Monday, November 25, 2013

November GUSH! List

Hey friends!

Its been almost a month!  Eep!  This is going to be more of a GUSH! list of amazingness, so here goes:


  • If you still haven't checked out Codewars I don't know what you are doing in life. 
  • Web Dev training is going awesome!!  I'm about 50% done with Treehouse's 'Ruby on Rails' track.  It includes 13 sections including  Responsive Web Design, jQuery, Ruby, and Rails to name a few.
  • Buffer This fantastic social media manager has given me the opportunity to really come into my own as Imagine Me's community manager.
  • How NOT to Suck Online - I printed out the PDF and its hanging, framed, on my desk.
  • Web Development Tools!  Gosh, way to many to list here - I am like a little kid in a candy store with all the goodies I've found lately.  Here are a few:
        • Pattern Lab - An awesome way to save time, space, and resources when building web sites!!
        • Subtle Patterns - You all probably already knew about this gem, but it has been a tantalizing 'goodie' for me full of subtle patterns to tile to my little hearts content! 
        • Brad Frost - A web design god in human form. (Twitter: @brad_frost)
        • Responsive Design Resources - Awesome set of tools from said god (see above)
Its been a month full of learning amazing things and I couldn't be more excited!  
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Making vs Taking the Time to Code

Hello friends!

I have to admit my fervor for coding has been sparked anew!  It may be the cold weather snap in Minnesota has pushed me indoors or perhaps the mental check on the difference between "making" and "taking" time.

Lately, I've been trying to "make" the time to code.  However, I am neither a Time Lord nor a deity and cannot make time.  Instead, I made the mental switch to dedicating myself to "taking" the time to code. Each and every day.  There are awesome tools that provide daily code challenges (see my last post where I gush all over Codewars) as well as multiples of sites dedicated to "meat & potatoes" learning.

Treehouse logo

Albeit a little expensive, I finally dove into all that is Treehouse.  I've flirted with the site for a while, but what really drove me to pay the fee (usually I pick free sites) was the combination of languages in each track.  In reality, each language has its strengths and weaknesses.  A wise developer knows how to use Javascript, HTML, and CSS in harmony (or uses AbsurdJS but more on that another time).  Treehouse really impressed me in that there isn't a single track in which you only learn a single language.  Its well worth it to check it out!

Finally, I have another GUSH! post.  DEVICE 6 from Simogo (the game studio that brought Year Walk to the world).  Where should I start!?!  Its an experience.  I absolutely love the puzzles. I love the interaction. I love the audio. I love that Anna gets a whole song.  I love the style that brings a fantastic feel to the game.  And despite what most reviews say - I love the length.  I played through the game in around 3 hours.  It was worth every penny of the $3.99 on the app store.  Expensive you say?  That's half the price of a micro brew and still less expensive than a Pumpkin Spice Latte - and it will last longer than either of those.  If ya decide to play it, please let me know what you thought!

DEVICE6 logo

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

There was never a good war...except CodeWars!

Hello friends!

Its been a crazy fall so far.  For those of you who don't know, I have been working with the indie game Imagine Me from KinifiGames and its launch for the Nintendo Wii U.  Paired with this launch, there will be a Mac, PC, and Linux version of the game.  I was originally part of the Kickstarter back in 2011 and it has been so much fun picking it up again.  If you are at all interested in finding out more, please visit the website or find us on Twitter.

codewars logo

As for the other projects, I'm elated to share with you my most recent passion - CodeWars.  Codewars is a compilation of code challenges for JavaScript, CoffeeScript, and Ruby.  You earn kyu (Japanese term used in modern martial arts and academic tests) by completing Kata (the detailed choreographed patterns of movements in martial arts).  The challenges are mainly community written - and pretty fantastic!  I absolutely love that I can use it daily to refresh myself on JavaScript and Ruby syntax. I definitely recommend the site.  Once you sign up, let me know what you think!! :D

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Projects Galore!

I've been super busy getting a little project started and haven't had too much time dedicated to learning Ruby or JavaScript.  That little project is entitled Imagine Me.  I'm working with a small team as they develop the adventure platfomer puzzler for the Nintendo Wii U. :)  My job is both administration and community management.  I've set up a little website at and have connected all of our social networking apps to the site (Twitter: @ImagineMeGame, facebook: KinifiGames, Google+: ImagineMe, and Instagram: kinifigames).  To manage all these social outlets, I am using Buffer.  It allows me to use custom scheduling, multiple accounts, and give other team members access to post things as well!

Our team is kinda small so the game designer and I are also the support desk.  We are chose to use ZenDesk and it is pretty much amazing.

As for learning/coding, I'm almost exclusively back to JavaScript.  I have been using treehouse and c<>deschool.  So far, I have preferred c<>deschool, but that may change.  I'll keep ya posted!  I also have a couple of awesome books, but more on those later.  For now, enjoy this awesome tip from c<>deschool:

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Live Coding

Well, I just finished my very first live code challenge. It was... not what I expected.  I'm sort of disappointed.   I've worked through a lot of problems online recently and one of them happened to be almost identical to the one I did for my code challenge.  I really wanted to see how I've been progressing with learning Ruby, so I kind of have mixed emotions.  I'm excited I knew what to do (think I knew what to do), but disappointed it wasn't a challenge.  Blessing in disguise?? I'm just a whiny girl??  Both??

Now that I have that off my chest, I'm looking for help.  I want to challenge myself.  I'm past the "Intro" and "Beginner" classes.  What online programs do you recommend that really push you as a developer??
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Sunday, September 8, 2013


The past week has been a lot more reading than grinding through lessons.  I've been working through the book Eloquent Ruby.  I absolutely love it!  Eloquent Ruby, by Russ Olsen, is by no means a textbook.  It is written with a "casual conversation" tone, but also very applicable (application ready?).  I'm just starting Part II and can't wait to hone my concepts of  "Classes, Modules, and Blocks."  What is wonderful is the code is available on GitHub and I can practice while I read.  It is a very useful companion and I cannot recommend it more!

Once I'm done with Part II, I'll be caught up to my place in RubyMonk and then start working on the Metaprogramming lessons online (RubyMonk) as well as reading the chapters in the book.   I already have my sights set on the next title Design Patterns in Ruby.  What books have been of use to you while learning a new language??

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Raising, Exception, Rescue

Although I took a week off, don't think I'm done with Ruby!  I'm continuing on the RubyMonk: Ascent book.  As of late I've been learning about exceptions, how to raise them, and begin - rescue - end.  These are easy to learn but difficult for me to put into a concept.  Thankfully, I've also been using the book Beginning Ruby by Peter Cooper.*  At first, the style of the book was a bit clutzy compared to Codecademy or RubyMonk, but I've really appreciated using it as a reference for times like these when the concepts seem a bit more abstract than what I am accustomed to.  What are your favorite references?

Photo Credit: RubyMonk: Ascent

*Cooper, P. (2009). Beginning Ruby: From novice to professional. New York: Apress.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Projects in Ruby

Hello!  Thought I had forgotten about ya?  Not even!  I'm really excited to say I've finished my Prep Work for AppAcademy!  While I took a short break from the RubyMonk: Ascent book, I've started that back up today and will now be working through the additional Ruby projects on the JumpstartLabs website as well!

Finishing the Prep Work, has really boost my confidence.  It can get pretty grim when I'm working on a problem and nothing seems to be going right.  Often times, the dragon voice of doubt whispers in, "Did you really think you understood this stuff??"  My trusty armor of confidence and my sword of achievements fights of the fiend and my attitude is back up in the clouds where it should be!

Next up: MicroBlogger - A second introductory Ruby tutorial building a rudimentary Twitter client
Brought to you by JumpstartLabs!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Like Pig Latin and Street Lights

Well everyone I finally finished some Test Driven Development exercises tonight.  I did 14 in total.  They were not in any particular "challenge level" order but that may be depended on what areas I (vs you) consider challenging.  The challenges I was using are publicly available on GitHub from user alexch.

There was one exercise, in particular, that really had me stumped.  I knew how I wanted to do it but for some reason just couldn't get there!  Tonight, with my hubby sleeping in the next room, I really went at it.  I think for the first time I felt comfortable using RSpec.  I used it as my primary testing area (instead of using Codecademy's console) and read each error message with a sort of new understanding.  RSpec was very, very helpful in helping me finish the challenge.

It might have been one of the easier ones for someone else, but for me, this one was the final climb.  I'm really excited to be done with them.  I will turn all of my focus to the RubyMonk: Ascent book I've been gushing about the past few days.

Off to sleep for me!

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Get it Set right

I must admit I am so much more a fan of the RubyMonk: Ascent book.  Its like they new exactly what I was struggling with before and added a little extra explanation for me.  I'm working on the last of my App Academy PrepWork problems today and it has been a huge help!

Another helpful tool, for me anyway, has been my "Lab Notebook".  Having been an academic prior, I am very much used to taking notes and recording my thought flow in pen and paper.  This has been an extra reference for me and a great resource in understanding which areas I may need to revisit.  If my notes are kinda vague I either a) have great command of the topic, or b) was not really focused during that bit of learning.  If I have a question on some Ruby topic, I always check my Lab Notebook first!  If I can refresh myself from there, great! that helps cement those thoughts into my brain. If not, its a great indicator I need to go back to the basics on that topic and really spend some time hashing it out.

For instance:  Getters and Setters.  These have been pretty abstract concepts for me until recently.  During one of my problems, I tried to reference my Lab Notebook and didn't find much help.  Thankfully, the RubyMonk: Ascent has a few extra lessons to help me out!  Now my Lab Notebook has extra pages on the topic! :)

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Will you walk with me, Grasshopper?

While I'm working on finishing up my Prep Work for the App Academy, I've started on the RubyMonk Primer: Ascent (the first Intermediate level).  I've found it very helpful as it re-iterates the last lesson in RubyMonk (I had previously commented it went too fast).  Its nice to go a bit deeper into the material.  One lesson in particular I have really appreciated is "Yield."  There is a great set of exercises and a useful summary of concepts.  I will definitely be more confident in my understanding of yield because of this lesson!!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Birthday Codes

Hello!  While I'm finishing up Ruby in 100 Minutes, I thought I'd take a second to say 'Thank you!' to the devs at Google who have rigged my google page to wish me a Happy Birthday!  Thank you so much for little moments like these that make my day!  Cheers, to some of the finest devs in the world!!

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Up and Running!!

As of today, I am up and running with all the tools available to me for using Ruby!!  I have my IRB working, SublimeText 3, GitHub, and GitHub for Windows all working together and running smoothly.  It did take a bit, as I had to revert to Ruby 1.9.3 due to a bug with Windows and Ruby. Its all working now though and I'm full speed ahead with my latest bit of homework Ruby in 100 Minutes.

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

End of Monk

Happy Saturday!! Well... sorta, I have to work most of today, but I'm getting a little coding in this morning.  This week I finished the RubyMonk lessons and problems.  A few reflections: i) RubyMonk is an excellent resource and was a great follow up to Codecademy.  ii) From my experience, RubyMonk taught me a lot more than Codecademy, but perhaps I would have felt that way done the reverse as well iii) The last two lessons in RubyMonk seem kind of rushed.  It's possible they were just topics I was not familiar with, but the I/O streams and File class lessons contained a ton of info and went too fast for my liking.  I will be review these topics on my own.

There is one real criticism I have though.  First, a note about myself - I'm an achievement whore.  This should put the following complaint in the proper light.  RubyMonk is stuck at 99% completion for me.  Its saying I haven't finished the reading on Lambdas.  I've gone over that lesson, the one before it, and the one after it like 10 times.  Why???  Someone from RubyMonk please fix that. It's like a twitch for me. :P

Next up "Ruby in 100 Minutes"...

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's a good day!

Today is a good day!  I've been working on the problem set for the RubyMonk Primer.  Now this might not seem like such a big deal to you, but I have been working on refactoring my solution before I hit 'Run.'  After I get a working solution, I've found it helpful to see the author's solution for two reasons i) it's usually better than mine, and ii) it's usually done in less words.  Something happened just a minute ago that took me by surprise.  I had the exact same solution as the author!!  *happy girl*  Not only does that boost my confidence and exemplify my understanding of the methods available, it means I'm beginning to think like a professional programmer! That is something to celebrate!  Here is the problem/solution:

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Monday, July 29, 2013

RubyMonk: More lessons in Ruby

Hello!  Good news!! I passed my code challenge!!  This was their response:
After reviewing your application, we think you might be a good fit. 
One thing we did notice from your coding test is that you may not have a lot of prior experience programming; many of the students we have accepted in the past did not. However, we would like you to complete some additional programming prepwork for us to review before we offer to accept you into the program.
That works for me!!  I'm working on the additional prep work now!  The RubyMonk primer is one thing on the list.  Its a great interactive website that I hadn't liked at first (hence the Codecademy track), but now really, really do!   I've reviewed lessons learned from Codecademy as well as learned some new things.  I am gaining confidence in my exercises.  That in and of it self has been a huge success.

I'm going to keep plugging away at the prep work.  My goal is to be done by Aug 15th. :) I'll keep ya posted! In the meantime, check out this snipet from RubyMonk:

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Friday, July 26, 2013


Well, I've done it. I completed the Ruby track on Codecademy.  I've completed over 500 lessons and successfully submitted my code challenge to AppAcademy.  Today I'm starting a track titled, "How to use APIs with Ruby."  From there I'll swing over to the HTML track and then back to JavaScript.  My schedule has been ridiculously crazy working two jobs.  Its been hard to put any real time into these courses but I've been determined to 'code every day' till I get this career going.  I feel like at some point I should look into the Codecademy Projects track, but I'm taking it one day at a time till I sort this new life out.  Lists, calendars, and schedules - Keep on Track!

Things to do:
  • Ruby & APIs
  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Projects (including some CSS!!)
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Out of Frustration...

This post is more about my normal life than coding.  Long story short, I have strep, suppose to work at 10, pharmacy doesn't open till 9, no number to reach work before "open", contagious for 24 hours.  I sent an electronic time off request to let them know.... not sure what else to do.
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cruising along!

Its been a few days since I've posted, but don't worry! I've been on track with my Ruby lessons!  I did miss one day (Friday) but otherwise I've been doing at least one exercise every day since the wedding!  I've really been plugging away at hashes and the methods associated with them.  Today is all about concise-ness. I'm learning how to utilize Ruby's options to get the same outcome with less code.  Ruby gives you the flexibility to get the same outcome multiple ways.  Its really nice!  Here's part of the latest "project" I had been working on.  Its a database to store your movies and their ratings!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013 it out

Hashing it out... get it? Hash?  Bad pun I know, but I *am* learning how to manipulate Hashes in Ruby! Oddly enough, or maybe not so much, the application of manipulating Hashes is creating a Histogram.  :D  Talk about trailing my old profession into my new!  It was a pleasant surprise and made it fun to learn!

 I really like the course for Ruby more than the course for JavaScript.  Ruby does a little less hand holding and a bit more iteration to really make sure you understand what you are doing.

Also, I've decided to keep a notebook too!  I've been in academia so long taking notes really does help me cement it into my brain.  My notes also make a great resource/reference for when I get stuck on something.  I'll apply this to JavaScript when I get back at it soon!

Working two jobs really does cut into my learning time, but I'm still determined to do at least one exercise every day.  I want to get this application done by the end of the week so.... wish me luck!!
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Back to Coding!

Had a bit of a break from the blog and coding as we wrapped up the wedding planning.  My lovely fiance and I were married on Saturday at a beautiful park right on the river.  The weather was perfect, the food great, and the friends and family amazing!  We are so lucky!! Now, back to Ruby!! :D
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Monday, July 8, 2013

The color Red

Saturday night I received my code challenge from App Academy!  It's not a JavaScript challenge and so I'll be setting aside JS for a couple days and learning a new language.  I'm not sure if I'm allow to say which language specifically ,  but let me just say the ts really weird to me! 
On a different note,  I'm still plugging away on my Codecademy lessons and really loving it!   I set a record for myself in number of points earned in one day.   The achievements bit of Codecadamey really keeps me going and I use it as incentive and motivation. The new job seems to be going well too! Which reminds me... Gotta run!

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Coding, Wedding, Coding, App Academy!!

My day has been a bit crazy!  I did some coding this morning, worked on some wedding stuff, did a bit more coding... tried to read my book but got distracted by some adorable kittens (they are sleeping now), and then went back to some more coding! :D Today I'm practicing more on inheritance.  Things are looking better :D I can do use the proper syntax without peeking at a previous lesson.  yeay!! As another surprise - today I applied for App Academy!!  I have been thinking about it for a while but finally went ahead and submitted an application today.  It is an awesome program with a great curriculum!!  Go check it out!!
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

An Instanceof learning ...see what I did there??

Hello!  Well today was mostly filled with wedding planning stuff, but I *did* manage to squeeze in some time to read my book (thanks again WonderS!!) and do a bit more on Codecademy.  Today I learned the JavaScript operator 'Instanceof '  The syntax goes:
object instanceof constructor
Basically it is used as a test to see if the object you have created is truly an instance of a prior constructor.  For example, if you had just made a constructor Car, and now you wanted to make a constructor electricCar you could use the notation:
ElectricCar.prototype = new Car ();
then you could use instanceof to test if ElectricCar had inherited all the atributes of Car.  :D  Pretty awesome, huh? Well that's all for me today! 
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Teachers and Tools

Over the weekend I was still really struggling with the Blackjack game.  I was soooo frustrated because 1) it was working and 2) I didn't know why.  What I *did* know was my lil variable "pleasework" was a necessity..
 and that without it my life was in ruins.

Enter a genius programmer, my friend Stu.  I emailed Stu Saturday morning with a plea for help.  Because he's basically Superman (only cool), he was at our house Saturday afternoon with all these mind-blowing TOOLS to help me work through my problem.  Let's just go ahead and say Stu = WonderS.  The first TOOL WonderS gave me was jsFiddle. Then, WonderS showed me how to use Chrome's debugger for JavaScript. THEN, WonderS checked to make sure I understood why everything that WAS working was good, and how to piece apart when things WERE NOT working.  We discovered a mishap in proof reading was the cause of all my misfortune:

After all the help, intro to a bit of theory, and buying me a book (he also lent me another), WonderS ate a bit of food and left to finish off his weekend.

Your's truly owes this man heaps in progressing/learning JavaScript.  This weekend I learned the value of a debugger.  Thank you, WonderS!

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Honest Methods

So, I have to be a bit honest, yesterday I showed you a snipet of code from the Coderbyte challenge I had been working on.  In truth it was because my Blackjack project on Codecademy was failing hardcore.  Unfortunately, even though it wasn't working the Codecademy website thought I had done it correctly and was giving me the green go ahead! I've boiled it down to I need to review methods in JavaScript.  I can get the whole thing to work using only variables but when I implement them as methods instead... it all falls apart.  Today, I'll continue to post until its solved!!
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Coding continued!

Its been a couple of days but I haven't given up! :D  I have a six day streak on Codecademy and have passed 7 JavaScript code challenges on the Coderbyte.  I'm also the newest CSA at BestBuy and am still picking up shifts at Buca.  Overall things are going great!  Here's a snipet of my most recent coding challenge:

I'm going to start HTML tomorrow and start working on my own stuff tonight!  We'll see how it goes!!
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

One down, fun to come! (Missed Post from 06/20/13)

Day One is over :) The first part was a bit rough as the weight of everything that had happened set in, but as the night went on, things started to get lighter, smoother, and yes, even fun!  Turns out I really am getting a fresh start!  Things are looking up and the little projects I've started are really getting going! We are going to be okay!

On a different note: Our son Soot (feline) is awfully confused by mommie's new schedule.  He doesn't know if he should take a nap, or play with mom, or both.  Here's a little video of the poor thing trying soooo hard not to fall asleep on my desk.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Starting fresh...

Well! There certainly have been quite a few changes in our household has of late!  In response, I'm starting fresh. No expectations. No pre-defined boundries. Just my love of life, Christopher, and our two beautiful kittens.  With so many new things bubbling in the pot, I've decided to start a real blog!  My will still continue as the constant photo stream of the on goings of life with kittens, but this will be more personal, more text entries, and more about the little projects that are brewing.  Hope you enjoy my self-disclosures, trials, and triumphs!
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