I poked around and learned something new

Story of our lives ūüôā

I’ve been fiddling around trying to figure out git, which so far isn’t as complicated as I thought it was going to be–but I haven’t really done anything difficult with it yet. However, I did fix the crummy job I did of putting my tinypapers code on GitHub. My previous versioning system was done with directories rather than git, and while it worked okay for what I was doing, I really should know how to use git.

Anyway, I haven’t changed the name of the GitHub repo (although I did delete it and reconstruct it), so any links on the blog should still work. For your convenience, though, it’s here¬†if you want to poke around and see what I was doing or if you’re learning Kivy and want some example code. I still haven’t specified licensing because I’m not sure what to do with it and don’t feel like reading up on what license I’d put on it. If someone here wants to use what I wrote as part of something else, tell me in the comments. I don’t think it’s worth much to other people as it is right now, though.

Valuable to me, though. Looks like it’s still teaching me things ūüôā

Oh, by the way–I had been trying to use the GUI application for GitHub before. It’s actually a pain, don’t bother with it. Using the command line is a lot simpler and cleaner.

I want to write up my activity plan for the Linux thing but my uterus is throwing its monthly temper tantrum and I’m not feeling the greatest. Tomorrow should be better. Here, have some nightcore.

I think I’m going to rewatch Death Note and knit.

Find me on GitHub!

Hey, look, it’s my 50th post! That’s great, because I’ve got something extra special for you tonight ūüėÄ

Since tinypapers¬†is something that’s already been done¬†by Evernote, I figure we should at least make the best use of the code I wrote that we can, and the best way I know to do that is to let you see it. So… find me on GitHub!

I haven’t decided on licensing and am not going to get to that tonight, but go ahead and poke around.

Click Robotocat here to go right to tinypapers’s repository. I did my versioning outside GitHub as I wasn’t sure if you could use GH for versioning without publishing the code, so my different versions are just in different folders because that’s how I kept them before. I know¬†GitHub usually does it differently but I don’t have time tonight.


I didn’t make that image, by the way. It’s from GitHub’s Octodex, which is adorable and you should look at it.

Have fun!


Welp. I guess this won’t be much of a dev weekend like I was thinking it’d be. My folks and I are running across a couple different states to get a puppy, and the plans changed at kind of the last minute and we’re spending the entire weekend out of town.

It’s beautiful here in Wisconsin. The country around here looks like the kind of wallpaper that comes pre-loaded on computers: misty green forests, sunsets over rivers dotted with tiny islands, big limestone cliffs with little caves in them. There are giant rolling hills, outcroppings of land covered in trees, and big swaths of farmland and pasture with corn and cows. From a picture you’d think it was Sweden or Germany or something.

Fortunately, it isn’t Sweden, so we aren’t freezing to death. But there are a ton of bugs. During the latter part of the drive up to where we’re staying for the night, there was an ongoing discussion: is it raining, or is that pattering noise just all the bugs that are hitting the car? It was the bugs. “A lot of fish¬†flies” just doesn’t cut the descriptive mustard. On top of that, my dad had forgotten to put windshield washer fluid in the wipers. Attempting to wipe the windshield… wasn’t pretty. I was glad I wasn’t driving just then.

I still feel disappointed about missing my tinypapers deadline, though. Because that’s almost certainly going to happen. I don’t have much of an opportunity right now to do the dev work that would push it over the boundary into giving it a quantum of utility. Ultimately I shouldn’t have left it so long. I’m not sure it was entirely my choice, though.

This new job is frustrating on a few different levels. I’m not going to go into much detail except that lots of things are obsolete, nothing is well documented, and they didn’t actually need a programmer because the entire job seems to be¬†data entry. For various reasons, it’s an emotionally exhausting job.

I don’t mean it’s exhausting because it’s hard. I mean because it’s easy. I can hack and hack and hack for hours on end; working eight hours straight on a program and only stopping to eat at my desk is fine, even if things don’t want to behave. But I have a hard time sitting around and doing simple, brainless, repetitive stuff. It’s like being back in high school, except the people here are way nicer. I keep expecting them to be nasty or gossipy towards¬†me, but they’re awesome. If I have a question or even just look confused, they’ll drop what they’re doing to help. I brought in three¬†dozen¬†donuts earlier today, enough for the whole workplace, and I think every one of them dropped into the office end of the building or stopped me in the break room to say thank you.

So, it’s definitely not the worst job I could have, by any means. And it only lasts a few months. But it’s killing my brain! It drains my energy and then I go home and consider: tinypapers? And then: ugh, no, sleep. Or: nope, nope, need to clean my room or something. But while I’m at work, I have two desires: 1) Whitey’s ice cream, and 2) to be working on tinypapers.

(3, to have the program I’m working with actually function, doesn’t come into play; I know it’s not going to happen without either my fussing and fiddling and being frustrated for thirty minutes before finally fixing it, or failing that, my supervisor coming in and clicking on things until it somehow ends up working. I don’t know how he knows what to do because there isn’t much for documentation on the program and it’s pretty useless–and I’m a wizard at making weird programs do what I want, so it’s not that I have low standards for this sort of thing. But, well… given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow.)

Yet when I get home, the desire to work on tinypapers vanishes. (For whatever reason, so does the craving for Whitey’s. No, I have no idea.) And then I just want to do some dumb Internet things and then go to bed.¬†It’s not an effect of home, because I was perfectly productive on tinypapers before.

I was aware this job would take up time. I was also aware it would take up energy; however, I didn’t think it was going to take up this much energy. I think it’s getting better on that front, so maybe I’m adjusting and my dev speed will go back to being about proportional to the the time I’m spending on tinypapers.

I have no idea how school is going to work on top of this. It’s gonna be crazy.

I don’t want to set tinypapers aside in order to “adjust” to school and work. I want to see progress. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet transcended human limitations like energy level, stress level, and the effects of motivation.

I’m inclined to be harsh on myself regarding this sort of thing. I don’t like to make excuses as to why I’m not making progress, because I’ve been thinking of tinypapers as a startup, and startups won’t take excuses later so I shouldn’t start now. However, if you quit your day job and leave college to work on your startup, those are two big time- and energy-sinks out of your life. And humans have physical and biological/psychological limits on their time and energy (respectively). So where do you draw the line? Where is an excuse for not producing (to a self-set standard) valid, and where is it BS?

I would work on tinypapers even if it had no chance of becoming what I think of as a “real” startup: defined as one where you work on it (and its related chores) full-time, and where it probably has funding. I would work on it even if the only option were for me to distribute it freely as open-source. It’s working on solving a problem I personally face and want solved. But I wonder if I’d pressure myself to work on it as much if I only thought of it as a project and not a startup. Would it lag? Would it become stagnant?

Hmm. I don’t think so. I’ve spent about a quarter¬†of my life so far with a novel constantly under construction, and they didn’t lag much unless I was totally out of ideas or was into something else (like when I switched to programming). But they weren’t always fast. I didn’t always prioritize them. And I was quite certain no one was writing the same stories I was (at least not in the same way), so it wasn’t like I was developing quickly in order to be the first to market or anything.

I don’t think it can be applied to programming projects you want to make into startups. I’m going to just have to keep reminding myself not to be so hard on me, and keep prioritizing my time hacking away when I can. I guess that’s all I can do.

I think I’ve got JSON down, at least partway

I understand it better now and I have my file structure mapped out. (I’m glad my gut told me to write down the plans. I had two or three outlines in my head, and only one still looked good when I could see it on paper. You don’t always have to do planning like this, but trust your brain if it says something’s off.)

I haven’t programmed things in yet, but I’m not lost any more either. It shouldn’t be too much work to hack this thing together. Getting it to actually work may be another story. (Or not. Hard to say.)

After storage, I need to get the camera working (if I can using just my laptop), and if¬†the planets align and I miraculously have time before my artificial little time-to-start-releasing date (the 24th), I’ll also try to put in a crude¬†backup system. And if the planets align¬†and I get the blessing of the Pope or whatever, I might even get to put the colors back. :3

I’m not sure how long it takes to release an app onto Google Play. My guess is: way shorter than it is on iPhone. I’m really glad I have an Android phone. (The Galaxy S3 is still a really good phone. It has served me well for like a year and a half. It’s like my MacBook: slightly older, but still attractive, well-designed, and useful.)

Speaking of my MacBook, I got it a hard¬†case: this one. It’s kind of like the one on my phone, but not as flexible. I like it so far! It’s not too bulky, it’s a pretty color, it’s nice to the touch, and it covers the missing foot pads on the bottom. The silicone keypad cover is not much of an adjustment, typing-wise,¬†but will keep the keys shielded from spills and cat hair. Lots of win for $12 (probably a little more in shipping if you don’t have Prime). Note: if you get the red, one of the reviews says the Apple logo glows pink. If you don’t like pink, avoid that color. I wholeheartedly recommend the royal blue, though.

I have to go to work tomorrow. I’m debating what to do before going to bed. See, I kinda want to make progress on tinypapers and program that method in… but if I do, it’ll probably keep me awake¬†thinking about it when I go to bed. I could curl up and mindlessly reread Ender’s Game or Eragon*, but then I’d be thinking about the fact that I’m not making progress on tinypapers. I could actually go to bed now at a reasonable time, but I tried that on Saturday and it¬†messed my sleep schedule up. So… it looks like I’ll be thinking about tinypapers no matter what.

Screw it. I’m going back to hacking.


*It’s totally Star Wars with dragons. Some people think this counts against it.

It gets increasingly dull after the first book, though… I never made it all the way through the third but have read the first like seven times.

This is lovely and I want to share it

I ran across this JSON tutorial that I think is going to be really helpful. (Yes, I’m still messing with JSON.)


It looks like the site has a bunch of other useful tutorials and stuff. Definitely worth a bookmark if you’re learning Python. I don’t see a Gittip button, so hopefully I can pay the writer in a little well-deserved publicity.

Happy hacking!

This is exhausting.

For the past week I’ve come home from my new job exhausted. I don’t really know why. It’s not even full time. It just saps the energy out of me. Being able to earn a few hundred dollars a week is great, but I make more wealth sitting at my desk with my MacBook, wearing jeans and a T-shirt and no bra, rather than sitting in an office with a Win7 machine, wearing–well, technically, I can wear casual stuff there too, but I don’t get taken as seriously if I’m not in slacks and there’s no way on Earth I’m leaving the house braless. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I’m also going to school.

Yesterday (Saturday), I sat in front of my computer for three hours, trying to hack tinypapers. You know how many lines of code I wrote?¬†Five.¬†I couldn’t focus. I was too tired.

So, at 9:30 PM, I went to bed intending to get up at 12:30 (after two sleep cycles) and wake up at my natural working time. I didn’t set my phone alarm right, though, and when I woke up it was to the work alarm I’d forgotten to turn off… at 7:30 AM.

I’m off phase so badly that I’m still exhausted anyway. I’m thinking of going back to bed even now. I really want to hack, but I’m half asleep as I type.

I’m also lost as to how to set up this JSON store; I’m thinking of maybe just storing stuff in files and being done with it. I’m going to have to move to Redis later anyway; I just want it to work for now. I’m still pushing myself to have a working alpha before school starts.

But it’s hard to fight my brain, which–right now–is saying to sleep.

Just a quickie update: I fixed that bug!

Yep, my ListView updates correctly now; it’s not an iteration behind any more. I don’t know if it was just that the computer maybe just needed the processing time to add the new entry to the list, but a little confirmation page with a button did the trick. (And I kind of like how it looks.)

It’s nice when things work the first time around, isn’t it?

Now to start storing data. I don’t have a server (*makes puppy dog eyes at Y Combinator*), so I think I’ll start with just JSON and move to redis when I have online space for it.

I don’t know anything about servers. I wonder if I could find a cofounder who does, or if this is going to be Yet Another Thing Rebekah’s Learning. (It probably will be either way; the question is how much it’s going to slow me down.)

But anyway, once I get the storage and the camera down, I’m going to try to launch my prototype by registering it on the Play store and putting it on my actual phone to try out!

It’s really tempting to say, “But it’ll just take a little bit longer to fill in the rest of the categories and put all the colors back, and maybe¬†put in cropping and compression and backups and on and on…” — but the startup wisdom I read is that if an internet troll wouldn’t make fun of what you released, you released too late.

Tomorrow is my last day before I start work. I’d better make use of it.

Hey–wouldn’t it be cool if I not only made my 2-week timeline, but got this finished tomorrow (Sunday) thus getting it done in¬†one week? That’d be so awesome. And then what if I got the other categories and the colors and the cropping and compression and backups all done before school starts? That’s two more weeks. Maybe I could even get that done in one, too.

Stretch goals! ūüėÄ