Travis Herrick

I like to build things

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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

...

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NBC’s “Believe” Review

This is the trailer for NBC’s new-ish show, Believe. Recently, I was hanging out with friends of mine, in particular an Individual named Seth. Seth was watching the ninth episode of the show, and I caught the last half of it, and this turned into a lazy day of sitting around and binge watching the entire show. At the time, nine episodes were out, of thirteen, of the first season. As of this writing, the show has not been renewed.

The premise was a pretty standard scifi shtick; there is a little ten year old girl named Bo, who has psychic powers. A government agency researching her powers wants to reacquire her after she escapes. and a group of rogue agents are helping her. They break her father out of prison to be her guardian and protect her, and neither Bo nor her father or aware or informed of this relationship. While on the run from the government agency and their FBI ally,...

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Pencil Lead

I like writing in pencil; both because I erase frequently, and I think pencil graphite looks better on paper then pen. Pen tends to bleed over to the next page more when I press down on the paper too hard. Given that, I strongly dislike dealing with sharpening pencils, it creates a lot of debris and never winds up like looking nice. The tip always breaks, they are always lopsided. Instead, I use mechanical pencils; I like the way they fall into my grip more. I also have a very strong preference for the type of lead my pencils use.

It is, by the way 0.5 mm. There are a lot of benefits, I feel, for the 0.5 mm over the 0.7 mm, and honestly I’m slightly baffled as to why 0.5 isn’t standard. 0.5 is thinner, and is crisper on the page than 0.7 mm, it looks better. And with my handwriting, which can be awful, the lead change actually makes a huge difference with legibility. I...

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Amway, Part Two

Last time I wrote about Amway, I was relatively nice towards them, and gave them the benefit of the doubt. This was mostly because I was friends with the people that tried to recruit me otherwise; to be polite to their faces and directly turn around and write a piece in a public blog shitting all over them would be, in my view, in poor taste.

Because of that concern, and that honestly other things came up and got in the way, I never really did follow up with the Amway people.

Well, I met more Amway people in Chicago, and I am quite comfortable now saying Amway is possibly a cult, and defiantly a pyramid scheme. I already knew this, but now I have a good excuse not to be so polite about it.

Let me open with a story. What happened was, I was at a train stop in Chicago, by the U of I C, and it so happens I chat up a couple of guys while waiting for a train. This is the kind of place...

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The Friend Zone

This comic has been going around as of late; I’ve seen it on Facebook, reddit, and the like. A friend linked it to me and we talked about. I like it; it’s a good piece of art, it’s creative, funny, and amused me. It also made me feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. When I first read it, something seemed off about it, and it’s been on my thoughts.

Now, it’s a bit much to ‘disagree’ with this. This comic seems autobiographical- I have no doubt this happened to the Artist, in some form or another. When our REALLY NICE GUY says “What about the time you got wasted at a party! Any other guy would have taken advantage, but I drove you home safely instead!” it’s something that may not be the most common/representative examples of this “nice guy” behavior, it’s certainly something i believe has happened more that...

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The willingness to be bad at things

So yesterday I had writers block.

This week, I had made a promise to myself, to a get a number of things done, several of them concerning writing. The two of these I was trying to fulfill yesterday was finishing a short story I had been working on, and writing a post for this blog. But, alas, writers block.

Now, I realize that I’ve been slacking off these last few weeks, and if you look at my post history, I haven’t exactly been up on this blog recently. I’m not in the swing of things, and I don’t have the momentum going so perhaps that’s the reason I’m having difficulty. But there is also the fact that several times throughout the day yesterday I would open up my computer screen or notebook, stare at the page for a couple of minutes, and be unable to put a single word on the page. I wrote a sentence, maybe, of fiction, and a blog post outline that...

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Amway, Part One

About a week and a half ago I was having lunch with a couple of friends of mine at a local Vietnamese place. I hadn’t spoken to them in a while, so we were catching up, and one of the things that came up was this company they had been working with. And to get this out of the way, we are talking about Amway, and yes, it is that Amway. And they way the described it sounded interesting, so I asked them about it. Neither of them could really explain it very well, other than talk about some of the products they sold. But it just so happened that I had suggest lunch on Thursday, and by coincidence Thursday is Amway’s recruitment/training meetings, so it was suggested to me that I come and check it out. I didn’t have plans that night, so I decided what the hell, I’ll see what it’s all about.

Now I’m going to preface this and say that I went to this...

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