Disalienation: Why Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora

A few months ago, I started contributing to the Diaspora project. I began by refactoring their test suite and setting up a continuous integration server. Then I installed Jasmine and started mucking around with the JavaScript. That was all pretty straightforward.

A few weeks ago I made a slightly more controversial change.
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Speak Ruby in Japanese

I’ve studied Japanese on and off for more than ten years – mostly “off.” I took a year of language when I was in college, but since then it’s just been periodic classes at Soko Gakuen in San Francisco.

I managed to pass the JLPT level 3 a few years ago, so in Japan last month, I was decent at ordering food and navigating the subway. But I quickly discovered that I couldn’t really talk to another programmer. None of my classes even taught me how to say “programmer,” let alone “code,” “object,” “method,” “development environment”… Read more »

Ruby Kaigi

Apart from attending Ruby meetups, my main reason for visiting Japan last month was RubyKaigi 2010.

Why not, indeed? (photo by Lee Lundrigan)

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be all men in button-down dress shirts and pleated pants? Would I give my talk to a room full of blank looks? Would I be the one with the blank look when I went to a talk in Japanese? WOULD THERE BE FAN SERVICE??
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A few days after we arrived in Japan, Sarah Allen and I went to the weekly hack night put on by Asakusa.rb, a meetup group in Tokyo founded by Akira Matsuda. Read more »

Safe Facebooking

I have a Facebook account on which I have duly locked down the privacy controls (several times, it feels like). In theory, no one can get at my information unless we become Facebook friends.

In practice, I’ve discovered, it’s another story entirely. After spending the better part of ten days, recently, integrating Facebook into another website, I have new rules for how I use Facebook. I realize they sound a little tin-foil-hat-style crazy, so after the rules I’ll explain a bit about why I adopted them.
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RailsConf Slides – Beyond (No)SQL

Preliminary slides for my RailsConf talk I’m giving this afternoon on conceptual tools for evaluating databases. Contains some profanity at the beginning. Slides are subject to change since I haven’t actually given the talk yet!
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Outside-In BDD: How?!

I use rspec on every project, and I’ve started adding cucumber to all my projects in the last few months. There’s lots of information out there about how to set up and use cucumber, but there isn’t much covering your developer workflow when you’re using these tools.

How do you start, and how do you know you’re finished? What do you test, and where? These questions can be answered hundreds of different ways, but here’s my way.
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Another Ruby hack night!

I’ll be hosting another Ruby hack night on Tuesday, June 1st, at Pivotal Labs – 731 Market St, between 3rd and 4th in San Francisco. You can RSVP here.

You’re welcome to bring any sort of Ruby-related project! The theme for the evening is Javascript testing, following on this month’s monthly meetup. But I won’t make you write any Javascript if you don’t want to.

Ruby hack night

Pivotal Labs, 731 Market St, 3rd Floor

The peninsula has all kinds of neat hack events like SuperHappyDevHouse and various Hacker Dojo events. But I hate driving all the way down there just to hang out with hackers and get something done on a project. There are plenty of hackers in San Francisco. There might even be more of the type of hackers I want to hang out with.

So I’ve decided to host a monthly hack night, to be held on the Tuesday following the monthly SF Ruby meetup. My employer, Pivotal Labs, has graciously volunteered their space. Since tonight is the SF Ruby meetup, the next hack night is next Tuesday, April 27th, from 7-9:30 (ish).

RSVP now! See you next Tuesday.

Why I Don’t Work At Google

I have a few friends who periodically ask me, “Why don’t you work at Google?” To non-developers, Google seems like a programmer’s paradise – smart people, free food, scooters! and interesting projects to work on. Google does indeed have all of these things.

It’s not enough.

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