Mel Reams

Nerrrrd

Let’s try it and see what happens

On Saturday I mentored at the Ladies Learning Code workshop for National Learn to Code Day. As usual it was a great experience, although pretty draining for an introvert like me, but what I want to talk about is the single phrase I used most often with my learners: let’s try it and see what happens. Now, I’ll freely admit that a good portion of the times I said that.. Read More

Awesome Chrome extension of the day

I recently started using StayFocusd and it rocks! StayFocusd is a productivity tool that stops you from visiting websites where you waste time. Whatever your timesinks are (for me feedly and reddit are some of the worst), you just add them to StayFocusd’s blocklist and after 10 minutes (or whatever time you set), it blocks them. By default it also blocks links that you clicked while on a site in your.. Read More

The mythical man month

In the programming field, it’s pretty rare to find a book that’s still relevant even five years after it was published. The Mythical Man-Month is still useful forty years after it was first published, which is either amazing or depressing depending on how you look at it. What depresses me about how useful the book still is so long after it was written is that in the forty years since, we clearly.. Read More

Underrated dev tool of the day

You might not expect it, but thesaurus.com is actually a really useful dev tool. Like they say, naming things is one of two hard problems in computer science. When I have an object that’s difficult to think of a good name for, I just plug whatever vague description I have into thesaurus.com and poke through synonyms until I find something I don’t hate. Try it, it really does make it easier.. Read More

You don’t have to be a developer

This is a follow up to my post about digital literacy and learning to code. I want to be clear that while I believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn to code and the basics should be taught in school, not everyone has to be a developer or even any good at coding or feel like they need to pour hours and hours into it when they hate it. People seem.. Read More

CSS tip of the day

Pro-tip: links are not text. If you are desperately trying to truncate a link with an ellipsis so that it fits into your table nicely, putting text-overflow:ellipsis; on the td element will not work. It will continue not to work no matter how much you swear at it until you finally realize links are not text and put the text-overflow:ellipsis; on the a element. Now you know :)

The Visitor design pattern

Let’s talk about the visitor design pattern. This one is tough to find a real-world analog for, but once it clicks for you it can be really useful. Basically the visitor pattern is used when you want to add functionality to an object or a set of objects without changing the object itself. If you have a list of objects and you want to perform a particular calculation on each one.. Read More

Scheme tip of the day

Get Racket. Technically the racket IDE is for the Racket language, but it works just fine with scheme if you put “#lang scheme” (minus the quotes) at the top of your .scm file. The thing I really love about Racket is the debugger. You can actually step through your scheme code instead of just littering it with (display <blah>)! So much easier!

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