Setting up my local environment

I’m two weeks into a new position and i’ve set up my local environment: Two laughing Buddha statues sit under my 27 inch monitor whilst joyfully hoisting bowls over their heads. My chair is adjusted for a generous recline (slouching is good for you) and my desk situated mostly at a constant height ideal for typing.

I’ve located the coffee making materials and know where and when to be to ensure maximum caffeination in or immediately outside the office.

I’ve picked out a favorite coat hanger and have tried out and settled on the form of mild, but fleeting disappointment when it is taken in the mornings.

I’ve internalized, mostly, when its ok to blindly occupy a meeting room for tangential white-boarding or a bit of quiet seclusion.

I’ve decided which elevator is most auspicious of the six in the lobby and claim a small victory when I get to ride it.

I’ve gotten to know my coworkers warmly and quickly.

Oh, I also got production code to run locally on my work laptop, so that’s alright too.


Bullet Journaling – Going App Free to organize

I’ve tried a lot of different thought organizing tools over the past year. in order to get a better grasp on my time, projects, and recreation i’ve bounced from different idea to idea, but the Bullet Journal is by far the most effective method i’ve tried so far.

What is Bullet Journalling?

Its a journal system with rules for organizing three things: Tasks, Events, and Notes over time.

I haven’t spent enough time to wax poetic about all the nuances that make it better than every alternative out there, but I can safely say that there is a sense of accountability that follows with carrying around your organization bible.  Tasks are easy to reference and the at a glance summary of how I spent the previous month is incredibly satisfying.

As opposed to my google calendar, which is how i’ll need to allot my time based on my future obligations, these things aren’t necessarily more broadly important for me to remember, so referring back to it as a summary of how I spent my past month is relatively useless.  This is curated, and easily so because that cruft never gets introduced into the Journal in the first place.

This has not, and obviously cannot replace things like calendar events for work related items, but for less strictly time sensitive items and for personal, events, notes and goals its just the right amount of scaffolding to support it.

I’ve really enjoyed it.  Watch the video and if you decide to take the leap I recommend grabbing a grid ruled Moleskine notebook to get you up and running.

Testing http requests with VCR

Ruby Gem: VCR

VCR on Github

When working on Discuss-it the team found that testing our API http requests slowed down our testing in a big way and sometimes returned inconsistent results.  Since we didn’t want to test the reliability of our external dependencies VCR was the perfect tool to step in between our http request and our test.

What it does is create a ‘cassette’ file in your spec folder which records the first response to your http request and then on ‘replay’ when you rerun your tests it uses the cassette data instead.  If your tests are http request heavy you’ll be able to test how the requests are handled much more consistently with VCR.