Ascend Project

Mentorship and barrier-removing accelerator program designed to explicitly invite, include, and support adult learners in making a first technical contribution to Open Source software.

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amanda houle

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    Lightning Talk - Part II: you got five minutes

    15 Oct 2014 »

    Let’s talk about why this has been such a struggle to organize into concise thoughts later…

    What was different about Ascend that grew my confidence?

    How to distill a 6 week adventure into 5 minutes and at a time when I have not yet had a chance to process the experience yet. Yes! (the most important thing I’d like to get across is 3 ideas that you can use in reproducing confidence building that may not be currently used in Meetups, other Networking events or Code Schools.)

    Here is the spoiler for tomorrow’s 5 minutes of (within-the-Ascend-Project) fame!

    [Slide: title ]

    I’ve been regularly going to Meetups, attended two different code schools and have done quite a bit of networking-type, information gathering coffee and lunch meetings. Those things all have their place but where I finally grew some confidence was with the Ascend Project.

    How, you ask? What was different about Ascend?
    Well, I have not yet had the time to process my Ascend Project experience, so the how and why is still a little fuzzy. Let’s acknowledge that I have found this confidence before we have completed! I’ll try to answer this question of “how?” from where I stand on our timeline 5 weeks in.

    [Slide: Talking to Each other! Scheduled, structured daily communication]

    Let’s talk about talking to each other. First, we had two days of intensive community building. It was invaluable all the way from breaking the ice, to finding our own individual strengths to a self declared metamorphosis!
    What continued to keep our group in cohesion, was a daily check in governed by our own code of conduct. Our check ins had a specific purpose which was different from what I got out of it in regard to confidence building. (Something about compassion, letting people know if we were in a particularly unpleasant mood, sharing information about the bug that we were working on, morning mishaps or whether we were awake yet or not…) What I got out it was a sense of connection and of where other people were on this journey to tech-awesomeness. [Perhaps it is a weakness of my own that it helps me to guage my own progress based on where the group is? That can’t completely be the reason because, as I mentioned before, over half of our daily check ins and check outs had nothing to do with our technical progress.]

    [Slide: Even with experience, there is still the work of a puzzle.]

    Ok, it was time to dig in, find a bug and get to work on it.
    I looked through available bugs to work on with no idea really where to start. I suggested perhaps that Lukas could walk through fixing a bug on the big screen and we could watch. Her reply confused me. I can’t quote, but pretty sure it was along the lines of that fact that she didn’t know - off the top of her head - how to fix a particular bug and would have to research and do the same things that we’d have to do anyway. What? You can’t just go in and quickly fix a bug while we watch? You’ve got a four year degree and many years of experience! Hmmmmm…… She also added that it wouldn’t be that fun to just watch anyway. (this is true)
    Now that I’ve set up four different dev environments and looked at a few bugs, I understand what she meant. Anyone and everyone has to start at the same place with the set up and then search through the files to figure out which code does what and how the program works. Experience helps with how fast you understand the set up and maybe you’ve seen this code before… but now we are talking about speed.

    [Slide: It’s all about the bread crumbs, baby.]

    We spent a day… or two…. setting up our local versions of WordPress. Let’s just say that Kronda had her hands full with 20 new developers on their own individual machines coming from their own different backgrounds and with their own different perspectives.
    We were directed to follow a blog - written by a trusted WP developer - which had step by step instructions on how to get your own local version of WordPress set up. Did I mention that there were 20 of us? Some of the words on this blog were a in a completely foreign language to us. We all encountered different errors, problems and challenges and after a 2 and a half day struggle, we were complete. (It was also one of the most fun days of Ascend!) I learned a lot more that day than how to set up a WordPress environment and I bet our awesome instructor learned a ton too… she went home that first night and wrote her OWN blog so that we could come back to it on the following day and fill in the holes and complete the task.
    People tell you that you need to know how to Google for answers online and that it’s common for even experienced developers.

    Watching this process unfold reinforced the idea of using scattered breadcrumbs for accomplishing tasks. So many of us are following the path already blazed by others and leaving our own breadcrumbs as we go along. My short tutorial on how to file your first bug has already been followed by at least two other eager contributors!

    [Slide: “Stackoverflow-ed” is a verb.]

    One last example? I was in a meeting with four other Ascenders and our mentor going through the steps to set up another dev environment. During one of the steps, my Terminal threw up an error message. I stopped and let Kate, our mentor know and she responded, “Do you mind if I go on and we can fix that and catch up with the rest of the group later?” I said, “no problem” and without missing a beat, hopped on over to Stackoverflow to research my error. It took less than two minutes with that particular fix and I quickly caught up with the rest of the group. Five weeks ago, I would’ve been in a post meeting session with whomever was available to help me figure out how to figure out my error! No longer a passenger, folks….

    [Slide: How to get in touch with me]

    Put me in front of a machine and I will figure it out.

    Update: link <iframe src="" width="640" height="380" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>link</iframe>to shortened version and actual presentation

    Squashed Bug

    10 Oct 2014 »

    It’s Friday afternoon, T-minus 2 minutes until the kiddo arrives. I’m so excited :)

    My pull request was merged this morning….

    screen shot of merged pull request

    yay! bug squashed. The super great thing about contributing to Mozilla projects is all the support and recognition newbies get:

    Tweet of First Bug

    Want to know how I feel right about now? Check out the image below (get the full affect by downloading and adding it to your wallpaper - fullscreen, baby!):


    In other news…. I got to spend most of my day on less concentration intesive things such as: * met with my coach - Larissa is great, bring out the chocolate cake! She asked me about the lightening talk that I will give on Thursday of next week. As the talk is only about five minutes long, she basically got the hear the whole thing already.
    * My biggest challenge - as is usually the case - will be to make the information that I’d like to get across less explanatory (ramble), more concise and impactful. * Helped fellow ascenders with GitHub issues - fun! * Oh! I reverted my Wordpress site back to the default theme. We had a great session with Kronda going through how to customize our site. I will try again with this new knowledge - just not today. I think this will require a bit of patience and a big stretch from my end. Anything related to design for me… hmm…. I love UX, I’m not yet confident in design. (Hey, any fellow Ascenders want their first WP client? …jk….)

    Have a great weekend!

    Rings Of Saturn

    07 Oct 2014 »
    --- layout: post title:  "Rings of Saturn" author: amanda houle date:   2014-Oct-7 categories: amanda --- <br> Today's post is named after my burgeoning latte art.  I do think frothy design practice deserves my appreciation due to the resultant caffeine injection getting me through the second half of the morning. I think I mentioned the Cadillac of an espresso machine that we have been learning on (note to self:  take picture of espresso machine before the project is over.  It's so beautiful!).  I no longer feel that hole in my experience of growing up in the PacNW and never having done my obligatory stint as a barista on a professional machine!  Thank you Mozilla PDX office :)

    This morning started with a Vidyo mentoring session working on Mozilla’s Webmaker-app. Awesome! I am still blown away at the time, consideration and patience these experienced devs give us when working on our individual bugs. @k88hudson, you rock!

    It turns out, the bug that I have assigned to me is in a dev environment which is very labor intensive and lengthy to set up. (You are NOT kidding!). It’s also in an area that has not received a lot of attention in awhile - I think the focus is more on now. So, I was asked if I would mind to cross over to the dark side….. I am now going to work out bugs in

    We went over the steps to creating a dev environment for working on this repo. Compared to the last environment I worked on, this one was a snap. I had one small issue come up - is Stackoverflow a verb? Let’s try: I Stackoverflowed my issue while the rest of the group continued on with set up and I was able to fix and catch up within a few minutes. (yay for small successes and non-complicated set ups!)

    Kate went over a bug that another participant - Mary Anne - had signed up for. It was adding a feature to the appmaker using vue.js. Exciting - I face another front end framework. I might’ve left the world of yoga practice, but the universe still finds ways for me to face my weaker parts. (See post about my fear of backbone.js type systems)

    Vue.js is a less feature heavy framework than Angular.js or backbone.js. We went over creating a new component (for Appmaker) and which three files need to be added. It felt like pair programing in a tuple with one senior dev. Hey…. that what we were actually doing.

    After our session, we regrouped with the rest of the Ascenders who were furiously hacking away. Mary Anne went to task on duplicating the bug fix/component addition. As a follow up to our meeting, Kate will file a bug she alreay has in mind for me to work on in Webmaker-app. In the meantime:

    Even though I will be changing to Webmaker-app from, I still felt that I wanted to find completion with the setup that I had started two days ago. I think a part of the reason why it was so important to finish was this: I love starting new projects and I never run out of ideas. I love organizing and starting new groups, projects, etc…. these are my strengths. So, this was an exercise in following through to the end.

    As I prepare to leave for the day, I am happy to report that it has taken three afternoons - I have FINALLY completed the set up process for a dev environment!
    (I’m not sure if the third afternoon really counted - it consisted of one simple command line direction: grunt dev….. if you did not giggle a little bit, let me explain. Basically, on afternoon #2, I built a machine and I just forgot to “turn it on” and it would’ve worked.

    Week 5 Monday, OMFgoodness

    06 Oct 2014 »

    Update to this blog: It’s Monday morning and I’ve just edited for typos. Totally proved my point about Friday afternoon meltdown….
    Towards the beginning of last week, I got my virtual environment up and running - no problem. Edits and patch made - no major problems there either. Then, I had two afternoons of stuckness to figure out how to apply said patch.
    To be fair, Friday afternoon is a hard period of time to have high expectations of oneself. It’s the end of a long week of input, input, input…. the brain just gets too plain tired to take on anymore. That would be a good day to work on something tedious, like counting pennies! Even better, why doesn’t every dev shop have four day weeks like Treehouse? So Friday, I went home with the intention of coming back fresh on Monday.

    My subconscious must’ve done some major neural connecting because I ran one stinking command and there she was: my beautifully altered Firefox Nightly browser running in full glory!

    		./mach run

    After you pick yourself up off of the floor from laughing so hard…..

    I hope someone else gets to writing up this tutorial before I get a chance to. I broke this task up over four days and now, I can’t remember the work flow. Will try again.




    06 Oct 2014 »

    Feeling a bit confused, yet happy about that confusion as I think it portrays what experienced developers tell you.

    I studied Python and then I went to code school to learn Javascript (full stack: node.js, backbone.js, front end “stuff:” HTML, CSS, bootstrap, etc).

    backbone.js - an MV* - was my weakest link and today:

    I am working on a bug in Angular.js!!!! I plan to revise that statement to read: “…fixed bug working in Angular.js” It’s something that I would’ve thought I needed a week to work on due to my lack of ability with front end frameworks. Let’s see!

    Week 4 Friday, Priority or Distraction?

    03 Oct 2014 »

    We are left to our own discretion for which tasks take priority.

    I think I am actually avoiding my VM right now because I decided to:

    register my domain and give myself something fun to work on over the weekend. (Setting WordPress up locally on my home computer.)

    Did I really just say fun? Well, after a couple of days setting up MYSQL and WordPress locally and then just beginning to customize my own site - I can NOW see why people would pay to have someone else to make their website! Personally, I found the set up to be really fun (you can probably find quite a few blogs on this site from other Ascenders regarding our days of Yak Shaving!). It was a little bit tedious and definitely a lot of trial and error, but we had a ton of laughs. Kronda definitely earned her paycheck those two days as she kept all of our sheers sharpened and clipping away - building 20 unique dev environments each with their own stumbling blocks and mis-steps (add a password to MYSQL anyone?). She even managed to go home after that first day and squeeze in a step-by-step blog for us to work with on the second day!

    Register a Domain

    So… yes, website registration. I did a bit of research (admittedly, I did a day or two of research previously) and decided to go with NameCheap. They are running a couple of specials this month - download their iOS app and use code NCIOS for a price which is roughly half off the price of a domain for a year.

    I had picked out a couple of toddler inspired domains (kittycatninjawitch, Mangkin, whalessayoo-oo-oo, …) and ultimately went with just my own plain given name. www dot amanda houle dot com. (I guess it also didn’t sound good to use my IRC nickname as a web address: “Yes, you can find me online at!”). Go ahead, try and say it outloud: “I’m at A-HOOL dot com.” Maybe I’ll register that domain for my not-so-happy rants later on.

    Wait 24 - 48 hours for the URL redirect to take place.

    This has to travel around the world, out to the Russian space station and back before you can find my actual WordPress site which is temporarily being hosted on Kronda’s company site for now.

    Next week, I’ll work on:

    transfering the site over to my own domain.

    I’ll be using Site5 for webhosting. More on that next week…. in the meantime, why not head back on over to Kronda’s blog again and read about why your hosting company should be different than your domain registrar!

    Frustration, you say?

    02 Oct 2014 »

    List of random thoughts from this day:

    flash cards of Command Line commands - yay! helped. wow, lots of command line stuff worked on catch up stuff from our Etherpads my bug - crickets (haven’t heard anything back yet) soup for lunch Kronda’s talk from OSBridge wrestled with git inside Virtual Box alllllll afternoon.

    The rest of this blog will be called: How to Deal with Frustration. I will use the same talk on myself that I use with my toddler: “Do we throw things when we are upset at them? Noooooooo….. What are some other things that we can do instead? Yes, that’s good. Deep breath. A little deeper…. yes, that’s it… uh…. uh… do I see a smile? Nooooooo smiling….Hey! I see that smile? Can you think of other things that you can do to find the happy?”

    Ok, everything except the “no smiling” part. I did not throw this Macbook Air… Actually, I didn’t even notice an increase in heartbeat. My version of frustrated or angry is kinda… calm. I did notice that I cannot type my own name without making a mistake. Ok, I’m just tired. Time to put the cords away and get ready to say goodnight. My awesome subconscious can work on this shyte while I get some much needed zzz’s. (Maybe I also need to re-evaluate stimulating conversation with my Meetup co-organizer at 11pm on a school night. Nothing I can do about the kid who sleeps within earshot and likes to talk in her sleep: rehashing her day, sleep walking to the bathroom, going into hysterics about toilet paper and then clinging to my neck for the next hour like I’m her favorite stuffed animal buddy that she can’t sleep without.)

    In other words - I’m worn out.

    I’m usually a morning person and get my best work done then. With Ascend, I’ve gotten used to meetings and such in the morning and then turning on the programming juice AFTER lunch. Thank you, focus@will for hour-at-a-time concentrated work stretches. At about 3:45pm, I get that frantic feel of pushing against a deadline (we do a quick debrief and then turn in our computers at 4:30pm) which is completely self-imposed. This is probably as close to …

    Malware - How to spend a day - or two - removing it.

    29 Sep 2014 »


    Today, we are researching our bugs and starting the process of creating patches. Today, I am cleaning Malware off of my MacBook. fun times. I found what I thought to be a bug in my default Firefox browser and in following the steps to [reproduce a bug], I found that instead of a bug, I have Malware!

    Deja vu - it’s the exact same infestation that occurred on my last MacBook. Difference is, I am more equipped to handle it this time.

    Bing * * SearchProtect * CNET supports Malware!? * Perion * Firefox Addons - check the reviews first

    So many others across the world wide web seem to have unknowingly installed this Bing/ program. Many of them are Windows users, so I had fun trying to a) find Mac specific solutions and b) not download more suggested Spyware in the process.

    I’ll explain point b) a little further. A lot of the solutions included downloading Malware removers that actually install more Spyware, etc on your computer. Even trusted sites have entries from these types of companies. (Feel free to add comments about trusted sites in which moderators help aliviate this discomfort).

    Two important lessons that I have learned today: most importantly, pay careful attention to which boxes are checked when you run an installer. I think I may have taken a quick inhale of surprise when I was too late in noticing said checkbox was already checked by default and I had already clicked “Continue.”

    [ In this space, I plan to put a screenshot of a Mac Installer with the option to install Bing. you can find many of these images for Windows machines online but I couldn’t find one for a Mac. ]

    We had been installing many a program and Add On that fateful day and I think I let my guard down.
    The second thing that I learned today is to carefully document the progress of my fix. I have spent over three hours researching different fixes for this “bug.” I found over a dozen procedures to remove this Malware from reputable “helpers” (ie StackOverflow, MacForums, etc…). Not to mention over fifty more sketchy sites offering their Spyware products as a part of a solution. I have started writing this blog because I FINALLY found something that worked for me! (I seriously cannot believe how many canned answers I found on that did not even come close to finding a fix. I have to give a shout out to parkur a Mozillian whose SUMO answer helped me complete my task!)

    The most helpful app that I did end up downloading to help with my eventual fix is Find Any File. You can find it in the App store which is recommended from Thomas Tempelmann’s webpage. (I no longer support or trust CNET after finding the Malware included in a few of their installers.)

    Steps towards removing the Bing / / tuneMyMac / SearchProtect infestation.

    Although this Malware affects all of your browsers - I am using Firefox, so I started with their support section. If you are using another browser, you can probably skip step #1 or use your browser specific troubleshooting steps.

    • Starting at the top of this site, go through the steps starting with
      • Restart in safe mode and ending with
      • a resetting of Firefox - which stores your essential information while restoring the browswer back to factory settings.
    • Download Find Any File and hold Option or Alt key when selecting Find to Find All. Run a search for “TuneupMyMac” (without the quotes). I found 23 files, you may find more if you’ve had this run on your computer for longer. Select them all, drag to the trash and then, go to Finder and Empty Trash.

    Find a File App screenshot

    • Found the program called “Search Protect” - with it’s magnifying glass icon - and deleted it. This completed my fix!
    • I’m not sure that I’ve cleaned up every last detail. A further search for “conduit” - using Find Any File - I come up with a folder in my Cache named “com.conduit.takeOverSearchAssetsMac.” Deleted. Next, I planned to go through the two lengthier responses on this and this Mozilla Support pages to help make sure that I’ve cleaned up my registry.

    I also need to figure out which program installed this Conduit stuff to begin with. For now, onto the task of researching a bug to patch!


    Notes on procedures that did nothing to solve my issue even though they sound related:

    "To Remove Bing
    	Move the mouse cursor inside the search box at the top right of the Firefox window and click the down arrow next to the provider's logo.
    	From the dropdown list, select Manage Search Engines....
    	Choose the "BING" and click Remove
    	Click OK to save" 

    Week 3 Monday Quick Report

    26 Sep 2014 »

    It’s funny to open things up on Monday, look at your code from Friday and say to yourself, “What am I looking at here?” Imagine how it would be to go through your stuff from last year!

    I learned that if you start your day off a half a candy bar from Canada, you don’t need any coffee or tea! (Tuesday)

    We built Retro Firefox!

    Potential Bugs to Tackle

    24 Sep 2014 »

    We are in Week 3!

    Narrow it down to 5 choices!

    • Bug 875660
      • This poor little inperfection has been marked as “assigned,” but if you follow the chat log, you can see that Bug 875660 has been abandoned twice and not looked after in almost 3 months. This makes me curious - shall we take a look?
        • I’ve cloned the respository and joined the IRC chat rooms where the other devs on the Automation and Testing Team hangs out. I will need to read through the documentation related to Automation and Tools. fun, fun!
    • Bug 583407
      • It’s really old - was modified in 2012 - and marked as “trivial.” Trivial? That’s so subjective… Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you have to fill out forms on a mobile device the developer didn’t even bother to use a keyboard that matches what you have to input on the form? (ie, you need to enter your email address and the related keyboard doesn’t have the ‘@’ symbol available on the first page?)
        • I’ve followed steps to reproduce this bug. It has no mentor or QA Contact listed. I would try to figure out who one or both of those people would be and find out if they could offer any guidance.

    Week 2 in Review

    19 Sep 2014 »

    The pace is perfect for me. I am observing the struggle of my ego - which had it’s own expectations regarding what I’d have accomplished by now. I know that it’s deepening the knowledge by taking time to document our learning, reporting our successes, discussing how we’re going and best of all - sharing what we’ve understood with each other. One great thing about this group is that there aren’t just a few people that “get” everything and fast. Different people are able to grasp concepts at their individual pace and those who were being helped in the morning may be the ones that are helping in the afternoon.

    We are working on almost completely different things from what I did at code school. Partly, I say this as there is not much to compare between the two programs. In other words, for those who know that I went through the Fullstack Javascript track, whatever I’m writing about in this blog is NOT a comparison to what I’ve done before. The GIT flow is slightly different which lends itself to broader understanding.

    I may read this part next year and think, “duh!” In Ascend, we are working and producing while we are learning. Learn by doing! Learn by contributing to open source! Awesome!

    I have to also speak a little about the space. We have a great community space to work in and the entire office is managed by the wonderful Katt! She has been instrumental in helping the two groups - full time employees and us Ascend contractors - function in our space together. (and she plays great music at the entrance and is most certainly contributing to my weight gain with the catered meals!)

    Speaking of weight gain, perhaps all of the great food is counter balanced a bit by the following:

    I have officially joined the 6.1%(of Portlanders who bike to work! Mozillians, make sure you sign in and log your miles here: BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge

    Workwise, we’ve covered a lot this week. I like to give a little taste of it in the lists below. The rest of the time relegated to writing, I will be working on a tutorial for filing your first bug in Firefox. This weekend, I look forward to setting up my new 1Password account - thank you @EvaCatHerder and AgileBits.

    pic of firefox fox

    Join in!

    Bugzilla * Moztrap * CrashMe Addon * about:about * Persona Account * virtual environment * jekyll server * Add Ons - try this!

    This week’s links:

    Tutorial: How to Report a Bug

    19 Sep 2014 »

    Having issues with your Firefox browswer? Want to help with the next version of Firefox? Want to learn something fun and new?

    Report a Bug:

    Pic of a Bug

    Test your bug

    Is it a bug? Here are some questions to ask yourself: * Can I reproduce it? - every time OR intermittently - if intermittently, can you state about how often? * Open a Clean Profile in the same version of Firefox that you found the bug.
    (if you haven’t set up profiles, go here)

    • Open a Clean Profile in another version of Firefox.
      • for example, if you are reproducing this bug in Firefox Nightly, try and see if you find the same bug in a new Firefox Aurora profile. (This is called “Regression”) (if you haven’t set up to run different version of Firefox at the same time, go here first and scroll down to the last three paragraphs titled “Setting up multiple profiles for different Firefox Channels”)

    File your bug

    After you have completed these tests, head on over to Bugzilla@Mozilla. You’ll need to create an account in Bugzilla and later, can sign in using your Persona Account.

    • Click on “File a Bug”

    Bugzilla main page

    • Scroll down the list and find the service that you want to report a bug on (ie if you were using Nightly, then click on “Firefox” which is first on the list)

    screen shot of bugzilla main page

    • Type short summary of the issue in the white box just before hitting “find similar issues.” You’ll want to see if someone else has already filed this bug.

    screen shot of step 2 of 3

    • scroll through issues

    screen shot of step 2 of 3 a

    • If you don’t see your issue listed, continue on by clicking on the button “My issue is not listed (see the above/previous screen shot).”
    • Fill in report
      • Your summary will already be entered from the previous screen.
      • Check to make sure the Product category is still correct.
      • Fill in the whitebox for “What did you do.”
        • Try to clearly state the steps that you took to reproduce the bug. Use concise, descriptive language as you are guiding someone else on how to follow what you did.
      • Fill in the whitebox for “What happened?”
        • Again, be clear on explaining what the actual results you attained.
      • Fill in the next whitebox for “What should have happened?.”

    screen shot of bugzilla filling out a report

    Claim Your Badge!

    Congratulations, you have filed your first bug report! Claim a badge from Open Badges with this code: mnnypu or by following this link to help clean with a bug report badge

    … this blog post and it’s links, etc to be tested and continued….

    Week One in Review

    12 Sep 2014 »

    Hello, welcome to the Mozilla Portland office and the Ascend Project! We are going to start out with some:

    ~~Community Building~~

    • Meet and build The Team.
      • We came up with these awesome participant Agreements
    • Find your individual strengths.
      • We took a quiz at Gallup Strengths Center to determine five areas of our own individual strengths. Why? …to become more engaged, productive and happier!
    • Examine and discuss your strengths.
    • Discuss some more and redefine those strengths and OWN them!
    • Commit one of those babies to the group.
    • Embrace each other.

    I completely appreciate this community building and our collective agreements. Can you find this is a typical tech company/environment? One could not only hope…and build.

    From day one to day five, anxiety transforms into excitement, confidence and it’s infectious! Here is more of what we played with:

    GIT * GitHub * Presentations * Command_Line * SUMO * Army of Awesome * Mozilla Open Badges * Firefox Nightly * Aurora * Bash * Presentations * Web Literacy * WebMaker * MoPad / Etherpad * subl * Blog Posts * Twitter * Fair Trade Chocolate * A Cadillac of an espresso machine * Did I mention, Presentations?

    Links to some of this week’s work:

    Week Six in Review and goals for next week

    12 Sep 2014 »

    Hey, it’s our last day! Woohooo! I’m actively focusing on the positive-ness and sense of accomplishment right as I have a feeling this afternoon, it’s going to be: pass the tissues….

    This last week has been such a blur. The first two days I spent setting up yet another development environment and bug hunting/fixing. Two things: I really enjoy setting up an environment and the other thing is: I was going to help Yenni set a dev environment for One and Done. Then, we were going to find her a bug to work on and get her OPW application started as a result of this process. By day two, Yenni was helping me set up MY environment and that was really awesome. Teamwork is fun.

    In actually working on the bug, I taught how to use some of the developer tools, CSS, and how to search for syntax. It’s important to find a balance between just giving enough information to figure things out on your own and just plain doing it for the person.
    One of the things that I am able to pull out of my prior experience is enough of a connection with a person to help them find their edge and encourage them to stretch. So many things come into play (they are tired, having a bad day, super excited…), but one goal of a teacher is to leave enough of a challenge yet not leave the learner feeling that the learning is too far out of their grasp of understanding. For each individual, this would be a different amount of information.

    I would’ve been a wreck on Tuesday night if I had just gone home and worried about our Thursday presentations. Thank you to Lisa and family for a wonderful get together with beautiful, awesome neighbors and friends!

    A part of each day this week has been writing and practicing our presentations with each other. It’s funny, I think I prefered the presentations that we did in the first week where we were given about a 30 minute to an hour notice and then just go! These feel more important or serious.

    My big challenge for myself was to not just get up there and ramble on about whatever. My coach has been curious as to why I feel more confident about contributing to open source projects and applying for work now. I wanted to be able to answer that with 3 clear ideas without a lot of extraneous (read: rambling) anecdotes. My first draft of the speech was a short collection of stories that gave examples of where my confidence grew from. I read it for Lukas and Kronda and I ran out of time. Hmmmm… where to cut? The night before my presentation, I finally had a chance to read it to someone who had not had anything to do with our group - thanks for your edits, Mom and thanks for listening, Dad! I could get a chance to see how much they got out of it not having attended Ascend. The result was staying up way too late cut, cut, cutting down to just the three points that I wanted the viewer to come away with. I feel that in the end, it was less personal and fun and more educational. I mean, I hope that someone could walk away with clear ideas of how I grew confidence here. I should also point out that I have not yet had time to process my whole 6 week experience here yet. I’m sure I could easily revise it more a few weeks from now.

    Today is Friday and we are about to hear the last of the presentations. I would normally be a lot more stressed out than usual as I still have some goals that I’d like to complete. I plan on taking next week to catch up on a few household things that I have been neglecting - but more importantly, I want to keep up this momentum.

    		__Goals for my Ascend Project, unofficial Week 7:__
    		* Set up yet ONE MORE dev environment (did I mention that this is a lot of fun now?)
    		* I'd like to start on Wednesday and see how far I can go with the idea of ONE-BUG-A-DAY!
    		* I have been neglecting my Wordpress (sorry, Kronda).  I'm going to get my hosting set up, transfer my account over to []( and get that looking pretty pretty.
    		* Apply for a couple of the internships that we've been invited to apply for. yay!
    		Goals for the rest of 2014:
    		* Help someone else get set up as a Mozillian!  What better way to pay it forward and reinforce my own learning?  I also want to help build the community. 
    		* Shit, I've got to find paying work!  :)

    For now: So long, and thanks for all the fish!!!