Using Trello to Track Learning


Chris Johnson, one of my favorite programming bloggers posted his Trello board for ASP.NET MVC Mastery. I saved the board as it is public but I forgot I had it. I just recently looked at it and whoa. A great idea, indeed.

So I copied the board minus the cards and started work on my own board. It is called Full-Stack JavaScript Mastery. I copied all the lists and edited them to work more along the lines of what I need to do.

Descriptions of Lists

  • Information
    • This has the cards:
      • Purpose- The purpose of the board
      • Who Am I- A brief introduction to who I am and what I need to do with the board
      • Where Am I- Lists all my social and blog links
  • Resources
    • The cards here are
      • Free Code Camp and its link
      • Treehouse Front-end Development track and its link
      • Treehouse Full-stack JavaScript and its link
      • JavaScript Understanding the Weird Parts and its link
  • Skills Needed
    • Lists all the skills I need to be a full-stack JavaScript developer with some extraneous skills and helper skills mixed in.
  • The Road Map
    • Has one card that will be updated when I figure out the plan to get one set of skills done at a time.
  • Free Code Camp Full-stack Mastery
    • Here I will list the skills I have learned during my time at Free Code Camp which is my current place of constant learning
  • Treehouse Front-end Development
    • Same as with Free Code Camp’s card
  • Treehouse Full-stack JavaScript Track
  • Pluralsight JavaScript Courses
  • JavaScript Understanding the Weird Parts

Where You Can Find My Board

Of course you want to know. You can find it here:

Full-stack JavaScript Mastery Trello Board

Resuming Lessons at Free Code Camp

Free Code Camp
So I went back through the Bootstrap additions and the jQuery course. Now I am building a tribute page to Carl Sagan as my front-end project.

I have all kinds of ideas. I am thinking of adding a couple of planets scattered throughout the page and when you click on one, a quote from Carl appears and the planet dims. Or if you even just mouseover the planet there is some jQuery magic happening where the mouseover() event makes the planet magnify sort of like this:


And then they would sort of dim when you moused over them while they magnified…or after.

So many ideas…

JavaScript Understanding the Weird Parts

I wrote a post on my strictly programming blog about coercion. I learned quite a bit about it from Tony Alicea, who made the course I picked up for $10 at Udemy (a steal at that price). His explanation was clear and the console examples made it easy to see what was going on.

You can find the course here and my blog post here.

New Routine or Do You Have the Hustle?


I don’t have enough time in the day. I don’t know anyone past the age of 25 who does. I am constantly lamenting about how I’d like to do all these things, fit all of these new learning ambitions, building apps and sites, while going to school, maintaining three blogs, a podcast, and other social presences, as well as hitting the gym like I used to into one day. Yet I often, when not tasked with having to get up early, stayed up late and got up in just enough time to get my day started, go to class, come home, order something because I’d be so tired, do minimal homework, and not have time to do anything else.

This bothered me. A lot. I kept reading a lot of terrible life hacking articles on Medium telling me I should get up at an ungodly hour because things look better when you have a whole day to do something.

Night Owl

I am a notorious night owl. But as I age I find I can’t hang with the big kids anymore and by 10 PM my eyes are tired and I am unable to focus. I am also an insomniac so while I know I am tired I am more than likely unable to sleep without medication. But that’s for another story on some other (looking at you, Medium) blog. Would I be able to change all this staying up until 2 am and getting up at 10 am, 8 when I have class? I thought about it and decided to act, a two week trial run of getting up at 5 am on weekdays to get stuff done.

5 am And It’s On


Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it. ~Richard Whately

So I woke up at 5 am on a Tuesday morning. It was easy as I had gone to bed at 9 PM. But I found that by 6 I was ready to go back to bed. So I drank a whole 2L bottle of cola and several cups of iced black coffee.

But what I got done.

I had purchased JavaScript: Understanding the Weird Parts at Udemy for a ridiculously low price and heard good things about it. I wanted to dive in. I did that for a whole hour. By 6 I was ready to move on to Treehouse.

I went to Treehouse and learned more about AJAX. By 8, 2 hours before I had to leave, I had done more than I would have if I had waited till the end of the day. I went and did some homework at 8 and by 9:30 I was ready to leave.

Hustle Now, Regret It Later

Some people are born with very little; some are fortunate enough to have it all. When I grew up, we didn’t have much. I had to hustle to get what I wanted… but I had that hunger for more. I didn’t always make the right choices, but I learned from my mistakes.
– Curtis Jackson

I was born poor. We didn’t have much. Eventually, through hard work, mom got a better position and lost it during the infamous PA furloughs of 88. She had garnered a better salary again eventually by longevity only. By then I was out of the house and on my own with no money of my own. I still don’t have money, and with the hand I had been dealt early I’ve had to struggle, get lucky, and hustle.

I want to build cool things. I want to be a full stack developer. Nothing has grabbed my attention like this. But I also need security. A steady income. I don’t have that right now. So getting up at the crack of dawn to improve my chances of being a good developer when I am all said in done is worth the tired eyes on the commute back home at 6 PM. Time to hustle like my life depends on it, because it honestly almost does.

Getting Better at Being Productive with a Script from Marco Arment


Like a lot of people, I struggle with balancing time sinking social media with actual work. Marco Arment, one of my Apple Programming heroes, despite his immense success and talent, struggles with it, too.

I went to his site the other day after listening to The Talk Show with John Gruber with Marco on and found this nifty article with a nice little AppleScript and Launch Agent to help you quit social apps when they haven’t been used in 10 minutes. Needless to say it’s helped. A lot.

From last week, since we are sharing RescueTime Stats:


I Need to Do Better


For the record, I do code. I sit down, some time during the week, and knock out just one Codecademy challenge. This has been of late. I am not working hard enough, I am not grinding hard enough and I am trying to figure out why.

I have this blog and another that are active (two more that are not). I have the podcast and the podcast contribution to Code & Supply. And then there are meetups and and the gym. But more often than not, I am distracted by Slack, Gitter, Facebook, Twitter the Pittsburgh Pirates (BUCN!!). I have the tools to stop the distractions. That\’s not the issue. The issue is sitting in the chair and working.

I will have Airmail open and that red badge will pop up and I will look at the email/newsletter and open links. I\’ll troll Hacker News or Medium, even with the main websites blocked. I look at my calendar and get calendar notifications from Sunrise on my iPhone and I\’ll be sitting there reading an article or a book. I ignore it and continue. THIS CANNOT CONTINUE. THIS WILL NOT CONTINUE. I WILL DO BETTER.

I see my Code Newbie compatriots working their asses off, knocking down code problems, doing code kata on codewars. I am envious. I have a lot going on and priorities need to be set. First, it starts with my calendar:


I deleted A LOT of fluff and old commitments. I tried to streamline what I do and when. No, I will not code for 8 hours a day. Three days a week I must get to the gym. This is imperative. I have time to read, code and blog, and record podcasts and edit them. I have to scale back screencasting as it is time intensive and I don\’t have lots of time. I guess I do, but I need to prioritize it. I block out time for email and that is the only time. I will get to bed earlier (I really need to do this anyway as class starts in a month and a half and I have a recitation at 11 am, being an hour away from class). I will get up earlier. I will SAIC (Sit ass in chair) and code after trying to get awake.

I have a time to read and a time to screw off. I feel really committed to my Pirates but having the TV off, which it is most of time, is key.

I used to write these same types of posts when I was a writer. A lot of it is fear of success. If you listened to my Code & Supply episode which you can find here, you\’ll know my story. Being a success once and failing is a big monkey on my back that I am trying to shake.

The fact that I have sort of cooled off my late nights and late waking hours has been a big step for me. We\’ll see where I am in one month. I was doing well for so long with this. It\’s now time to keep going

Kanban and My Love of Trello for Project Management


If you’re not using Kanban and Lean project management for your productivity as a developer, why?

I use OmniFocus for linear tasks now– I will not ditch it– I spent $100 on all the apps across Apple platforms and $100 is a lot of cash to be wasting. I feel more productive using Trello and Kanban. I am more visual and moving cards from one list to the next is awesome.

For information on Kanban check out this link.

Trello is free but upgrading to Gold for a few extra features won’t set you back to much. Here is a screencast I did on it.




Making Good Habits, or Coding Regularly

I have to say, after getting in my groove two weeks ago, smashing all the Free Code Camp challenges left and right, I got upended by having my best-friend from my hometown come to visit.

It was only two days but those two days cost me– I would be out late the first night, not get much sleep that night. Go out running around the second day, not really sleep well that night. The cost of not sleeping well caught up to me all week– no gym, no real coding, just sleep. Today is the first day in forever I’ve slept well and I totally feel fatter than I am because I haven’t been to the gym.

The consistency I was having got shattered. Of course I loved every minute I got to spend with my best-friend, taking in Pittsburgh’s many good eateries.


But I neglected basic things like rest, exercise, and proper eating. You don’t think those things can plague you, you know the whole brogrammer stereotype of eating pizza and drinking Mt. Dew well into the early morning, doing nothing but coding. That is not a healthy thing to do for anyone of any age. You can’t really “do good work” when you’re half-dead and mirror the guy in Green Day’s Brainstew.

I plan on working on Free Code Camp tonight and Zed Shaw’s Python and Ruby. A good rule for me would be to work consistently all week, 2–4, a day and then ease on the weekends.

I have a show to record tonight, another blog post, and a Code Newbie to-do landing page to work on as well. Back to being productive is a good thing, for me at least.