Other People’s Code

I like looking at other people’s code. Said in the right voice, that could sound quite creepy. But I like to see what kind of projects they’re working on, how they implement solutions, what languages they chose to work with and how many other people are using their work. So I’ll keep looking at other people’s code. At night. Through their window. While they work.

Sometimes, I’ll just go to GitHub and search for a language or maybe a keyword having to do with something I’m doing in one of my own projects. This usually gives me a couple hundred pages of repositories to look through. I’ll click on page 99 or 100 of the results just to “randomize” what I’m seeing a little.

Over the last couple of weeks I started realizing that I was only searching for code in languages that I was familiar with. Within those languages I was only really reading code that I already understood or was familiar with. That didn’t set right with me because I wasn’t seeing anything new or interesting.  I felt like I wasn’t growing as a developer. I was staying comfortable and not challenging my skills.

So I decided to do something about it. I wrote a short little Python script (and later created a more convenient JavaScript bookmarklet) that randomly selects a repository and opens it. Ok, Ok, it’s not that exciting or inspiring. Nor is it original or even useful. It has a bug or two and should probably be developed a little more to give the user more options to filter things out.

But the idea was to gain exposure to new coding styles, languages and technologies and on those points it is a success! I have started a weekly habit of searching randomly using the bookmarklet and whatever result I get, I force myself to read through it and try to understand it. If I think the code is interesting enough I will try to implement it locally.

If you’re interested, you can find the repository at https://github.com/RyanDavison/RandomRepo . Feel free to fix bugs, add features or anything else. If you just want to play around with finding random repositories you can drag the link on this page to your bookmarks bar and click away.

Rebate Cards You Wouldn’t Want To Use

There are a lot of advantages to consumer rebate carts. But they’re all for the companies giving them out. For the consumer, you get a pseudo-debit card that expires 12 seconds after it’s mailed out. By the time you get the card in the mail after 6 to 8 weeks, the account maintenance fees have reduced your $3 rebate to 17 cents. Of course, you can still use that amount at any retailer that accepts credit cards – right?

There are some brands that have a unique advantage in the rebate card racket. They could almost be totally assured that the rebates would never be used. All they would have to do is make the card a bright color and emblazon their brand names the top. In no particular order, here is my list of the top 10 branded rebate cards nobody would want to use:

  1. Dulcolax
  2. Preparation H
  3. Bengay
  4. Gas-X
  5. Rogaine
  6. Tinactin
  7. Imodium
  8. Vagisil
  9. Benzoyl
  10. Depends

Morning Walk Photos

Here are a few photos from this morning’s walk. It seems like there’s something new every time I look around. It’s amazing how much things change from day to day, month to month and year to year.

Sometimes the changes are slow so we acclimate to them and don’t really notice them. But if we take the time to slow down and be intentional about observing the world around us, amazing things become apparent.

These weedy bushes were overtaking a small corner of a field that’s being developed. I think I’ll visit these again and get some better pictures before they are inevitably removed by the construction crew.

 

Someone else must have been out for an early walk when this sidewalk was put down.

 

At first, this one didn’t make sense to me. Then I realized how much the apartment complex this dumpster serves will save never having to empty it. Brilliant!

Evil Breakfast

I felt a strange, villainous thrill this morning while making breakfast for my two kids. I was making them bowls of creamy buckwheat cereal. After it’s cooked I usually add raisins, banana, raspberries and cinnamon. It was the cutting of the banana that inspired my inner dark side on this otherwise bright Saturday morning.

To explain this, I have to tell you what I ate for breakfast. My typical breakfast (which this morning’s was) consisted of half of a jumbo avocado, a heap of ground golden flax seed, ground turkey, fresh lemon juice, rosemary, pepper salt and olive oil, all mixed together. When I cut the avocado in half, it inevitably leaves a thick smear of dark green on the blade.

This morning there was a good amount of avocado left on the knife. When I went to cut the banana, the avocado mash transferred to the white fruit, making a ghoulish design.

I knew that if either of my kids saw this or even heard about it, they would revolt and refuse its inclusion in their food. I’ll never know what made me cut the banana without first wiping the knife blade. But once the deed was done, I knew I would get away with it. With all of the colored ingredients I put together in the bowl that little bit of green would just blend right in.

So I mixed it up and gave it to them. I smiled a crooked smile as I watched them shovel in the very thing they would have rejected if they had been aware of it. I felt somehow empowered by my secret activity. And I knew, right then, that I would do it again.