Sunday, 31 August 2014


 class String
   def gollumize 
     self.pluralize + "es" 

=> "pocketses"

...just because :D

Monday, 25 August 2014

Life at 38

When I was 5 I liked to do jigsaw puzzles upside down (to make it harder) and blow bubbles off the balcony -- watching them drift over the street. I liked to walk to school by myself (one block) and learn Origami from the lady in the flats behind us.

When I was 7 I wished on every star that I could have a baby sister. When I was 8, I got one.

When I was 10 I liked to explore the backways of Oyster Bay, picking flowers to make perfume (which smelled terrible). I played fantasy make-believe games with my cousins - involving magic and unicorns, where we saved the world.

When I was 12 I got another sister.... I stopped wishing. :)

When I was 13 I liked to play make-believe with my sisters and all the younger cousins. Gordy and I plotted adventures for us all, in-amongst the bamboo.

When I was 15 I liked to climb up on the roof and watch the clouds drift by. I liked to ride my bike home from school and play LARP in the park across the road.

When I was 17 I liked to swim in the backyard pool, drifting underwater with my hair floating loose around me. I liked to frantically scribble in my diary and day-dream about movies; making up adventure stories or inserting myself as a character in my favourites.

When I was 20 I loved the freedom of being independent, waking up in my own flat to the sound of Cockatoos in the pine-trees. I liked being free to wake up in the afternoon and go for a walk in the twilight, or in the quiet time after the curfew painted the streets with night. I liked staying up all night, having coffee with friends, as television got progressively more idiotic. As the sky began to warm with first light - I went out again. I liked feeling the expectant hush of the cool dawn, then retiring before the hustle woke up.

When I was 22 I loved my writing diary - pouring out my heart or playing with words, crafting new worlds on a page. I liked learning new things -- drifting from subject to subject. I liked psychology, programming and the occult. I loved my cats. I liked it that I got married and was somebody's wife. I liked meditating with my husband -- humming toneful chords without meaning. I liked learning martial arts with him.

When I was 24 I loved my garden. I spent days drifting through it and tending to the plants. I liked picking silver-beet and herbs and cooking up a meal that I'd taken from seed to table. I liked shopping at Bunnings for fruit trees. I liked spending Saturday nights with the Druids, singing, meditating, drinking mead and telling stories. Then the morning-afters, skinny-dipping in the wading-pool as the sun climbed the sky.

When I was 26 I moved interstate by myself, to see the Big City. I liked exploring the back-areas of Chatswood in search of great food. I loved hacking together brilliant solutions for colleagues desperately late on their projects. I liked rock-climbing with my work-mates and playing network games in the training room until late at night. I wrote a dictionary of elvish (quenya).

When I was 28 I loved freedom. The freedom to choose my own time, to choose what to learn, to work on my own projects. I liked smiling at my young class-mates who complained about the work - knowing this was easy compared with Real Work. I liked the meditation of archery. I liked spending my time reading while sipping coffee, or eating noodles at the local hole-in-the-wall. I liked long walks in the evening, scoping out my local territory.

When I was 30 I liked building my own small business, knowing I owned it and I could achieve whatever I wanted. I liked learning medieval crafts alongside eager students, and feasting with friends in a medieval campsite. I liked reading books, sipping coffee after a good workout at the gym. I liked watching myself learn how to walk again.

When I was 32 I enjoyed being a senior developer, being at the top of my form as well as earning high pay. I enjoyed choosing my first major investments in shares and buying my first property. I loved planning what to do with my life, and choosing to gather interesting experiences around me - New Zealand, the Northern Territory, Thailand. I learned photography, spanish and investing. I watched a *lot* of DVDs.

When I was 34 I moved internationally by myself. I loved exploring in a new country: visiting ancient ruins and watching Shakespeare at the Globe. I enjoyed getting better at photography, meeting new people and seeing new places. I built my own startup with friends. I enjoyed my morning coffee at the local in Windsor, and walking past a castle on my way to work in the morning. I loved pottering around in my allotment late into the long, english summer nights.

When I was 36 I loved getting about europe in my first car; learning French, and then eating my way around the French countryside. I enjoyed picking fresh fruit/veg from my allotment and making blackberry pie. I loved the lazy schedule allowed by working from home, and lazy Sunday afternoons drinking velvety latte with a Cranberry-and-orange muffin at my local cafe in Windsor, in view of the castle.

When I was 38 I loved being in the thick of things in the medieval group - I was president of the NSW branch (200 paid members, 10 direct and 8 indirect reports). I helped coordinate others who were running feasts and balls and camps and craft classes. I taught a class of newbies to build websites in Rails in 12 intense-but-rewarding full-time weeks. I enjoyed dinners with my cousins, and weekends going to the markets with them and then spending the day cooking preserves, jams and soups to feast upon in the weeks to come.

This post began as an exercise: "for every five years, write what you enjoyed doing". It helps you find out what you most enjoy - and how your tastes change over time. I also like to do it to remind me of the good things in life - which can be so easy to forget sometimes.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

STOP YELLING! or how to validate a field isn't in ALLCAPS

TuShare lets people give away things they no longer need. It turns out that some people think that putting their headings in ALLCAPS will get more attention... but we think it just annoys people (nobody likes to BE YELLED AT!). Here's a quick snippet that lets you validate that your users aren't YELLING AT YOU! in any given field.

1) create a custom validator in app/validators/not_allcaps_validator.rb with the following code:

# we don't want our users YELLING AT US!
class NotAllcapsValidator < ActiveModel::EachValidator
  def validate_each(record, attribute, value)
    if value.present? && (value.upcase == value)
      record.errors[attribute] << (options[:message] || ""is in ALLCAPS. Please don't YELL AT US (we're sensitive types). Instead, just use normal sentence case. I promise we'll still hear you from over here. :)")

2) use it in your model like this:

   validate :name, :description, :not_allcaps => true

3) Add a custom matcher for rspec:

# validates that this field has the "not_allcaps" validator
RSpec::Matchers.define :validate_not_allcaps do |attribute|
  match_for_should do
    match do |model|
      model.send("#{attribute}=", "AN ALLCAPS VALUE")
      !model.valid? && model.errors.has_key?(attribute)
    failure_message_for_should do |model|
      "#{model.class} should validate that #{attribute.inspect} cannot accept ALLCAPS VALUES"
    failure_message_for_should_not do |model|
      "#{model.class} should validate that #{attribute.inspect} can accept ALLCAPS VALUES"

4) test each field in your model specs with:

    it { should validate_not_allcaps(:name) }
    it { should validate_not_allcaps(:description) }

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Link: Why I am leaving the best job I ever had

an awesome post by Max Schireson to remind us of our priorities in life: Why I am leaving the best job I ever had

"Earlier this summer, Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, whether she could balance the demands of being a mom and being a CEO. The Atlantic asked similar questions of PepsiCo’s female CEO Indra Nooyi. As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO..."

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Link: Guidelines for growing a stable codebase

"Software projects need to evolve over time, but they also need to avoid collapsing under their own weight. This balancing act is something that most programmers understand, but it is often hard to communicate its importance to nontechnical stakeholders. Because of this disconnect, many projects operate under the false assumption that they must stagnate in order to stabilize.
"This fundamental misconception about how to maintain a stable codebase has some disastrous effects: it causes risk-averse organizations to produce stale software that quickly becomes irrelevant, while risk-seeking organizations ship buggy code in order to rush features out the door faster than their competitors. In either case, the people who depend on the software produced by these teams give up something they shouldn't have to."

Guidelines for growing a stable codebase covers six useful techniques for keeping your codebase stable while it increases in size. Well worth a read.

Friday, 1 August 2014

10K on Stack Overflow


This morning I finally got the 10k moderator tools privilege on StackOverflow. You can see it here: Taryn East on Stack Overflow

Pardon me while I blow my horn for a moment, but it's taken me nearly five years to get here...