MyChores news

MyChores seems to be growing quite rapidly at the moment. I think it is receiving a bit of quiet promotion all around the internet. I was delighted when i saw it casually mentioned on familieswithpurpose.com:

… or try using an online chore organizer like MyChores to help get you organized.

Just like it’s one of those sites that people should be aware of. :)

We got to 1000 members 3 weeks ago, and have added another 100 since then. This is starting to look a bit like exponential growth, and i wonder how i will be able to handle it. Already i am getting a lot more contact messages, questions and suggestions coming from the site, plus an offer to translate the site into Portuguese! It’s very exciting but i feel i haven’t enough time to work on MyChores to do everything that i want to do, and that other people want me to do.

At the same time, i am painfully aware that the code is really badly written … for goodness sake, i had no idea what i was doing when i wrote it. I had no formal Rails training; i just picked things up as i went along. If it worked, it was good enough for me! Now i’m learning Rails properly, from people who really know it, i’m picking up all sorts of tips: “Controllers should be dumb!” … “Tell, don’t ask!” … “Encapsulation!” … “Avoid train wreck!” … “Story, spec, code!” … “Red, green, refactor!” … and i realise all the mistakes i have made with coding MyChores.

Oh well, Shea Bliss is looking like it’s nearly finished, and then i should be able to dedicate some time to making MyChores really robust and optimized. I am looking forward to it but i am sort of dreading it too, because ideally i need to write an entire test suite before i start refactoring anything, which will take a lot of time and effort, whilst the lovely people who use MyChores are still waiting for the changes they have asked for which would make it just perfect for them …!

I’m scared i could get out of my depth pretty soon.

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Work going very well

I feel i have settled in extremely well at my first week of my new job. I love the people, the environment, the work we do … it’s fun and enjoyable, challenging, inspiring, makes me feel worthwhile. Most of the week i have been learning and paring with others, watching what they do, asking questions and making suggestions. Today we switched around and i was doing the typing, with help from one of the others.

They are very opinionated about how to do things – what works and what doesn’t. We follow test-driven development rigidly: before we start any task we write a story about it. We run the story to see that it fails which means we need to write code. But before we do we write specs for the code. We run those to see them fail, then we write just enough code to make it pass. We keep iterating in small steps until we have it working, then we go back to the story which tells us what is to be done next. It sounds long-winded but it really works well. I am embarrassed at how haphazardly i wrote the code for MyChores … but i didn’t know any better! MyChores is going to become so much more reliable, i can tell!

The other great thing is we are using Git and, now that i understand the power of branching, merging and rebasing, i realise what an awesome tool it is to use! It’s so exciting when we’re all working on the same project, Git allows us some very fast simultaneous development … and gitk makes it very exciting to be able to visualise what is going on! :)

Anyway, this is not interesting for the vast majority of my readers, so i will stop now!! Instead i will give you some pictures!

Here is a nice picture i took of the poppy fields near where i work. I love the accidental over-exposure of the sky!

Views of Winchester

This evening, inspired by the iMacs we use at work, i made a Leopard-style wallpaper!

Leopard-style explosion wallpaper

Good, good. That’s all for now. I’m going to go watch someone get evicted from Big Brother! :)

I got the job!

Resumo: Mi kaptis la laboron de Rubeno sur Reloj por kiu mi aplikis sabaton! Mi apenaŭ ne povas atendi por komenci!

Dear readers … i am going to be a full-time Ruby on Rails web programmer! This is just so incredible … it has felt perfect from the start, and i’m so delighted that it has worked out for me!

What’s really exciting is how much Twitter was involved. This really is Job Hunting 2.0. Less than 2 weeks ago i made this tweet, which began the process of changing my life. I was befriended by this person who writes this blog and it was from there that i followed a link and got searching for Ruby on Rails jobs in Hampshire. The rest sounds somewhat like a Craig David song:

I applied for the job on Saturday, sent my CV on Sunday, had an interview on Tuesday, accepted the position on Thursday!

All along the way Twitter has been useful for me … for asking questions and receiving support and advice. Sometimes life just really works out extremely well. I feel incredibly blessed. I have also been doing a bit of NLP and positive affirmations for myself recently, and i am quite sure that it played a part in helping all this to fall into place so perfectly!

It’s great because i know that MyChores is going to benefit from this. I will be learning Ruby properly, rather than just making it up as i go along. No doubt i will learn code optimisation strategies and i will understand some of the more complex techniques which have baffled me so far. I will also be writing tests using Behaviour Driven Development and RSpec – so i look forward to applying the same ideals to MyChores too. I checked that MyChores remains my own. I’m not about to hand it over to anybody! I am still perfectly welcome to continue working on it in my spare time.

The company i will work for is very small and intimate (i will bring the team up to 5) … the office is a wooden chalet on a farm, surrounded by fields. It could not be more ideal! Since i first read the job description i knew this was the job for me. Not that my current job is bad; it just doesn’t inspire me much. I have always had the idea that i should LOVE my job – and i am convinced that this new job is going to be ever so rewarding! So now it’s just a question of how soon i can leave my current job and start my profession of passion!!!

More glory for OpenID

Resumo: OpenID ofertas unuobla ensaluto por multoblaj TTT-ejoj. Mia TTT-ejo – MyChores – nun havas elektilo por pli faciligi OpenID.

As everyone knows i am a huge fan of OpenID, so i was delighted to discover that JanRain have launched another fantastic product, called ID Selector, which makes it easier than ever to login using OpenID.

It was very easy to incorporate the DHTML plugin into MyChores, and i made a little video to show how it works.

I have even been Twittered!

Weekend news

Resumo: Mi parolas pri mia semajnfino – agrabla kombinaĵo de plezuro, muziko, programado kaj hejmtaskoj.

I have had quite a productive and enjoyable weekend. On Friday night we went to the Railway Inn, a local pub well-known for live music. We saw The Autons play there, who were very good and we got a nice chat with them afterwards! I guess we are Autons groupies now! :) We also managed to blag a free copy of the single! Actually there was no blagging involved … the CD was eagerly thrust upon us!!

I decided to give Shabbat a miss this week, and spent most of Saturday working on updates to MyChores. I’m really pleased with what i’ve done. I’ve upgraded to Rails 2.0.2 which includes some security improvements, plus i implemented Globalize and enabled a switch to American English, and i made good use of the Google Chart API to get some quite stunning, auto-updating charts.

I am definitely intending to make the whole of MyChores translatable, and give people the option to translate into their language if they wish. I’m going to go first with an Esperanto translation, to make sure that it is possible, and because i fancy the practice, and because i love to tell the world about Esperanto!

The charts make a huge difference. I am always amazed at how the same data can be presented in a different way and convey a lot more meaning. For example, this is my chart of household tasks that i’ve done today:

Household tasks 82%

14 out of 17 tasks = 82% done

We didn’t have the pie chart before, but but i find it so helpful, and also very motivating. I hope other people like it too. Also a simple graph of the tasks i have done in the last 4 weeks:

Tasks completed in the last 28 days

It honestly took me by surprise to feed in the numbers and see the chart come out! Clearly i do most of my tasks on Sundays, but i didn’t realise there was such a consistent pattern to it! :)

Oh yes, here’s one final example of what Google Charts can do:

People by location

Total number of people: 874

Nice, hey? :) I’m very pleased i discovered it.

Working on Shabbat!

I have had a busy morning sorting out the remaining problems on MyChores. I had some code changes to do for the OpenID functionality to be compatible with the new version of ruby-openid. I’m glad i’ve got it out of the way because i would have had to do it before we can move up to Rails version 2 (which should be soon, but not just yet – i’ll let things settle down a bit first!).

So it has been a busy stressful Shabbat for me, but i would have found it entirely more stressful to leave it alone and continue worrying all day. I did manage a trip out to the library, and bought some more wool and a circular needle, so i’m going to sign off now and enjoy the rest of the Shabbat in peaceful knitful bliss! :)

Flash player on Debian 64-bit

Two bits of good news. Firstly, MyChores is finally back up and running, to my great relief. We lost data, but people are being very lovely and just reassuring me they are happy it is back.

Secondly, i just installed Flash player! I have been without it since i re-installed my computer a couple of weeks ago and it decided to become 64-bit! But a little bit of Internet-poking revealed these instructions which worked a beauty!

Continue reading

Anyone know Microsoft Project?

I have been tasked to write an application to lift data out of a Microsoft Project database. I am finding it really hard to understand the schema. I downloaded some diagrams and documentation from Microsoft, but i am still very confused.

It doesn’t help that i am super-distracted by MyChores being unavailable all this time. I have moved past anger into intense disappointment and sorrow now. I trusted HostingRails and they have let me down. I have found a place to write a slating review, but i am first waiting to see if William replies to an email. I am trying to be reasonable.

Major grrr

Where do you go to give feedback on web hosting companies?

I am rapidly losing my patience with HostingRails. MyChores is still not responding after all this time. Sure, they had some hardware problems, but why is it taking so long to restore? How come this blog is back but they still can’t get Rails up and running? Why were they not prepared for this sort of situation?

I have been using HostingRails for 162 days. So far the downtime has been 30 hours. By my calculations that breaks their 99.9% uptime promise quite significantly – i make it 99.2%. I paid a lot of money for a service that i thought i could trust because i realised that reliability is extremely important to the people who use MyChores. I feel very angry.

Please somebody tell me … am i overreacting or is my anger justified? I really can’t tell at the moment.

Wow, my blog is back!

Did you miss me?!

I am very upset about this downtime of more than 24 hours – not about my blog being down, but MyChores site itself which people have come to trust and rely upon. It’s still not back yet. :( I have written about what went wrong on the MyChores Journal … can’t be bothered to go through it all again here now.

Well, at least the blogs came back – that’s something. But as i suspected, i have lost data. They say that one backup restore failed so they have gone to a different one. Bad HostingRails, very bad. You’d think they would have alternative servers prepared and ready to go; you don’t expect more than 24 hours downtime from a company that boasts 99.9% uptime. Let’s hope MyChores is at least back up and running soon.