Lots of stuff has been going on over the past week or so in the Land of Andrew™ so I’ll try and sum it all up in a quick and painless read.
Five USB sticks purchased
Flashmeme is still alive and well in my brain, I now have the first set of 1GB USB sticks to send out and a plan for the site. I’m currently working out what to put on the sticks before I send them on their way, I then have a few days to code the site before they arrive at their destinations.. I like a challenge!
Watched IT Crowd Season 2 being filmed
Yep, I managed to bag some tickets to see the filming of an episode of The IT Crowd for the second seasons in Pinewood Studios. That was certainly the highlight of my month, the whole experience was awesome, plus I managed to get a few sneaky shots past the security guard! We also got interviewed on camera, so might even be on the DVD extra’s!
My Macbook has died
After a couple weeks of painful crashes, kernal panics, and multiple reinstalls the Macbook has finally given up the ghost. I’m pretty sure that the hard drive has gone but it’s still under warranty so I’m going to take it to see it’s maker, or at least an official apple reseller.
It’s a pretty crippling thing, losing a laptop. I’ve been living on it for the past 7 months and have become quite accustom to never being more than a few meters away from instant internet access and my multi-media hub as well.
I did a full backup to my Mac Mini before the HDD went down so no problems there but the lack of portability and internet access (still without internet at home) has been crippling me, I even pondered buying a second one but I think that may be a little extreme!
Got some new books
Transcending CSS, Don’t Make Me Think, Extreme Programming Pocket Guide and The Start-Up Survival Guide. So far so good, I’m liking all four of them especially Transcending CSS from Andy Clark.
Mike’s Gone to Canada
My great friend mike has moved to Toronto for a year on some kind of exchange thing, it looks really cool and wish him the best of luck. Plus it gives me a great excuse to go on holiday to North America in a couple months.. Look out USA!
Tickets taken offline
I’ve had to take tickets down for the time being, I had some troubles getting the Apache virtual host configuration working correctly, hopefully it will be back up in a week or two with some improvements and tweaks. Thanks to everyone who tried it out and left me feedback.
And Ryan still not finished step one of “Getting Ryan on Rails” so no step to just yet, so you know who to nag if your waiting for part 2!
There is also another PizzaOnRails tomorrow (tuesday) it would be great to meet up with some fellow Rails Ninjas if you in the London area.
I may have some more interesting news in the next couple days too, but I can’t say anything just yet… *wink*
On wednesday I went to the Future of Web Design conference in Kensington. Had a great time and really enjoyed myself, plus I feel like I learnt a surprising amount considering it was just people on a stage talking at the crowd for hours on end!
Andy Clarks talk was definitely my favorite and really made me feel more confident about the way I’ve been thinking about web design and development. The whole experience was very enlightening in a number of ways:
- I feel I understand what makes a good speech and a good speaker at these kinds of shows now, you can’t feed professional designers and developers buzzwords and marketing fluff and expect them to respect you, but if you reach out to them, give them something useful or insightful then you will be admired much more.
- The conference also helped me to understand what direction I’m heading in with my work, I’m certainly not a graphic artist, and the more I think about it and talk to people the more I feel like I’m becoming a developer, or at least moving into a spot in the middle between the arty designers and the hardcore programmers.
- If your going to go to one of these conferences then go with a friend or colleague. I went on my own to this one and felt quite alone most of the day, I’m notoriously shy as well and find it very hard to introduce myself to new people so I struggled to make any new friends or contacts.
But saying that I’d definitely go again, Ryan put on a great show and was really friendly too plus the location was excellent along with free wifi (from Microsoft) and plugs all over the place for juicing up those macbooks. Some more comfy chairs would have been nicer tho!
So I finally got a rails app up and running on the internet, Tickets thus paving the way from big, better things.
Tickets is a little site made a few weeks ago to track all the little thoughts, bugs and features I think of whilst working on other websites, kinda like a personal twitter.
I was running it locally on my system when I needed it but I thought it would be useful to have it online and get some feedback, plus the learning experience of deploy a rails app was worth the work alone.
Please note it’s not exactly fully tested and doesn’t come with any guarantee that your data will always be there, but saying that I’m happy for you guys to have a poke around and let me know what you think.
The beta signup password is: abcd12345
I’d love to get some feedback on it, and if you find any bugs or typos that would be good too but remember that it’s really only for testing at the moment and could go down or break at any time!
Edit: Ok something’s gone a little bit wrong there! Signup is broken at the moment, most like a server config issue, I’m working on fixing it now but it might not be fixed until tomorrow.
Edit 2: I think I’ve sorted it, can someone let me know if you can signup that would be great.
I’ve been yammering away about how good rails in over the past few weeks (and months) and even helped a few people get started with it, the other day my friend Ryan asked me to help him get into it, so I thought I’d share my advice with everyone.
So here goes, my guide to getting into rails from scratch.. I’m going to try and keep it simple to begin with, there are a lot of tutorials out there already but I found some really basic things kept tripping me up as the writers glossed over it. I might forget or ignore or even over simplify things sometimes, but when your getting started I’m sure it’s not huge issue.
The first thing to do is get ruby, rails and mysql installed on your computer, this is a platform dependent step, so follow the tutorial link for your specific OS:
- Mac OS X - This tutorial by Hive Logic is by far the best way to set up everything on your mac, but if you are feeling lazy or not quite sure if you are going to like it try Locomotive but you’ll still need MySQL for your database.
- Windows - There is an awesome tutorial on All About Ruby will tell you everything you need to get windows on rails, alternatively you can grab InstantRails and you don’t have to install anything, in a similar to Locomotive.
- Linux - This tutorial should sort you out when it comes to Ubuntu, and this one for Fedora, I don’t think there is an equivalent to Locomotive on Linux but you might be able to run InstantRails under Wine
So now that you’ve got everything set up it’s time to get started:
These commands are based on using Mac OS X which both Ryan and I are using, the windows commands may be slightly different.
First up we get rails to generate the shell of our application, open up your terminal and enter the code below, you can do it from anywhere in the file system but your home folder is a good idea.
$ rails my_app
That’s the magic one, a load of files and folders have been created in my_app, again you should use the name of your application in place of my_app.
Let’s now change into our newly created directory:
$ cd my_app
Next we’ll can check if everything is working properly by firing up the websever:
This will start up the webrick server (or mongrel or lighttpd depending on what you installed) now open up your web browser of choice and got to http://localhost:3000 and you should see this:
Hopefully everyone got that, it’s the default index page for a rails application and means that the server is running properly, now that we’ve got those things out of the way we can get started on the fun stuff.
Next time: Setting up your database, using migrations and scaffolding.
I never used to think much of weekends, just seemed like any other day but for the past few weeks I’ve been longing for the weekend. I think I overload myself a little during the week, working during the day and then coming home to program and learn more stuff by night, the weekend has become my time to switch off and slow down, preparing for the week ahead.
I do feel kinda guilty that I’m not working or making things over the weekend sometimes but I’m starting to come round to the notion that having a break every so often is actually good for you and improves your performance when you do start working again.
Any how, it’s darn lovely weather at the moment and I’ve taken to reading in the garden of a sunday afternoon. My reading material of choice comprises of development, business and economic books, see I can’t stop cramming stuff into my brain, even when I’m relaxing!
I’m starting to run low on reading material again (only bought 5 books last month) and I’ve been thinking about what I need to get next and who better to ask than you faithful readers!
- A nice flash book, with Apollo out and some other interesting movements in desktop and offline website frameworks I figure that flash has got to be good to have under my belt, even if I’m only going to use it to make annoying banner ads that make stupid noises!
- And a book on general web development, something that briefly covers all the many topics that you run into when involved in web development, from marketing to bug tracking to business models, if there is such a book?
- Failing that a good Unix book to get my teeth into.
I’m not really after any tutorial links or articles on website, for one thing I find it really hard to read books on a monitor and I’m after something a little more indepth, but if you do have any especially good ones send ‘em my way.