Showing posts from June, 2015

Learning Rails (So Far)

I've started learning how to use Ruby on Rails for development. I've touched on using Rails before, but I didn't get very far. I'm using the Ruby on Rails Tutorial book as my guide. I'm using the second edition (because I bought it a little while ago), and it is based on Rails 3. Now that Rails 4 is out, doing a gem install rails pulls down that latest version, Rails 4. I could specify a version, but from what I read, the differences between 3 and 4 are fairly minimal for the scope I am dealing with.

I ran through the first demo, which is basically installing and running Rails, both locally and on a remote host. This was fairly straightforward on the local side:

gem install rails
rails new first_app && cd first_app
rails server

The book recommends using Heroku as a remote deploy target, but I already have a web server (on a shared host) that supports Rails, so I wanted to use that again. The shared host provides a simple GUI through cPanel to create Rails inst…

Periscope + Live Coding?

Could Periscope be a great new platform for live coding? Periscope allows users to quickly and simply broadcast anything they want to the world, and this makes it a great platform for experimentation in different forms of use. Live coding could be a great application for the service, allowing for near-instant feedback and interaction.

There would be some challenges to this. Periscope only works on smartphones, and does not allow screen sharing (as far as I know). This means that live coding wouldn't actually involve seeing any code, which would in some ways defeat the purpose. To ameliorate this, a second stream of the screen could be set up on another service, or the code could simply be made available after the fact with a detailed commit history.

On the other hand, Periscope reaches a wide audience, and is very simple to set up and use. The low ceremony means very little distraction from productivity. There are few hassles with the software. A single person doesn't have to …

Trying Out FreeBSD

I've used Linux as my main driver for several years now. I've been quite happy with it, as it does so much to make my life easier. But like so many things in life, sometimes it's best to see if the grass is greener on another side of a fence. Hearing so much about it from Allan Jude on TechSNAP and BSD Now, I decided to give FreeBSD a whirl. I tried it first in a VM, then later installed it to an old laptop to really test out how well it worked.

My goal was to get a full-fledged desktop system up an running, preferably comparable to my Linux system. I knew this was possible given what I had seen and heard. FreeBSD is a UNIX-derived system that looks a lot like Linux. Many of the same programs will run on both, and so it won't "feel" too different. I tried both FreeBSD proper and the desktop spin, PC-BSD, in a VM to get a feel for each. In the past, I had tried to play around with NetBSD, with little success, but I didn't let that experience cloud my opini…