First week observations

First Week Summary is in the books and as they say, ‘how time flies’.

The first week has been a cram course in HTML/CSS, Layout, an intro to Javascript and version control with git/GitHub. Very cool stuff, but the version control has always been weird terminology for me. The command line has been in my life enough that I can get around.  But, ‘git add’ this and ‘git push’ that just takes some time.  Did I say cool? It IS once you get the flow down.

Prior to the start of class, I plowed through Codecademy and several other online courses which made me feel pretty confident.  I may have overestimated how much I really understood about layout and positioning.  I understand the ‘box model’, but actually applying it from scratch  was challenging.  “Everything is a box!”  Good stuff though!  It re-enforces everything when you actually do it.  By the end of the week, I needed to take some time to absorb everything and let it all sink in.  For me, it helped and I’ll probably do more of that to make sure I understand concepts before just plowing forward.  I tend to be pretty methodical anyway, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I wanted to review some things.

So with the first week completed and Javascript looming this week things are ramping up fast. I’ll be referencing ‘Castaway’ some more so be warned. Yes, I’m firmly on TIY Island with my fellow Iron Yard students. We also have a backend course running as well.

So I’m on the island, learning the environment, learning how to survive, to cope, and eventually even thrive. Like Tom Nolan said, ‘Breathe’…


All Tom could muster for support was a volleyball.  We have far better than ‘Wilson’ to help us get the fire going 🙂

Looking forward to week two and jumping into Javascript!

Learning about compilers and programming languages

For one of our week one lessons, we watched a video “Programming Computers with Compilers”. The video explained the concepts of CPU’s, programming languages and compilers.

Computers use languages that are not human friendly to perform tasks. As humans, reading and writing programs in the language of computers is almost impossible. We need a more human friendly language. In 1952, Grace Hopper a Navy programmer devised a way to do this. She developed a program that would translate human readable programs into computer language. She called this a ‘compiler’.

Compilers are used to translate programs that we write into the language that the computer can understand. Another way to think of this is the compiler translates programs that are easy to write into instructions that are easy for the computer to understand. They form a bridge between the human programming and the computer executing the instructions.

Day 1 – Assignment

Iron Yard – assignment 1

Front End Development


It is July 11, 2016 and I have started the Front End programming course at Iron Yard. It is a twelve week immersive coding camp that will expand my skills and knowledge of Front End Development. That is the good news.

Front End Development consists of:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. JavaScript

Course Expectations and Concerns

This adventure is not undertaken without a hefty dose of concerns. Those include:

  • Fear
  • Stress
  • Can I actually develop
  • JavaScript is an Object Oriented language

Course Completion Goals

At the completion of this course, I would like to be able to:

  • Build a JavaScript application that uses an API to consume data
  • Make an existing website responsive
  • Use JavaScript to improve the user experience of an existing website
  • Have a set of projects on gitHub that demonstrate solid JavaScript knowledge

The Countdown is Over

Class starts tomorrow…


It’s been a nice weekend that went something like this.


We typically don’t do much on Friday evenings because we typically cycle on Saturday morning.  It IS July, so we head out early.  I hope I can still find some time to ride the next twelve weeks.  We’ll see…

The Saturday ride takes us from Coppell, TX north to Argyle, TX.  Along the way, we roll along just east of Lake Grapevine, skirt by acreages with horses, donkeys, llamas and the usual livestock.  Most of it is quite scenic and hilly.  Yes, we actual DO have those here.


How far?  Well, for us around 42 (it just works out that way…).  Some do significantly more.  It’s good prep for Hotter N Hell which is in August (hope I can squeeze that in as well…)  In the cycling world, we are pretty much novices.  But that’s for elsewhere on this site.


The rest of the weekend was a surprise and has been spent with my VERY supportive and wonderful wife.  Since all hell is about to break out, she surprised me with a a little staycation Saturday evening, went out to eat and spent time together.  Time…  That oh so precious resource that we never seem to have enough of.  It is also something that will be in short supply the next twelve weeks.  I’ve been spending a lot of time prepping for class, so taking a break felt good.


The countdown is over…


Class starts tomorrow.





The Crossroads

Remember the ending to movie Cast Away starring Tom Hanks?


At the end of the movie, the character Tom Nolan stands at a loss in the middle of the road.  Physically and metaphorically, he stands at a crossroads in his life looking at the paths that are before and behind him.  After everything that he had been through, he was pulling out a map (how old school is that) and sorting through his options. Options buddy… it’s ALL about options.



They’re just roads right?


On closer inspection, you can see that not all of the roads are the same.  In theory, the paved roads should be easier than the unpaved…    Yet… the cute ginger has just rolled down the unpaved path (look closely, she’s way down the road in this pic…) hmmmmmm…


I stand at a crossroads of sorts as well.


On Monday July 11, 2016 I will embark on a twelve week, coding school (The Iron Yard) adventure that leaves me both thrilled AND intimidated.  Bah, might as well throw in a hefty dose of uncertainty,pressure, and good ol what have I done!




Unlike Chuck, I have chosen my road and will document the journey by adding updates and content on this blog.  My hope is that when I’m struggling and need a break, I can come here and take a breather.  I’ve never been a writer, don’t aspire to be one either.  This will just be my escape until I can get a sailboat 🙂  More on THAT in another post.


Nobody will read my mindless babble anyway… right?


Actually, the truth is that I’ve been standing at this crossroads for awhile.  The Iron Yard is the road I have chosen to learn, sharpen some old skills, add versatility and depth to my meager development skills.  This doesn’t appear to be the ‘paved’ road either.  For me, learning JavaScript is NOT going to be going to be easy.


Could I learn this on my own?


Yes, maybe, kinda sorta…  Who really knows with me.  BUT!  Joining The Iron Yard holds me accountable and forces me to stretch outside my comfort zone.  WAY outside!  I DO like the concept of getting hands-on with the code as opposed to reading a book and toying with online courses.  I WILL finish this better than I started.


So there it is.  MY road.  Rocks and all.  Sans the ginger.


I’ll be posting updates here tracking my experiences, progress (or lack thereof), struggles, vent and hopefully celebrate the occasional ‘woot’.  Over time, I hope to expand this site beyond the blog.  Hey, I WILL even learn some design along the way. (insert laugh track here)  NO REALLY!  I intend to mend my ways and embrace as much ‘Ethan Marcotte’ as time allows.  After all, this site IS responsive and Media Queries are in my immediate future.


I have one weekend left before starting class and the countdown has begun!


Near the end of the movie, Chuck explains his predicament to his buddy by saying:

“I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring”


Indeed, who knows… and life is too short.  We should all be pursuing our non-sailing interests.  We get a closeup at the end of Cast Away that seems to suggest which road ol Tom is going to choose.  One track mind… 🙂




For me, I have one weekend left before starting class. So, I can get a bike ride in Saturday morning and get somewhat organized before class.  The countdown has begun!

Btw, I still wonder what was inside that package …