App Academy Diary, Week Five

"Getting Down to Business"Monday 14 October 2013— I'll confess that I didn't have a productive weekend at all. No excuses; I just got distracted. You could argue (I won't, but you can) that it's perfectly healthy and fine to take some well-earned relaxation on one's days off, but even relaxation is something that can be done better or worse: hours of the latest ephemeral internet amusements are probably much less rejuvenating than hours of ... I don't know, some sort of activity that doesn't involve sitting in front of a monitor?—I presume such things still exist even if I can't remember them anymore.

Still no deal in the BART contract talks; I took an evening train and slept at the office last night because we didn't know whether there would be trains in the morning. As it turns out, there were, but there likely won't be tomorrow. A moment of amusement is provided by imagining what kind of vicious and histrionic things a frustrated commuter might say if they were angry ("Curse the unions! Curse anyone who won't curse the unions! Curse anyone who won't put a light in their window and sit up all night cursing the unions! Let management fire them and hire scabs! Let hackers insert their names into the public sex-offender registry!" &c.), but in truth, I ain't even mad. (This is in accordance with policy; even if we were to suppose that I somehow knew how the labor dispute should ("should") be resolved, it would still be a waste of cognition to think about it unless we were also to suppose that people care what I think—and that's ridiculous.)

Today we did solo work on an application to keep track of musical artists and their associated albums and tracks, in the process gaining some more practice with authentication and learning about ActionMailer.

Tomorrow there's an assessment scheduled, and I really ought to have taken the time on the weekend to go through the posted practice-assessment, because I looked at it this evening, and somehow getting the specs to pass is much more difficult than I would have imagined. I may have a slight attitude problem: I tend to hold the entire idea of "studying for a test" in contempt (for surely we should study exactly the things that are worth knowing, tests merely being a instrumentally useful device for measuring what we have retained), but this is probably an error of modeling myself as having more agency than I actually have. All principles and rhetoric aside, we can predict that if I had studied for the test last week, then I wouldn't have forgotten the HAVING clause, but I didn't, so I did.

And that's terrible.

My Friend CircleTuesday 15 October 2013— I got all the specs to pass on the assessment with time to spare. Today's designated project was Friend Circle (!), a Google+ish thing where users can put other users in circles and share posts with them. I was scheduled to pair with Jeff Rosen, but apparently he was ill, and so I worked alone after lunch. The instructions described a somewhat ambitious project; I only got as far as letting users create circles and will have to catch up later. Associations are actually really powerful! Still no BART settlement ... and no strike, either; I decided to come home tonight, the allure of a shower and bed and privacy outweighing the travel uncertainty. Tomorrow we're going to make a very simple clone of some of the functionality of Rails itself (following up on our earlier very simple clone of some of the functionality of ActiveRecord). I guess I'll call it ... Ruby on Wires?

Thursday 17 October 2013— Writing Ruby on Wires yesterday (albeit building off the supplied skeleton) was really fun; I hooked it up to SedentaryRecord and started a blog engine ("blog engine"—well, okay, so you fill out a form and it adds your content to a page) that actually works, without Rails! Today I worked with Ben Hass again on a Reddit-like thing with RSpec tests (and FactoryGirl and Faker to construct test objects). Near the end, under Ben's leadership, we used JavaScript and jQuery to get comment forms to appear on the page in response to a user clicking "Reply", but didn't have time to actually get the comment submission to work. The trains are really going away tomorrow; perhaps I'll be able to join an ad hoc carpool at the station?

Sunday 20 October 2013— On Friday I got to the city in one the buses chartered by BART management. A television reporter asked me what I thought of the strike. I said that I didn't have anything interesting to say. She asked if I supported the strike. No, I said, then added that I think it's a waste of cognition to have opinions about things you don't have any control over.

I doubt that they used that clip.

Friday's focus was integration testing; I paired with the other Zach (Westlake). Things mostly went pretty well, but there was a frustrating period near the end of the day when we were reduced to fighting our own test framework.

One thought on “App Academy Diary, Week Five

  1. Love it! I find this amusing and insiteful .
    I like the part about not raging at the strikers. I'm pretty mad at them, and yet you transcended your angry. Sweet.

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