Michael Cordell's Blog

Getting Started with Slate

Slate is an open source window management tool geared towards power users. It obviates the use of many paid tool such as Divvy and Stay. I am a long time Divvy user and was considering using Stay to manage window arrangements, until I found Slate. Slate is configured through a .slate file that will be familiar to users of vim. The full documentation can be found on Slate’s github page and I highly recommend this article on getting set up. What I would like to share below is a quick and dirty setup with slate that I found works for removing my need for Divvy, adding a cool new feature, and demonstrating a simple window management.

Ubuntu 14.04 and Compiling Ruby 2.X

While trying to set up a VPS running Ubuntu 14.04 I was unable to compile Ruby 2.1.1 (which was the current version). I kept running into errors such as:

Compelling People Book Review

Compelling people: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential exists in the rarefied air of self-help books that might actually help you. Most books of these type contain a thesis statement that you understand within the first 40 pages. The next X number of pages are the author(s) filling out their quota for his or her publisher. In a way, this is the case for Compelling People, wherein John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut articulate a simple framework for understanding people and interactions between people. The authors contend that people are governed by two qualities they term “strength” and “warmth”. Strength being a person’s ability to accomplish tasks and warmth being a person’s ability to connect with others.

Guard and Unresolved specs

While using bundle exec guard I was recieving the following types of warnings:

Rails 4, Turbolinks, and jQuery

If you have a Rails 4 project with malfunctioning jQuery the culprit is likely a new feature in Rails 4 called turbolinks. Turbolinks attempts to speed response times by not reloading the header (in fact the whole page) each time a new request is made. Instead, the body of the page is replaced using ajax and json. The idea here is that it cuts down on the overhead of loading and parsing the Javascript and style sheets each time a new page is loaded. However, apparently this feature is not every popular, as an analysis of the 2013 Rails Rumble showed that the majority of participants turned off turbolinks.

Rails 4 and Twitter Bootstrap 3

If you are starting from scratch on a new rails project you may want to start with what is current, which at the moment is Rails 4 and Bootstrap 3. I would suggest setting up RVM or rbenv before continuing.

Strong Parameters in Rails 3

For the uninitiated, Strong Parameters is a gem for white-listing attributes that can be mass assigned. This is a replacement for the Rails method of white-listing that ships in 3.x. It also ships standard in Rails 4, so it behooves you to be familiar with it. Herein, I will discuss a few lessons in switch an existing Rails 3 project over to Strong Parameters.

Book Review: The Rspec Book

Reading The Rspec book is a lot like testing itself. A bit of a chore, but in the end you hopefully are better off for it. Additionally, the book covers much more than Rspec, and focuses greatly on behavior-driven development and Cucumber. Finally it is straight from the horse’s mouth, as many of the authors directly contribute (or created) the tools gone over in the book.

Rspec Notes

  • Nested examples and progressive setup are a trade off between DRY and readability

Passwords: a Primer

You may have heard that you should use a random password to protect yourself. Or that you should use a different password on all your different online accounts. Or that you should use some r@nd0m characters in your password. This article serves as a short primer on passwords and why they are more and more of a problem. If you don’t read further than this paragraph: the key to passwords and password management is finding a reasonable level of security with a tolerable amount of inconvenience.

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