Travis Herrick

I like to build things

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Mars can change quite a bit in a mere 100 years

This blog post is about John Carter of Mars.

This blog post is actually about two men named John Carter of Mars, and they are very different men, and one of them is over a hundred years old.

I spent last night watching the first two thirds or of DIsney’s John Carter of Mars. I made the classic mistake of reading the book first.

This isn’t really going to be a long rant about how the book is better than the movie, because they are different things. Watching the movie, I can tell it is a labor of love. John Carter is from Edgar Rice Burroughs 1912 book a princes of mars, which is awesome, and then a hundred years later Disney gave us a movie after almost 80 years of trying, and the movie is awesome, as inevitable as comparisons between the two are.

The movie is awesome, and I am going to talk about that, and it made a very grave error, and I will talk about that as well.

The movie was...

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Free Money Hack: Coinbase just got funding and is giving away money

Hey I’m Travis, and a friend referred me to a really great deal which I want to share with all of you.

Long story short: Coinbase, the world’s leading bitcoin company, recently raised $75 million in a major funding round. To celebrate, they’re offering anyone who refers a new user that buys $101 or more in bitcoin a whopping $75 referral bonus. You can read full details here.

This is one of largest referral bonuses ever offered, period. When you buy $101 in Bitcoin, Coinbase charges you a $1 transaction fee. In return, they pay out $75 to the referring user as a thank you. You could then even immediately cash out that $100 in bitcoin back to real US dollars if you wanted to – though we are personally huge fans of Coinbase and bitcoin, and recommend keeping that $100 in bitcoin. In any case, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out this is a net positive transaction!


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Grandma’s Boy

You know how some movies try to be serious, and are so bad, they’re good? Normally So Bad It’s Good movies are serious drama driven or genre films that slide in comedy because the execution is so poor, the actors are too hammy, and so on. This is why it’s rare to get a so bad, it’s good comedy, because when comedies are bad, it’s not funny, and you can’t laugh at something being really not funny. Grandma’s Boy is a really weird film for me to watch, because it’s a stoner comedy that slides into drama, or at least it comes off as a weird character study, albeit certainly not on purpose.

Grandma’s Boy, for reference, is a story about a loser. He’s meant to be a loser - can’t make rent, is a video game tester, 35 and doesn’t have a girlfriend, etc, your typical movie loser. Anyway, his roommate spends all the rent money on hookers, the loser has no where to live but his grandma’s house....

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Agency in Star Wars

I marathoned Star Wars this weekend, probably for the first time since my childhood. I’ve always been a huge Star Wars nerd, and read a huge amount of the expanded universe books- including the ones that were actually good, and some that were not. I know various minutiae about the battle of Coruscant (the second one, post Return of the Jedi) and the political landscape of the galaxy at the time. Knight of the Old Republic 2 is such a great game that I haven’t been able to come up with a good enough blog post to talk about it yet. I love Star Wars.

Spoilers abound, of course, for the one guy who’s never scene it.

First off, we watched them in Machete Order. I would recommend reading through this if you haven’t, because I’m in full agreement that this is the best way to watch Star Wars, if only for the fact that if helps characterize Luke better in Episode Six. The parallels between him...

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Guardians of the Galaxy

This weekend I saw Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time at friends house. I have to say, I really enjoyed the movie, and Marvel continues to do a really good job with their cinematic universe- what they are doing in film is very ambitious and I’m very excited to see how it all unfolds. Guardians of the Galaxy is no exception to this, it is a very fun space opera movie. The lasers are exciting, the heroes have a firm grasp on the power of friendship, and the green alien space babes are more than sexy enough. Rocket was great, he managed to be both adorable and kick-ass without straying into obnoxious and try hard territory. All and all, I felt it was a pretty good action movie and I’d enjoy watching it again.

Spoilers abound from this point on, of course.

There was however, a small detail that really bothered me, and kind of stretched my suspension of disbelief for the whole...

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Goals for 2015

Hey, everyone. It’s a week into 2015, and it just so happens that one of my resolutions is to put more effort into this blog. So expect a post every other week or so. It may be a bit slow the next couple months, as I broke my hand and its going to take some time to heal.

Besides that, though, I have a list of goals for 2015. I think it’s going to be a very exciting year, I have a career to look forward to and I’m living downtown in San Francisco, which is a beautiful city. With the current weather in Chicago being what it is, I can certainly appreciate how sunny it is here.

So 2015 is looking like I’m definitely an adult now and its time for me to be a productive member of society. So here are is a list of my main goals for this year.

Goals for 2015

  • Keep Track of my Habits, and be serious about maintaining them
  • Write 750 Words every day without a single failure
  • Get a Job
  • Continue to...

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Spaghetti Code

I was coding Monday this week, and I notice something I was doing, and I’d like to talk about. Me and my programming pair were both guilty of this, but he did it a lot this particular day. So I have been becoming more aware of this in myself. But I’m dancing around the point. There is this process that I call writing Spaghetti Code, which is just writing code that might work and hoping that it sticks. You know, throwing Spaghetti at the wall.

This is a bad thing.

Because, you know sometimes you’re coding, and it almost works, so you think it might be wrong. You think you saw this in an example at some point, so you throw an “@” symbol in there or you add some method or you throw a “:” somewhere to make a symbol. And this might work, you might even get lucky, haphazardly drafting something from memory.

If you’re taking a test, this may be the saving throw you need.

But generally, I...

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Coding as Play

When learning to code, at some point there is a transition that happens to you. Specifically, in a structured environment there comes a time where you’re not only doing things because it’s in the textbook, or it has been assigned, or your teacher demonstrated in on the board, but you do them because you want to see what happens. There is a point where you become creative just for the sake of it, you write some code not just to accomplish some goal but to see how everything works together.

I have to say, I’m doing my first real rails project and this isn’t something I have experience in at all, or too much background. I worked my way through The Rails Tutorial, but honestly that was just a slog, mostly copying things down, I don’t think I absorbed all that much.

Last week was the first time I really got to Play.

Coding as play is really important, because I think for many of us, at...

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The LEGO Movie

So this is a review.

Yesterday I watched two movies, Wanted and The LEGO Movie; I want to talk about both of them for a little bit.

Quite note: since I’m going to be talking liberally about spoilers, this is a blog post for people who have seen The LEGO Movie. If you haven’t, you shouldn’t be reading blog posts anyway- you should be watching The LEGO Moive, because honestly it’s that good.

In terms of acting, presentation, animation (CGI pseudo-stop motion, which is really interesting), ideas, and story, it’s suburb.

And if you go on Metacritic you can see it’s doing quite well, all things given. It’s reviewed quite positively everywhere, which is great, and I’m sure a lot of the reviews are saying similar things, and it’s pretty great. It’s a pretty great satire of modern culture, and it’s quite clever and meta and all those wonderful things. And yeah, The LEGO movie is one of the...

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Time Management

I’m one of those people who is otherwise capable but suffers with crippling problems with procrastination, time management, and motivation. I’ll tell that story another time (the irony!) , I just want to focus on sharing something that I found that has been helping me recently; perhaps it could help someone, so I’m posting it here.

It’s really simple, all I do is write down everything I do, timestamped. This isn’t something that is in incredible detail, just when I reach certain benchmarks, or get off track, or what have you, I write it down and how long each task or distracted lasted. For example, this was my morning :

11:00 - woke up, showered, ate, walked to coffee shop, got coffee 11:45 - played ztype 11:50 - Checked email wrote goal list for today, answered a Quora question 12:05 - 750 words 12:19 -Took Discrete Mathematics section 2.5 notes

Somewhere down the line is writing...

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