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Fresh Code

Blog posts by Lisa Hewus Fresh

    The Final Day of Ascend

    17 Oct 2014 »

    I awoke to rain. I love it but it’s picture day at Ascend so I was a little worried. My hair is curly and loves to poof up in the rain and humidity. I was much lighter today knowing I didn’t have to present but still feeling sympathy for those who did. I got dressed and headed to the Max early with Andrew. I decided to treat myself to a Spella chai so I kissed Andrew goodbye and took the train a few stops further. Once I had my drink in hand I walked my way to the Mozilla offices. It didn’t rain at all! Thank you, sky.

    I got there at my usual time even with my detour and longer walk. Lukas was there so got the computers out early. I was really glad because I had the code change I wanted to make for my next Air Mozilla bug. I made the change, pushed it up and submitted a pull request. Peter, the mentor, said it was the correct change but he wanted it formatted a little differently and he wanted it commented. He also wanted me to make a test for it in Nose Tests. Ok! That would be interesting. Tests are cool and of course useful. I made the other changes and then started working on the test. First I would need to know where that bit of code was being tested so I inserted a “raise Exception” near it and ran the test suite. That showed me right where I needed to be. But it was time for the next presentations so that would have to wait.

    We all got settled for presentations but there were again some technical difficulties. Poor Richard! Becky was first up so she was talking and trying to lessen her stress while waiting. Unfortunately we had technical issues that were beyond fixable at that moment and it took so long to determine this for sure that it was about time for lunch. Lukas had us fill out an end of class survey as food was being set up. Today lunch was pizza from Sizzle Pie! Katt is so wonderful and got us vegans our favorite pizza. It had pesto, mushrooms, olives and soy curls. Yum! There was plenty so I had two large pieces.

    In the mean time Richard figured out a work around for the talks. They wouldn’t be live streamed and he would have to mesh the sound with the video over the weekend and post them up when they were done. Becky got back up there and gave the most beautiful talk. Many of us were crying. The rest of the talks were amazing. I just can’t believe how much everyone has grown in such a short time. I think I was most proud of Sophie. She was incredibly quiet for the majority of the project and I was pretty sure she didn’t want to give a talk more than anyone. She did it and did it well. So proud!

    We were done with the stressful part! The rest of the day was spent working on blog post and goofing around. I tried to look at the test I needed to write but I couldn’t concentrate. I was merging people’s pull requests that passed Travis and merged one from David. Well, he put some html and Javascript in there that appeared to be commented out but was active! He and I were pretty surprised. That made for a fun home page until he could fix it and send another PR. Lesson learned!

    It was time for our dreaded last check out. Some of us, me included, didn’t say much of anything because we didn’t want to cry. Others said how they felt and of course I cried anyway. It was a check out full of tears and laughter for sure. I know this first group of Ascenders will be like no other to follow. We are the first and there is just something really special about that. Lukas even teased us and said, “Some day you all are going to have new little brothers and sisters. Don’t be mean to them. I still love you and you will always be my first’s.” It was really funny and very sweet.

    Now it was time for our official graduation where we would do the handshake and get our certificates. We also got to pack up and take our beautiful laptops. I was only partly joking when I said I’d rather leave mine and have to come back each day. We all talked and hugged a bit more and then I left. Just like always and it didn’t feel like my last day. I think on Monday I will feel that last day.

    I don’t think I really need to sum up my time at Ascend since I have a TMI daily blog of it and my video kind of sums it up but I hope that anyone reading can see what an amazing opportunity we all were given. Sometimes when something seems too good to be true, it’s not.

    These are some amazing people right here! From left, Dino, me, Kronda, Lukas and Katt.

    Thank you for reading about my coding adventure. If you would like to follow my full blog you can find me at or on Twitter @bugZPDX

    Two More Days

    16 Oct 2014 »

    I thought it was going to rain since it was raining yesterday so I significantly overdressed and we ended up having clear blue skies! Oh well, I was nervous enough about my upcoming presentation that I didn’t give it too much thought. I got to class and was just dreading my talk but in no time I would be past that and very relieved. Andrew and I walked to the Max and I gave my talk to him. He said he really liked it and he’s always honest with me so I felt pretty good. He made one tiny suggestion that I completely agreed with and noted.

    I got to class and was ridiculously nervous about the talk. I made up a quick note card with some keywords to help me keep my place while I was talking. I wanted to say certain things but I didn’t want to read it verbatim. The morning got going and the half of us that were talking were bundles of nerves. I was so glad to be going the first day and toward the beginning so it would be over soon.

    We had a bit of time before presentations so I messaged the OPW mentor and asked him for another bug to work on. He quickly gave me one and I started looking into it. My stomach was such a mess. Richard from the SF office was setting up the AV system so I knew it was getting close. Finally it was time to start. I was third so I had to sit nearby with Amanda who was second. Adam got ready and there were some technical difficulties but he did great when it came time for him to begin. Amanda was next and didn’t seem nervous at all. Now it was my turn. Bleh, but I got up there and just didn’t over think it. I had my card and I think I only had to refer to it once or twice. I did it and it wasn’t that bad! That’s it. All the stress was gone. I could totally relax knowing the hardest part was done. The other participants spoke and I was just amazed and proud to see how great they all were. We sure have come a long way in six weeks.

    Lunch was next and it was one of my favorite food carts, Kargi Gogo! Lunch was delicious as expected. Everyone was happy and relived to be done. The other half of the class were ok as well because they didn’t have to speak until tomorrow.

    I got back to looking at the code for my bug and found where I needed to make the change. The code is Python in Django so it’s familiar to me at least. I needed to pad event start times by 30 minutes in the iCal feed that is generated when an event is scheduled so that staff has time for set up. Everyone was really chatty and happy so I was pretty distracted and didn’t actually make any code changes. After Richard had our talks up on Air Mozilla he gave a small presentation about what Air Mozilla was and how we were able to edit our own videos. It was kind of cool to see him click on the Management link and have it open to Event Assignments. I made that change! Anyway, right at the end of the demo he said, “Lisa, I sent your video to Peter and his boss. You know, so they could put a face with the name.” Yikes! This can go one of two ways I suppose.

    I think really don’t remember what I did for the rest of the day which is unusual but I probably spent the time socializing with everyone until our party at five. I guess we just started earlier :-) People’s friends and family began showing up. Wayne, Natale, Jayde, Estelle, Andrew, Lauren, and Sean came and we had fun hanging out with everyone. Jayde and Estelle ate SO MUCH crap while they were there. It was awful but I figured it was the one time they could do it. Then the two of them schemed to take a stash of crap with them in an empty chip bag! Not happening.

    When the party was over we, along with Katt, headed over to Los Gorditos. I know, I know! But it’s so good! We had a great dinner and conversation and then Lauren and Sean took all of the kids home while the three of us took Katt to the place where she was dog sitting. When we got home I watched my presentation and to my surprise, it wasn’t bad! I was actually kind of pleased with it so here it is.

    Today I learned that I can give a presentation and not die. Go me!

    Three Days Left

    15 Oct 2014 »

    I woke up to rain. I love that! I got ready and had some time before I had to leave. I decided to write up some of my talk for Thursday. I also looked at my progress report and saw a reminder from Lukas to investigate the Air Mozilla project for OPW. Noted. It was a nice change to walk to the Max in the cool, misty wind. My neighbor was there today and told me all about the coding issues she is having just one week before their next product release. I can actually understand what she’s talking about! It’s architecture stuff so not really my thing but she struggles with the same issues.

    I got to class and Lukas was nice enough to get the computers out early. I jumped right on mine and pulled up the Air Mozilla project. I found the mentor, joined the IRC channel and messaged him. He responded right away and asked me to email him so that he could send me additional information. I did that and while I was waiting for his email I began setting up the dev environment. It went pretty quickly. I had just a couple of issues with postgresql and the environment setup docs were missing a few steps. My issues helped the mentor update the docs though.

    I had a coaching session in the middle of lunch so I asked if I could leave early to get food. Lukas said that was fine so Amanda and I walked down and got fantastic Ethiopean food (see I CAN quit Los Gorditos). Dangit, I forgot leftovers in the fridge! Anyway, I ate a lot and then it was time for coaching.

    Dino wanted to work on my talk. I wanted to just ignore the whole thing but he’s too convincing so talk it was. He first had me run through it once and then he drew thought boxes and we talked about how I could improve it. He had so many good ideas and he did his best to make me feel like I figured them out on my own but seriously I didn’t. I ran through it again once we had stuff planned a bit better and he thought it was good. He gave me one line for the end and said, “No matter what, ramble and do whatever, but DON’T fuck up that line! Nail that line if nothing else!” Ok Dino. It’s one line. How hard can it be?

    The OPW mentor was available via IRC all day so I got help as quickly as I needed it. He updated the docs as we figured out typos and missing or incomplete steps. Once I had it set up I looked at the bug he suggested and it appeared pretty simple. It seriously took me all of five minutes to fix. He merged my pull request and that was it. I was qualified to submit an OPW app. Well then. He said, “Not to diminish your work but the fix was kind of easy. Ping me tomorrow if you want a more challenging bug since you still have time to do more before apps are due.” Ha! Yes, I will definitely be taking him up on that.

    I checked in on the bug I was helping with and they had worked on making the changes so I helped get it all commited and pushed up to their repo. They made the pull request and said the mentor was happy with the changes! Success!

    I got called into the “lair” so I could run through my talk in front of Lukas and Kronda. Bleh, I didn’t want to do it at all but I just tried to remember what Dino said. I talked to them as if I hadn’t met them and it was going pretty well……until the last line which I totally fucked up! Ok now I’m worried :-)

    We scrounged for dinner so we could get done early, watch a movie, and have popcorn. We watched Pirate Radio. It was ok. The popcorn Andrew made was really good!

    Today I learned that svg in HTML5 stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. Really interesting stuff! Also HTML5 canvas is pretty cool. Check out Literally Canvas.

    Whole Lot of Nothing

    14 Oct 2014 »

    Today was probably my least productive day ever at Ascend. Everything I tried to do seemed to take forever and typically didn’t end up working. I spent most of the day trying to set up Debian on VirtualBox only to have it tell me it couldn’t find a suitable kernel. It was a lot of work and a lot of time wasted for sure. I really wanted to apply to OPW but the deadline to apply is right around the corner and I don’t want to rush through a contribution and submit a shitty application.

    Lunch was fantastic though. Peri, Carmen, Amanda, Candida, Becky and I went back to Los Gorditos. I promise I’m going to quit! It was really good.

    I decided to step away from my mess and help someone else. One of my cohort hadn’t filed a patch yet so I asked if I could look their bug over and maybe help. They seemed agreeable to that so I read a bit about what they had to do. It seemed pretty straight forward so I told them I would work on it with them tomorrow. We checked out and I stopped up at Whole Foods to get a few things for dinner night. Wayne was nice and picked me up!

    Carmen made it to the house before Wayne and I did. He and I headed right for the kitchen and I did what I could to help prep for dinner before the larger group started to show up. We were having spaghetti with meatballs and Italian sausage, salad and Wayne’s yummy garlic bread. Tonight we had a great group. Carmen, Alice, Jason, Spencer, John, Lukas, Jenny, Amanda, Savanah, Yenni, Dino, Kronda and the five of us. We unfortunately ran out of food for those who came late. That doesn’t typically happen so I felt bad. I had such a nice night though. I love our house full of people. After everyone left, I researched the bug I was going to help with. Andrew looked at it with me and together we came up with a plan.

    Today I learned I could work really hard and accomplish nothing. I also learned that it happens sometimes and it’s fine because my life is full of wonderful people who make everything better!

    Patches Landed!

    13 Oct 2014 »

    I had the worst night’s sleep in a long time. Just before I went to bed the night before, I noticed that a participant’s blog had only the alt text showing up for two of their images. One image was correct and they obviously made it past Travis so it was unusual. Apparently my brain thought it was terribly odd and needed to be fixed now! I tried to solve it over and over in my dreams and this awakened me several times. I never did come up with a solution though.

    All of this waking caused me to be late out of bed so I was rushing around all morning. I couldn’t be late being early! Some days I just don’t know about me. Anyway, I made it at my usual early time so all was well. We had our check-ins and lots of us were sad about this being our last week. I feel awful when I think about it so I try not to. We had some time to work on our tasks before the All Hands meeting and just about this time I got notification that one of my patches had landed! Finally! The All Hands meeting was great and there are some exciting Mozilla things to come in the very near future.

    I decided I would spend some time looking at OPW projects since I wasn’t on a bug rollercoaster any longer. The site said that most projects had many applications and to consider one of two that hadn’t received any. I looked at one and didn’t feel it was a good fit at all. The other one was ok but not something I was terribly excited about. I would probably learn a lot though so I decided to try to set up their dev environment. That required either installing directly on my computer or installing on a virtual machine. I opted for the VM since I didn’t know where this would go anyway.

    There were several operating system choices but they were all Linux-based. I don’t know a thing about Linux but how hard could it be. I randomly chose Debian. I started up VirtualBox, created a new Debian VM, and then quickly realized it was going to want an install disk. Crap. Off I went searching for the ISO files. That was going to be a lengthy download even with the speedy Mozilla internet connection. It took about 30 minutes to download the three images so I read up on the project and what their software does. I also stopped briefly for lunch which was delicious Thai food! Yum!

    Once the images were downloaded I installed Debian. It was ridiculously easy and I was up and running before I knew it, or so I thought. Next it was time to install their stuff. Well that’s when everything got complicated. I got permission errors and missing package errors left and right. Ugh! It wanted to read off of the install ISO but that was on my real computer (that sounds odd) and it’s not a matter of just dragging and dropping into the VM. I had to download it again! Another 30 minutes just for the first ISO since that was all I needed. I did more reading of the project and then watched the last two minutes of the download at which point it completely failed due to a lack of disk space. Wow, really? I was juuuuuuust a bit frustrated so I deleted the VM and started over. I created this one with a larger hard drive and more memory. I also paid more attention when installing and set up a package source so it wouldn’t ask for the ISO images. Handy! Things were moving along much better this time. I got Debian up and running and started installing the other software and once again it asked for the ISO. What the crap?! I did a bit of searching and found I needed to comment out a line in the sources file to stop it from asking for a disk image. That worked much better!

    Somewhere in all of the above nonsense I got notification that my other patch landed! Two in one day! One was fairly insignificant but it still needed to be done and I did it so I’m happy.

    We had to break for 10-15 minutes and then work on our talks right afterward. Bleh, stress, stress, stress. I started sweating just thinking about it. Adam and I went into a small room and had to practice just our first minute with each other and then give feedback. It wasn’t awful. We decided we were going to try to give our talks as soon as possible and just get it over with!

    I went back to my laptop and started installing the required software for the project and it churned away happily. And then it finished with some sort of error although the application was running. I had no idea what the errors meant but it was time to check out and I had to leave as soon as possible to take Michael to the airport.

    I kind of ran out and met Wayne and Michael downstairs. They had dropped Andrew off nearby so he could work on an issue building Perl on a Vax? with a fellow OpenBSD committer. Yeah, I have NO idea either. We had an uneventful drive to the airport and headed back home. We weren’t here long before Andrew said he was done for the night so I drove back down and picked him up. We grabbed dinner while we were down there and once again I wanted Los Gorditos. I really can stop any time. We got everything to go and the whole family was very happy with their food. That should go without saying because Los Gorditos is really good.

    Today I learned that our friends Dan and Jessie had their third baby. A daughter named Opal Mae.

    Only One More Week

    10 Oct 2014 »

    It was a beautiful, slightly foggy morning for my walk to the Max. Andrew didn’t go downtown this morning and Michael had to be at his conference pretty early so I walked alone.

    Foggy Morning

    Beautiful Morning

    After check in Lukas gave a talk and demo of Travis-CI. She had me create a pull request so she could show the live test build. After it started building she asked if I made an error in it so we could all see it fail. Doh! That was a great idea but I hadn’t done that. And then the build failed! I had been rushing and didn’t fix the date field in one of my blog posts. It’s in a markdown header and the date has to be correct. So it ended up being a good accident. I quickly fixed it and made another pull request. This time all was well and the site built successfully.

    I decided to toggle ‘needs info’ on bug 589320 that I commented on weeks ago. Nothing had ever happened since I originally commented with what the diff would be in the code. I wasn’t sure if it would do any good so was very happy when I got a response. It was suggested that although the change was small, a patch should still be filed because it makes it easier to review and change. I quickly generated and filed a patch. It’s not a big or very important patch but it’s something! It was approved later in the day so I guess it gets landed at some point.

    I talked with the code reviewer on the drama filled bug 671705. He still wants to commit my function to strings.js so I went ahead and filed a patch for that. He’s heading to the states in the morning so this may not get landed before Ascend ends. Oh well. He also wants me to open a bug for the other issue he kept trying to get me to fix even though it had nothing to do with the bug at all. I need to read and understand what this new issue is though before I do that.

    We got to go out for lunch again today so of course I went back to Los Gorditos along with Peri, Yenni, and Barbara. It was just as good as the time before.

    Throughout the day I helped quite a few people with various questions regarding Travis-CI. It’s new and some were pretty frustrated to get a build fail. I did my best to help and make this transition as easy as possible.

    While I was helping I was trying to get some old blog posts uploaded. I had been pretty busy so ended up getting behind in uploading my posts to the Ascend site. I was still behind by one post so I spent the remainder of the day trying to get that written.

    I headed home and Michael happened to be done for the day at his conference so he caught the train a few stops up. We walked home together talking about this and that. When we got home I suggested we take Michael to Handsome Pizza. Wayne and Andrew thought this was a great idea so we walked down there. They were SO busy! Matt told us it would be about an hour and a half before we could eat and then offered to call me when our pizzas would be just about ready. That sounded great to us and Andrew had a haircut appointment around the corner anyway. We walked back home and hung out until he called.

    When we got back down there our pizza had just come out of the oven. Perfect timing! We started eating and soon Andrew joined us. The pizza was excellent as always and it was still early by the time we were done. We walked home and had time to watch a movie. I had just quoted Tucker and Dale vs Evil yesterday so when I saw it pop up on Netflix I suggested we watch it. It was just as funny the second time!

    Today I learned that even long time professionals make mistakes and that’s ok. It’s how one handles things afterward that makes all the difference.


    09 Oct 2014 »

    Today it was a bit cooler out and it was overcast. It’s nice to see the weather changing a bit. Andrew, Michael and I walked together to the Max. Michael is here for a conference and it was starting bright and early. I love that most of the tech conferences we go to start a bit later.

    I couldn’t wait to get going this morning and honestly the day was kind of a blur so this is possibly completely out of order. I needed to write up a preliminary Best Practices document to add to the Ascend repo so I could finally submit a pull request and get Travis implemented on the mozilla/ascendproject repo. I kind of wrote up the basics of what I remembered having to fix in participant pages and got everything pushed up.

    It was a busy day and before I knew it lunch was there. We were having amazing dumplings from The Dump Truck! I just love the curry potato filled ones. I ate a reasonable amount and then it was back to work for me. I had just a bit of time to work on stuff before a guest speaker was coming.

    Lennon from Urban Airship came in to talk to us about the company and the two internship opportunities they were going to be providing for Ascenders! This is a really amazing opportunity. I loved what he had to say and love how it will be set up. It’s like the perfect landing spot for someone right out of this program. I had already applied to UA before Ascend and never even got a rejection email so I was thinking they didn’t want me before so why would they want me now? Anyway it was awesome to hear that they are willing to step up and take two of us on.

    I was late for my coaching session with Dino! He was supposed to be here this week but had something unavoidable come up and will be here next week. We had a great session and I can’t wait to see him. He’s someone I’d totally hang out with and not just because of Ascend.

    After coaching I came back to my computer and noticed a comment on my bug. I read it and, uh oh. Jim, who works here at Mozilla and has been a huge help to me, jumped on it and stuck up for me. He was really firm with the code reviewer. Like a lot more firm than I could ever imagine myself being. Yikes. I took my laptop so I could show Lukas and Kronda telling them that I have had a wonderful but short career here at Mozilla. Lukas read it first, commenting with “oh wow” here and there. Kronda read it and there was a bit of silence. Lukas said I shouldn’t worry about it at all and that we would just see how things went. Me worry??

    At some point Lukas merged in my huge pull request and Travis was alive on Ascend! Woo! Lots of hard work that actually had a beneficial ending. It felt good to finally accomplish something useful. Here is our first successful build after merging my PR.

    After school I headed down to meet Andrew. We’d be heading to the Portland Perl Monger’s meeting where Andrew would be giving his first talk. It was something about turning a CGI app into a Plack app. I don’t know what any of this means and none of it became any clearer during or after. He did a great job though and didn’t seem nervous at all. Lots of questions were asked at the end so I guess that’s good.

    Andrew speaking at Perl Monger's

    After Andrew’s talk we headed over to Lucky Lab for some dinner and conversation. We had a nice time talking to everyone.

    Today I learned how to highlight code blocks in markdown. Not too exciting or complicated I know but it’s all I’ve got at the moment.

    I Finally Made Travis Happy

    08 Oct 2014 »

    I am definitely not a true Portlander because I should be lying and saying what horrible weather we are having but I can’t. Today was incredible! I was up early and out the door but Roberto and Frankie were still sleeping so I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye. I’ll see them again soon though since they plan on moving here!

    I was excited to get to class. Well I’m always excited to get to class but I was extra excited today because we got our computers back and it would be business as usual. I really wanted to get back to working on Travis-CI and hopefully get a clean build. I wasn’t, however, looking forward to messaging my code reviewer but I knew I needed to rip off that band-aid and say something. Check-ins were mostly great but some people were not having the best of days.

    We had about an hour to work on our bugs and such so I got busy and started chipping away at the errors I was getting. I FINALLY figured out the correct file path for images and blog posts and that was a huge step forward. I also messaged my code reviewer and he did take some time to look at the code. He also gave me a different path to go down for this bug so it may not be dead after all! I was stressing about there being a problem but this just might work out.

    Kronda came in and went over more features of Wordpress and I really appreciated it. She gave us all sorts of advice and showed us so many helpful things! She covered plugins, themes, spam, SEO and a lot more. It’s apparent I have barely scratched the surface of Wordpress but Kronda is a wealth of information.

    After Kronda’s talk we got back to our bugs. I just plodded along working on error after error until it was lunch time. Most everyone left but I was straggling and running one more rake test so I ended up meeting up with Kronda, Lukas and Katt by the elevators. The four of us went to Los Gorditos. I had vegan taquitos with potatoes and soy curls (a terrible name for a delicious food). The food was really, really good but the company was great.

    Back to Travis! I was down to about 25 errors! I worked on them and made the penultimate fix! The last fix was one I needed to go over with Lukas since it was above the participants directory. Once that change was made I pushed to Github and…….fail! Grrr….now it was throwing a certificate error on the Moztrap site. I can’t control that one so I added an ignore in the Rakefile and ran another rake test. Holy shit it finally passed! Only 18 builds later it passed! Look at how beautiful this is.

    Travis Passed Travis Passed

    Of course this is just on my Github repo so it still has to be merged in and there will be a tiny bit of configuration on the actual Ascend repo but it should work with not too much trouble. Now I need to write a best practices so participants will know how things should be formatted. Having Travis running will allow them to see if their pull requests can merge in without causing a build failure.

    I wanted to start writing the best practices but it was time to do some more practice exercises for our talks. Katt was able to join us for this one! We had to pair up and write up a talk about our first pet or the lack thereof. This was intended to make it no pressure and about something fairly easy. We also had to record ourselves giving the talk and then watch it with our partner and critique it. Writing it up was not bad at all. Recording it was another story. I have a lot of work to do there. I have to find a way to be even a little comfortable with the way I look and sound. Lots of work there. Anyway, all in all it was a great day in class.

    I headed home, had an uneventful ride home on the Max, walked part way home with my neighbor and then stopped to pet BowWow (a tiny dog with quite the adventurous life) and talk with Maggie and Eric his owners. As I got to our block I saw Wayne, Alice and Jason outside in front of our house with Lily and Ladybug. The dogs saw me and came running as fast as they could, both ridiculously happy to see me and very interested in the scent of BowWow on my hands. It was another one of those perfect movie moments. I swear my life is too good to be true.

    I barely had time to put my stuff down and say hello to the rest of my family before we had to run to the airport and pick up our friend Michael. He lives in Massachusetts and was flying in for an optometrist conference. He hadn’t ever visited Portland before and was looking forward to checking it out. We met Josh and Michael in Lake Havasu and became pretty close to them. We’d love it if they moved here but they have since adopted two amazing little boys and are very settled where they are.

    We came back home, gave Michael a quick, partial tour of the house before Alice walked over and then walked around the corner to the Thai place for dinner. Jayde didn’t want to join us since she’s not a fan of Thai but Natale, Wayne, Andrew, Alice, Michael, and I had a great dinner and laughed a lot. Michael was getting tired so we headed back home. As we were walking, Alice and Natale heard something. Alice saw something she thought was a bag so walked toward it but then it moved causing her to jump and scream, startling the rest of us. I suppose you had to be there but it was hilarious! Oh, it ended up being a cat.

    Today I learned what emesis means and it turns out Alice doesn’t like when we talk about it during dinner. Naturally we talked about it a lot.

    So Many Activities

    07 Oct 2014 »

    The weather remains beautiful so it’s a really nice walk to the Max. My neighbor was there today so we talked about code and testing as usual. Nobody ever jumps in on these conversations of ours. Weird.

    I got to class early and Lukas was nice enough to allow me to push my changes up to Github before class got going. We weren’t going to be using our computers at all so I really appreciated that. Dia was flying in to hold an all day workshop for us in order to help us tell our story. We have presentations to give next week so this help is SO appreciated! It also made me really nervous. I was just thinking about what we might have to do and hoped I’d be able to do it.

    We began our morning with check-ins and I think at least a few others were nervous as well. We’ve kind of fallen into a nice routine and today would be completely different. The tables were pushed to the back of the room and we had all of the chairs in a big circle. It sort of forced us all to be very present which I thought was great.

    I could go into great detail about the workshop but it’s really something to be experienced more than documented. We did spend half the day doing theater type activities which I had never done before. They were really fun and interesting and I laughed a LOT. Some of them seemed ridiculous while we were doing them but when Dia explained the purpose it totally made sense.

    We broke for lunch and it was awesome! I think it was from Pastini Pastaria. So many carbohydrates. Yum! I of course ate too much. I think a lot of us did because it seemed many of us were pretty sleepy after we ate.

    We got right back into our workshop but Dia was changing gears. Now it was time to sort of build the scaffolding of whatever our talks would be. We pretty much all vapor locked at this point. The contrast was fascinating and probably a bit disturbing to Dia. We were all very unclear about what we were supposed to be talking about and needed some clarification. She tried to talk us all down off the ledge but it wasn’t working so off she went to get Kronda and Lukas to come and give us the details we felt we needed. Once we had a better idea of what to expect we were able to move through the exercise. Whew! I didn’t end up figuring out what I am going to talk about but I have to do it so something will reveal itself. Probably.

    The day was done, check-outs were extremely varied. Some loved what we did and some were totally stressed out by the day but I think it was excellent for everyone either way. It was dinner night so Carmen headed home with me. Wayne had a giant pot of chili simmering so I started making corn bread. People started to show up and it ended up being a pretty large group of us. We had Carmen, Yenni, Jen, Kronda, Jess, Sarah, Roberto, Frankie, Spencer, John, Glenn, Alice, Jason, Brigetta, Chris, Lauren, Sean, and the five of us.

    Everyone was eating, talking, laughing and enjoying each other. It was Chris’ birthday so we sang him Somber Birthday. It’s accidentally become a tradition. At one point I had one of those movie moments where I sort of sat back and looked around the table at everyone and was just so incredibly happy to be surrounded with such a varied group of wonderful people. I am so, so lucky!

    People filtered out here and there while the rest of us sat at the table and talked. I have no idea how the subject came up but Jess was nice enough to share with us that Kronda has, I’m pretty sure the word ‘several’ was used here with an emphasis on several, journals/scrapbooks dedicated to Xena: Warrior Princess! Finally some Kronda dirt!

    It was a really great night and as always it was over too quickly. I offered to drive Kronda, Jess and their bikes home but they laughed and reminded me it was only about 2 miles away. Wayne and I drove Carmen home and as we returned were able to again take in the beauty of downtown Portland at night. The buildings, and lights, and river, and bridges. It’s breathtaking every time.

    Today I learned what a pannier is. That Jess and her fancy words! So fancy.

    So This Is Progress?

    06 Oct 2014 »

    First thing this morning I saw a message from my code reviewer. He mentioned there would be an Automation meeting just about the time I get to class and sent me the link to join. After my many frustrations yesterday I was very ready to get back to Mozilla to see if I might have better luck with the CI configuration on a newer computer and I definitely wanted to join the meeting.

    I rode up the elevator with Katt and she set me up for the meeting right away. She’s really great! I was kind of nervous to join in because it was a Vidyo meeting but I have to get past these sorts of stresses. Meeting stuff was happening, words were being said. They were talking about projects I didn’t know about but I didn’t feel completely lost or anything. I read over the wiki while they were talking and saw that they were announcing Virginia and me as new contributors! I was hoping Virginia would get to the office in time to join the meeting so we could both say hello but she didn’t.

    The meeting was actually pretty interesting. There was some back and forth about landing patches and whether they had to be submitted for review if they were pretty small. The lead guy said yes, all patches that touch a certain part of the code have to be reviewed by him. A patch from Friday was not given to him to review and the person who landed it said he didn’t want to keep the contributor (one of our Ascenders! Yay!) waiting. The lead guy said he would have landed it today but the other guy said some things take up to six months and he wasn’t happy about that. There was a bit of tension there but it was all very polite in the end.

    I headed to the classroom, we all checked in and I got right to work on Travis. I had to install the Ruby virtual environment, rbenv, and several other things. It didn’t take me too long though and I was running a rake test! Sure enough, it spat out the same amount of errors as the Github run so something is definitely up with my computer at home. I suspected Nokogiri, libxml2, and libxslt but I’d have to figure that out later.

    K needed just a bit of help today so I got her squared away and then completely immersed myself in setting up CI. I started the day with 197 errors and just kept chipping away at them and chipping away. I also sent my code reviewer a comment on my bug and he got back to me with more confusing statements. I was getting fairly frustrated about that but I was too busy doing other stuff. The All Hands meeting started and I moved away from the desk so I could continue working while the meeting was taking place. They mentioned Ascend and that two of our cohort had landed patches! It’s nice to see that people are excited about what Lukas is doing. Before I knew it, it was lunchtime. We had to leave early because the employee only meeting was taking place directly after All Hands.

    Amanda and I went to the food carts and got Ethiopian. I am pretty sure I could eat that ever day. We wandered over to a nearby park to sit in the warm sun and eat. As we were eating and talking, several other classmates came and sat with us and we talked about all sorts of stuff. I was really wanting to get back so I could keep working so I headed back with Amanda. Unfortunately the meeting was still going on so we had to stand in the hallway for quite some time. Finally we could go back in! I sat back down and worked and worked and then I took a look at my bug comments and got frustrated again. I decided to ask a Mozilla employee there in the office if he would look stuff over and see if I was mistaken in my thinking. He looked over the code and the comments and said he also felt that my code reviewer was mistaken. I’m so new though that I really don’t know. I keep feeling like it’s just something I am missing or don’t understand but it’s not terribly complicated JavaScript so it was kind of vindicating to hear that he agreed. I sent off another comment to the reviewer and he replied while we were still looking over the code. He suggested that a previous bug be reverted so that my new function could be implemented but that made no sense. The change to the previous bug was good and should stand. I wrote back and said that the previous bug fix was clearly the proper thing to do, reverting it was not what should happen and that I would be happy to just work on another bug if he felt my function was really not needed any longer. I submitted my comment and buried myself back in the CI task.

    The day just flew by! I barely spoke to anyone and probably owe many apologies for that but I was in a zone. I couldn’t believe it was time to check out already! Everyone went around and talked about their struggles. It seems a lot of us had them today. Lukas said that it feels frustrating but it’s actually progress. She’s been where we are many, many times so I believe her. It helped to hear it too so maybe that’s why I believe her :-) Anyway, I was rushing to run another rake test before I had to turn in the computer. I managed to get rid of a few more errors so that was good. I just couldn’t figure out why I was getting internal path errors though. Ugh, I had been working on it for days. I asked Lukas if she would take a look and in about 1.3 seconds she said it wasn’t working because the internal file paths were in fact incorrect. Huh? She said that internally it had to have _posts in the path. Holy shit! Days of working on this and I that never occurred to me! I felt really dumb but she didn’t make me feel dumb at all so I immediately let that negative feeling go. And besides, I had made a ton of progress on the other errors so it wasn’t like I was wasting my time. I had them down to 54 by the time I closed the laptop.

    I was getting ready to leave and Jim, the helpful employee asked if anything came of my latest bug comment. It had and it was just as confusing and frustrating so I asked if he would look at the reply. It was mostly just that I wanted company for my misery and he was nice enough to oblige. He took a look and seemed frustrated as well. He said he really had to get going but wanted the bug number so he could look the whole thing over tomorrow and see if there was something we were both missing. What a nice guy!

    I went downstairs and saw that Wayne had messaged asking if I was nearly home. I called him and he offered to come pick me up so I took the opportunity to sit on a bench outside and read a bit. The evening was so incredibly beautiful! I was immersed in my book when I noticed someone sit down just a bit too close to me than a stranger should. I looked over and it was Katt. She had her book of poems and read some to me while I waited for my ride. Wayne, Roberto and Frankie showed up and we offered Katt a ride home. She lives up on a hill in a great place with an awesome view of Mt. Hood!

    We headed home, Wayne took a wrong turn and we ended up on a small adventure! But we found a Freddy’s so we could stop and get the few things we needed for dinner. We got home, I headed directly upstairs to pay some bills and then tried to figure out what is wrong with my old computer so I could run tests from home. Naturally I was in such a rush to get through a test run at Mozilla that I completely forgot to push my changes up to Github! Grrrr! Nonetheless, I shaved a LOT of yaks until dinner was ready. Wayne made some boxed vegan mac n’ cheese and mixed vegetables to go with some of my homemade sourdough bread. Mmmmm a craptasticly (that should be a word) wonderful comfort food dinner. I thought I’d hate the vegan mac n’ cheese but it was actually really good which is probably a horrible thing because I’ll definitely buy it again.

    After dinner I showed Andrew the bug I was working on and tried to talk through the code while he corrected or clarified anything I was not completely clear on. I think I have a pretty good handle on things but it will be interesting to see if Jim uncovers something I have been missing. I’m new so I keep leaning toward that being the problem.

    Today I learned that it’s so easy to overlook the most simple things. _posts…of course!

    If Travis Is Happy Everyone Is Happy

    03 Oct 2014 »

    It’s Friday and that brings us to the end of yet another week of Ascend. That only leaves two more weeks and I don’t like that at all! The weather was amazing today though. I keep hearing how unusual it is but I haven’t known any different since we have moved here. I suppose I will be in for a rude awakening when things go back to normal.

    The morning began as usual with breakfast and conversation. We moved into the room and everyone got to work on their various tasks before check-in. Lukas and Kronda came in for check-ins and gave us a friendly reminder to be on time for check-in and to close laptops and ignore phones when it’s check-in time or we have a speaker. It’s so easy to be distracted by the gadgets so it was a great reminder for me. During check-in one of the students (I won’t name ;-) was talking about how they feel just a bit rebellious about the “laptops down” rule because of some past experiences in school and then said to Lukas, “It’s not you. It’s the baggage.” I really love spending my day with these funny, intelligent people.

    Lukas talked about how we can level up by always communicating via our blog posts, progress reports, tweets, Etherpads and so on; Staying busy by finding things to do. Even small things like reviewing git commands or running Mozmill tests for practice; Taking risks because this is the time to do it. We are in a safe place to learn and breaking things is normal and fixing them helps us learn; Claiming our space by being a voice in the movement. We are already a part of things so we need to think about how we will continue to contribute and carry on our legacy. It was a great talk!

    K had asked me if I would help her get caught up on some things she was having issues with so I worked with her pretty much until lunchtime. She was able to get a LOT accomplished. I think she just needed another set of eyes because she moved right along and made sure to take notes as we went. I think by the end of the day she was all caught up.

    Lunch was out today and what a perfect day for that. I decided on the salad place again because it was so good. K went with me and we took our food back to the office. We didn’t spend too much time eating before heading back to our laptops. I poked around looking for a new bug I might get started on and worked on trying to get a better error message from a test I’ve been running for my bug but that didn’t really go anywhere and I’m not too sure what exactly it has to do with my bug. I guess I will have to wait on that one too.

    I also did a bit of poking around, gathering up resources and information for my potential talk. I emailed Katt with some questions about what sort of use a contributor has of the Mozilla open space. I did some research about logos I might be able to use on my slides. I’ve never done anything like this before so it feels scary and a bit overwhelming. I just keep telling myself I only have to prepare something. I don’t actually have to present.

    The day flew by and here we were checking out. It’s so interesting to hear others talk about their bugs. They sound SO ridiculously complicated! I’m thinking, “Wow! Here we knew nothing coming into this four weeks ago and now these people are talking about things I don’t understand at all.” Is that how mine sounds?? Lukas mentioned that one of the students typed a set of empty curly braces in the markdown header of a blog post and it took down the Ascend site. She said she should probably get some continuous integration set up on the site to keep that from happening in the future. I mentioned I had set up Travis-CI on a site before and she said she would welcome a pull request. Fun!

    Andrew met me at Mozilla so we could head home together. We made a quick stop at a spice shop for some smoked paprika and then we headed to the Max. David happened to be on the same train so I said he should come nerd talk with us. He started telling me about his bug and wow definitely more words I didn’t understand at all. I totally get the issue he is working on but I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin. Go him! We have some really intelligent people in our class.

    I got home and jumped right on my computer so I could get started setting up Travis for the Ascend site. The docs recommended using HTML-proofer to test links, images, and scripts. Sounded great to me! First I had to figure out how to get Jekyll running. I had struggled with it a week or so ago and I just couldn’t get it but it wasn’t critical so I gave up. Well now I had a reason to make it work so I searched and searched and found the answer! Once I had Jekyll running I configured HTML-proofer and ran it. It wouldn’t build….there were errors related to ASCII and when I opened one of the files I could see there were some weird characters. Maybe smart quotes?? Anyway it was late and I was so tired. It would keep until tomorrow.

    Today I learned that Mozilla has a TON of different logos!

    A Challenging Day

    02 Oct 2014 »

    I rode in on the Max with Andrew this morning and hung out at CA for a while. I tried to get irssinotifier set up on my phone but I couldn’t finish before I had to head to class. For once I wasn’t the first one there! I made a small breakfast and had my tea while we all talked about this and that. Our computers were brought out so we grabbed them and got to work. We did a short exercise with bash command line flash cards. I’m feeling pretty comfortable on the command line but could use more practice searching for things. Do I use grep? ack? find? What other commands are there?

    Lukas and Kronda were finishing up the final one-on-ones and I was first up so I headed in to the office to meet with them. They said I was on track and asked a bit about my bug and that was about it. Back to work I went. Carmen had some questions so we worked together here and there and she definitely made forward progress.

    I wrote a comment on my bug regarding changing the logic in a JavaScript file that, from what I can understand, doesn’t actually need to be changed. I went ahead and added my function to the file I was modifying and made a patch file. I ran some Mozmill tests and the one in particular I was to focus on failed but I’m not sure why since my changes don’t mess with anything.

    I set that mess aside while waiting to hear from my reviewer but he seemed to be afk all day. I uploaded a couple of blog posts and edited a couple, pushed them and submitted a pull request. This has become very routine and comfortable. Now that I’ve said that, Git will probably blow up.

    Lunch was yummy sweet potato and kale soup with some really good bread. The weather is cooler so it was perfect. I ate lunch pretty quickly and then went back to my computer. I finally activated my Safari Books membership that Mozilla was so kind to give me. I had just been so busy I didn’t have time to activate it sooner. I had just logged in and it was time for Kronda to give a talk titled, “Stop Crying in the Bathroom and Start Your Own Business”. It was great! She made so many good points about why it’s so freeing to be your own boss. She also covered the down sides like possibly not having a steady pay check and having to be able to promote yourself.

    So yesterday I was given a challenge, which I accepted, to approach the organizer of Portland Linux/Unix Group (PLUG) and ask about speaking. Since I’ve been a regular at this meeting, I know the crowd is friendly and I know the organizer so I wasn’t completely freaked out about asking. The meeting was tonight so I’d have to figure it out soon. I was thinking about this when I got an email from a friend inviting me to participate as a panelist in a moderated discussion about personal eating choices. I’ve never been asked to sit on a panel before but I have some pretty strong feelings about why I eat the way I eat so it could be fun and interesting. It also sounds terrifying!

    I went back to running tests and trying to figure out why they were failing. I copied the error I was getting and saved it in a text file so I could refer to it later and then I finished getting irssinotifier working on my phone. Once that was happy I tried to set up the Mozilla IRC server on Irssi but of course that had to give me issues. That was just the way my day went.

    It was getting close to the end of the day so I filled out a progress report and then we did checkouts. Maybe it’s just my bias but it seemed like lots of struggling went on today. Enough that Lukas said Ascend was getting renamed to “Drink and Cry Your Way to a Patch in Six Short Weeks”. In spite of our struggles, everyone was pretty light-hearted.

    I stuck around a while after class waiting for Andrew so we could walk over to the PLUG meeting. It was beautiful out so our walk was extra nice. We stopped at East Side Deli and each got half a sandwich to have for dinner. We made our way over to Portland State University where the meeting was being held. We were early enough to eat our food before the meeting started. Jennifer Davidson was giving a talk about diversity in tech. Yenni and Candida showed up just as the meeting was getting started so three of us Ascenders were there. Jennifer’s talk was SO good! The audience was quite engaged and heavily participated in many discussions and had a lot of questions and comments. It was one of the best PLUG meetings I have been to and Jennifer gave a shout out to Ascend! After the meeting I asked the organizer about whether I could speak and he said, “Sure! How’s November 6th for you?” Uh………

    Andrew made our way home and the night was just as beautiful as the early evening. We had a really nice walk and ride home and still had time for an episode of Dr. Who with Wayne.

    Today I learned about virtualenv-burrito. Ridiculously handy for setting up virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper all at once.

    Name That Function()

    01 Oct 2014 »

    The weather was cool but beautiful and it was nice to see the signs of fall in the trees along our street. My neighbor didn’t make the Max today so I read a bit of my book on the ride. The man that sits outside was there today so I said good morning as I walked by. He said something back that sounded grumpy but I have no idea what.

    Everyone filtered in and made breakfast or coffee or both. Everyone seems so comfortable with each other now. We just sort of have this nice flow as a group. I hope we can keep up some contact after this is over. Maybe a monthly Ascend Alumni meeting.

    We all got to work on our stuff to do and it’s now different for each one of us. Some are still working on catch up things and anyone who is ahead seems more than happy to jump in and help them. Some people are working with headphones so they can concentrate. I do fine without anything and actually like the distraction of helping someone otherwise I might not budge. I posted a comment on my bug with the question I had from yesterday about the attribute being deprecated and then looked over the code I was supposed to modify. My reviewer commented back and said I had made a good catch on the deprecation. I followed up with another comment and question about my function name. I don’t expect this sort of quick response on all bugs but it sure feels wonderful to be taken seriously as a new contributor.

    Mike Hoye had a Vidyo meeting with us to tell us about what the barriers to participation in open source contribution at Mozilla might be. He also spoke about his role in making things better and easier for people. He made several great points that I will paraphrase here. The social aspect is a challenge. Telling people to read the manual that you haven’t yourself read is functionally equal to telling them to fuck off. People volunteer to not only grow their own skills but to be a part of a community that they feel is doing something important. If someone’s effort goes unnoticed they won’t come back. Mozilla has tried, without sacrificing technical quality, to be more welcoming and responsive to volunteer contributors. The long term goal is to get the organization to recognize that Bugzilla is a social network. All of us have now seen under the hood. It’s a lot less about the technology and a lot more about working with the people.

    Mike also talked about what works best for fixing a bug. He said that one of the things that makes any relationship work is communication. A bug will be assigned when a patch is filed. The person working on the bug should maintain contact weekly to, at the very least, say you are still working on the bug. Radio silence of two weeks is a sign that a contributor is not working on the bug. Rapid small iterations are very valuable. We have to work up to a “big bang” patch and it typically takes years but one can get there. Sometimes code reviews may seem nit picky but the code has to maintain a certain formatting standard from now until forever.

    It was a great meeting and it went until just about 12:00. I had my coaching meeting then so I grabbed a quick lunch. I have to say again how wonderful it was! Vegan meatball sliders and a really good kale salad from 24th and Meatballs. Another place I have never heard of. So many of those in Portland I guess.

    I had an awesome coaching meeting and was really happy to hear that my coach was going to be in Portland next week and for the remainder of Ascend! Meeting finished and lunch done so it was back to work. I had a notification in IRC and it was my reviewer, whimboo. He had seen my comment/question and messages so we could talk about it. I was kind of….ok very….stuck on my function name and keeping it more descriptive. I explained my reasoning and he agreed! It gets to be escapeRegEx(). I’m pretty happy about that. I showed him my re-worked function and he had some suggestions. I took note of them so I wouldn’t forget. Virginia messaged in IRC and it turns out he is her reviewer too! We all talked a bit about Ascend and he showed us pictures of Germany where he lives and then Virginia had some questions about her bug. It looked like things were getting complicated but I think she worked stuff out with him. He is really nice and very helpful.

    I took a break from my bug to fix up a couple of blog post that had some formatting issues and then submitted a pull request. I was hurrying, which is really never a good idea by the way, so didn’t check my changes locally before pushing them up to my Github repo.

    This brought us to the end of another day. They seem to fly by now and I don’t like it at all. I probably haven’t mentioned this at all but I don’t want this project to be over so soon! We all filled out our individual Etherpad progress reports and then checked out with the status of our bugs or progress toward obtaining one to work on. Some of us are frustrated and some of us are doing ok but all of us students are looking forward to coming back to it tomorrow. Lukas and Kronda are probably looking forward to a vacation!

    Wayne was working in the back garden when I got home and Andrew was still working. I saw that Lukas merged in my pull request so I jumped on my computer to see my post all fixed up……except it wasn’t. Dammit! Don’t be in such a hurry that you skip checking things locally. It would have only taken me an extra few seconds.

    Today I learned about Pfahlbaumuseum Unteruhldingen. Fascinating!


    01 Oct 2014 »

    This morning was a bit cloudy and drizzly so I wasn’t sure how to dress. I’m still not used to having weather but I do love it! I kept putting on a coat and then taking it off. Finally I decided to wear one and then threw on my backpack and headed out the door. I went a few steps and decided I didn’t need a coat so back in the house to take it off. I was pretty sure I was going to miss the Max so I walked at an extra fast pace. I made it in plenty of time though. I am reading Red Mars in tiny bits and pieces so I got in a few pages before my neighbor showed up to catch the train as well. We got an old train today and the driver was kind of an asshole. He wouldn’t open the doors for anyone once they were closed. Not very Portland of him!

    I got to Mozilla early as usual and checked my email. I had some comments on the bug I submitted a patch for! I was really nervous and was hoping I wasn’t going to be told it was all wrong and I didn’t know what I was doing. Well it was wrong but not entirely and not because of anything I did. Anyone can go read the bug and all of its comments but the short version is that the code has changed since the bug was reported and lives in a different place now so I need to change some things, fix some nits and modify some other code. The bug was assigned to me!

    We had our check-ins and I talked a bit about this which felt kind of weird because I don’t completely know what I am doing and I didn’t want to sound like I did. I mostly understand what I need to do though. I think! Gah, anyway I’m on some sort of forward path. Everyone seemed pretty ready to get the day going. We had a short time to work on catch up stuff before our guest speaker arrived. I took the time to read over my bug comments, pull in a fresh copy of the code and apply my patch so that I would be able to edit it. I also joined the #automation IRC channel.

    I started working on the easy nits. Some were just formatting things that took two seconds to fix. I love how quickly an experience coder can see these things! Some of the other things sounded more complicated so I needed to research them and figure out what to do. My reviewer wanted me to change my function name and I didn’t really want to do that because the name he picked was very general and mine was more descriptive. I asked him about it and he explained his thinking. I’ll have to ponder that. He also requested I use a function someone posted on a blog that uses an attribute I am not familiar with. I researched this attribute and it seems it is going to be deprecated soon so I will ask him about that too.

    We were excused for lunch a bit early today so a few of us headed out to the food carts. There is a salad place right around the corner that always has a really long line but not today! I think we were early enough that the lunch rush hadn’t arrived so Amanda and I decided to give it a try. I’m sure glad we did. I had a huge, delicious salad for a really reasonable price. The weather was really nice so we sat outside and soon Barbara came by with her lunch and joined us. I felt even more spoiled sitting outside having lunch.

    Once we were all back Lukas and Kronda continued their one-on-ones with students while the rest of us worked on our own. A few people are a bit thrown off by the new unstructured time but many feel they are more productive. I love it because it feels like I’m working, giving, and being productive in addition to sitting, taking and learning from our instructors. I tried to help out whoever needed it as I worked through my own confusing bug stuff and before I knew it, it was time to check out. We all talked about our progress and frustrations because it seems we all have both! David told us about his funny, not funny experience with Mozregression which I hope he blogs about. I couldn’t do it any justice by trying to repeat it here but trust me, the way he explained it was hilarious.

    I had to rush home to take Jason and Alice to the airport and since Carmen was coming to dinner night I had to rush her as well. I got home just in time to take them but when they came over they didn’t seem in a terrible hurry to leave so that was good. I helped Alice pick out a few movies for the trip before heading out.

    Wayne and Taylor were busy in the kitchen making a giant pot of vegetable soup. Jayde needed more math help but since I was leaving shortly, Carmen offered to help her. Carmen told Jayde that she loves math and has been tutoring people for the last six months so Jayde was all about her helping.

    Dinner was excellent! We weren’t a huge group. It was the five of us, Carmen, Taylor, Delaney, Spencer, John and our neighbor, Glenn, who decided months ago to be my father-in-law. I think it’s great because I didn’t have a father-in-law and he’s wonderful.

    Today I learned about closures in programming. A closure is a function that returns a function so when you call the outer function it returns the inner function which is then stored in a variable. It can be called over and over. The point of a closure is that the inner function can access variables within the scope of the outer function but things that can call the inner function have no direct access to those variables. Cool!

    Guido Needs a New Picture

    29 Sep 2014 »

    I woke up sort of panicked thinking I had overslept. At least I was wide awake. I was ready to get my day started and see if my patch and comment were acceptable so I was up, dressed and out the door. It was overcast and cool which was a really nice change. I grabbed some sweet cherry tomatoes and a few sprigs of purple basil out of the garden to eat on my way to the Max.

    My neighbor Jessika barely made it to the train. I hadn’t seen her in several days so it was nice to start the week off by catching up with her on our short trip over the river. Each morning after I get off the Max I walk past Ground Kontrol arcade. I love how they have speakers outside that broadcast the sounds of a classic arcade. On the next block there is usually an older gentleman sitting outside. I say good morning to him each day and at first he would just ignore me but now he looks at me and says good morning. He hasn’t been there the last few times I have walked by though.

    Our morning started out with a Vidyo meeting with Marina Zhurakhinskaya. She was talking to us about the Outreach Program for Women which is a bit of a misnomer this year because they are accepting applications from any of us Ascenders and also from any marginalized populations regardless of gender. This is a program I am very interested in applying for so I was really happy she came to talk to us. The class asked her some great questions so I pretty much found out all of the things I had been wondering about. The difficult part is deciding what project(s) to apply for. There are several interesting participating organizations and companies. Mozilla will be a participant and getting accepted with them would be a dream come true but I think it’s pretty competitive so that is probably not likely.

    After our meeting with Marina we did our check-ins. Lots of people were dragging for various reasons but everyone was pleased to be having another catch up day. I showed Lukas my patch and comment and she felt it was ok to submit so I got that done and then helped my table neighbors with whatever they needed. Mostly I think they just needed to “talk to the bear”. I know for sure it helps me. The All Hands meeting was next and I was particularly interested to hear Bill Mills speak about Mozilla Open Source Science Projects. They put out a CFP for research projects to participate in a pilot study that will bring together the scientific and developer communities.

    Lunch was SO good! Again :-) Today we had food from Kalé. It was also someone’s birthday so Katt ordered cake and vegan cinnamon rolls for everyone. I ate too much food! Again :-)

    After lunch we got back to our computers while Lukas and Kronda met one-on-one with students about what they needed to work on to meet the milestones set out for us. Not everyone got to meet today so that will continue tomorrow. I looked over the bug tracker trying to help some classmates find bugs to work on and also read more information on the OPW participants so that I can narrow things down. While I was reading I saw a familiar name pop up in our IRC channel. Sumana! It is indeed a small tech world it seems. Andrew and I had met Sumana at Pycon this year. Actually we met her at the airport while waiting to catch our plane back home. It’s kind of a funny story so I should write it down….

    We were walking to our gate when we saw someone wave at us and say, “Hi! Did you go to Pycon?” We said that we had and she said she was gathering up Pycon attendees to sit together while we waited for our flights. How nice! So we made our introductions and Sumana told me where she worked and what she did there. I explained that I was a first time attendee and totally new to the community and that I didn’t really know anyone at all. Andrew explained that he was a Perl developer and that got a laugh just as it had each time he mentioned that during the conference. Anyway, we were having a great conversation with Sumana when someone caught her eye. I looked where she was looking and she said, “Is that Guido van Rossum?” I had only recently learned who he even was and had only seen him from tens of yards away so I had no clue. He was walking past us so Sumana got his attention and asked if he had attended Pycon. He got this really weird look on his face and then said, very quietly, “Yes”. She said, “Oh! Well we are gathering up Pycon people to sit together while we wait for our planes.” He sounded very unsure and asked, “Is it ok…..if I sit…..somewhere else?” Ha! Off he went to sit by himself. I quickly did an image search for Guido and showed her the picture. They looked nothing alike at all. Sumana said, “Oh, well I guess he just has a ‘Dutch guy’ look about him.”

    Cut to us on our plane home. We were seated in a row of three, Andrew at the window and me in the center. In front of us was a row of two seats with no seat in front of Andrew. We were flying along for a while when Andrew leaned over and said, “That was Guido in the airport.” I asked how he knew and he said, “Because he’s sitting in front of you working on his laptop, sending email, and I can see his name.” He totally shoulder surfed!

    Ok, back to my day! I was pretty happy to see Sumana in IRC because I had mentioned her to Carmen. Carmen is interested in an OPW project with Wikimedia so I encouraged her to let Sumana know. She did and I believe she now has some valuable resources as well as a person to contact at Wikimedia for more information. Carmen and Wikimedia seem like the perfect fit. I’m excited for her!

    I spent the rest of my day bouncing around the interwebs kind of aimlessly trying to wrap my head around a concrete path to a decent OPW application while also helping anyone that needed it. Our day came to an end with our check-outs. It was sort of a misty rain outside so I had a really nice walk down to the Max. Jessica was getting on the same train so we got to have a nice conversation on the way home.

    When I got home I went right to my computer so I could finally listen to Kronda’s interview on Less Than or Equal. It was so good! Wayne listened with me and loved it as well.

    Jason and Alice are leaving for Arizona tomorrow so we went out to dinner with them since we won’t see them until this weekend. We went to the Bye and Bye. I love that place but wasn’t feeling very hungry (shocking I know!) so I just got a grilled cheese and only ate a little bit. It was nice to hang out with them though. We always laugh a lot.

    Today I learned about bit rot when referring to a patch that has been submitted but not applied. If the patch sits too long without someone reviewing and applying it then the code it was to modify will most likely have changed which will require a partial or full rewrite of the patch and can even render the patch unusable. There is also a more standard use of the term bit rot but its existence is still debated.

    Virtual Machines

    25 Sep 2014 »

    Our instructors have been so busy teaching and helping us that they haven’t had much time for meeting with each other so they gave us the option of coming in later. Most of us wanted to come in early and get to work so they said we could but that they would not be available until they were done meeting at 10:00. I usually go downtown with Andrew on Thursday and Friday so I was going to be there anyhow. I showed up at my usual time and helped check out computers so anyone who came early could get to work. I finished up some commits and got everything pushed up to my Github repo and then added to my open pull request.

    I decided to add my name to my index page for my blog posts since people might want to know who wrote them. I helped another student get started on some stuff they missed when they were absent the day before and then I chatted with another student until it was time to check in. Everyone seemed pretty ok considering it was the end of the week and we had really been ramping up our learning the last few days. Several took advantage of sleeping in and were really happy about that. Lukas showed us a great Mozilla bug search website and Planet Mozilla where blogs from the Mozilla community are aggregated. We all looked through them and tweeted about any we found particularly interesting.

    We also did more catch up stuff for a bit and also updated Bash because of a newly discovered vulnerability. Kronda then talked to us about why it might be important for us to blog. She mentioned that some people make a living simply by blogging but that even if we aren’t being paid to do it, blogging can help with exposure. It’s also a place to show potential clients or employers what we know. I’m happy I will be able to look back and see how I progressed and I hope our blogs might help and encourage the upcoming Ascenders.

    We took a break for lunch and today it was “food cart”/”get out of the office and find food”day. I went to Whole Foods and got a garbanzo salad and some fresh carrots for lunch and then headed back to the office to eat. Everyone ate and socialized for a while and then it was time to get back to work.

    We spent the second half of the day installing VirtualBox and then building Firefox on a virtual machine. That went surprisingly well considering how most everything else we have done has had it’s bumps and hiccups. When everyone was caught up with that, Lukas wrote the next instructions on the whiteboard. We were to clone our Ascend repo to the virtual machine, apply the patch we made yesterday, run the modified version of Firefox, take a screen shot of the modification in action, and then push the image to our Github repo.

    We didn’t get walked through any of this process so I had to figure out that the VM didn’t have Git. I had to install that and then try and remember the syntax for fetching a repository. Once I had the repo on the VM I had to search for how to apply a patch with Git (Adam helped me figure this out) and then build and run the patched version. It worked! Then I had to get a screenshot. I was trying to get a screenshot and it was just not working at all. Once again, Adam to the rescue! He told me to get an app called Skitch. I downloaded and opened it but couldn’t figure out exactly how to make it do what I wanted either. Grrr! Yup, I bothered Adam again and he quickly showed me how to use the timed screen snap feature to get just the screen shot I wanted.


    While I was busy working away on the VM tasks my pull request was merged. Just in time for Lukas to inform the class that an update was made to our blog template so we all needed to add an author tag and our name to the header of each blog post. Well this was a handy lesson for sure because I had to revert my index page to the way it was before my pull request was merged and then update each blog post. I had 13 blog posts to change but they all needed the same thing added to them in the same place so I figured there must be a way to do this in Vim. I searched a bit and found it was pretty darned simple. But then of course I didn’t do something I don’t really understand and couldn’t save all of the files and I couldn’t quit some of the files and grrrrr again! I wanted to get them edited, committed, pushed, and submit a pull request before I left so I just closed the stupid tab the files were open in and edited them one by one. When I am not rushed I will mess with this feature and figure out what I screwed up. It’s all done though!

    I met Andrew at CA and we had a nice ride home. I told him all about my day and he gave me some handy Vim suggestions. It was BSD Pizza Night and this month Handsome Pizza was the place to meet. Dave showed up and then we walked over. We had our usual amazing pizza and the BSD nerds talked about whatever they talk about. I didn’t really care, I got myself a vegan coconut ice cream cone. Life is good.

    Today I learned about Skitch. It’s free too!


    24 Sep 2014 »

    I was soooooo tired this morning but I got up and took a shower. That helped a lot and I was also very excited and nervous about my upcoming coaching meeting. It also helped that it was raining and there were no Max issues this morning so I made it to class early, just the way I like it.

    We did our check-ins and then went back to working on Wordpress for those who were still struggling. I was done with that so I started looking through bugs and checking the clock. I knew I wouldn’t miss my coaching meeting but I was really anticipating it.

    Once people got done with Wordpress stuff and I believe building Firefox, Lukas started talking about bugs and how we could best search for them. She talked about what things we might consider when choosing a bug and then let us know that she wanted us picking a bug that was out of our comfort zone, one that we knew nothing about. I love this and it scares the shit out of me at the same time.

    I picked bug 589320 because it sounds interesting. It’s some code that is no longer needed and needs to be audited and then removed if not needed. If I were to take on this bug I would first figure out where the code to be audited lives and read it over to see if I can understand it. I would also research the general functionality of printf() which is the code to be removed.

    I picked bug 671705 because it references regular expressions and I definitely want to learn more about those. They are kind of intimidating so tackling a bug like this might help me make friends with them. I’d also begin researching where this code lives and try to figure out what it does. I would reach out to the mentor as well since this bug has one assigned.

    I am interested in bug 797711 because it seems as though I might be able to write the JavaScript this needs. Again I would have to look through the testing code.

    It was coaching time for me and lunchtime for everyone else. Katt, wonderful person that she is, didn’t want me to miss out on lunch and brought me a plate of food. I’m going to miss her when this project is over! Bridge. Cross. Later.

    Anyway, my coaching experience isn’t something I will be writing about but I will say this: I am thrilled with the coach that I have been matched with and I very much look forward to our meetings.

    Lunch/meeting was over and it was time to get back to the classroom. Barbara, had been working on a bug since late last week and had submitted a patch for it earlier this morning! She was nice enough to present to us her process. There were several questions asked and a bit of confusion about how the patch file was generated so that was discussed for a bit.

    Everyone must have built Firefox at some point because we were about to play with it. Lukas showed us an old blog post she wrote when she was first learning to program. I’m not sure if it was her intent but it was great, for me at least, to catch a glimpse of where she was and where she is now. I think, as a beginner, I tend to forget that we all have to start at the beginning, even our kick-ass instructors. Her post was about how she had messed with the code in a local build of Firefox and then could see the results when she ran her modified version. She showed us the Mozilla Cross-reference site which really simplifies searching the source code. She then showed us how to do these same things. First we messed with where new tabs are opened. We inserted some code in tabbrowser.xml that changed them from opening right of existing tabs to opening left. Then we ran our build to see the change we made. Nifty! Next we played with browser.dtd and changed one or some of the tooltip strings. We ran our build again and saw those changes as well. Finally we had to generate a patch file and push it up to github. I think this final step helped those who were still a bit confused about how that worked. I was unsure about generating my patch file because I had cloned a Mercurial repo. Lukas quickly told me how to do it though.

    I was feeling kind of blah after class so Wayne picked me up. I wanted to take a nap but Jayde needed some math help so I did that instead. She had to figure out the area of several random shapes using the formula for the area of a triangle. She thought this was the dumbest thing ever. I suppose I thought so as well at her age but math will always be there just waiting for her to see how beautiful and amazing it is. I didn’t truly discover this until I studied calculus. It completely blew my mind to learn that the first derivative of position (with respect to time) is velocity, the second derivative is acceleration and the third is jerk. What?? Stupid, boring math can tell us stuff like THAT? Yes, yes you should go math now.

    Today I learned that generating patch files with Git is pretty much the same as Mercurial.

    Fall Equinox

    23 Sep 2014 »

    Today was a busy day in class. The moods were varied during check in but the majority of people were feeling ok. We worked on finishing up getting Wordpress installed locally and there were many different issues. It kept us busy for pretty much the whole day. People also cloned the Mozilla core repository so they could get ready to build Firefox.

    I was moving along pretty well with my Wordpress install because Kronda took my computer home last night and used it to write an updated blog post that explained how to install Wordpress locally and how to work around certain issues that might come up. I did hit a wall though when trying to get Wordpress to talk to the MySQL database. It kept saying it was unable to connect. I searched the web for solutions and there were a couple of different things I tried. I first tried removing the password in the wp-config.php file because my database didn’t have a password but that didn’t fix it and being kind of new at problem solving of this sort I wanted to make just one change at a time so I changed it back to having a password and then changed the setting for hostname from “localhost” to That didn’t work either so I tacked on the port number 3306 at the end and that also didn’t work. I searched and searched and tried changing localhost to Localhost as someone had suggested. None of this was working so I finally asked Kronda to look at it and grrrrr! It needed the IP address AND no password! Lesson learned here for sure. I mean I knew it didn’t have a password but I just didn’t follow through with the logic.

    It works now though so I’m relieved. I was caught up on everything so I messed with Mozregression. It’s a nightly regression finder for Firefox so you can narrow down when a bug was introduced. It allows you to input the date of a build you think or know didn’t have a bug and then the date of a build that you think or know does have the bug and then it will download different versions, run them with new, clean, profiles and guide you through a bisection until you narrow it down. It’s super cool!

    We broke for lunch and it was food cart day. I chose the Ethiopian cart but when I gave her my giftcard it kept getting declined. I know for sure I had enough money on it! She said to just take the food and pay her later. People are SO nice! Luckily Kay was nearby and wasn’t going to be eating. She let me use her giftcard which worked just fine of course. I came back and checked mine online and it showed it active with enough of a balance to have paid for my lunch so I can only assume the vendor had entered in the incorrect amount. I gave my card to Kay so it’s all worked out and lunch was pretty fantastic.

    We ended our day with some still being stuck on the Wordpress task but everyone seemed pretty mentally done. Carmen was coming for dinner night so we walked to the bus stop and headed home. Andrew decided to start a fire in the wood stove since it was the first day of Fall. We had the front and back doors open so it was technically cool enough in the house. We all loved having it!


    I jumped in the kitchen to help Wayne with dinner and Nate took Carmen to his room to show her his tree frog, Walter. They ended up talking for nearly an hour about all manner of things. It was a very quiet evening since Miri and Dale were at home with the new baby, Jason and Alice had a conference to attend, our older children didn’t come. It was just the five of us, Carmen, Spencer and John. Dinner was enchilada casserole and it was delicious. We had great conversation.

    Today I learned that the Latin word for frog is rana.

    Kinda Wordepressing

    22 Sep 2014 »

    I love being in the Ascend Project. It started out a bit rough for me mostly due to my massive insecurity but things are so much better now. I look forward to getting up each morning and heading down to the Mozilla office where I get to spend the day with a room full of awesome people. I like them more and more each day. Today we had an issue, the details not necessary, but it was wonderful to see us come together as a group and do the right thing, then brainstorm about how to avoid such issues in the future.

    Kronda was back from her conference and we were all very happy to see her! Probably not as much as Lukas though because she was sick and needed to lay low. We spent our morning catching up on things before the All Hands meeting began. I was caught up so I looked over the agenda and it said to prepare to set up Wordpress locally or prepare to build Firefox from source. I wanted to walk through the Wordpress stuff with Kronda and the class so I worked on the prerequisites for building Firefox from base. I first wanted to get Virtualenv working so I did that and then stepped through getting things set up to build Firefox. That went really quickly. The All Hands meeting began so we all focused on that and then had a brief, private meeting before lunch.

    Lunch was delicious again! Katt got us yummy lentil shepherd’s pie again. I ate quickly and then rushed down to the post office so I could mail my poor, injured friend some coffee. The forecast calls for rain tomorrow and it was beautiful today so I took advantage of that.

    Lukas went home and Kronda took over. She had us get started on a tutorial for installing Wordpress and it went really well! Until it didn’t. Adam and I got ours to a point where it should have been working but wasn’t. We tried this, and tried that. Kronda went from one of us to the next trying her best to help. At some point, someone noticed that the website we were using was different for some of us so it seems the author was changing things. Not very helpful! Kronda didn’t seem to get frustrated at all but she really wanted to figure out what was going on so I handed her my laptop so she could mess with a clean system and I took a bit of a break. She totally got in the zone and was digging away at the issue but didn’t quite figure it out before the day was done.

    We all did our checkouts. Some people were really frustrated with all of the yak shaving but some of us were happy to have the experience since this is a common thing for a developer. Adam and Zeus got their systems working so Adam sent me copies of his config files but we couldn’t stay and sort things out. I will have to attack this problem in the morning.

    I walked to the Max and must have just missed the Yellow line so I stood there for quite a long time waiting. Candida happened by because she had gotten slightly lost but had found her way again. We chatted for a bit before my train showed up and then my neighbor ended up being on the same train. She had a yak shaving day too!


    Wayne made yummy meatball subs for dinner and it was a quiet night with just the seven of us. I am feeling really tired for some reason and it’s not even close to bed time. I hope I’m not coming down with something.

    Today I learned that setting up Wordpress locally is kind of a pain in the ass.

    Mozilla Cantina

    19 Sep 2014 »

    Well today the rain is gone but at least we got a partial day of it. I left early with Andrew since he was going to work downtown. I guess it isn’t really downtown though because his co-working space is north of Burnside. I still don’t really understand all of these neighborhoods and areas. Aaaaanyway, I hung out at CA with him for a while because I can’t get in to the Mozilla office until 08:30 when the door unlocks. I ended up being ten minutes early anyway but some Mozillians were there and let me in.

    I couldn’t wait to get working on my Tutorial so I could finish it up so I jumped on it as soon as I got my computer. I paused for check-ins and everyone was pretty happy that it was Friday and also the monthly Cantina. After check-ins and announcements we were given lots of time to work on catch up stuff so of course I worked on my tutorial. I also tried to help anyone that needed it. I had several screen shots to take and had to figure out how best to show them on the command line. I’m not sure I succeeded but hopefully some classmates will read through it and give me feedback.

    We all broke for lunch which was once again delicious! We had food from Cha! Cha! Cha! and I definitely took a little too much this time. There was a spicy tofu dish and a warm quinoa kale salad of some sort, really good guacamole and Pico di Gallo. We are very spoiled.

    After lunch we talked about testing and what tools we would need in order to work on bugs and test them. We talked about needing things like a text editor, the testing software, the suite of tests to be run, one or more versions of the software to be tested, a local version of the code, terminal, git, etc.

    Lukas searched Bugzilla for bugs tagged “good first bug” and then chose one from the list of results. It was a bug in a Mozmill test related to some code that needed to be moved outside of a class. We were able to watch Lukas begin with no knowledge of this particular bug, read and dig down, read code, dig down more, poke around until she could see what was going on. It was so interesting and also very encouraging to see her go through this process. It shows me that although she has years of experience on us she still has to look at and figure out what is going on with each new bug. I guess it’s kind of like reading a book. Some people have been reading books a lot longer than others but they still have to read through a new book and gain an understanding of it as they go. They don’t pick up a new book and automatically know everything that is going on. Sure it takes the new reader more time to put it all together but they can eventually get there and will get better and faster with practice.

    The bug did turn out to be a great first bug but we all got worried that we were going to have to fix it right then. Someone asked about it and I think there was a collective sigh of relief when Lukas said we could start that process next week. Then she came up with our cheer. “What do we do?!” …“Fix bugs!”….”When do we do it?!”………..”Next week!”.

    Lukas talked to us about the Gnome Outreach Program for Women and let us know that anyone in Ascend could apply no matter what gender. I had heard about this program last year two weeks before the deadline. I thought it would be wonderful but I didn’t have a clue where to even start. I looked at some bugs in the Python code base but honestly I couldn’t understand a thing in their bug reports. I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I had two weeks to figure it out. It felt impossible so I didn’t do it. I’d like to give it a shot this year though.

    The day was winding up and it was nearly time for the cantina so we did our check-outs and then I rushed to get my tutorial pushed to my repo so I could submit my pull request. Andrew showed up shortly after and introduced him to a few of my classmates. Wayne showed up not too long after Andrew. I tried to make sure and introduce them to all of my classmates and I tried to meet any guests that were there. Some people were playing Rockband and others were just mingling. We had a really nice time getting to meet everyone’s friends/family.

    Katt thanked us all for coming and then very nicely told us to get the heck out so we cleaned up what we could and headed downstairs. The three of us planned to go out to dinner and Carmen was standing with us so we asked if she would like to join us. She thought that sounded lovely so we began searching for a place to go. Katt came down and we invited her to join us as well. Since she is so great at picking wonderful food, we left the place up to her. We ended up at a really nice Vietnamese place where we had good food and fantastic conversation. I think we stayed a lot longer than the staff would have preferred and were the last ones out the door. The night was beautiful and we were really enjoying hanging out so we all took a nice slow walk around. There were so many people walking, talking, laughing and enjoying themselves. I loved being a small part of that. Portland looks so different at night. The building architecture is so much more apparent so we ended up seeing things we had never noticed before.

    It was getting late and everyone was getting tired so we walked Katt to her bus stop and waited until she was on her way and then we walked Carmen home. Once she was safely inside we made the long walk to our Max stop. We don’t really know the late night schedules but we were lucky enough to catch the very last train for the night!

    Today I learned that Downtown Portland is an entirely different kind of beautiful at night.

    Test Automation

    18 Sep 2014 »

    It’s raining today! I have really been looking forward to some weather and it’s finally here. Lots of people say I will regret wanting it but they haven’t lived where I have. This is a welcome change. Morning check-ins were great. It seems many people have been having vivid dreams. They are hilarious to listen to!

    Kronda is off at her conference where she is keynoting! We miss her but we have Sam here in her place and he’s pretty awesome as well. We started off going over our class agreements and everyone had a lot of input about how we could improve and add to them. It was very interesting to revisit this after nearly two weeks with the project. There were a lot of great modifications and additions. Some changes involved rephrasing and some were the addition of things we, as a group, hadn’t originally considered. This group task took us until about 11:00. After that I asked Sam for help with my seemingly endless Git issues. He showed me some amazing Vim commands and also showed me how to record my first macro. That made editing a lot faster. He also had me download GitX (the rowanj fork) which is a very handy Git GUI.

    At some point during all of this Git stuff I checked up on my bug report and didn’t really understand the comments. I showed it to Lukas and she explained that it was progressing and was nominated as a bug that should be fixed. She said that’s a good thing so I’m happy.

    It was lunch time so Sam and I took a break from his Git repair lesson so that we could eat. Lunch was delicious Thai food! There was the typical “being vegan” issue though. I didn’t get my food until everyone else and since everyone else can eat the regular food as well as the vegan food there was not much left of that. Oh well, I enjoyed what I had and there are more than enough snacks in this office so I will definitely never go hungry!

    After lunch we began the task of installing and running Mozmill. It’s an automated testing framework and a super cool thing about Mozmill is that it can be run against any official build of Firefox. It doesn’t require some special test enabled version.

    We were given some very basic instructions and some links to follow for more information but not a lot more. I think Lukas wanted us to do a lot more problem solving and figure out how to get it all going ourselves as much as possible. Some were ok with this and some were very frustrated and unsure about what to do but those who got it going were able to help those who were struggling and I think we all eventually got it running!

    When a testrun script is invoked it clones the remote test repository, automatically switches to the correct branch for the version of Firefox being tested, runs the tests and then sends the results to the Mozmill dashboard. It was so cool to see the automated tests running! Here are my test results.

    I pestered Sam again to help me finish fixing my Git repo because it was now in a partially fixed state but I had absolutely no idea how to proceed on my own. If he wasn’t coming back tomorrow I’d be fairly well screwed but luckily he had some time to help me get it done. He showed me how to pick a good point in the history of the remote Ascend repo so that I could cherry-pick my commits from that point forward and get them merged in without all of the extraneous crap I had managed to get in there. He had me delete my, very messy, open pull request first and then showed me how to make a branch called “scout” that would be where I wanted to begin pulling out individual commits. He showed me how to cherry-pick only the commits that I made and then had me make a “safe_point” branch so that I would be able to undo this if I made a mistake. I’m a little bit unclear on the next steps because the day was winding up but I believe I checked out my local gh-pages branch, pulled the remote ascend/gh-pages branch, did a git reset –hard ascend/gh-pages (Sam says this is VERY dangerous! And that he does it all the time), merged in my scout branch, and then did a git push -f to my remote repo. The -f forced the push since the two repositories were different. Once all of that was done I was then able to submit a much cleaner pull request with only my changes. Whew! This all took a bit longer than expected and was preventing Lukas from leaving but it’s fixed and I am thankful and relieved!

    I walked down to Collective Agency, a co-working space, where Andrew works a couple of days a week with some other Portland GSG employees. He usually would head home after lunch but has been staying there until I get done so we can go home together. I’m pretty sure I talked his ear off about my day.

    We got home, went across the street to check out Jason and Alice’s beautiful new marmoleum floor in their basement. Wayne picked a bunch of strawberries from our garden. It’s weird that we are still getting them. These are the same plants that have been there for a while and they sure didn’t produce this long last year.

    Strawberries and Wayne

    Andrew made me a tasty muddled strawberry and mint fizzy water.

    Fizzy Drink

    Today I learned SO many things! Git stuff, Vim stuff, Mozmill stuff, Why we can’t have nice things (utf-8, dates, and names), and MOOM! Definitely check out MOOM.

    Mozmill Tutorial

    17 Sep 2014 »

    Mozmill is an automated testing framework. If you have run any Moztrap tests you were doing those manually. This is a way to have the computer do many of those tests automatically for you. We still need human testers though! We can figure out all sorts of creative ways to break things but the computer can only test things in the way it was programmed.

    This tutorial is compatible with Mac OS X 10.9 running Python 2.7

    Installing Mozmill

    If you have pip installed simply run “sudo pip install mozmill” and enter your password.


    Otherwise run the following commands in order making sure each step completes with no errors:

    curl -O


    sudo python (requires your password)
    easy_install pip
    pip install mozmill


    Now test to make sure Mozmill has been installed properly by typing - mozmill –v

    This should show you the version number and means you have mozmill installed properly.


    Clone Test Suite and Automation

    Navigate to the directory where you would like to clone the following repositories (/projects, /sites, etc.)
    Clone the test suite repository by typing: git clone
    Clone the automation repository by typing: git clone

    Set Up Automation

    Change directories into mozmill-automation - cd mozmill-automation
    Checkout the hotfix-2.0 branch - git checkout hotfix-2.0
    Run sudo python develop


    Now if you type testrun_ and tab twice you should see all of the testrun commands available


    Run Automated Functional Tests

    Now you are finally ready to run your automated tests! You will need to know the path to the version of Firefox you want to test. The –report portion of the command is the location of the Mozilla dashboard where the results will be sent. The example path may not be where your version is located.

    Run the following command with your path and then the test suite will launch.

    testrun_functional –report= %path_to_firefox% (on Mac to .app)


    This will take a bit of time but be patient. Take a break or sit and watch in amazement.


    When testing has completed you will be given a URL with a unique ID at the end.


    To view your report, put your unique ID at the end of this user-friendly URL (e.g. ) *this link works for testrun_functional runs.

    To claim your badge for this tutorial PM me in #ascend with your unique ID and I will award it to you.

    Tutorial based on instructions via this Mozilla webpage.

    Bug Hunting

    17 Sep 2014 »

    After our morning check-in we went over some housekeeping type things such as setting our default Firefox to re-open our last tabs, how Github handles new pull requests when a person already has one open and that losing work sometimes is pretty much inevitable.

    Kronda talked about culture fit and hiring practices and showed us an example of a blog post by a woman here at a local tech incubator that was really frustrating to read. I really appreciated her bringing this up so we can all be aware of it when researching job opportunities.

    We took a short break and then had some guest speakers. Gregg Lind and the others spoke about how they came to be at Mozilla and gave us some great tips on the many ways we can contribute to Mozilla. They also made it clear that we don’t have to know all of the terminology in order to file bug reports. It is perfectly fine to word things with the terminology we are familiar with.

    After their wonderful talk we paired up to work with those who hadn’t filed a bug report yet. Lukas gave us some tips on searching for bugs. There are bugs tagged steps-wanted that seem like a great place to find bugs to reproduce and then document. My partner found a great bug and it turned out hers was related to mine so that was interesting.

    We all got to head outside again for lunch. Today I skipped the bathroom and walked to the food trucks with everyone else. I headed for The Dump Truck and got some amazing potato curry dumplings with a vegan coconut yogurt sauce. Yum!

    After lunch everyone set up jekyll (a web server) on their local machine so they can see their blog posts locally before they push them up to Github. It’s nice to be able to do this so we can check our formatting before we submit a pull request. I had done this yesterday so I started my blog.

    Kronda discussed how we can contribute to the Ascend pages. We are able to file bug reports and patches and submit suggestions regarding how we think the web page might look better. I am the worst at any kind of design stuff so I don’t think I will be jumping on that one. Lukas talked about Git blame and diff and how our commit messages are kept in our history and are visible to all. That means it’s always a great idea to be careful about what we say and to really try and be clear in what we write. We then had a scavenger hunt to find the date Lukas was added to the Mozilla contributor’s page. Finding the answer is an exercise for the reader.

    At the end of the day we all just worked on any unfinished tasks. I was caught up so I took the time to fix my background color issue in Vim. I poked around and looked through my vimrc, commented things out and added other stuff based on suggestions I searched for but ultimately I had to ask Andrew and of course he had no trouble finding the answer and now it looks SO much better! I can actually read the text.

    Check-outs went pretty quickly. I think we were all very ready to go home. I grabbed a couple of carrots from the fridge to eat on my walk to the Max. It apparently had lightly sprinkled so we were finally getting some weather! As I was walking, an elderly English couple with a young girl stopped me and asked if I knew where Everett was and that they were looking for “an ice cream shop. Ben and Jerry’s it’s called.” I started to reply but the woman spoke up and said to the man that I might not know where it was since I was eating a carrot. Uh…..ok. I gave them directions and then told them I hoped they could find some carrot ice cream when they got there.

    As I was riding the Max home, Alena messaged to see if we wanted to meet for dinner because she was picking up her (and Andrew’s) mom from the airport. I said it sounded great so we all ended up at a fairly decent Ethiopian place on Broadway. I don’t know how much solid food baby Anya has had but she sure loved all of the injera I was feeding her.

    Today I learned how to reproduce and document a bug.

    Never Enough Cooks in the Kitchen

    16 Sep 2014 »

    Today was a darned good day! Check-ins were mostly positive for everyone except for Kronda. She was having a bit of a bad day but it’s nice to know so we could give her some space. She still managed to help me through a frustrating Git issue even though she wasn’t in the best mood. Our morning seemed packed with much discussion. Lukas had us debrief about the Monday All Hands meeting and there were many questions which led to a lot of discussion back and forth.

    After the debrief the three students who sat in on the SUMO meeting the previous day gave a presentation about what they had learned. It was an interesting talk and they seemed really excited about it. I was a bit distracted thinking about my Git problem and how I might solve it. I ended up having to do some conflict resolution and some file merges but still had other issues.

    We took a very fast break before our 11am meeting with Dino, Debbie and Hope but I stayed and bugged Kronda for her help. She got me on the right track and that was a relief! Dino went over some of the wonderful benefits we get to participate in simply due to the fact that we are Mozillians. I really had no idea such things would be offered to anyone who wasn’t a paid employee. We are able to have one year of access to Safari Books and Rosetta Stone. There is an employee assistance program available for those who have various personal issues or need health, legal, financial advice, counseling etc. We will have coaches available for improving confidence, body language and interviewing skills. We will be able to have one-on-one help polishing our resumes. It boggles my mind that they are willing to do all of this for us. I am definitely going to take advantage of several of these things.

    11:45 rolled around and it was time for lunch. Lukas gave us each a $30 prepaid Visa card so that we could leave the office and go buy our own lunch a few times. Food carts were the plan for those that didn’t mind walking just a bit. I was SO looking forward to having my favorite Kargi Go Go but they are closed this entire week! I ducked into the bathroom before we were heading out but when I came out everyone was gone so I just went off by myself and ended up at Petunias Pies and Pastries. I had the most delicious vegetable pot pie at a little table outside on the sidewalk. I headed back to the office and a few others had already returned. We chatted for a while before it was time to get back to work.

    Lukas showed us about:about and went over several of the categories. She was showing us about:nope but it’s part of the Whimsy add-on and none of us had that so we spent a few minutes getting that going just because it’s funny. She also did a presentation on the release process for the four versions of Firefox and that was really interesting.

    We moved on to Moztrap where we were able to perform some tasks and either pass their test or mark it as an issue and file a bug report. Most of us really enjoyed this because we basically got to do all of the crap we normally do as a user like Facebook, Twitter, games, etc. All of my tests seemed to work fine in Aurora but this did not help get me closer to filing a bug report which is great for Firefox (no bugs found) but crappy for me (no bugs found).

    I was done with my testing and the day was winding down but I remembered how cool the new Developer Tools were after seeing a demo of them at OSCON and wanted to mess with them a bit. As luck would have it, this led me to my first bug report in the nightly version. The Dev Tools console doesn’t stay active when loading a website from a new tab.

    Yenni headed home with me so she could join us for dinner night. Alice was already at my house working with Wayne to prepare the huge bounty of spaghetti squash we had in the back yard. She had been saving the seeds from the squash but wasn’t sure if they could be roasted. Yenni said they absolutely could and that she would be happy to make them. They turned out to be amazing. As people showed up for dinner night they would try some and then couldn’t stop eating them. We were making a gluten free meal and I was tasked with making a piccata sauce but wasn’t sure how to thicken it without flour. Yenni to the rescue again. She took over the sauce which she had never made before and it was wonderful as well. I don’t like cooking so it was really nice that she likes working in other people’s kitchens!

    We had a pretty good turnout for dinner night. Glenn from across the street had eaten but came to socialize, Taylor and Delaney, Alice, Jason, and Ladybug, Miri, Dale, and Pennyloafer, Spencer and John, Yenni, Sarah from around the corner and then the five of us.

    Today I learned that a tattoo pen can be made with parts from a train set, the motor from an e-z bake mixer and a guitar string.

    Our Second Week Begins

    15 Sep 2014 »

    Monday morning rolled around pretty early. I think mostly because I was nervous about riding my bike to class with Kronda. Andrew checked it out for me yesterday and it checked out fine. I got my backpack all ready to go and off we went. Kronda guided us through our fairly quiet neighborhood. We meandered past beach school and up over the Going Street Bridge, down through the other half of Overlook and on to Interstate. So far it was pretty easy. We were able to fly down Interstate and make the light which was nice then we headed for the Broadway Bridge. There was a bit of a long incline and my legs were not thrilled. I just kept pedaling though and made it! Once we got over the Bridge and onto Broadway the rest was a breeze. It was so much easier and nicer than I had imagined.

    We hung up our bikes and I greeted my classmates. Before I knew it class was starting. We did our check-ins and it seems as though most everyone had a relaxing weekend although a few had a rougher time of things. We got busy going over tasks that we may not have completed from last week. There was an entirely new naming convention for our blog files but I wasn’t aware of this until I had already renamed mine to one that I thought was better than what I had started with. Oh well, more practice right? I worked on that task but did a lot of helping my desk mates too so it ended up actually being pretty slow going.

    The Monday All Hands meeting began and a Mozillian asked that everyone please fill out a survey regarding a new Mozilla logo so I did that and listened to the rest of the meeting. I love that we get to be a part of that. We headed back to our desks and worked a bit more on tasks and then it was time for lunch. We had delicious falafel sandwiches. After lunch we were split up into two groups (I thought). People all caught up on tasks and those who needed more time and help. Those who were all caught up were able to move to one desk area and work on some QA testing via the One and Done portal and Moztrap. Our tasks involved testing video calling in the Firefox Aurora browser. It was interesting to learn about how this works and it was fun to call each other but then the call notification sound got a little old.

    Once we completed the tests we were booted from the room for a mandatory ten minute break. I took my laptop with me but ended up talking with another student instead. I’m liking everyone more and more each day. After the break, those of us who finished the testing were to teach the others who were still working on prior tasks. I worked with Yenni and she did a great job even though she was running on very little sleep. Some of the other students apparently went into a meeting about SUMO but I completely missed that this happened and have no idea how they were able to get in on that. Maybe we will hear more about it tomorrow.

    I got my files all named the way I wanted and in the proper directories so worked on getting them pushed to my repo so I could submit a pull request. I thought I had a pretty good handle on what I was doing but then I got some error I wasn’t familiar with which isn’t surprising at all since Git does a crap ton of stuff and I know maybe 1% of it. I spent some time researching the error. One of our class mates filed his first bug report! That was really cool and he was able to present to the class about it. The day was going to end early so we did check outs around 4pm. Most everyone seemed to have a really good day and seemed really pleased with all they learned. The majority of the class opted to leave early but I was perplexed by this Git error so I asked Kronda. She looked at it with me and then we were both perplexed until Lukas explained how Github handles new pull requests when a person has one that hasn’t been merged. Ooooooooh-kay now the error made sense. I could have done without the yak shaving but I did learn something so it almost made it worth it I suppose.

    Well now it was time to ride home. I was so pleased with how well it went getting to school that I didn’t give the ride home much thought. That was a bad idea because I seriously thought I was going to die riding up to the Broadway Bridge and then up the first half. It sure doesn’t look like much from a car but let me tell you, my legs were dying. Kronda didn’t really look back at me much but knew exactly where I was the entire time and also knew, somehow, that I needed a break once we got to the plateau on the bridge. I was SO thankful! My legs were pretty pissed off at me and were definitely cramping. Once they calmed down we were on our way again. Instead of returning up Interstate we went up Williams and then cut across Beech. This was purely so I could avoid a (to me) giant hill! Lukas, who left after us, caught up to us at this point. She said she was wondering why all the bikes were slowing down and then recognized Kronda’s outfit so yeah I would be the reason for the slowness. It was my first time though and I was using muscles I didn’t even know I had so I think slow was justified. Sorry fast people.

    We zig-zagged on some quiet back streets and then parted ways at Interstate and Killingsworth. I made it home and was DONE but super proud of myself for doing it and also for not dying. Go me! Jason says I should ride every day now but screw that. I’m resting my legs tomorrow for sure.

    Alice had messaged me earlier letting me know that she had harvested a ton of basil. She wanted to come over and make pesto and watch a movie after dinner. She brought over what basil she had and then we harvested ours and the basil from another neighbor. I stripped the leaves while she ran home to clean her dehydrator. She was bringing it over along with a bunch of cherry tomatoes so they could be dried. Once she showed up I decided I’d had enough of the basil stripping and would rather sit and slice the tomatoes because, you know, I didn’t get to mess with enough tomatoes the day before. Anyway, I managed to get approximately one million of them sliced while she and Wayne made dinner. We talked about ridiculous stuff and laughed a lot while doing all of this. I really love our neighbors.

    Dinner was fantastic but it wasn’t ready to eat until about 21:30 mostly due to all of the talking and laughing. Our poor children! Their chore is to clean up after we do all of the cooking and eat so It was a very late night for them. I wish I could say this is a rare occurrence but we have always been late eaters. We all decided it was too late for a movie at this point so Alice and Jason went home. I’d say today was a pretty great day.

    Today I learned that Github just adds any new pull requests in with any that are still pending. This was annoying to me initially but now that I understand how it works it does make sense, especially to the person handling the merges.

    Week One Done!

    12 Sep 2014 »

    We made it! It was a long, fascinating, stressful, fun week at the Ascend Project. We started with our usual check-ins. Most of us seemed pretty happy to be there and thankful that the weekend was coming up so we could give our brains a rest. The group worked on getting an alias set up so that Sublime opened for them instead of Vim when doing a Git commit. I use and love Vim already so I worked on figuring out why my prompt was tabbed in. I looked and looked at my bash_profile but I don’t know anything about bash script so it all looked ok to me. I also helped Yenni and Carmen as they needed. Shawna was here again and we were all thankful for her added help. She is also an encouragement because she has been programming for about a year and is starting a job as a Junior Programmer on Monday.

    It took everyone a bit longer than expected to get Sublime set up as their default so we really moved into lunch at this point. Katt ordered pizza and got our vegan one from Sizzle Pie. I’ve had their pizza before and really like it but this one was SO good! I’ll have to get it again.

    After lunch we delved into the subject of web literacy and then had a maker party. We were divided into groups of mostly 2 and then were given a web literacy topic to explore. I was paired with Yenni and our topic was Community Participation. We were both so happy to have this topic because it’s something we both feel so strongly about. We really connected and went off onto side discussions about foster care and other invisible populations.

    After we researched our topic we had to take turns presenting. Adam and David presented on open vs closed licensing for content. We presented next and it’s starting to feel better being up there. Whew! Virginia and Eva spoke about sharing, Mary Anne and Becky talked about security, Jessica, Peri, and Sofie talked about privacy, Candida and Carmen discussed navigation, Mel and Barbara went over credibility, Tina and Zeus showed various ways to search, and finally K and JD talked about collaboration.

    After we were done with web literacy we were directed to and were told to use one of the tools to create a “thing” that kind of reflected on why we were in Ascend. Yikes! It felt stressful to have to create something on the fly but it was a great task! It didn’t have to be perfect or even very good. It was just a way to kind of show what sort of skill level we have. I had no idea what to do at all so just made a quick image and video montage in Popcorn Maker. We had to then write a week one blog post and insert a link to our “thing”, commit, push to our remote repo and then submit a pull request. I blog at the end of each day so I just inserted my link into a blank document but I managed to get it done.

    We did our check-outs and everyone was very glad it was the weekend and pay day! We were able to hang around after for some social time if we wanted but it’s Andrew’s birthday so I wanted to get home as soon as I could. It was incredibly beautiful outside again so the walk to the train was wonderful as was the walk down our street. The beautiful weather did not stop me from letting my insecurities get the best of me though as I reflected on my week. I started over-thinking everything as usual but took the time to email Lukas about my concerns. She got right back to me and put my worries to rest. I wish I could just stop them entirely! I am hoping this program will at least help me to deal better with this part of me. Bleh, enough of that.

    Andrew was still working and Wayne needed to run to the store but we planned on going out to dinner so I read a book until we were all ready to go. Jayde was spending the night at her friend’s house and Natale wasn’t feeling well, Jason and Alice had other plans so it ended up just being the three of us. We wanted to try an Ethiopian restaurant we had been hearing about so we drove to SE and ate at Bete Lukas. Wow, it was fantastic! We always get the vegan platter whenever we have Ethiopian and there are usually one or two items I don’t really care for. Not at this place! I loved everything they served and there was plenty of food. We actually had some left on the platter by the time we were all stuffed.

    We came back home and watched and episode of Dr Who. Andrew had a bit of a cold so he went off to bed and I read my book for a bit. Now it’s bedtime for me.

    Today I learned that Beethoven was black. Ok, there is a lot of discussion about this but it’s pretty clear that he was NOT white as history has portrayed him and as pretty much everyone I know was taught.

    Push and Pull

    11 Sep 2014 »

    Today felt good but long. Yesterday I had mentioned that I would like to move seats just so I can start meeting the others in the cohort. Today we had assigned seating and I was moved one seat to the left. Hmmm….but new people were at my table so that was good. I got to sit next to Tina and that was great. She’s kind of quiet but she has a wonderful sense of humor. She was totally on top of things all day too which was great to see. We did our check-ins and then Kronda played a cute, motivational video for us. Katt came in and went over some more office policies just to make things clear. So far we aren’t being a bother to the regular Mozillians and I would love to keep it that way.

    We moved on to setting up our Mozilla profiles. I’m not sure how everyone else feels but it made me feel like a true Mozillian. Here I am! I definitely need to work on a decent bio though but it will do for now. Once we got that done we worked on making badges. We each got to come up with our own and then award it to the other participants. I figured mine should relate to the word ‘Ascend’ so I was thinking a hot air balloon with the Firefox logo would be perfect. It turns out that Mozilla doesn’t have a hot air balloon! Their logo is perfect for one so I might have to put in a request. Anyway, I didn’t have time to make my own image so I grabbed some random happy looking one.

    Setting up IRC was next but I had already set it up a day or two before so I continued to work on tweaking my environment. It seems a never ending task but I enjoy it. I am having an issue with my command prompt though since importing my bash_profile from another computer. It seems to be tabbed in and I’m not sure why. I looked at my PS1 but don’t really see a problem. But my Git highlighting works! I’ll have to test out my vimrc tomorrow and make sure my syntax highlighting works there.

    I think we broke for lunch after we set up IRC. The food was SO good today! I had a vegan lentil shepherd’s pie and a salad. After lunch we all installed multiple versions of Firefox, nightly, Aurora, Beta and release. Lukas walked us through setting up multiple profiles so that each version has their own. We did a Git review and then Kronda briefly talked about Markdown so everyone could begin writing their blog posts. I’m somewhat thankful I started blogging each day so I was able to copy and paste what I already had. We have to submit our blog posts as pull requests on the Ascend repo so it’s great practice pulling, committing and pushing.

    We then had the pleasure of meeting Chris Beard the CEO of Mozilla and Dave Slater the Chief of Staff. They were both very nice and welcoming and seemed to be truly happy about us being here.

    I was a straggler trying to finish getting my blog posts pushed and get pull requests submitted before I left. My Andrew showed up so that we could head over to the Portland Perl Mongers meeting that evening. We had about an hour to kill so we walked over to Voo Doo and got a couple of vegan doughnuts. Fried dough with sugar is the best! It was such a beautiful evening so we decided to walk over to Free Geek for the meeting. It’s only a couple of miles away so off we went. It was nice to talk about our days even though it was mostly me talking about mine. I picked Andrew’s brain about Git and vented about a couple of my frustrations in class.

    View from Hawthorne Bridge Walking across the Hawthorne Bridge looking at the I-5 Marquam Bridge and the new Tillikum Crossing Bridge beyond.

    The meeting was typical. Someone was giving a talk about random and it was super boring but Andrew seemed interested and I love going with him regardless. After the meeting we all walked over to Lucky Lab, grabbed some food and had some lively discussions about a crapload of subjects. It was getting late and we were bussing it home so we said our goodbyes and RAN to the bus several blocks away. Apparently my schedule was off a bit and we ended up waiting around for about 5-6 minutes but I got to catch my breath. It was a pretty good day for the most part.

    Today I learned that ‘git pull –rebase’ is VERY useful! No annoying merge commits cluttering up the commit history.

    Third Day's a Charm

    10 Sep 2014 »

    My first days at the Ascend Project have been great and today was no exception. I arrived early as usual and grabbed an almond yogurt and some carrots for breakfast. Once everyone was there and had eaten we got right to check-ins. It seems everyone is doing well and we were all excited to learn more.

    Lukas and Kronda were going over the basics of Git so I listened while I worked on continuing to set up my environment. I needed brew, pip, virtualenv, virtualenvwrapper, my bash_profile and my vimrc. I worked on getting that all going and helped Carmen who was sitting next to me as needed. She is wonderful. A very gentle soul. Her meekness and insecurity tends to overshadow her sharp wit but I constantly see her catching on to all the information being thrust upon her even when she says she is confused. I love her delight at learning a new concept. It’s a great thing to witness.

    We broke for lunch and it was blah today. Sandwiches were ordered and I have no idea where they got them but whoever made them thinks that vegans love a dry sandwich with some random veggies on it. Not so much. That sounds like complaining but I really don’t mean to. I have been completely spoiled in this program and I don’t know how I can ever thank anyone properly for this opportunity. I hope to just pay it forward.

    Early in the day I made my first pull request on the mozilla/ascend repo but I screwed it up by not looking carefully before I committed and ended up with a note from Lukas asking me to fix the issue before it could be merged. I fixed it and resubmitted but there was still some weirdness. I dunno. It got merged and I will be more careful! I hope.

    We were split up into groups of 2 to 3 and were given some specific git commands to research. We got ‘remote’. Our group of three researched it and then had to get up and present. It was so much easier to speak in front of everyone today than yesterday! Maybe because the Mozilla employees weren’t watching or maybe it really was easier. Anyway, the instructors loved seeing the change from one day to the next so they plan on having us do a lot of presenting. It will be good for me since I think I would like to try giving a talk at a conference one of these days once I actually know about something worth talking about.

    The day kind of flew by and before I knew it, it was time for check-out. Everyone really seemed to have a great day and were looking forward to tomorrow. I was going to the Women Who Code meeting this evening at 18:30 so I hung around for about an hour to kill time. There were others there and I don’t think they minded me staying.

    I headed over to the library so I could meet Alena and baby Anya and walk to Puppet Labs with them for the meeting. We hopped on a streetcar instead and made it over there more quickly than I thought a streetcar could manage. The meeting was great. Paige is the organizer and she gave a great talk on regular expressions and then Alena talked about a cool website that WWC is getting started. I think it would be fun and interesting to help out with the site if I can find the time.

    Alena with Anya, Paige and I walked to the streetcar stop so they could make the long trek out to Beaverton and I began walking to the Max. Andrew was nice enough to come get me though and that saved me a lot of time and I got to tell him all about my day before he headed off to bed. I think it’s time for me to do the same.

    Today I learned that regular expressions aren’t nearly as daunting as I kept telling myself they were! I also learned that I like my cohort more and more each day. What an awesome group of people.

    Plugging Along

    09 Sep 2014 »

    Day two of the Ascend Project was great as well. I am not used to having to be somewhere from 09:00 to 17:00 and I really do not want to be late so I caught the early Max just in case. Lukas was the only one at the office besides some Mozilla employees. She was setting out bagels and cream cheese for our breakfast so I grabbed one and had some tea. The other students began to arrive and everyone got some breakfast before we all got our computers and got seated. We did our morning check-ins and got our daily agenda.

    We did a couple more Strength Finder exercises before moving on to a tech related exercise. It seemed pretty straight forward. We were put into groups of 3-4 people and then each group was given a Mozilla open source area to research. We had a list of questions we needed to research the answers to so our group of 4 got busy researching SUMO, the Mozilla support community.

    Research questions

    We all worked together on our research and wrote up nice posters with our answers because we figured we would have to present our findings to the class. This was true but what we didn’t know was that it was going to be a tad bit more formal. But first lunch! It was another spectacular food choice thanks to Kat, the amazing woman who keeps the office running so well.

    We did have to present our findings to the class but we had to stand at the podium with microphones to present AND the Mozilla employees were invited to come watch and ask questions! Ack! We were the second team so had to go up fairly soon and NOBODY wanted to do the talking. We stumbled through it quite poorly and it was really painful to watch everyone struggle so I just did the best I could which was not that great. Oh well. I did get up there, I did talk and I didn’t die so….success!

    After we did our presentations we had a short bathroom break and then it was time to see if we could make some sort of open source contribution in just 10 minutes. I tried but was unable to complete the task. About 4 people got something contributed and that was great. One person answered a support question on Twitter and the other three edited some documentation.

    Kronda took over at this point and began teaching the class the basics of the terminal, command line and Git. It was fun to watch how delighted some were with these new found skills. I worked on setting up my dev environment, forking the Ascend repo on Github, perusing the files and such.

    Now it was the end of the day so we all did our check-outs. Most of us were still really excited but pretty tired and ready to head home. I am really loving this program.

    Today I learned a lot about various Mozilla open source products and communities like SUMO, MDN, Webmaker, QA and add-ons.

    Beginning to Ascend

    08 Sep 2014 »

    I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m sure it was my nervous excitement about starting the Ascend Project this morning. I was up early, showered and ready to go. We were supposed to be there at 09:00 but I was early. As I was walking to the Mozilla offices from the Max I ran into Kronda, a co-leader of the project. I seem to run into her often and I think it’s great. She’s great. She has a way of saying really powerful things in a really concise manner. I definitely hear her and her words lift me up. I’m thrilled she agreed to help with our cohort!

    We made our way up to the office and since I was early I jumped in and helped get things set up. The rest of my new cohort began to show up and mingle, make breakfast, coffee, tea…who knows? Mozilla is wonderfully generous and is providing us with a bounty of food and drinks. If they don’t have something we feel we need to get through our day, Lukas will do her best to provide it for us.

    Once we were all fed and seated, Lukas went over how the AP would generally flow. We would start out with a morning check-in so that everyone could just let the rest of the group know how they were doing that day. It’s a really good way to keep the communication open and to know if someone is having an off day and needs space or whatnot. We all did our check-ins and everyone was pretty happy and excited to be there. Dino re-introduced himself and went over his role as our logistical liaison. We then went over the attendance policy and came up with some changes and clarifications that would make things clear and fair for everyone.

    Then it was time to open our new computers! We eagerly unboxed them and began getting them powered up and set up. It was fun to hear the Mac users helping out the non-Mac users. The first thing I did was use Safari to download Firefox. It has been my browser of choice for many years. I then installed iTerm2 and Adium for irc. I’ll get tmux tomorrow and grab my vim.rc as well.

    The person that runs the Mozilla office, I am horrible with names and have forgotten hers already, took over for a bit and went over office etiquette and then let us know that each Monday Mozilla has their All Hands meeting with all employees from each Mozilla office (with the exception of the Asian offices because of the time difference) and that we would be attending and perhaps participating in these. We took a quick break and then came back for the meeting. It was so interesting to see the various Mozilla spaces and to listen to the different projects people are working on. Everyone was very relaxed and friendly. It seems like a nice place to work and I guess we will be getting a taste of what that will be like over the next six weeks.

    After the meeting we had lunch and then everyone took the Strength Finder 2.0 quiz. It was very interesting! My top five strengths are input, learner, intellection, adaptability and positivity. We did some group exercises that involved mingling and discussing our thoughts and feelings regarding our strengths. Everything was very positive and confidence building. I think this was a great thing for me for sure because I tend to look at my weaknesses so that I can improve them. Dino made a great point about how we can also think about our strengths and how to improve those.

    We all did our check-outs and it was pretty evident that we were all still very excited but very tired! It was a long day full of a lot of information. This post is long and I definitely missed some of the other things we did so yes, we covered a lot of ground. Last but not least we got a tour of the rest of the office space and then we were free to go.

    I walked with a student who is here for the AP all the way from New York. She has never been to Portland and doesn’t know anyone. She was unsure about how to get to her bus stop so I decided to walk with her and catch the Max at a different spot. We chatted while we walked and it turns out she was having major trouble with the electronic transit pass she purchased. This wouldn’t be a big deal except she bought a one month pass for $100 and her application claimed she had no valid ticket. Yikes! We walked to Pioneer Square to see if the Trimet office was open but they were closed when we got there. I sat with her and we tried several things to try and get her ticket to show up but nothing worked. Luckily she had her receipt she could show until she gets this sorted out, hopefully tomorrow. We spent about two hours trying to work it out so I got home after 18:00 even though we were finished up one hour early at 16:00. A looooooong but wonderful day!

    Today I learned about my top five strengths. Fascinating. It was like reading a horoscope but one that actually applied to me.