Author Archives: Skud

A couple of interviews

I’ve recently been interviewed by a couple of different blogs, and thought I should link them here: The Ada Initiative blog interviewed me about Growstuff, pair programming, and social justice. They’re having a fundraising campaign to support their work with women in open technology and culture, by the way, and if you care about those things you should definitely donate. Maciej from Pinboard interviewed me for the Pinboard blog, also about Growstuff, which (as you may recall) he funded to the tune of $37 back Continue reading →

Start your commit message with a verb

I’ve been pair programming with a lot of different people, with a variety of skill levels, on Growstuff over the last year. One thing I’ve noticed is that some people freeze up when it comes to writing a commit message. They type “git commit” and then sit there for a minute going “uhhhh”. I understand this. It’s hard to convert maybe an hour’s hard work in code into a short sentence of English. How do you compress such complex ideas? How do you even make Continue reading →

Clicky Analytics with Mediawiki

This is one of those posts I’m making for the benefit of anyone who googles, wondering whether there’s a Mediawiki extension to integrate Clicky Analytics. As of right now, there’s not, but there is a good explanation of how you can put some custom code in your LocalSettings.php to integrate any analytics stuff that you like. Here’s a generic version that will work for any analytics system, hopefully cut-and-pasteable. It works fine on my Mediawiki install right now (version 1.20.x) but is not guaranteed for Continue reading →

The problem with doing one thing well

You’ve probably heard the tech startup aphorism “do one thing well”, or a variant on it. “Don’t try to do too many things”. “Focus.” Whatever. I’m not very good at following it, as is pretty apparent from what I’m working on. Growstuff has several things it’s trying to do (crops database, garden journal, seed sharing, community building), all interlinked. Every so often someone points me at a website that does just one thing of the set of things we’re trying to do. For instance, the Continue reading →

A realisation about working for myself

One of the best things about leading my own project has been not having to pretend I’m some sort of shit hot programmer. It’s nice to be able to to say “argh, that’s too hard, fuck it” or “I have no idea how this works” without worrying about my performance review. Of course, I also like to claim that I’m providing a visible example that it’s okay not to be perfect or know everything, to help make it less scary for our newer contributors. But Continue reading →

Travels: SFO for the weekend, PDX for Open Source Bridge

Hey, I am massively disorganised this week, but I figured I should probably mention that I’m going to be travelling and would like to catch up with people. Saturday 15th to Monday 17th June, I will be in San Francisco, mostly in the Castro/Mission/ish area. Social activities planned so far include: Saturday afternoon: hanging out on Liz Henry’s patio in Bernal Heights, with laptops and snacks and generally socialising. Likely to be a hackerish/feminist crowd. If you know Liz and where she lives, just show Continue reading →

Meetups, redux

Me: “Hey, housemate, do I want to go to the local technology group’s monthly hack night tonight? They posted about it to the mailing list but didn’t mention the time, the facilities available, or whether there’d be food, but I managed to figure out the location by looking at older mailing list posts, and I’m guessing it might be at 6pm, the same time they hold their meetups. There’s no information about it on their website.” Housemate: “What’s the best case and worst case scenarios?” Continue reading →

Thankfulness

A while ago I realised I was starting to get ridiculously cranky and negative about things, so I’ve been trying to turn that around a bit. Lately whenever I catch myself feeling shitty about stuff, I mentally list three things to be thankful for. I try not to repeat stuff (at least not too close together), and I try to think the full sentence, “I’m thankful for…” for each thing, rather than just making a quick list. It seems to be helping so far. So Continue reading →

Rails controller specs: matching on redirect URLs

Yet another thing I figured out painstakingly, by finding random bits of documentation in places other than the documentation, because apparently that’s how Rails rolls. Here’s my situation. I have a controller spec like this: describe "GET checkout" do it "redirects to Paypal" do member = FactoryGirl.create(:member) sign_in member order = Order.create!(:member_id => member.id) get :checkout, {:id => order.to_param} response.should redirect_to "http://paypal.com/..." end end Basically I want to check that when someone checks out, they get sent to Paypal. Easy peasy, right? The thing is, Continue reading →