Makers Academy: Day 21

“Everybody is trying to do their best.”

New week, new adventure! We are doing Battleships as a web application this week with a new team! Enrique started off the morning with the above quote about working in teams. I thought it was really nice and decided to make that the quote of the day. His words inspired me to propose a team lunch to turn our new team members to get to know one another more personally.

Our lectures were on HTTP and HTML in the morning and afternoon, respectively, given by Enrique. We learned how the internet works in our HTTP lecture and it was pretty neat. Then we learned and that 99% of sites are horribly tagged with <div>’s and <spans>’s everywhere, which are useless and have no meaning, in our HTML lecture. Here’s what I think is the main caveat of HTML to take away:


Because we’re all now in new teams, I thought I should carry the learnings I’ve gained  from my previous team experience to make Webdawgs (my new team’s name) even better than before. Nikesh also mentioned in his blog some great insight into some of the sources of tension that led to a breakdown in communication and love in teams:

In our cohort there is a divide on why people are here to do the course. Everyone has the same base reason and that is they want to Learn to Code, however many people will go back to university after this which means that they are not depending on the outcome and learning from this for their future careers as much as others who have quit their jobs and need this experience to be the best possible to change their career paths and continue in life, and sadly I think this is being reflected in peoples’ attitude to challenges. 

So I proposed that we all go out for a team lunch of just the 5 of us (all other teams have 4 people) to turn these humanoid shells we’re supposed to work with into human beings with lives before, during, and after Makers, who have different motivations and goals. I forgot to take a photo of our lovely team lunch at great cafe Jamie suggested nearby, but a random wanted to take a photo of the back of my shirt and this is the best/only photo of the whole event I have right now.


The observant might notice I have my notebook and pen next to my plate.


The page on the left showed some plans on how we can keep the team organized, communication open, and team spirit high – Trello, HipChat team room, and a nice team name! The right are my notes on each of my team members’ motivations, what they are looking to gain from Makers, what their post-Makers plans are, what they think is important or not, and their frustrations and salvation, if any, from their previous team. Our team seem to have enjoyed the team lunch and found it useful, so I would highly recommend other teams trying this as well, to figure out what kind of team structure would work best for what everyone is looking for.

9PM – I’m getting kicked out again! Bye!

Makers Academy: Day 20

Friday Challenge today. Just finished Friday challenge from last week. Bah.

Our challenge this week is the write the Inject method without using the inject method. Then we need to write a program for Takeaways that sends texts messages to our cellphones.

I didn’t start on any of that and spent the whole day finish my last week’s airport challenge. Here are my notes working on it this week.



That’s Mihai’s help/hint on the right side.

It all works! :) SO many coaches, seniors, and fellow cohort-mates, especially Toan, invested their time and effort to help me complete this challenge. Thank you all! <3

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 4.44.48 AMI finally got it and pushed it to Github!

Then I ate burgers,


played Jenga,


and karaoke’d until 10PM (pics later) before finally heading over to Loves Company, our favorite bar for more Makers bonding until 1AM.

Then I came back and updated this blog and now it’s 4:53AM. OMG so much work to do tomorrow.

Makers Academy: Day 19

Steve’s birthday. We all sang “Happy Birthday” because we love Steve. Look at him:

IMG_4166 Two cakes. One was made of rainbow.

IMG_4168 IMG_4169

People turned into cake zombies.IMG_4165We got our Makers mugs.IMG_4171

Teamwork is beautiful.


Our battleships board is beautiful.


Mentors came in and Enrique mini-interviewed them so that we can get an idea of who they are.IMG_4178



4:40AM Saturday now. Bye.


Makers Academy: Day 18

Today we learned about SOLID of object-oriented design. Each Battleships team was assigned a principle to present on and teach to the rest of the cohort, which I thought is an interesting learning method. Here’s Team British presenting the ‘S’ in SOLID, the Single Responsibility Principle.


The SRP is probably the only one we all knew – every class should just do one thing. Here are my notes on the rest of the principles.

Jonathan Courtney from Giving What We Can, who are one of the two main organizations promoting and researching the evidence-based approach to fields like global health for individual use. Pretty cool talk and learned a lot from Jonathan. It was also refreshing to have a non-tech related talk about a fascinating group working on helping important causes.

We worked on battleships for the entire day and our team really united and pulled together for our project. Smooth sailing today! Finally, a jug of Nutella marks my desk.IMG_4163

Makers Academy: Day 17

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

I stayed at Makers until 9:30PM today, so today’s post is going to be quickie. I must say, that today, the greatest lesson I learned was on communication and working in a team more than coding or software development. Our team was having some problems with our Battleship program design and communication wasn’t really great so we weren’t so productive for a lot of today.

So, I was sort of alone, without a pair (gasp!), around late afternoon and went to Enrique, the master of all wisdom and awesome in the universe for some guidance, advice, and/or encouragement on what I felt unsure and uneasy about. This led to our team getting an email from Enrique saying our team need to talk. DUN DUN DUNNN… I knew exactly where that email came from when I saw it, but it totally came out of the left field for my poor team members. At the time, I felt sort of like I made our team seem way worse than it actually was, but retrospectively, I’m glad we talked about the giant pink elephant in the room earlier rather than later.

Our whole team ended up in the board room with Enrique and Dana (Chief Joy Officer) to talk about the problems and conflicts our team has been having, especially with communication, planning, and being on the same page. Our team seem to feel strongly about different things and want to do things quite differently. I want to follow TDD quite strictly and have a pretty thought out model and design of our Battleship program while others wanted to get right into coding and have functionality together. I also feel like I come off as someone who wants to “be right, all the time.” I also feel quite unsure of whether or not what I absolutely know it right (like needing strong tests before we even begin writing code) is something I should be more adamant about or if I should just relax and go along with my team with. I feel like this is the kind of struggle someone would have with deciding how pushy they should be about preaching their religion to others.

I have seen firsthand how well the stuff I’m trying to make my team do work in a real software development team at one of the top tech consultancies in the world, but isn’t that kind of like being absolutely sure that accepting Jesus Christ/God/Buddha/Allah/Beyonce as your Lord/Queen/Savior is the only way to salvation?

I don’t know. I am so sure and so unsure at the same time.

And there was another bit about being tempted to code and code by yourself to practice coding more, to code faster, and code better. But Enrique, our Jedi master, shook his head and tell us that is not the way. It’s about working in a team and writing code properly. This brings me back to a really great African proverb that stuck with me while I was at ThoughtWorks and they were teaching us the importance of pairing and unimportance of going ‘fast’:

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Makers Academy: Day 16

 Week 4! Battleships Week!

I hear from the senior cohort that this is the project that breaks people. Exciting…

We will be pairing in teams for the first time and it will be randomly formed.  Enrique wrote out the members of our team first and then we choose a civilization as our team name. My team is the Spartans.

THIS IS SPARTA!!!!!20140714-195134-71494600.jpg
The first name we wrote down were the Atlantians, but decided on Spartans after. Then I was surprised no one decided to be the Vikings since we ARE building BATTLE SHIPS. I just can’t help but think of the Asgaurdians as the Ass-gaurdians. I’m so mature, I know.

In anycase, first things first. After our teams were formed, we wrote out our CRCs (Class Responsibility Collaborators) to plan out how we’ll be building our methods. Here’s what our team’s board looked like:  20140714-195134-71494929.jpgWe got to work on modeling our domain and today Chloë and I paired with Sam scaffolding. We were only setting up our domain at this point, so he taught us the ins-and-outs of instance and class variables and gave us advice on how we should set our Battleships program up.

In the afternoon until Enrique’s talk on Agile & XP (Extreme Programming). He talks about the main concepts and pillars of Agile, Lean, and XP. 20140714-195135-71495262.jpgWe had a little coin-turning game to demonstrate how much faster the agile methodology is over the waterfall methodology that programming has traditionally been done in. The software and tech industry is actually still quite ridiculous in how inefficiently software is being developed!

After Enrique’s talk, we spent the rest of our time working on our Battleships program and I’m staying at Makers until 8:30-9 as usual. Haha.

Makers Academy: Weekend 3



This weekend, I attended the first meeting of .Readlines, hosted by Roi, a senior. It’s like a Saturday morning code reading club, because simply reading code is supposed to be one of the best ways to maintain one’s chops in coding, so this club was finally put together and launched this weekend! :) I LOVE their logo:



So awesome.

After the reading club, I had a really nice picnic with a new artist friend I made at a pub Friday Night, Candy. She’s awesome!


Makers Academy: Day 15

Friday time = Challenge time!

The challenge is writing an air traffic control program for airplanes. It’s like a mini Boris Bikes assignment except a little bit different. The assignment is like this:

The planes can land and take off provided that the weather is sunny. Occasionally it may be stormy, in which case no planes can land or take off. 
Your task is to create a set of classes/modules to makes the given test suite pass. You will need to use random number generator to set the weather (it is normally sunny but on rare occasions it may be stormy). In your tests, you’ll need to use a double to override random weather. Finally, every plane must have a status indicating whether it’s flying or landed.

I didn’t get to finish it. :( I’ll be working on it during the weekend!!

This Friday, we had a Talk Night, which involves us giving Pecha Kucha 20x20s or Ignite talks.

First up was Charlie, give a Pecha Kucha on slides. It wasn’t until the end I realized the whole was a big pun:

20 slides on 20 slides. Too good. LOL

20140713-232230-84150830.jpgThen there were a bunch more but I didn’t take any more photos because they were so engaging and interesting. I didn’t realize my fellow cohort-mates were so uniquely interesting! They also all managed to pull off exceptionally good talks for such a short amount of preparation time. I particularly loved Nic’s talk on positivity about turning “-1s” into “+1s” and Eddie’s on high speed photography. I found Alex (Maker’s CEO and founder)’s talk on concrete to be one of the coolest pecha kuchas in my opinion.

Then we all partied and chatted around before having a karaoke of ONE song sung by Josh and Alex (a student in the June cohort). They were both highly entertaining for everyone who stuck around. :) 20140713-232231-84151186.jpg




Makers Academy: Day 14

Mihai and Steve lectured on how Self and Super works this morning and used ships and submarines to show us how inheritance works. We learned how to check for a class’ super class and ancestors and what not.  20140710-195155-71515223.jpg

Then I paired Iona, the super awesome, that I’ve been dying to pair with again since our “Dirty Threesome.” haha We had this super sweet screen share & extra monitor setup to combine the best of our Boris Bikes program together. Check it out:20140710-195154-71514604.jpg


Iona’s version of Boris Bikes didn’t employ doubles, so we worked off of her code and integrated doubles into her tests to reenforce our learnings from yesterday. We ran into quite a few problems when trying to set shared examples, but we figured it out in due time. :)

In the afternoon, Steve lectured on Regular Expressions (regex), which I find really cool. He showed us how to use Rubular and how to go about email validation with regex. He shared with us some lovely quotes as usual:

If you have a problem, and you think using regular expressions is the best solution, then you have two problems.


Here are the notes of the methods we can use with regular expressions and also Dynamic Method Calling that I later did a little studying on when I wanted to use it on our Boris Bikes program. I also needed to refresh myself on the difference between mocking and stubbing. Hehe20140710-200132-72092690.jpg(NOT SAFE FOR CHILDREN) Then toward the end of the day, our lovely senior cohort (who are 6 weeks ahead of us) showed me this lovely little Test Driven Development (TDD) allegory they called (S)TDD:20140710-195154-71514250.jpg

Excited and also a little bit scared of our Friday Challenge for tomorrow! I hear people are supposed to work all weekend on this one!

Makers Academy: Day 13


A nice message I saw on my way to Makers this morning. :) Pretty appropriate since I was going to give a Pecha Kucha that I was super scared of doing since I only had one night to pull the whole thing together from scratch. I hadn’t even finished my notes yet, let alone start on slides.

I broke my promiscuous-pairing streak today by pairing up with Charlotte again to work on our Boris Bikes! We learned about inheritance and composition in our morning lecture before adding shared_examples in RSpec and added interactions between the van, garage and station classes. Then we worked on refactoring our code for the rest of the day.

I gave a Pecha Kucha on giving a Pecha Kucha during lunch today. A Pecha Kucha is basically a presentation format in which a presenter shows 20 slides, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and the presenter speaks along the images. So if someone isn’t too prepared, they’ll just have to roll with with the punches… which I was preparing myself to be doing since I didn’t have time to do a single full rehearsal.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 12.17.02 PM

But it turned out surprisingly well. Really well, in fact. Everyone showered me with the loudest cheers I’d ever heard, high five’s, good job’s and compliments after. I’m so happy! :)

Then next up, Jeremy gave an awesome tech talk on error handling. We learned about rescues, raises, ensures, common errors and got a pretty thorough understanding on the basics of error handling. He’s the first person from my cohort (keep in mind we are still only in week 3) to give everyone a technical talk and pulled it off really well. :) So much snaps to him. So giving a good tech talk is going to be my next goal!

Finally, at 6:30, Pete, the CIO of ASOS came in to talk to us! I had no idea ASOS was such a cool company tech-wise. It’s UK’s biggest online-only retailer and seems just as tech focused as it is fashion focus. He only spoke for a little bit and spent most of his time doing Q&A to answer the questions we were actually interested in. ASOS is definitely a company I’m keen on applying to after Makers since they would actually get a work visa for a junior developer. Working in London would just be awesome.

At the end of the day, someone says “London Style,” and Charlotte and I had to break out in the Gangnam Style dance. It’s our thing now. Haha.