2014.09.19 – Mozilla Cantina

Well today the rain is gone but at least we got a partial day of it. I left early with Andrew since he was going to work downtown. I guess it isn’t really downtown though because his co-working space is north of Burnside. I still don’t really understand all of these neighborhoods and areas. Aaaaanyway, I hung out at CA with him for a while because I can’t get in to the Mozilla office until 08:30 when the door unlocks. I ended up being ten minutes early anyway but some Mozillians were there and let me in.

I couldn’t wait to get working on my Tutorial so I could finish it up so I jumped on it as soon as I got my computer. I paused for check-ins and everyone was pretty happy that it was Friday and also the monthly Cantina. After check-ins and announcements we were given lots of time to work on catch up stuff so of course I worked on my tutorial. I also tried to help anyone that needed it. I had several screen shots to take and had to figure out how best to show them on the command line. I’m not sure I succeeded but hopefully some classmates will read through it and give me feedback.

We all broke for lunch which was once again delicious! We had food from Cha! Cha! Cha! and I definitely took a little too much this time. There was a spicy tofu dish and a warm quinoa kale salad of some sort, really good guacamole and Pico di  Gallo. We are very spoiled.

After lunch we talked about testing and what tools we would need in order to work on bugs and test them. We talked about needing things like a text editor, the testing software, the suite of tests to be run, one or more versions of the software to be tested, a local version of the code, terminal, git, etc.

Lukas searched Bugzilla for bugs tagged “good first bug” and then chose one from the list of results. It was a bug in a Mozmill test related to some code that needed to be moved outside of a class. We were able to watch Lukas begin with no knowledge of this particular bug, read and dig down, read code, dig down more, poke around until she could see what was going on. It was so interesting and also very encouraging to see her go through this process. It shows me that although she has years of experience on us she still has to look at and figure out what is going on with each new bug. I guess it’s kind of like reading a book. Some people have been reading books a lot longer than others but they still have to read through a new book and gain an understanding of it as they go. They don’t pick up a new book and automatically know everything that is going on. Sure it takes the new reader more time to put it all together but they can eventually get there and will get better and faster with practice.

The bug did turn out to be a great first bug but we all got worried that we were going to have to fix it right then. Someone asked about it and I think there was a collective sigh of relief when Lukas said we could start that process next week. Then she came up with our cheer. “What do we do?!” …”Fix bugs!”….”When do we do it?!”………..”Next week!”.

Lukas talked to us about the Gnome Outreach Program for Women and let us know that anyone in Ascend could apply no matter what gender. I had heard about this program last year two weeks before the deadline. I thought it would be wonderful but I didn’t have a clue where to even start. I looked at some bugs in the Python code base but honestly I couldn’t understand a thing in their bug reports. I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I had two weeks to figure it out. It felt impossible so I didn’t do it. I’d like to give it a shot this year though.

The day was winding up and it was nearly time for the cantina so we did our check-outs and then I rushed to get my tutorial pushed to my repo so I could submit my pull request. Andrew showed up shortly after and introduced him to a few of my classmates. Wayne showed up not too long after Andrew. I tried to make sure and introduce them to all of my classmates and I tried to meet any guests that were there. Some people were playing Rockband and others were just mingling. We had a really nice time getting to meet everyone’s friends/family.

Katt thanked us all for coming and then very nicely told us to get the heck out so we cleaned up what we could and headed downstairs. The three of us planned to go out to dinner and Carmen was standing with us so we asked if she would like to join us. She thought that sounded lovely so we began searching for a place to go. Katt came down and we invited her to join us as well. Since she is so great at picking wonderful food, we left the place up to her. We ended up at a really nice Vietnamese place where we had good food and fantastic conversation. I think we stayed a lot longer than the staff would have preferred and were the last ones out the door. The night was beautiful and we were really enjoying hanging out so we all took a nice slow walk around. There were so many people walking, talking, laughing and enjoying themselves. I loved being a small part of that. Portland looks so different at night. The building architecture is so much more apparent so we ended up seeing things we had never noticed before.

It was getting late and everyone was getting tired so we walked Katt to her bus stop and waited until she was on her way and then we walked Carmen home. Once she was safely inside we made the long walk to our Max stop. We don’t really know the late night schedules but we were lucky enough to catch the very last train for the night!

Today I learned that Downtown Portland is an entirely different kind of beautiful at night.

2014.09.18 – Test Automation!

It’s raining today! I have really been looking forward to some weather and it’s finally here. Lots of people say I will regret wanting it but they haven’t lived where I have. This is a welcome change. Morning check-ins were great. It seems many people have been having vivid dreams. They are hilarious to listen to!

Kronda is off at her conference where she is keynoting! We miss her but we have Sam here in her place and he’s pretty awesome as well. We started off going over our class agreements and everyone had a lot of input about how we could improve and add to them. It was very interesting to revisit this after nearly two weeks with the project. There were a lot of great modifications and additions. Some changes involved rephrasing and some were the addition of things we, as a group, hadn’t originally considered. This group task took us until about 11:00. After that I asked Sam for help with my seemingly endless Git issues. He showed me some amazing Vim commands and also showed me how to record my first macro. That made editing a lot faster. He also had me download GitX (the rowanj fork) which is a very handy Git GUI.

At some point during all of this Git stuff I checked up on my bug report and didn’t really understand the comments. I showed it to Lukas and she explained that it was progressing and was nominated as a bug that should be fixed. She said that’s a good thing so I’m happy.

It was lunch time so Sam and I took a break from his Git repair lesson so that we could eat. Lunch was delicious Thai food! There was the typical “being vegan” issue though. I didn’t get my food until everyone else and since everyone else can eat the regular food as well as the vegan food there was not much left of that. Oh well, I enjoyed what I had and there are more than enough snacks in this office so I will definitely never go hungry!

After lunch we began the task of installing and running Mozmill. It’s an automated testing framework and a super cool thing about Mozmill is that it can be run against any official build of Firefox. It doesn’t require some special test enabled version.

We were given some very basic instructions and some links to follow for more information but not a lot more. I think Lukas wanted us to do a lot more problem solving and figure out how to get it all going ourselves as much as possible. Some were ok with this and some were very frustrated and unsure about what to do but those who got it going were able to help those who were struggling and I think we all eventually got it running!

When a testrun script is invoked it clones the remote test repository, automatically switches to the correct branch for the version of Firefox being tested, runs the tests and then sends the results to the Mozmill dashboard. It was so cool to see the automated tests running! Here are my test results.

I pestered Sam again to help me finish fixing my Git repo because it was now in a partially fixed state but I had absolutely no idea how to proceed on my own. If he wasn’t coming back tomorrow I’d be fairly well screwed but luckily he had some time to help me get it done. He showed me how to pick a good point in the history of the remote Ascend repo so that I could cherry-pick my commits from that point forward and get them merged in without all of the extraneous crap I had managed to get in there. He had me delete my, very messy, open pull request first and then showed me how to make a branch called “scout” that would be where I wanted to begin pulling out individual commits. He showed me how to cherry-pick only the commits that I made and then had me make a “safe_point” branch so that I would be able to undo this if I made a mistake. I’m a little bit unclear on the next steps because the day was winding up but I believe I checked out my local gh-pages branch, pulled the remote ascend/gh-pages branch, did a git reset –hard ascend/gh-pages (Sam says this is VERY dangerous! And that he does it all the time), merged in my scout branch, and then did a git push -f to my remote repo. The -f forced the push since the two repositories were different. Once all of that was done I was then able to submit a much cleaner pull request with only my changes. Whew! This all took a bit longer than expected and was preventing Lukas from leaving but it’s fixed and I am thankful and relieved!

I walked down to Collective Agency, a co-working space, where Andrew works a couple of days a week with some other Portland GSG employees. He usually would head home after lunch but has been staying there until I get done so we can go home together. I’m pretty sure I talked his ear off about my day.

We got home, went across the street to check out Jason and Alice’s beautiful new marmoleum floor in their basement. Wayne picked a bunch of strawberries from our garden. It’s weird that we are still getting them. These are the same plants that have been there for a while and they sure didn’t produce this long last year.

Strawberries and Wayne

Andrew made me a tasty muddled strawberry and mint fizzy water.

Fizzy Drink

Today I learned SO many things! Git stuff, Vim stuff, Mozmill stuff, Why we can’t have nice things (utf-8, dates, and names), and MOOM! Definitely check out MOOM.

2014.09.17 – Bug Hunting

After our morning check-in we went over some housekeeping type things such as setting our default Firefox to re-open our last tabs, how Github handles new pull requests when a person already has one open and that losing work sometimes is pretty much inevitable.

Kronda talked about culture fit and hiring practices and showed us an example of a blog post by a woman here at a local tech incubator that was really frustrating to read. I really appreciated her bringing this up so we can all be aware of it when researching job opportunities.

We took a short break and then had some guest speakers. Gregg Lind and the others spoke about how they came to be at Mozilla and gave us some great tips on the many ways we can contribute to Mozilla. They also made it clear that we don’t have to know all of the terminology in order to file bug reports. It is perfectly fine to word things with the terminology we are familiar with.

After their wonderful talk we paired up to work with those who hadn’t filed a bug report yet. Lukas gave us some tips on searching for bugs. There are bugs tagged steps-wanted that seem like a great place to find bugs to reproduce and then document. My partner found a great bug and it turned out hers was related to mine so that was interesting.

We all got to head outside again for lunch. Today I skipped the bathroom and walked to the food trucks with everyone else. I headed for The Dump Truck and got some amazing potato curry dumplings with a vegan coconut yogurt sauce. Yum!

After lunch everyone set up jekyll (a web server) on their local machine so they can see their blog posts locally before they push them up to Github. It’s nice to be able to do this so we can check our formatting before we submit a pull request. I had done this yesterday so I started my blog.

Kronda discussed how we can contribute to the Ascend pages. We are able to file bug reports and patches and submit suggestions regarding how we think the web page might look better. I am the worst at any kind of design stuff so I don’t think I will be jumping on that one. Lukas talked about Git blame and diff and how our commit messages are kept in our history and are visible to all. That means it’s always a great idea to be careful about what we say and to really try and be clear in what we write. We then had a scavenger hunt to find the date Lukas was added to the Mozilla contributor’s page. Finding the answer is an exercise for the reader.

At the end of the day we all just worked on any unfinished tasks. I was caught up so I took the time to fix my background color issue in Vim. I poked around and looked through my vimrc, commented things out and added other stuff based on suggestions I searched for but ultimately I had to ask Andrew and of course he had no trouble finding the answer and now it looks SO much better! I can actually read the text.

Check-outs went pretty quickly. I think we were all very ready to go home. I grabbed a couple of carrots from the fridge to eat on my walk to the Max. It apparently had lightly sprinkled so we were finally getting some weather! As I was walking, an elderly English couple with a young girl stopped me and asked if I knew where Everett was and that they were looking for “an ice cream shop. Ben and Jerry’s it’s called.” I started to reply but the woman spoke up and said to the man that I might not know where it was since I was eating a carrot. Uh…..ok. I gave them directions and then told them I hoped they could find some carrot ice cream when they got there.

As I was riding the Max home, Alena messaged to see if we wanted to meet for dinner because she was picking up her (and Andrew’s) mom from the airport. I said it sounded great so we all ended up at a fairly decent Ethiopian place on Broadway. I don’t know how much solid food baby Anya has had but she sure loved all of the injera I was feeding her.

Today I learned how to reproduce and document a bug.

2014.09.16 – Never Enough Cooks in the Kitchen

Today was a darned good day! Check-ins were mostly positive for everyone except for Kronda. She was having a bit of a bad day but it’s nice to know so we could give her some space. She still managed to help me through a frustrating Git issue even though she wasn’t in the best mood. Our morning seemed packed with much discussion. Lukas had us debrief about the Monday All Hands meeting and there were many questions which led to a lot of discussion back and forth.

After the debrief the three students who sat in on the SUMO meeting the previous day gave a presentation about what they had learned. It was an interesting talk and they seemed really excited about it. I was a bit distracted thinking about my Git problem and how I might solve it. I ended up having to do some conflict resolution and some file merges but still had other issues.

We took a very fast break before our 11am meeting with Dino, Debbie and Hope but I stayed and bugged Kronda for her help. She got me on the right track and that was a relief! Dino went over some of the wonderful benefits we get to participate in simply due to the fact that we are Mozillians. I really had no idea such things would be offered to anyone who wasn’t a paid employee. We are able to have one year of access to Safari Books and Rosetta Stone. There is an employee assistance program available for those who have various personal issues or need health, legal, financial advice, counseling etc. We will have coaches available for improving confidence, body language and interviewing skills. We will be able to have one-on-one help polishing our resumes. It boggles my mind that they are willing to do all of this for us. I am definitely going to take advantage of several of these things.

11:45 rolled around and it was time for lunch. Lukas gave us each a $30 prepaid Visa card so that we could leave the office and go buy our own lunch a few times. Food carts were the plan for those that didn’t mind walking just a bit. I was SO looking forward to having my favorite Kargi Go Go but they are closed this entire week! I ducked into the bathroom before we were heading out but when I came out everyone was gone so I just went off by myself and ended up at Petunias Pies and Pastries. I had the most delicious vegetable pot pie at a little table outside on the sidewalk. I headed back to the office and a few others had already returned. We chatted for a while before it was time to get back to work.

Lukas showed us about:about and went over several of the categories. She was showing us about:nope but it’s part of the Whimsy add-on and none of us had that so we spent a few minutes getting that going just because it’s funny. She also did a presentation on the release process for the four versions of Firefox and that was really interesting.

We moved on to Moztrap where we were able to perform some tasks and either pass their test or mark it as an issue and file a bug report. Most of us really enjoyed this because we basically got to do all of the crap we normally do as a user like Facebook, Twitter, games, etc. All of my tests seemed to work fine in Aurora but this did not help get me closer to filing a bug report which is great for Firefox (no bugs found) but crappy for me (no bugs found).

I was done with my testing and the day was winding down but I remembered how cool the new Developer Tools were after seeing a demo of them at OSCON and wanted to mess with them a bit. As luck would have it, this led me to my first bug report in the nightly version. The Dev Tools console doesn’t stay active when loading a website from a new tab.

Yenni headed home with me so she could join us for dinner night. Alice was already at my house working with Wayne to prepare the huge bounty of spaghetti squash we had in the back yard. She had been saving the seeds from the squash but wasn’t sure if they could be roasted. Yenni said they absolutely could and that she would be happy to make them. They turned out to be amazing. As people showed up for dinner night they would try some and then couldn’t stop eating them. We were making a gluten free meal and I was tasked with making a piccata sauce but wasn’t sure how to thicken it without flour. Yenni to the rescue again. She took over the sauce which she had never made before and it was wonderful as well. I don’t like cooking so it was really nice that she likes working in other people’s kitchens!

We had a pretty good turnout for dinner night. Glenn from across the street had eaten but came to socialize, Taylor and Delaney, Alice, Jason, and Ladybug, Miri, Dale, and Pennyloafer, Spencer and John, Yenni, Sarah from around the corner and then the five of us.

Today I learned that a tattoo pen can be made with parts from a train set, the motor from an e-z bake mixer and a guitar string.

2014.09.15 – Our Second Week Begins

Monday morning rolled around pretty early. I think mostly because I was nervous about riding my bike to class with Kronda. Andrew checked it out for me yesterday and it checked out fine. I got my backpack all ready to go and off we went. Kronda guided us through our fairly quiet neighborhood. We meandered past beach school and up over the Going Street Bridge, down through the other half of Overlook and on to Interstate. So far it was pretty easy. We were able to fly down Interstate and make the light which was nice then we headed for the Broadway Bridge. There was a bit of a long incline and my legs were not thrilled. I just kept pedaling though and made it! Once we got over the Bridge and onto Broadway the rest was a breeze. It was so much easier and nicer than I had imagined.

We hung up our bikes and I greeted my classmates. Before I knew it class was starting. We did our check-ins and it seems as though most everyone had a relaxing weekend although a few had a rougher time of things. We got busy going over tasks that we may not have completed from last week.  There was an entirely new naming convention for our blog files but I wasn’t aware of this until I had already renamed mine to one that I thought was better than what I had started with. Oh well, more practice right? I worked on that task but did a lot of helping my desk mates too so it ended up actually being pretty slow going.

The Monday All Hands meeting began and a Mozillian asked that everyone please fill out a survey regarding a new Mozilla logo so I did that and listened to the rest of the meeting. I love that we get to be a part of that. We headed back to our desks and worked a bit more on tasks and then it was time for lunch. We had delicious falafel  sandwiches.  After lunch we were split up into two groups (I thought). People all caught up on tasks and those who needed more time and help. Those who were all caught up were able to move to one desk area and work on some QA testing via the One and Done portal and Moztrap. Our tasks involved testing video calling in the Firefox Aurora browser. It was interesting to learn about how this works and it was fun to call each other but then the call notification sound got a little old.

Once we completed the tests we were booted from the room for a mandatory ten minute break. I took my laptop with me but ended up talking with another student instead. I’m liking everyone more and more each day. After the break, those of us who finished the testing were to teach the others who were still working on prior tasks. I worked with Yenni and she did a great job even though she was running on very little sleep. Some of the other students apparently went into a meeting about SUMO but I completely missed that this happened and have no idea how they were able to get in on that. Maybe we will hear more about it tomorrow.

I got my files all named the way I wanted and in the proper directories so worked on getting them pushed to my repo so I could submit a pull request. I thought I had a pretty good handle on what I was doing but then I got some error I wasn’t familiar with which isn’t surprising at all since Git does a crap ton of stuff and I know maybe 1% of it. I spent some time researching the error. One of our class mates filed his first bug report! That was really cool and he was able to present to the class about it. The day was going to end early so we did check outs around 4pm. Most everyone seemed to have a really good day and seemed really pleased with all they learned. The majority of the class opted to leave early but I was perplexed by this Git error so I asked Kronda. She looked at it with me and then we were both perplexed until Lukas explained how Github handles new pull requests when a person has one that hasn’t been merged. Ooooooooh-kay now the error made sense. I could have done without the yak shaving but I did learn something so it almost made it worth it I suppose.

Well now it was time to ride home. I was so pleased with how well it went getting to school that I didn’t give the ride home much thought. That was a bad idea because I seriously thought I was going to die riding up to the Broadway Bridge and then up the first half. It sure doesn’t look like much from a car but let me tell you, my legs were dying. Kronda didn’t really look back at me much but knew exactly where I was the entire time and also knew, somehow, that I needed a break once we got to the plateau on the bridge. I was SO thankful! My legs were pretty pissed off at me and were definitely cramping. Once they calmed down we were on our way again. Instead of returning up Interstate we went up Williams and then cut across Beech. This was purely so I could avoid a (to me) giant hill! Lukas, who left after us, caught up to us at this point. She said she was wondering why all the bikes were slowing down and then recognized Kronda’s outfit so yeah I would be the reason for the slowness. It was my first time though and I was using muscles I didn’t even know I had so I think slow was justified. Sorry fast people.

We zig-zagged on some quiet back streets and then parted ways at Interstate and Killingsworth. I made it home and was DONE but super proud of myself for doing it and also for not dying. Go me! Jason says I should ride every day now but screw that. I’m resting my legs tomorrow for sure.

Alice had messaged me earlier letting me know that she had harvested a ton of basil. She wanted to come over and make pesto and watch a movie after dinner. She brought over what basil she had and then we harvested ours and the basil from another neighbor. I stripped the leaves while she ran home to clean her dehydrator. She was bringing it over along with a bunch of cherry tomatoes so they could be dried. Once she showed up I decided I’d had enough of the basil stripping and would rather sit and slice the tomatoes because, you know, I didn’t get to mess with enough tomatoes the day before. Anyway, I managed to get approximately one million of them sliced while she and Wayne made dinner. We talked about ridiculous stuff and laughed a lot while doing all of this. I really love our neighbors.

Dinner was fantastic but it wasn’t ready to eat until about 21:30 mostly due to all of the talking and laughing. Our poor children! Their chore is to clean up after we do all of the cooking and eat so It was a very late night for them. I wish I could say this is a rare occurrence but we have always been late eaters. We all decided it was too late for a movie at this point so Alice and Jason went home. I’d say today was a pretty great day.

Today I learned that Github just adds any new pull requests in with any that are still pending. This was annoying to me initially but now that I understand how it works it does make sense, especially to the person handling the merges.

2014.09.14 – So Many Tomatoes

Today I was up early so I could run to the store and get a flat of canning jars. Our neighbor, Mulysa bought 100 pounds of tomatoes and had another 40 pounds from her garden. I headed to her house and helped get everything set up. Once we had water boiling and jars sterilized I started peeling and coring. Others showed up about an hour later and that helped a lot. I helped with maybe 50 pounds or so and then had to leave to go look at a table with the guys.

I ran home and we headed to the Alphabet District and looked at a great crank table but it was much more expensive than I had anticipated so we will hold off. We were pretty hungry so we went to Slabtown for some vegan gyros and shawarma. The food was so good but the bar was totally a dive. I’d probably eat there again but get my food to go!

We also stopped by the Sprint store since my adorable nephew sat on my phone the day before and shattered the screen. Totally my fault for not putting it in a safer place. Andrew still had his franken-pre from many years ago and was long overdue for a new phone so we both ended up getting the Galaxy S5. He isn’t thrilled with his but there is no current phone he really likes. I love mine but I’ve had the prior models so I am used to it. We also added a new line and got Natale his own phone. We had to change plans in order to do this but we will be paying about the same per month.

We headed back home and I went back to Mulysa’s house to help finish the tomatoes but as luck would have it, they were all done! Back home I went and sat around trying to get my phone configured the way I liked. That seemed to take forever!

Our friend, Vicky, was in town house hunting. She took an awesome position with Simple and is moving here shortly. Wayne, Andrew, and I met her down at Green Dragon. The three of us had never been before so it was fun to try yet another new place in Portland for the second time in one day. Our mutual friend, Jason, was also in town for XOXO so it was nice to see him as well. The weather was once again amazing so we all sat outside on the patio and had a really nice evening talking about all sorts of stuff.

Today I learned that 140 pounds of tomatoes is a LOT more than I had imagined and I had imagined it was a lot.

2014.09.13 – Portland Mini Maker Faire

It’s Saturday so I got to sleep in. I think I got up around 7:30 which was nice. I decided to have a lazy morning and did nothing in particular until about 11:00 when Alena messaged to see if we were coming down to Maker Faire. We were going but I wasn’t sure when since Andrew was still kind of blah. She told me that Tiberias and Rialla were asking where I was so I figured I should get moving and head down there. I showered quickly and figured out who was going. It turned out to be just Andrew and I. We got down there and there was quite a good turn out. Much busier and larger than it was two years ago so that was really nice to see.

Superhero Tiberias!

Superhero Tiberias!


We wandered through the booths to get an idea of what was there, found Alena and the kids and then Dave found us. We had a great time looking at all of the interesting things. So many things to see and it was such a beautiful day. We were there for quite a while and I could tell Andrew was done so we headed to the car. I asked if it would be ok for me to stop at World Market to look for some towels I am on the hunt for and Andrew thought that would be ok. Once we got there his eyes lit up when he saw there was a Seattle Coffee Gear right next door. We went there first because I had been wanting to get him a new tamper for his birthday but it really required him testing and picking out his own. He found one he really liked and we also got a French press. I didn’t find the towels I was looking for but found a wonderful purple and grey quilt. I dragged Andrew around to a few more stores but no luck finding the towels. We did find a crank table we really like and picked up a Toddy for making cold brew coffee.

It was after 17:00 by this point and we really needed to get home. Once we were back we started some coffee in the Toddy, worked on getting my taskd server running so I could sync my Mirakel tasks and looked at the kitchen to figure out how we might want to lay it out. Andrew got my taskd server running and added a cronjob so that it auto starts when I reboot the computer. We kind of looked at kitchen design and then decided we should have pizza for dinner. We needed to get there before 20:00 and it was 19:30 but Alice and Jason came to pick up Ladybug, their wonderful black lab that hangs out at our house from time to time. We all got to talking and laughing and oops we were too late for pizza. Oh well, their company is better than pizza anyway. Wayne, Andrew, Natale and I went to the Thai place around the corner instead and it was yummy as always. Jayde was having a “double” sleepover at Estelle’s so she was not with us.

We headed back to the house and messaged Alice that we were going to watch a movie and have popcorn. She came over and we watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It was SO good! Ben Stiller did a fantastic job as actor and director. Another great end to another great day in this awesome city I get to call home. I love it here!

Today I learned about crontab and cronjobs. I also learned that man pages have additional sections that don’t just automatically come up when running a particular man page request. For instance, ‘man crontab’ will bring up the basics of crontab but there are several different sections that discuss crontab and one would have to specify the particular section in a man command(i.e, man 5 crontab).

2014.09.12 – Week One Done!

We made it! It was a long, fascinating, stressful, fun week at the Ascend Project. We started with our usual check-ins. Most of us seemed pretty happy to be there and thankful that the weekend was coming up so we could give our brains a rest. The group worked on getting an alias set up so that Sublime opened for them instead of Vim when doing a Git commit. I use and love Vim already so I worked on figuring out why my prompt was tabbed in. I looked and looked at my bash_profile but I don’t know anything about bash script so it all looked ok to me. I also helped Yenni and Carmen as they needed. Shawna was here again and we were all thankful for her added help. She is also an encouragement because she has been programming for about a year and is starting a job as a Junior Programmer on Monday.

It took everyone a bit longer than expected to get Sublime set up as their default so we really moved into lunch at this point. Katt ordered pizza and got our vegan one from Sizzle Pie. I’ve had their pizza before and really like it but this one was SO good! I’ll have to get it again.

After lunch we delved into the subject of web literacy and then had a maker party. We were divided into groups of mostly 2 and then were given a web literacy topic to explore. I was paired with Yenni and our topic was Community Participation. We were both so happy to have this topic because it’s something we both feel so strongly about. We really connected and went off onto side discussions about foster care and other invisible populations.

After we researched our topic we had to take turns presenting. Adam and David presented on open vs closed licensing for content. We presented next and it’s starting to feel better being up there. Whew! Virginia and Eva spoke about sharing, Mary Anne and Becky talked about security, Jessica, Peri, and Sofie talked about privacy, Candida and Carmen discussed navigation, Mel and Barbara went over credibility, Tina and Zeus showed various ways to search, and finally K and JD talked about collaboration.

After we were done with web literacy we were directed to webmaker.org and were told to use one of the tools to create a “thing” that kind of reflected on why we were in Ascend. Yikes! It felt stressful to have to create something on the fly but it was a great task! It didn’t have to be perfect or even very good. It was just a way to kind of show what sort of skill level we have. I had no idea what to do at all so just made a quick image and video montage in Popcorn Maker. We had to then write a week one blog post and insert a link to our “thing”, commit, push to our remote repo and then submit a pull request. I blog at the end of each day so I just inserted my link into a blank document but I managed to get it done.

We did our check-outs and everyone was very glad it was the weekend and pay day! We were able to hang around after for some social time if we wanted but it’s Andrew’s birthday so I wanted to get home as soon as I could. It was incredibly beautiful outside again so the walk to the train was wonderful as was the walk down our street. The beautiful weather did not stop me from letting my insecurities get the best of me though as I reflected on my week. I started over-thinking everything as usual but took the time to email Lukas about my concerns. She got right back to me and put my worries to rest. I wish I could just stop them entirely! I am hoping this program will at least help me to deal better with this part of me. Bleh, enough of that.

Andrew was still working and Wayne needed to run to the store but we planned on going out to dinner so I read a book until we were all ready to go. Jayde was spending the night at her friend’s house and Natale wasn’t feeling well, Jason and Alice had other plans so it ended up just being the three of us. We wanted to try an Ethiopian restaurant we had been hearing about so we drove to SE and ate at Bete Lukas. Wow, it was fantastic! We always get the vegan platter whenever we have Ethiopian and there are usually one or two items I don’t really care for. Not at this place! I loved everything they served and there was plenty of food. We actually had some left on the platter by the time we were all stuffed.

We came back home and watched and episode of Dr Who. Andrew had a bit of a cold so he went off to bed and I read my book for a bit. Now it’s bedtime for me.

Today I learned that Beethoven was black. Ok, there is a lot of discussion about this but it’s pretty clear that he was NOT white as history has portrayed him and as pretty much everyone I know was taught.

2014.09.11 – Push and Pull

Today felt good but long. Yesterday I had mentioned that I would like to move seats just so I can start meeting the others in the cohort. Today we had assigned seating and I was moved one seat to the left. Hmmm….but new people were at my table so that was good. I got to sit next to Tina and that was great. She’s kind of quiet but she has a wonderful sense of humor. She was totally on top of things all day too which was great to see. We did our check-ins and then Kronda played a cute, motivational video for us. Katt came in and went over some more office policies just to make things clear. So far we aren’t being a bother to the regular Mozillians and I would love to keep it that way.

We moved on to setting up our Mozilla profiles. I’m not sure how everyone else feels but it made me feel like a true Mozillian. Here I am! I definitely need to work on a decent bio though but it will do for now. Once we got that done we worked on making badges. We each got to come up with our own and then award it to the other participants. I figured mine should relate to the word ‘Ascend’ so I was thinking a hot air balloon with the Firefox logo would be perfect. It turns out that Mozilla doesn’t have a hot air balloon! Their logo is perfect for one so I might have to put in a request. Anyway, I didn’t have time to make my own image so I grabbed some random happy looking one.

Setting up IRC was next but I had already set it up a day or two before so I continued to work on tweaking my environment. It seems a never ending task but I enjoy it. I am having an issue with my command prompt though since importing my bash_profile from another computer. It seems to be tabbed in and I’m not sure why. I looked at my PS1 but don’t really see a problem. But my Git highlighting works! I’ll have to test out my vimrc tomorrow and make sure my syntax highlighting works there.

I think we broke for lunch after we set up IRC. The food was SO good today! I had a vegan lentil shepherd’s pie and a salad. After lunch we all installed multiple versions of Firefox, nightly, Aurora, Beta and release. Lukas walked us through setting up multiple profiles so that each version has their own. We did a Git review and then Kronda briefly talked about Markdown so everyone could begin writing their blog posts. I’m somewhat thankful I started blogging each day so I was able to copy and paste what I already had. We have to submit our blog posts as pull requests on the Ascend repo so it’s great practice pulling, committing and pushing.

We then had the pleasure of meeting Chris Beard the CEO of Mozilla and Dave Slater the Chief of Staff. They were both very nice and welcoming and seemed to be truly happy about us being here.

I was a straggler trying to finish getting my blog posts pushed and get pull requests submitted before I left. My Andrew showed up so that we could head over to the Portland Perl Mongers meeting that evening. We had about an hour to kill so we walked over to Voo Doo and got a couple of vegan doughnuts. Fried dough with sugar is the best! It was such a beautiful evening so we decided to walk over to Free Geek for the meeting. It’s only a couple of miles away so off we went. It was nice to talk about our days even though it was mostly me talking about mine. I picked Andrew’s brain about Git and vented about a couple of my frustrations in class.

Walking across the Hawthorne Bridge looking at the I-5 Marquam Bridge and the new Tillikum Crossing Bridge beyond.

Walking across the Hawthorne Bridge looking at the I-5 Marquam Bridge and the new Tillikum Crossing Bridge beyond.


The meeting was typical. Someone was giving a talk about random and it was super boring but Andrew seemed interested and I love going with him regardless. After the meeting we all walked over to Lucky Lab, grabbed some food and had some lively discussions about a crapload of subjects. It was getting late and we were bussing it home so we said our goodbyes and RAN to the bus several blocks away. Apparently my schedule was off a bit and we ended up waiting around for about 5-6 minutes but I got to catch my breath. It was a pretty good day for the most part.

Today I learned that ‘git pull –rebase’ is VERY useful! No annoying merge commits cluttering up the commit history.

2014.09.10 – Third Day’s a Charm

My first days at the Ascend Project have been great and today was no exception. I arrived early as usual and grabbed an almond yogurt and some carrots for breakfast. Once everyone was there and had eaten we got right to check-ins. It seems everyone is doing well and we were all excited to learn more.

Lukas and Kronda were going over the basics of Git so I listened while I worked on continuing to set up my environment. I needed brew, pip, virtualenv, virtualenvwrapper, my bash_profile and my vimrc. I worked on getting that all going and helped Carmen who was sitting next to me as needed. She is wonderful. A very gentle soul. Her meekness and insecurity tends to overshadow her sharp wit but I constantly see her catching on to all the information being thrust upon her even when she says she is confused. I love her delight at learning a new concept. It’s a great thing to witness.

We broke for lunch and it was blah today. Sandwiches were ordered and I have no idea where they got them but whoever made them thinks that vegans love a dry sandwich with some random veggies on it. Not so much. That sounds like complaining but I really don’t mean to. I have been completely spoiled in this program and I don’t know how I can ever thank anyone properly for this opportunity. I hope to just pay it forward.

Early in the day I made my first pull request on the mozilla/ascend repo but I screwed it up by not looking carefully before I committed and ended up with a note from Lukas asking me to fix the issue before it could be merged. I fixed it and resubmitted but there was still some weirdness. I dunno. It got merged and I will be more careful! I hope.

We were split up into groups of 2 to 3 and were given some specific git commands to research. We got ‘remote’. Our group of three researched it and then had to get up and present. It was so much easier to speak in front of everyone today than yesterday! Maybe because the Mozilla employees weren’t watching or maybe it really was easier. Anyway, the instructors loved seeing the change from one day to the next so they plan on having us do a lot of presenting. It will be good for me since I think I would like to try giving a talk at a conference one of these days once I actually know about something worth talking about.

The day kind of flew by and before I knew it, it was time for check-out. Everyone really seemed to have a great day and were looking forward to tomorrow. I was going to the Women Who Code meeting this evening at 18:30 so I hung around for about an hour to kill time. There were others there and I don’t think they minded me staying.

I headed over to the library so I could meet Alena and baby Anya and walk to Puppet Labs with them for the meeting. We hopped on a streetcar instead and made it over there more quickly than I thought a streetcar could manage. The meeting was great. Paige is the organizer and she gave a great talk on regular expressions and then Alena talked about a cool website that WWC is getting started. pdxtechwomen.com. I think it would be fun and interesting to help out with the site if I can find the time.

Alena with Anya, Paige and I walked to the streetcar stop so they could make the long trek out to Beaverton and I began walking to the Max. Andrew was nice enough to come get me though and that saved me a lot of time and I got to tell him all about my day before he headed off to bed. I think it’s time for me to do the same.

Today I learned that regular expressions aren’t nearly as daunting as I kept telling myself they were! I also learned that I like my cohort more and more each day. What an awesome group of people.