In Madison, we are fortunate to have a nice bicycle sharing system called Madison B-cycle. B-cycle is perfect for short trips and the occasional commute. Being located all over the city, I used B-cycles frequently last summer. In this month’s newsletter to members, the Madison B-cycle staffed proposed a challenge - bike all 32 stations in 24 hours. The prize? A Madison B-Cycle t-shirt. How could I say no?
I recruited my buddy Will to go with me and we planned our trip for a breezy 40 degree day. I even used the B-Cycle API to write a program that would optimize our route (look for another post on this later). We split the trip into 3 stages. Stage 1 started at 7AM on the corner of W. Washington and Regent and took us to 17 stations west of the capitol. Stage 2 was a quick loop of the capitol stations, which we completed over lunch. After work, we completed the final stage taking us to all the east side stations. Total time and distance: roughly 3 hours 30 minutes and just over 20 miles.
Overall, the experience was quite awesome and fun!. Tour de Bcycle gave us the opportunity to see Madison in an entirely new way. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested. A 24-hour pass is only $5, so you don’t even need to be an annual member.
Update: Will and I have been officailly inducted into the Madison B-cycle hall of fame.
The GPS I had with me was acting up, but you can see our incomplete route on runkeeper. I also brought my DSLR along and put together a short video documenting the trip:
This weekend, while working on upgrading murfie.com to Rails 3, I found a situation requiring url_for()… except, I wasn’t using it with an ActiveRecord model :/
Yehunda Katz and ActiveModel to the rescue! Rails 3’s ActiveModel is a great way to mix ActiveRecord functionality into any object. Yehunda’s article covers validations and serialization, but glosses over ActiveModel::Naming.
Adding this module to a class means that url_for(Model) just works! Of course you need to have routes setup, but url_for will automatically construct the named routes if they match up with the model name.
Under the hood, rails is calling model_name on the class of the object passed into url_for(). Model.model_name returns a string, but is actually an instance of ActiveModel::Name, which is then used by url_for() to generate the named route for the object.
Look at this picture. See where I have circled the unsubscirbe link? Yes, that grey text with no underline is a link. Secha Touch, who sent this email, should be ashamed.
Today I found myself needing to move data between two heroku apps. If you have the pgbackups addon installed, it turns out this is really easy:
Heroku covers the process more in depth in their documentation
This morning I came across an article on hacker news titled Rails Is Not For Beginners. The article is actually about Sinatra, but the link-bait title is dead wrong. Rails is perfect for beginners and here is why …
A friend of mine with zero programming experience recently asked me to help him learn web development. We setup rails together, and I pointed him to some online tutorials. When he called me the next evening, he could barely contain his excitement:
“Rails is awesome! I can edit, add, delete! This is a real web app and I made it!”
In Rails, with only a few commands you can have a fully functioning CRUD app built on scaffolding. No experienced Rails developer I know uses scaffolding. So why is it still in the source code? Because Rails is for beginners.
The best way to teach anyone web development is to inspire them to learn on their own. My friend is a long way from being a productive web developer, but because of Rails he is excited to learn more.
If you are a beginner and looking for a place to start, I recommend railstutorial.org. It is a fantastic resource, and best of all the online version is free.
I’m moving the blog from dreamhost+wordpress to heroku+octopress (which is built on jekyll). Anything before this point in the blog has been imported and might be a little off. You have been warned!
Last Friday, I did a radio interview on 1670 AM for my startup - GeoHuddle. The full audio is available here:
[wpaudio url=”http://www.southpolesteve.com/wp- content/uploads/GH_interview.mp3” text=”InBusiness with Jody and Joan - Interview with Steve Faulkner”]
Just click the little play button to listen
As some of you might know, I am working on a new startup company these days called GeoHuddle. We are developing a new style of community geothermal energy system. Check out our website at www.geohuddle.com