The Most Productive Winter Break Ever

This winter break has been one of the most productive breaks I’ve had. Over the last few months I’ve felt like the school work I’ve done barely compares to the work that many larger Universities do. Since I know I’ll be competing in a national or possibly global scale, I wanted to make sure I could at least be on par with other students at schools. During this winter break I took the time to get acquainted with new technologies and work on personal projects. I honestly would like to say that this was a large large success. I wanted to use this first post to talk about what I during Winter Break.

Redmine

During this winter break I wanted a way to track all my major projects. It would contain repos, updates and a way to track my time. My first accomplishment was successfully adding redmine to my list of hosted applications on this server. I have already implemented basic scrum software to organize myself and proceed with agile-like development. Redmine will now act as the host to all my large projects. It currently hosts the IOU project and hopefully many more, such as my profile website.

IOU

The app to keep track of who you owe what. The basic premise is to keep track of who you owe money and who owes money to you. I created this app after having numerous issues when I lent out money and forgot to get it back or they lent me money and I forgot to get it back. I’ve had this idea for several years and finally took the time to implement it in late 2014. I used it as a proof of concept when working with JSON and postgres on a remote server. This winter break I took a step forward with this idea and started to create a better UI with offline functionality instead. With a few hints of material design I worked to create a better app. The app stands a few days of work from completion but other projects have stopped this project from getting any further.

I aim to release this project on the Play store, so I want to take special care to squash all the bugs before release. This app will be free on the Android store and hopefully it’ll help resolve any arguments next time you ask your friend for some money.

For more information on my progress, visit the project site on redmine.

Interview Practice and Internships

At the end of junior year, a lot of internships give the intern a fast track to getting a job there. This is because you already know the culture and work ethic to expect from the job. As a result, internships are a little harder to get into and they start to get serious about what you actually know. To prepare for this, I spent quite a lot of time working on the data structures, algorithms, re-read some fantastic books including Cracking the Interview. I also worked on operating systems (getting better at threading, concurrency, deadlocks, etc.) and did practice round after practice round. As the results come in, I’ll make sure to post my final choice here and explain where I might be working and why I chose there.

For those who are going through the same process feel free to reach out to me. I’ll be happy to work with you on practices interviews, reviews and guides.

Ruby on Rails

One of my goals, as a CS major, is to be a utility developer. One that has a basic understanding in many fields. I noticed my skills as a web developer were non existent, so I’ve been creating a website using Ruby on Rails in order to get better at this. I plan to use this as a way to get my new website working. Right now I’ve gotten a basic understanding of Ruby on Rails but plan to get a more comprehensive idea of Ruby on Rails over the next few weeks.

I’ve been following this great tutorial that I recommend to anyone who wants to understand Ruby on Rails.

For more updates on Ruby on Rails click the Ruby on Rails tag.

JSON HTTP Requests

Over the winter break I noticed that my github page was a little lackluster. I took what learned from a previous course and rewrote it to be seen by public eye and post it on github for it to be forked, pulled and changed. The general idea is to be able to use HTTP Get, Post, Put, and Delete commands with JSON data by either extending the class or using static methods. I created a few docs for the method and a test case as well. Over the next few weeks/year I hope to add more updates to this code.

Check out the git repo over at github!

LinkedIn

For a second I’ll quickly move away from technical and discuss professional life. I’ve updated my LinkedIn to be more comprehensive and up to date. Over the next few weeks feel free to look at it as more of my projects will appear there.

Feel free to check it out!

Omnibike

I have started work with a new startup called Omnibike. Their goal is to help recover stolen bikes. They contacted me about 3 weeks ago and progress is moving slowly yet steadily. We’ll be using Ruby on Rails as our platform and working hard to make their dream a reality. Since I’m only the developer I won’t make too many updates on Omnibike since I want to leave all PR to the creative team. However, I am excited to work with this team in creating a fantastic website. For more information on how Omnibike works visit their Indigogo.

I’ll be working with Connor Lay for this site who has had more experience than me at creating websites. Over the next few months we hope that we can create a fantastic website for the Omnibike team and help those who have lost their bikes in the past.

The Future

Many of these projects have an open end. Some of them might be worked on for quite a while and some others might never move past the stage they are. Especially as school becomes part of my life. I do have them ranked in what is most important and what you can expect out of them by the end of May.

Internships

There has been a lot of hard work in terms of interview practice. While I’m done with the practice, the process to get in can take a while. I hope to have selected an offer by the end of March and tell you where I’m working!

For more updates look through the subscription tags. I’ll be posting a lot of information there.

Ruby on Rails

I’m currently working on the tutorial and hope to have a good understanding of Ruby on Rails. I will use this to launch into other projects such as my website redesign, TEAL, and other large projects.

For more on ruby on rails either visit my github page or look through the Ruby on Rails Tag

Omnibike

Connor and I have worked hard on what the possible phases for this project could be and we hope to get this train moving. Again, I do not want to handle too much of the PR as the creative team knows how to handle that. I am excited to work with such a young and inspiring team and I personally cannot wait to see how far this project goes.

If you want to find out more feel free to click the Omnibike page.

The Lafayette College App

One of my main goals this year is to create a Lafayette College app. A way to be notified of all the great events on campus and to subscribe them to certain events. I wanted to use this as a method to give back to the students of Lafayette College and leave a somewhat permanent mark on the campus I’m a part of. I’ll be working with ACM to get a proper team and create what I hope to be a fantastic app. There is a lot more information to work on before I start. Spitballing User stories mostly and getting the general idea of what we want down.

IOU

During the later half of this winter break, this project took a back seat. Over the next semester I plan on releasing it. Like I said above the work left is mostly code cleaning and tests. These are things I honestly should have done a long time ago and regret not working on them as I pushed forward. After debugging and testing is done I will release the app to the public. The future after that is to make the app more “exciting” adding features on who owes what and current transactions. There is a long way to go for this app so we’ll see where the road takes us.

Teal

A project dedicated to helping the WJRH site log all their songs. I’m working with Ellen Galperin [link to her site] and Renan Dincer [link to his site]. This project has been in the works for an unreasonable amount of time. We hope to seal the deal over the next few weeks.

24 Hour Projects

I thought of a fun idea the other day that I want to try out. I want to buff up my github repository to have meaningful work. So every once in a while I will have 24 hours to work on one specific project. This project needs to have a basic prototype working within those 24 hours enough to demo to other folks. I already have “The Compliments App” as an idea and a Sudoku Solver as another. These projects are meant as a good way to jog my mind and create something to be available to the public.

Website/Portfolio

My website is a mess at the moment. I want to fix this. Create something that is readable and interesting to look at. A website with much better design and the ability to show my work at the very start of the page. I don’t plan to use WordPress but instead use either some of the knowledge I have or possibly some that I don’t have to create a cool looking website. As I start getting ready for whatever internship I want to be able to market myself as a developer and show them my work. Hopefully I’ll be able to push this out as soon as possible.

LinkedIn/Resume Upgrade

Add a basic projects section to somewhere on my resume. I have a lot more experience than I am able to put on there so I want to be able to show that off somewhere. This goes both for my LinkedIn page and my resume.

Conclusion

Overall, this has been my most productive breaks ever. From Internship practice to Android Applications, I have done more than I dreamed of and could not be happier with where I left off. My work with Omnibike and Ruby on Rails has helped me create a solid foundation for my web dev skills. I cannot wait to show my completed projects of 2015. Stay tuned! My technical abilities feel sharp and I feel ready to take on some intense projects. I want to have a complex and complete portfolio by the end of this semester to show what I can make. As the real world slowly approaches (3 semesters left!) I want to make sure I start strong.

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