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Programming, speculative fiction, science, technology
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Stubs in unit tests using Mocha, a Ruby mock/stub framework

These are slides from a lightning talk which I gave at All Girl Hack Night, an Austin meetup for women software developers.

RailsBridge: when WiFi decides whether you stay or leave

It only took a little bit of WiFi to make a difference between a productive workshop experience, and a waste of time. The workshop was RailsBridge, a free Ruby on Rails workshop for beginners. I have been dabbling in Rails for a while now, but there is only so much you can do in those minutes before sleep, when you are finally done with the day's work, and finally think you can sneak a smidge of time for your pet project -- only to find yourself faceplanting in the keyboard. So I went to a RailsBridge to learn "proper" Ruby on Rails development, complete with things like unit tests, that I tend to skip if I have just 15 minutes in the evening to learn a new framework.

RailsBridge was part of Lone Star Ruby Conf 2013 in Austin, TX, and it was lead by the main instructor, Sarah Mei (founder of RailsBridge workshops), and many coaches. The students were divided into groups of approximately 4-6 people. The process of dividing ourselves was interesting, and worth a paragraph, but since it was nonessential to the workshop, I put it at the bottom.

Creating a RESTful WCF service that returns JSON data

When I was looking for documentation or tutorials on how to create a RESTful WCF service that returns JSON-formatted data, I found lots of partial information and code examples, none of which completely worked. So when I finally figured out how to create it, I decided to write this article for those who may be in the same predicament as me.

This walk-through uses .NET 4.0, and Visual Studio 2010.

LINQ -- replacing loops with a couple lines of code

Recently I've been taking a closer look at LINQ, or Language-Integrated Query -- a set of C# and Visual Basic features that let you write SQL-like queries against data structures such as arrays or hashtables. I like how it lets you replace loops with just a line or two of code. I will illustrate it here with two simple exercises.

A script to reverse a file in Powershell

I was baffled to discover that it's actually not at all easy to reverse the rows of a spreadsheet in Excel. Extensive Googling lead me to some advanced commands where you really had to Know What You're Doing. Since I don't usually Know What I'm Doing in Excel, I wrote a Powershell script to do the same thing. Actually, this script takes any file, reverses it, and writes it to a different file.

Introduction to Powershell, a lightning talk

Recently I gave a lightning talk, Introduction to Powershell, at All Girl Hack Night, an Austin gathering of women developers. Here are my slides for it. It introduces some nifty features of Powershell by examining a simple use case.

Powershell scripts and command line arguments, with a sprinkling of Splunk

Passing arguments to a Powershell script caused me to pull my hair out... umm, scratch my head, lately. As with most technical problems, it appeared chaotic and intractable at first, and drew me into a black hole of spiraling confusion, where bugs mask other bugs; however, once I found a solution and tried to explain it to myself step-by-step, everything appeared orderly, even trivial. So now I don't even know why I'm writing this down. Actually, I do. It's so as not to go into the same black hole when I have to figure it again months or years from now.

Adventures in Powershell: you thought you could ignore that empty line

Powershell is powerful. But if you forget that it's a scripting language, and approach it as a programming language, you (like me) may be thrown off, time and time again, by its certain... literalness.

I have a script that reads Powershell variable / value pairs from a file we shall call foo.conf . In other words, foo.conf looks like this:

$var1 = "bla1"
$var2 = "bla2"
$var3 = "bla3"


After reading the contents of this file, it needs to execute those variable assignments. It does it all in this line:

Drupal Camp Austin 2010

IMG_1463 Jeff Robbins from Lullabot

There were presentations on everything Drupal-related, from module development to theming, to security, usability, or building large, yet scalable enterprise websites with Drupal. Each of the two days opened with a keynote speech that drew an audience over 300 people into the room. Organizer Todd Nienkirk greeted us with the news that the number of attendees made Drupal Camp Austin the second largest Drupal Camp ever; an hour later, a few last-minute registrations pushed us up to #1.

Eric Raymond's speech: Linucon 2004

P0000554 Eric Raymond at Linucon 2004

At Linucon 2004 Eric Raymond gave a speech on the basic principles of the Unix philosophy. They are the same principles as described in the "Basics of the Unix Philosophy" chapter of Raymond's book "The Art of Unix Programming". Since the book is available online, I put a link to each rule so you could compare what's said in the book with what was said in the speech. He dwelled a little longer on each rule and gave more examples than he does in this chapter of the book. At the end of the speech he answered questions, some more, some less related to Unix philosophy. He also ranted on XML (after admitting not having an opinion about it) and expressed his opinion on Hurd.

Pictures from Linucon 2004 are in my photo gallery.