense of humor.  Exhibit A: the history of the name "Python." The teachers are not that funny, but they're trying, and keeping the class interesting. Neither of the classes are that demanding, yet. I did the first week's work for both classes on Monday.

On the Rails front, I had to dump the lynda tutorial. For starters, the guy teaching it was moving at 900 mph; that I could tolerate, but the straw that broke the camel's back on that tutorial was the fact that he kept changing things in the application that he wasn't recording or explaining and I got tired of having to do detective work to keep up with the lessons.

I have since moved on to this tutorial, which is far. A part of me wishes that I had just gone ahead and done this tutorial, first, but I may be discounting how much what I learned doing the lynda tutorial puts me ahead of the game in this one. This new tutorial is more like a guide on a journey to learning to develop. Today, I got git all set up on my system and that was pretty cool. So in short, I've done another Ruby tutorial and I've been reading another about git...along with the web design book that I started last week. So...right now, I'm still in the setting everything up phase.

...peep it:

So now, I'm also working on my unix skills, as well. I am having fun, though. I really wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my time, right now. I'm looking forward to this weeks classes, and the next chapters and lessons in my books and tutorials.  

In my spare time, I'm working on my Spanish and Hindi for 30 minutes a day each and taking Buddhism and Modern Psychology. Also, every week, or so, I take a day or two off and do absolutely nothing, but watch TV and maybe have a few beers. The bad/awesome news is my sleep schedule is completely flipped. I go to sleep between 7:00AM and noon everyday. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oh Snap!

I almost forgot to blog, this week! :)

I've been doing a lot of work with Ruby on Rails, this week. I've gotten a basic understanding of how everything works now, and I'm about half-way through the lynda tutorial. I'm finally at the part where we're actually designing stuff for the website that we're building. It's cool because I'm learning all about servers and databases and how to use them to run websites. I'm getting used to dealing with all of the files and the way things are done and really starting to enjoy it... looking forward to building my own site from probably a few more months.

In other news, I'm starting two new classes at Coursera, tomorrow. The first one, is called Web Application Architectures, and it teaches web development using Ruby on Rails. I'm really looking forward to this course, because while the lynda tutorial is getting me there, this class will give me a more current and interactive experience in Rails, and I can ask questions and talk to other students in the class that are at or around the same level, as I am, in web development. I think that this class is going to be good for the learning process that I have going.

The other course that I'm taking is called An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python, which is pretty self explanatory. It's part of a 3 course track that will take me through the Summer and allow me to work on my Python skills while I'm doing my Ruby stuff.

I definitely wouldn't be doing both, right now, if I hadn't already gotten a decent amount of experience with both languages already. But on the plus side, the languages are pretty similar, and even the course syllabus for the first class says that what we learn on RoR is transferable to other platforms like Django for Python.

Two more things, I started reading this book, to get an comprehensive rundown on web design, and because in working in RoR I learned pretty quickly that I need to refresh and expand my HTML and CSS knowledge. Once I get the programming/scripting side down, I'm definitely going to have to take some time to focus on the visual design and user experience aspect of web development, not so much to get a job, but for when I start working on my own projects. I can't wait until I'm comfortable enough with what's on my plate, now, to get into that. This new book is easy to read and I should be finished with it by next weekend.

Another development, last week, was that I got a call about a job programming in Ruby. I did a phone interview that went well; the recruiter told me that he would be forwarding my resume along to the next step in the process. It would be awesome if that turned into a job where I could hone my skills in the near future, but I'll be okay, either way. ;)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's St. Paddy's Day..

So you know I'm programming [and blogging] under the influence...right? Yeah...HAPPY ST PADDY'S DAY!!!

...probably not.


I was taking a break from Ruby on Rails when I discovered this class, on Friday.  I'm on Chapter 6 of the lynda Rails tutorial, but I decided to stop and review my Ruby skills. [Consequently, I'm pretty sure that I need to get my my CSS skills up, as well]. I've already watched the intro to ruby ones, now I'm on the the second part. I'm looking forward to finishing these and going back to rails this week. I want to get as much done as possible this week, before I start the Coursera Python Class in a week. [Take it with me...maybe?]

The big thing about the Dave Jones classes is not so much the information, as much as it is his comments about programming, in general, while he's teaching the courses. Don't get me wrong though, the classes are good, and it's awesome to have a who class on the things that I'm reading about in books. The original idea was to watch some videos about regular expressions [the section that the pickaxe book was advising to skip through for beginners], but he's dropping some many jewels that I decided that I would go ahead an watch all of his videos on Ruby.

In other news, I'm liking Ruby in Rails more and I can't wait to get back to it. I'm loving the the fact that this is so interesting and that people are getting paid to do it. This feels like getting back to who I was a kid [I used to program on the TI 99 and love it. This is taking me back to that time and I feel like a kid again. I'm doing this from now on...

Watch this awesome video that's in a link because apparently Google is hating on all online video platforms that aren't youtube:


I don't know what else to say, right now, so I'm going to  go ahead and sign off and get back to what I was doing...happy programming.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

...nailed it.

After finally getting everything installed correctly on my computer, I found out that there is bug in the Windows installations that, APPARENTLY, no one wants to fix [wtf, man? seriously???]. I stayed up all night on Monday working on this, only to find out that it wasn't going to happen for me.

After trying to figure this out to the point of being unable to to think clearly, I went to sleep mad. [protip: never go to sleep angry]. The problem was with the database [MySQL] and the gem to link it to Ruby on Rails. I woke up on Tuesday with a mission: get RoR on my computer, stat. After briefly entertaining the idea of changing my server to Apache, I went back to this video that I had been ducking, for obvious reasons if you're new to this.  However after watching his videos, I can confirm that Jonathan MacDonald is legit.

Respect my RoR on Windows 8

After uploading RoR and starting my tutorials, I've been doing the tutorials for rails. It's cool, but I don't like it as much just pure Ruby & Python programming. While I'm getting my Rails skills up, I'm continuing to learn about Ruby...and Python. I went back to reading the the pickaxe book and I came up on this video about python, so basically, I'm like a pig in slop [I live in GA, don't judge me]. 

So I'm feeling good, excited. I guess my only issues now are whether I want to work on Ruby or Python. It seems like when I'm working on Ruby, I want to work on Python and when I'm working on Python, I'm thinking about working in Ruby.

I guess the only this left on my mind right now is:


Sunday, March 9, 2014

So I Took a Week Off...

...and studied Python. lol!

Studying Ruby was starting to wear me down a little bit, so I took the week off and did the Python track on Code Academy. Python and Ruby are pretty similar; I'm not sure which on I like the most, now. What I do know, is that I need to start focusing on studying Ruby on Rails. I watched a video on teaching yourself to code, and apparently, Rails is where it is currently located. So I'm going to go back working on that this week.

I'm starting by going back and doing the tutorial on Rails and to  try to get it installed on my computer, again. After that I'm going to do this tutorial that everyone is always talking about. After I finish those two things, I'm think that the next step is  the team treehouse tutorials; they have a 14-day free trial, and by the time I finish all of that, I will have a pretty good handle on Rails, or at least, what I need to do to get a good handle on Rails. [...provided that I can get it working on my computer]

Another thing that I'm considering,  is going to the Iron Yard  code school. I met one of the founders a month or so ago at the iOS meet-up, and then I went to a presentation that he gave on building apps, last Monday at hypepotamus. I really want to go, but it's pretty expensive.

While I'm working on my Rails game, I'm going to make time to continue studying Ruby and Python. I put my books down this week while I was studying Python, but that was mostly because I'm reading a section of the pickaxe book that they recommend that you skip, if you're a beginner, but...

...not in my house. 

Skipping through books just doesn't really sit well with me: I've been re-reading the same section, so I understand what's going on. Studying Python has help me understand Ruby better, though. By thinking about the differences between the two, I get a better handle on both of them.

I think that I'm going to start reading my Python book, now, as well. I like Python, and I'm going to keep studying the language, but I'm going to have to wait until I'm comfortable with Rails before I start picking up Django, so Python is going to be mostly a hobby for me for a little while. Also, they just released a new version on Python, this week, so there's that.

I'm starting to understand what's going on a lot better and I'm really looking forward to building things. So hopefully I'll be able to demonstrate something soon.

In other news, I stopped going on facebook and restarted my Rosetta Stone Hindi and Spanish this week. I'm getting pretty good a my foreign languages. It's also a lot more fun when it's a retreat from studying my programming. I'm doing the voice part, now, too...because pronunciation is key in Hindi and I got caught out there saying an embarrassing thing on accident one time.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


LOL...seriously, though. I don't think people really use Ruby on Rails and everyone is lying to me. I have been trying to get it to work all day. I actually got it to work once...and then it stopped working, again. I'm hoping that there is someone at hypepotamus that can help me with it tomorrow.

In the mean time, I've started reading another book and went back to learning python, too. It was driving me crazy not working with python for some reason, so I re-started the Code Academy lessons. I got a new book from my cousin, it's called 7 Languages in 7 Weeks; it's pretty good. I did the first day yesterday and I'm about half way through day 2, now. I think the jumping around between books and working on python, as well, will be good for me. I'm getting really antsy with ruby and I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how it works. From here on out, it's probably going to be more about learning about the methods and applying what I know.

The Coding Complete book is starting to frustrate me a little bit, to be honest. It's talking about some things that I don't really understand. A lot of it is over my head, so I'm taking it in pieces. The pickaxe book is good because it keeps me learning ruby and I need it to do the assignments in the 7 Languages in 7 weeks book: the first language is ruby. My cousin also sent me Programming in Python 3: A Complete Introduction to the Python Language, but I think that I'm going to hold off on starting that one, at least until I finish the Code Academy exercises.

I guess what I'm really struggling with most right now is understanding how everything fits together. I'm not completely lost, though. I know HTML, and I've worked with JavaScript and JQuery, but I don't really understand how Rails fits in. I understand a little bit, but it's fuzzy for me. The thing is, that no matter how frustrated or stumped I get, I realize that as long as keep working on it, it gets better.