Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Don't Mind me, I'm Just Being...Not Evil.

So...yeah, Google hangouts has some cool new stuff.

Earlier today, I found an excellent new book to up my programming skills. It's called Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Second Edition and apparently, they've been using it to teach Intro to Computer Science at MIT since 1980. I'm only about 40 pages in, but so far, I'm really enjoying it. I hear the actual class is on youtube, but I have yet to confirm that information. I plan on confirming that information in a very soon.  [Update: information class on youtube confirmed and awesome]

The language used in the book is called Lisp, it's the second oldest programming language that people are still using and it's also supposed to be good for Artificial Intelligence.  So this should be fun. I'm actually appreciating the opportunity to get a look at a different language and actually working on my programming skills outside of web development and syntax.  

This week, I finished Michael Hartl's Rails tutorial, for the third time, and I am now learning about the carrierwave gem and using it to add user provided images to the Steam Truck app. I'm finally in a space where I am actually building stuff without training wheels, although mIRC #ruby has been a lot of help with my implementation of carrierwave. I'm still working on the finer points of using carrierwave on the app, but things are going well on this project. I'm currently in the process of setting up a meet up for the rest of the group this week.

[HEADS UP]: I got back in the gym, today.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fun with Ruby...and a Little Bit of Python

I'm still building stuff in Ruby. I think the more that I learn, the more interested I am in programming. I'm making progress on the STE(A)M Truck app and now I also have other people to help me, since I presented it at Code for Atlanta on Tuesday night. I'm the only back-end developer, which works well for me, because once I get it finished, hopefully by this weekend, I can learn from the UX and front-end developers.

The only issue that I'm running into on the STE(A)M Truck app is that my latest commits didn't get added to the heroku app. For some reason, the branch that I created for that session of coding also disappeared, also. I tried a couple of things, like re-pushing it to both github and heroku, but nothing worked, so I'm just hoping that when I push the latest commits the problem will resolve itself.

I started looking at django tutorials, as well, this week. Right now, and I have only just barely gotten past the installation instructions; I am the opposite of impressed. Hopefully, that will change, but I definitely want to learn it, or at least get a decent amount of experience with it, just in case I need to use it for...developing stuff.

on youtube.com

On the career front, I applied for a fellowship with Code for America and I completed step 2 of the process on Monday. I'm really hoping to get this so that I can move to San Francisco for a year to just work on coding and civic hacking. This would be perfect for me not only because I would love the experience, but if I get the fellowship, when it ends, I will have exactly 2 years of commits on github and the necessary prerequisites for a job in coding and web development. It would also allow me to just work on my coding, by working on personal and freelance projects, and go to the gym until it actually starts in January.  I took this year off from the gym to learn coding and I'm really looking forward to getting back in there in August.

UPDATE: The problem I was having heroku with the app has resolved itself. I did, however manage to break it again and spent a few hours resolving that issue, but it is working.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Building Stuff.

I just finished the Ruby on Rails Tutorial for the second time. This time was more fun, because I wasn't in such a rush to get through it. The first time, I wanted to see everything that I could do and complete the project. This time I was willing to go a little slower and change some things up. Although, I did feel myself trying to rush some parts so I could get through it.

My next step is to read the tutorial, again. I felt like I learned twice as much going through the tutorial the second time as I did the first, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn. I am going to use this next run through the tutorial to create my first real project using the base program that I made in the second run. This time through I made a few slight modifications, like using first_name & last_name, instead of putting it in one field. I also left out the gravatar image part, so the I can allow the users to upload their own photos going through it this time. I plan to complete all of the additional exercises this time, as well as change the user experience of the app, taking time to get a better grasp on CSS & html. Well, the html isn't to difficult, there are just some things that I hadn't seen before I did this tutorial and I want to have a better knowledge of what's available. I would like to work on my JavaScript as well, but I may save that until after I finish this trip through.

I have a couple of ideas as to what I want to make this app into, so I'm struggling slightly with the direction that I want to take it in. I do know, however, that I want to add a user_name and allow the users to upload their own profile pics. The other features that I will add will depend on the exact direction that I take the project, but I'm pretty excited.

I feel like I'm finally at a point where I know enough that I can kind of relax and take my time building things. I'm still going to keep coding every day, but I'm past the introduction stage and making my way into a more intermediate level of coding and developing. Even though I was told when I started that the best way to learn would be to actually start building stuff, I'm the type of person who needs to see the whole picture and what's available first, before I start going off on my own.

I also have a couple of side projects that I'm going to work on this time through, as well. I'm going to work on  STE(A)M Truck project and probably design my own blog app, which shouldn't be too complicated. I've already started on both, but I'll probably just restart the STE(A)M from scratch. This will let me practice on other projects while I think through exactly what I want to do with the one I'm working on now.

Monday, July 7, 2014


I haven't been blogging much lately, mostly because I'm doing the Rails Tutorial, again, for the second time. At this point I'm just trying to get good and get a firm grasp on everything in Rails. I'm about half way through Chapter 9, now. Everything just seems like nothing to really blog about at this point. There's nothing new to me anymore. The mistakes that  I'm making, I'm solving and correcting pretty quickly, and more than anything, I'm trying to internalize how everything works.

I'm building my own app this time, so I'm changing some stuff up as I go, which is really forcing me to understand what I'm doing. When I finish, I plan to go back through again to really customize my app. For instance, instead of using gravatar for profile pictures, I want to use CarrierWave, so that my users won't have to sign up for a different site to have a profile pic.

As much as I'm enjoying Rails and learning the backend, though, I'm really looking forward to customizing the CSS on this and adding my own look and feel to this app. I probably should take some time and just do some brainstorming on this and taking notes.