Conversational Overhead

A woman of wisdom once told me to heed Paul Graham's advice to notice the things you can't say and then don't say them, which stance I'm updating slightly towards, because even when you're only making a perfectly reasonable point along the lines of Policy debates should not appear one-sided; I don't think that your Argument A actually supports Policy X (although I agree that X could be desireable for reasons independent of A) and everyone is charitable and no one bites, there's still a huge amount of emotional overhead incurred just by being in the conversation at all, because even when and you and your interlocutors are honest, you almost never have common knowledge of that honesty, so your interlocutors aren't necessarily sure that you're not just disagreeing with A out of secret enmity towards X, and you're not sure that they're sure that you're not, all of which drama is a drain on mental energy that could otherwise have been allocated to entirely grown-up concerns like JavaScript and money.

App Academy Diary, Week Nine

Sunday 17 November 2013— This was the last week of App Academy's regular course content; the next cohort starts Monday and my cohort will begin the three-week "post-course" mostly focused on interview practice, applying for jobs, &c. I got Superscription into a non-embarassing state: I made the feed-fetching happen as a scheduled task, added guest users, introduced the ability to mark entries as having been read, made an attractive click-and-drag category selector, &c. I still want to—at the very least—implement infinite-scroll pagination (fetching all the unread entries from the start can be very slow if there are a lot of them) and rewrite the category selector's terrible, terrible code. On Friday a lot of my class went to the San Francisco Startup Job Fair at noon, and we also had our demo day at the office at three. I think I made an okay showing? But thanks for reading.

You Can't Spell X Without Y

Why is it considered rude to reschedule an event after you've already sent out the invitations? Why do people stubbornly rejecting a compromise tend to do so in a polite and kindly manner? Why did you name your car Rainbow Dash? Speculative answers to these and other questions might be found in the following list of observations.

You can't spell alliteratively without literati.
You can't spell announcement without cement.
You can't spell apprenticeship without entice.
You can't spell chemotherapy without mother.
You can't spell eponymous without pony.
You can't spell compassion without compass.
You can't spell literate without iterate.
You can't spell disappointingly without tingly.
You can't spell disapproving without roving.
You can't spell disconcerting without sconce.
You can't spell discontinuance without nuance.
You can't spell ill-naturedness without redness.
You can't spell illustrative without strati.
You can't spell intransigently without gently.
You can't spell resolute without solute.
You can't spell oversuspicious without versus.
You can't spell precedent without recede.
You can't spell vindictive without indict.

World's Best

"We need some sort of slogan to go on our advertisements. Any ideas?"

"How about 'World's Best Widgets'?"


"Too cliché?"

"Not ambitious enough."

"Not ambitious enough?! How so?"

"Think about it! What use is it to have the best widget in today's world, if someone might just invent a better widget tomorrow? And who would be content to have the best widget in our universe, past, present, and future, when still better widgets might have existed if things had gone differently? No! I want all our potential customers to know that we make the best widgets in all possible worlds!"

App Academy Diary, Week Eight

Tuesday 5 Novembmer 2013— Yesterday was our last pair-programming project; I worked with Ben Watts on a little chat server in Node using WebSockets. I felt like perhaps there was something regrettable about shoving so much functionality into a big callback, but maybe that's just the nature of JavaScript, and not really regrettable at all? On Sunday I started my RSS-aggregator capstone project, now called Superscription.

superscription_entity-relationship-diagramThursday 7 Novembmer 2013— I guess Superscription is going okay. Here's how it works. You can sign up and sign in and stuff. (I used Devise for this rather than rolling my own.) There are forms for adding a category or a subscription URL. When you add a URL, stuff happens which depends on stuff. More specifically, if you enter a URL which the system has never seen before, then a new Subscription model (which accepts_nested_attributes_for an associated UserSubscription join model) is created, and it requests the feed from the URL you supplied and tries to parse the XML using Nokogiri. If that doesn't work, it suggests that maybe you got the URL wrong, but if it does work, then it makes a bunch of Entry objects for all the stories in the feed, saves everything, and redirects you to your subscription index page. But if the system has already seen your URL before (presumably from another user with similar reading tastes), then it doesn't wastefully fetch all that data again: it just makes a new UserSubscription that points to you and your Category and the Subscription that it already has. It's efficient! Then when you click the "Read!" button (which is non-hideously positioned thanks to nearly an hour of fighting the CSS), all your news is organized by category under Bootstrap tabs. And on the subscription index page, when you click the little trash can next to a subscription, then it does the cool jQuery fade-out thing and sends an Ajax request telling the server to destroy that UserSubscription.

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