It’s a little scary how much you can do with focused days of hacking.

After waking up early and revising some documents of understanding, I started working on a Ruby on Rails prototype for one of my projects so that I could get a better handle on how much time it would take me to implement the client’s requested features. When I decided to stop for dinner (or really, the cats decided for me), I found myself shaking – low temperatures, low blood sugar, perhaps both. Easily fixed, although I really should get back into the habit of walking around and nibbling on healthy snacks throughout the day.

I’ll look into making my regular breaks more intrusive so that I actually remember to take them. Ah, that’s right; fresh install of Linux, no Workrave set up yet. It’s hard to resist the pull of flow, but I need to if I’m going to develop other skills and enjoy life.

It’s so much fun to plunge back into fluency, though. I haven’t done Ruby on Rails since 2007. I skimmed a Rails book during one long commute and then hit the ground running. It’s easy to get back into the language, the platform. It helps that I do a lot of Emacs Lisp – lists and macros make me happy.

I’ve built some of the core features of the site, and I’m excited about the next components I’m going to work on. I should keep detailed task logs so that I can use that for estimates in the future. It’ll be useful. I’m tempted to adjust my current estimates downwards, but I shouldn’t – I need to leave space for things that might come up. (Or go down.)

What can I do to make tomorrow better? There’s a meeting, so that will be good non-coding time. I’ll try to stick to that take-a-quick-break-every-hour thing, too.

Extra time spent working is usually time pulled away from things I should also pay attention to, like my upcoming presentations, so I should block off more non-coding time tomorrow and this weekend. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I can walk to the bank and set up my investing TFSA. I’ve actually worked close to 40 hours already and it’s only Thursday, so I should probably scale back tomorrow.

Tempo’s still a little too fast. I’ll post this and tidy up. If I’m still buzzing after I tidy up, I might go to bed early. Or I might play the simplified Pachelbel’s Canon on the piano for a bit – that’s great for slowing down.

2011-02-10 Thu 19:07

  • Can anything be much more fun than a day’s worth of RoR?

    BTW: Do you run Linux as a VM? or native on the hardware? I shudder to think you’re ACTUALLY installing a fresh Linux nowadays (just for RoR) when you could spin up an AWS EC2 image with a click. IBM might even provide you with an allowance at the IBM cloud or Amazon Web Services. Honestly the last fresh Linux install I did was to rescue an old notebook – well – which was only last month come to think of it.

    Suggestions for a new list: What makes for good coding music?

    ‘Tis best to have a bar of twix or butterfinger for those low-blood-sugar panics.

  • Nudged by the Linux installfest at Lotusphere (I’d read about it but was too shy to drop in halfway through what looked like a full and busy meeting), I spruced up my dual-boot setup so that I felt like doing my work inside native Linux instead of in a VM. I’d done previous development work using a VM. It was okay, but there’s something about having all the proper tools at hand in a native Linux environment. Still, I need to think about whether I should stick with Linux or I should go back to my VM setup so that I can bring up Internet Explorer or share my screen using LotusLive in Firefox. Work requirements might nudge me back to my VM setup.

    Coding music: I don’t like coding to anything with words or fiddling about with earphones, so I usually code in silence. Instrumental music reduces both verbal interference as well as the risk of absentmindedly humming or singing along. If I need to block out distracting sounds, I head for classical music, and I tend to loop over the same album so that I don’t have to think about it.

    Quick fixes for blood sugar: I prefer Kashi energy bars over chocolate or candy bars. They’re a little more expensive, but the effects stick with me longer and don’t result in a sugar buzz.

  • I can totally relate to native Linux vs VM. Since going native, I find I hardly ever go back to my Windows OS – since I can mount it and get all the files anyway. Even so, I hope you get to try the Amazon EC2 Cloud. It will change the way you think… I shall be moving my websites to the cloud this month. Right now, I’m in the midst of tweaking an image to my liking.

    BTW: did W know he married someone who, underneath her calm exterior, likely sports a blue and red spandex with a big S emblazoned across the front? (and a nice sized red cape?).