Ruby on Rails – installation

I decided to take the plunge and shell out the $10 for a $200 Udemy class.  It has a lot of good ratings and I think it will be a good way to get to learn more about Ruby on Rails.  There are over 40 hours of video instructions and I’ve been able to follow along quite easily with them so far.  I’ve found that I’ve been watching a lot of TV recently and decided that I should probably cut back a bit or at least multitask and learn something with the extra time.  So Rails it is.  

My main goal is write a web app that will allow me to keep track of my Singles Tennis Ladder in a cleaner nicer way.  I think that should be pretty doable.  Another project I could work on is an attendance program for school (which we surprisingly don’t currently have).

The first thing I had to do was update my version of Ruby and Rails (and Homebrew) but after some googling, I was able to do it pretty easily.  I did have a slight hiccup with Homebrew. I kept getting an error that I didn’t have permission to write to /usr/local/, but after uninstalling and reinstalling, that took care of the issue.  I finally got it installed on my local machine and I’m ready to start learning some Rails!

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Rainbow is her favorite color

If you know anything about my girl, she loves unicorns, slime, and rainbows.  She has declared rainbow her favorite color  .  Her brother, being the loving brother that he is, got her a rainbow craft for Christmas.  He was determined to get her a box of crayons and a canvas so that they could make a piece of art together.  We all finished it together last night and it came out great!  Good job, Paco! 

It was really fun to see how excited both the kids were to find gifts for others and how much joy it brought them to give those presents to others.  I felt like this was truly the first year they both got the importance of thinking of others not always being interested in receiving, but instead giving!

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Ruby on Rails

I’ve always been interested in coding and try to teach myself different languages at different times.  I’ve dabbled in Ruby a while ago, but don’t remember a ton.  But I want to get better and would like to write a web app for our Tennis Singles Ladder (which is currently running using a Google Sheet).  It works for what we need it for, but I thought it would be nice to convert it to something a little bit shinier (and a project for me to build while learning a language).  But to start, I need a short refresher course.  So I googled the best ways to learn Ruby.  I’m going to keep some sites referenced here but also will try to write down some of what I’m learning.

Ruby Warrior is a cool little game that has increasingly difficult levels that require you to write code to have your knight work his way through a dungeon.  If you’ve never learned any coding or Ruby, this probably isn’t the place to start as there really isn’t any teaching.  I’ve been able to fumble my way through the first six levels so far with just a bit of youtube help.  If anything it is learning through watching other people succeed and copying what they are doing.  Not sure if it will be super helpful with my end goal, but it is a fun way to remember certain aspects of Ruby.

Other sites to eventually check out:
Udemy – offering $200 courses for $10 this week
The Odin Project
Thoughtbot – Upcase – recommended by my brother

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Gaming Profile

As you probably know, I enjoy board games.  I own an unhealthy amount of games (more than I can play), but whenever someone wants to play a board game, I’m interested.  So when I came across this survey, my brain’s synapses fired.   Board games plus data?  Yes, please.  I didn’t necessarily find out a lot about myself that I didn’t know, but it was interesting to see it graphed.

My Gaming Profile

My game profile told me that I like low conflict, grounded, and independent games.  I didn’t think I prefer as much social manipulation as the chart showed, but I’m usually a non-confrontational sort of person so the low conflict made sense to me.  The really interesting thing was after answering the questionnaire and then entering the last 3 games I enjoyed playing, it recommended 10 games for me to play.  Out of the 10 chosen, I own 6 (and enjoy them), my brother owns 1 (and it is one of my favorites), I’ve played and enjoyed another one but don’t normally have enough people to play with, and the last 2 I’ve been interested in getting.   Not bad, game recommendation machine!  🙂

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Clear Glue? Easy!

bottle of glue with glue dot

When I was a kid, I used to put a drop of Elmer’s glue on my desk and let it slowly spread into a perfect circle to dry.  The translucent rubbery circle was fun to pull and stretch until it wore out, which didn’t take too long.  I’d then put out a bunch more drops, some bigger, some smaller, guessing how long the different sizes would take before they’d be ready for play.

Nowadays, Translucent Glue Dots aren’t the rage they used to be.   We now live in the Slime Era.  Rainbow slime.  Water slime.  Butter slime.  Sparkle slime.  There are more kinds of slimes then colors of crayons.  The key to slime is good ‘ole Elmer’s glue.  Now if you want to make clear slime, you can’t use regular Elmer’s glue.  You have to get clear Elmer’s glue.  Hold on, what?!?!  I had no idea there was such a thing as clear Elmer’s glue!

Since my wife is such a good mom, she happened to buy a gallon of the clear stuff for Bug for Christmas.  To keep Bug from randomly finding it in the house, she kept it in the trunk of our brand new car.   And being the good aunt that she is, she also happened to find a balance bike for her niece and nephew who are learning to ride.  This too was stored in the trunk as we are planning on seeing them soon.  Let’s just skip ahead to the inevitable phone call.

Me: Hello?

Wife: Hi.  So… I bought Bug some glue.  And I bought a balance bike.  And I kept them both in the trunk.  Long story short, I was driving around and when I went to put groceries in the trunk, the glue had somehow popped open and it is all over the trunk.  Good news, it is the clear kind.  Bad news, over half of it poured out.

Me: Wow.

Wife: Any ideas of how to get it out of the trunk?

Me: Nope.

Wife: Alright.  Well, I’m going to be working on that until you get home.

Me: Okay, see you soon!

We spent a lot of time getting the glue out of the trunk that afternoon/night, but by the end it looked brand new.  Just in case you ever run into the same situation yourself, the secret is to scrape up the glue using a credit card and then to wash the trunk out with soapy water.  If you were curious, scraping 3/4 of a gallon of glue, one credit card at a time, takes a while…

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I can respect that.

Another day in the life of a middle school…

It’s the end of the school year and everyone’s ready for the last day of school to be behind us.  We can imagine the sun on our faces and the sand in our toes, yet we are still required to be at school.  The students are expected to adhere to the rules set in place hundreds of days ago. We are expected to enforce said rules.  Neither of us want to do our part.

The following conversation was overheard today in the detention room:

Mr. Chewning noticed another teacher walking towards the dining hall.  “If you see Billy over there, please tell him he has four minutes to be in detention.”

“Will do.”

— Four minutes later —

Billy breathlessly skids into the room announcing, “I completely forgot!”

“Since you were in the dining hall during the first part of the lunch break, can I assume you’ve already eaten?” Mr. Chewning questioned.

“Some.  I had an ice-cream sandwich” Billy replied.

A random 6th grader was dropping off an assignment in the room and couldn’t help interjecting as he left,  “Dessert before lunch; I can respect that.”

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Whisper May starts on Cinco De Mayo

In our Pre-Algebra class, Mrs. Wilson and I could all tell that our students were getting a little restless nearing the end of the year and the noise level of our very active class was getting a little too loud for our liking.  We encourage our students to work together, and because they are all at different places since it is self-paced, it can get a bit noisy.

So we looked at each other and decided we were just going to whisper for the rest of the day.  I’m not really sure who started it, but once we made up our minds, we just kept feeding off of each other.  Just to keep things straight, italicized and gray is whispered…

“Can I get a little help with number 3 on this sheet?” Johnny said.

“Why are you yelling at me?!?!” Mrs. Wilson whispers, ears covered in pain.

“What do you mean?  I’m not yelling…” Johnny retorts in confusion.

“Yes you are,” I chime in, in my quietest voice I can muster without laughing. “Steve, do you know why Johnny is yelling? He’s SO LOUD!”

Amazingly, Steve caught on right away.  “I don’t know.  He’s kind of hurting my ears.  Do you think he could talk quieter?”

“So… why are we whispering?” Johnny finally gives in.

“Because it is Whisper May.  None of your other teachers are celebrating Whisper May month?” Mrs. Wilson questions.

“No, because it isn’t a thing.  If it were Whisper May, why didn’t we start on May 1st?  Today is May 5th…” Johnny isn’t buying it.  But he is whispering…

“Well, Whisper May isn’t really a full month, but it would be awkward to call it Whisper-twenty-three-days-in-May…  It starts on Cinco De Mayo and ends on the 28th.” I love coming up with random untrue facts on the fly.

“Oh. But why from the 5th to the 28th?”

“I don’t know.  That’s just how it is,” I respond.

Slowly but surely, the entire class is whispering instead of talking.  Since we start our class out with a moment of silence to get them quiet and focused, it isn’t hard to move from silence to whispering.  Now let’s see if we can actually make it all the way to May 28th.  It really surprised us that we didn’t really have to tell all the students that they needed to start whispering.  We just convinced a few students and then everyone ended up whispering.  We have to get it started again each day, but other than that, it’s been relatively easy to maintain.

I’m pretty next year is Year of the Whisper in the Chinese Zodiac…


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My Most Important Apps

chromeI just got a new Mac and found myself missing a few vital programs when I first fired it up.  If you are new to Macs or if you are looking for a few helpful programs, here are the first few I installed.

Chrome (free) – Safari seems to be getting better and better (and perhaps now it is even a better option than Google Chrome, but I still prefer Chrome as my browser of choice.  In any case, it is good to have a few browser options in case a site isn’t working on one of them for some reason.

1password1Password ($50/free trial) – Many people don’t use a password manager. Many people don’t use seatbelts.
Yes they do!  Everyone wears seatbelts now.  It’s not like it was in the old days… (I have a crazy old-man voice in my head.  I call him Clarence.)
Are you sure?
Yes sirree.  Seatbelts.  Everywhere. It’s madness.
Cool.  I guess people got the message.  I guess they are all using password managers now too, huh?
Why in tarnations would you need a password manager? I just have one password that I use for everything so I can remember it.  My memory isn’t what it used to be…
Well, there are a few reasons why it is good to have a password manager, and I use 1Password (watch the video – it’s succinct) .  There are a ton of similar products, but 1Password was the one I settled on; I really like what it can do.  It is expensive, but it does a good job and for the convenience, it is worth it to me.

hazelHazel ($29/free 14 day trial) – I was surprised how much I enjoy having this app installed.  It automatically files, organizes, and keeps your computer clean.  The main idea is you set up rules for the app to follow and every few minutes, it checks to run the rules.  It’s hard to understand without experiencing it, so download it for free for 2 weeks and see what I mean.  One of the rules I use is: look in the Downloads folder.  If a file is older than 1 week old, move it to the trash. I figure that if it was important enough, I would have moved it to a specific folder outside of the Downloads folder within a week.  The rest of the stuff is just taking up space, so I delete it to get rid of it.  I also have a rule to empty the trash once a month, a few different rules to help keep my Google Drive folder organized, and one to clean up (and organize) my desktop (I’m talking to you driveicons-all-over-your-desktop person).

Google Drive (free) – Since St. Christopher’s School is a Google Apps for Education school, I get 1 TB of storage.  And since I get 1 TB of storage, I use it as my backup solution.

evernoteEvernote (free) – I find that as I’m surfing around the internet, I run across articles and sites that I’d like to keep for future reference. I also can take notes from my phone or computer that will sync with each other. Evernote is great because you can tag your notes, sites, and articles.  If you’re one of those people who like to use search terms, Evernote is made for you. If you take a picture of your handwritten notes (and you aren’t too messy), it can even search any words in those notes for later abporganization.

Adblock Plus – I get tired of seeing unwanted ads on all my websites. Adblock Plus does a good job of getting rid of them.

If you have any apps I should keep an eye out for on a Mac, feel free to comment!




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