Where does the time go…

So I wanted to start doing the 100 days of code challenge. The concept, is to spend at least 1 solid hour a day for 100 days straight coding. Love the idea, but I run into a real time issue. My problem isn’t that I don’t have an hour a day to work on code, I don’t have a solid hour. I have 10 minutes here, or 15 minutes there, that over the course of the day add up to an easy hour or two, but not good solid coding time (and if you’ve ever seriously coded, you can’t get much done in 10/15 minutes, as if you’ve been away from it for any decent (several minutes) length of time, it almost takes you that long to get back into where you were at and what you were doing.)

But I wanted to verify that I’m not making this up on my part, and make myself a bit accountable to this. So I decided to layout my day. I try to sleep from 1130-Midnight-ish to 7am. So let’s say Midnight to 7am – so there is 7 hours to sleep. I then have an hour to do my daily ablutions (shower, walk the dogs, etc) and get to work (so we are at 8 hours), then 8 1/2 hours for work, plus the drive home, basically is 9 hours. I have 2 little dogs, so I get home and have to take them for a walk (I have to walk them, as a) I don’t have a yard I can just let them wander in and b) I keep them kenneled while I’m not home for any significant (3+ hours), so I need to walk them for a good 10 minutes to let them stretch out from their kennel and do their business). By the time I get that done, we are at 530. Take a half our for dinner, and that puts me at 6pm. So at this point, I have 6 hours left. Now out of that leisure time, I’ll have to walk the dogs at least twice, if not thrice. So for convenience sake, we’ll call it a half hour.

So with 5.5 hours of remaining – here’s what I’ve got…

Mondays – Running D&D for my son and his friends. This is between 4 – 5 hours. I promised my son I’d do this, and I get a lot of fun and stress relief out of it, plus I can honestly say I love being the kids’ first Dungeon Master. Plus, a lot of projects I want to program are due to gaming stuff, so giving this up erases my need to do a lot of the projects on my list, and I really do want to do these projects!

Tuesdays – I’m a Mason, and this year I’m Master of the Lodge, so I’m required to be at the Lodge for every meeting, plus the off Tuesdays we practice. This takes me 4 hours from leaving to getting home. Some times a little less, sometimes a bit more. But this basically makes Tuesdays a wash.

Wednesdays – Normally free night number one. Here is a night I can admittedly program for the challenge, but I also have to temper it with normal domestic house stuff. (The house doesn’t clean itself, and I don’t want to pay someone to clean it for me). I’m now DJing on Wednesday Nights (although I’ll admit that it probably won’t be for too much longer)

Thursdays – Band Rehearsal. I am in a band (hence the Musical part of Musical Coder), and this is our practice night. This is also about a 4 hour endeavour between actual rehearsal and drive time. Plus Friday morning is trash day, so then I have to gather up all the trash and clean the cat litter boxes, and take the trash out, which basically washes this night.

Fridays – Again normally a free night, although monthly I have a masonic obligation on a Friday night. I also occasionally have a band gig (a few times a year on Friday), but usually, this night is also available for coding.

Weekend Nights – I’m going to break my Saturdays and Sundays into Days and Nights. Saturday nights are either taken with Band Gigs or DJing. Band gigs are more brutal as it basically takes me from 4-6 PM thru the wee hours of Sunday morning (depending on the location of the gig – but the gig, including drive time is usually 8+ hours [4 hours of performance, 2 set up, 1 tear down, and roughly an hour drive there and back]). So that cuts a bit into Saturday Days… Sunday nights is my relax and unwind night, and where I go PLAY D&D with my friends. I had given it up for several years, but I found I truly missed it, and my life is much happier that i’ve been playing it for the last year, so I won’t give it up. But that takes care of my Sunday Nights.

Weekend Days – So Saturday is available, and depending I can either get 3-4 hours or 5-6 hours in, so my plan is there. Sundays is NOT the same thing. Sundays is time spent paying my bills and updating my budget, going grocery shopping, and whatever other house chores need done. So Sunday is a wash.

So this basically only leaves me 3 days a week to do decent chunks of code. So I decided to break it into hour to hour and a half chunks. Since the idea was to code 1 hour a day, your still only talking about 100 hours of code for the challenge (minimum), so I figure I’ll break my time into 90 minute increments and call that a day. And then maybe get 2 days at a time. Which would give me the equivalent of 6 days a week (7 if I really push a Friday or Saturday when available).

So that is my new plan, and technically I started Yesterday. Yesterday was the day, because, while it was a Thursday, we had an anomaly this week where Band Rehearsal was switched to Wednesday. So Thursday was my free night.

So I spent my first 2 days working on a lyric project in html/css/javascript to put on my tablet, that is basically a landing page with buttons to all of my song lyrics that I may need for a show (not necessarily to sing from, but for a quick glance to remind me for songs we haven’t done in a while on what verse is when, etc.) I couldn’t just use regular pages, as my tablet only has wifi, and not cellular, so there are lots of gig locations where I wouldn’t have internet access. So having it statically on my tablet makes things work beautifully for me. Plus because all the pages are on the tablet, it’s super speedy.

There are a few more songs I need to add to it, but for now, it’s basically ready for my next gig, so I’ll add songs to it throughout my time here and there (as it only takes a few minutes to add a new song lyric into it).

I’ll also post it on GitHub so you can see my progress on it. Once I push it up to GitHub, I’ll post on what I did, and how I changed it, etc. (as you can say I’ve already done a revamp to it).

But for now, there is day one! Day 2 will be this projects 1.0 release, if you will, and the changes I made to get it there.

Until next time – remember…

Never B Flat, Sometimes B Sharp, Always B Natural

So here comes 2018!

So – lots of goals for 2018, and I feel like I’ve let 2017 slip away a bit. One of the first things I plan on doing is restarting the 100 Days of Code – but focusing on Python. I have several python projects I want to work on, and plan on incorporating these into the 100 days of code!

    Some of the projects I want to work on are:

  1. Karaoke / Music Tracking DB
  2. Comic Book / Magic Card Website
  3. Money/Budget Tracker
  4. D&D DM Management System

I am sure this list will expand as I start working on things more and more, and as I complete some of these projects…

I also plan on visiting all of my training sites (HackerRank / CheckIO / CodeWars / CodeEval / ProjectEuler) and revisit and do more updates on these!

My true goal is to actually get past 100 Days, and just keep at it!!!

I’ll post more on New Year’s Day!

Until Then…

Never B Flat, Sometimes B Sharp, Always B Natural

September 2016 Infodump (and October as well…)

As I stated, I’m doing monthly updates (at least when I post during the month – which is why this is October as well, since there were NO October posts – shame on me…). Again, as I have had no visitors (that I can tell) and I’m not promoting or selling anything, so there is no income – this will just be a goals update!

My September 2016 Goals were:

  1. 10 blog posts
  2. 8 comments on other blogs

So, let’s see how I did…

So only roughly 60% of my goals were met…

I will work harder on making those goals…

So, for November, I’m not changing anything… My goals are:

  1. 10 blog posts
  2. 8 comments on other blogs

Until next time!
Never B Flat, Sometimes B Sharp, Always B Natural

But I digress…

First – much respect to bloggers who blog on a regular basis… its very easy to let life get in the way of your ‘scheduled’ blogging time!

Now, on with the show!

I figured this would be a short topic on ‘What I learned this week’ – or for me, this month!

I seem to be the type of person that needs lists to get things done… so I’ve been researching Bullet Journal as well as following Kara Benz on BohoBerry regarding her Bullet Journal 101.

I ordered my notebook (which should be here tomorrow) and I’ll review the system, once I get it into place! (Which will probably be the rest of the week).

I’m also writing an update post on the various programming exercise sites I’ve been using, and what my status is on each site – just to track and inform!

This feels like a short one today – but I’ll be posting that programming update, so I’m okay with it!

The Show Must Go On – Queen
Never B Flat, Sometimes B Sharp, Always B Natural

August 2016 Infodump!

So – something I felt wise to incorporate was a monthly update on what has transpired on my blog. Not so much links, as just how many posts, viewership, etc. This is based on Kara Bentz’ Boho Berry blog, which I follow due to her insights on using Bullet Journal. (Which I will blog about in my tools blog upcoming). But she does a monthly Traffic and Income Report (check out her August 2016 report here), and I thought this was a brilliant idea, so I’m stealing it and incorporating it into my blog. As this is a report on month 1, I don’t have any traffic, nor do I advertise or sell anything, so I don’t have any income… But I can still list what my goals were, how I did, and what my next month’s goals are. So here we go!

    To start with, my goals for August were:

  1. 9 blog posts
  2. 4 comments on other blogs

My # of blog posts goal is based on my desire to have 2 blog posts / week avg (104 per year) + 1 monthly update (12 more) + 1 Quarterly update (4 more) + 1 Annual Goal Review (done very near to Jan 1) which should put me at a minimum of 121 posts per year… This goal will help me towards making a meaningful push towards relevance. 9 comes from each Monday & Thursday in the month (which are my target posting days). Since I started the blog in late July (1 post simply announcing the blog), there was no reason to have a monthly review.

My comments on other blogs is based on my desire to help get my name (Musical Coder) out there, so I find other tech blogs, and try to make meaningful comments on them. That will also help links on other sites to get some people to my blog. When I create my tools blog, I will tell you what other blogs I pay attention to and ‘subscribe’ too.

So, now that I’ve stated what my goals were, lets see how I did:

So I can definitely say both goals met!

So with all of that out of the way, it’s time to announce my September goals!

  1. 10 blog posts (9 Mon/Thur posts + 1 monthly update (that would be this one))
  2. 8 comments on other blogs (I’m shooting for 2 a week avg, and once I consistently hit that, I’ll bump to 3 a week)

So there we go… goals to shoot for!

Truckin’ – Greatful Dead
Never B Flat, Sometimes B Sharp, Always B Natural

Why I’m blogging… and how you can too…

So I’ve mentioned a few times before (such as here and here), this blog is here today because I am taking John Somnez’s Blogging Course…

I’ve always known I should do this, and yet kept putting it off and off… I realize now how much further ahead I’d be if I had done this a year ago, or even 6 months ago… but I can’t change history, I can only move forward…

When I say this blog is here today because of John Somnez’s Simple Programmer blog, what I mean is that this email course I’m taking (more below) not only tells you why you should have a blog, and why you should do it now, but then actually tells you how, and for free (although – meaningfully, he also lets you know you are better off tying it to a paid hosting, because, especially when you are starting out, you don’t want to be tied to doing it all on your own, unless you really know what you are doing when it comes to it, and if you really did, you’d be doing it already)! That was really what kicked me in the right direction…

So hopefully, you’ll realize that you should be doing this (or something not totally unlike this) yourself! If you do, let me know in the comments below, because I’d love to come check your blog out, and comment on it as well!

If you want to take John’s free blogging course via email (it is 6 emails long, and you get 1 every few days), simply go to DevCareerBoost and sign up… follow along, and soon you will be on your way to being a better you, no matter what you have to share!

Until next time!

Never B Flat, Sometimes B Sharp, Always B Natural

Are you ready… Are you ready for this?

The title is from Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, from their Album “The Game”, released in 1980…

So today, I’m going to cover a couple of topics…

First of which, is my next blogging lesson, which covered consistency…  All I’m going to say, is that if you don’t have a blog, you should start writing one…  If you have no idea how, or want some advice, go to John Somnez’s Simple Programmer blog, and sign up (for FREE)… it’s worth it!

So in the spirit of consistency, I’ve decided, for now at least (meaning at least the next few months, but probably longer) to blog twice a week… Monday’s and Thursdays.

Second, my Linux journey.  I decided, as part of my learning process on linux, to try a new distribution. Last night, I installed SolusOS on my main machine. The install was fairly simple, and after updating and installing the provided nVidia graphics driver, it looks nice and clean on my 39″ 4K display (again, thank you John Somnez). After this blog post, I’ll go through and install PyCharm (the python IDE i’m using while learning Python). As I do more (and I’m planning on becoming a code contributor to them, as I get more comfortable), I will of course share my exploration with you…

Also, the fist project I’ll be coding in Python is my author finder… There are several ‘fan fiction’ sites where amateur authors write various stories… and some of these authors, I feel, are really good… so I want to make a python script that goes to these fan fiction sites, look up the author’s page, and let me know if there have been any new stories published by them since I last checked.  (Yes, I know about RSS – but some of these sights don’t allow RSS just for specific authors… I don’t care about every story that’s been published)  I’ll have a future post that covers this in more detail as I write it (maybe Monday’s)…

I’m also returning to gaming, and started running a social game (yes, Dungeons & Dragons 5e) with my friends.  I haven’t gamed/played since 2007 (right about when 4e came out), so I’m enjoying my return.  But as I design my homebrew world, I’ll be designing some personal tools to allow me to make running games simpler (or at least setting up the sessions simpler)…

Where do I find the time to do all this, you ask??? I stopped watching TV, pretty much altogether. Between Hulu / Netflix / Amazon / GooglePlay / straight out purchase, if I ever feel the need to ‘catch up’ on shows, I can… but I find by giving up TV, I have about an extra 20+ hours a week to read an hour a day, and do other things… (and honestly, during the summer hiatus when there are no new episodes coming out, I find that after a couple of weeks, I’m not missing them so this could be a permanent solution…)

Well, I think that is gonna do it for today…  so until next time…

Sometimes B Sharp, Never B Flat, Always B Natural

50 Ways To Leave Your Lover…

A song written by the american singer-songwriter Paul Simon.  The song was originally released in December 1975.  Its also the first thing that popped in my head when I read my assignment for today…

My assignment?  Well, part of learning is learning from others with experience… Part of why this blog exists is I started following John Somnez at Simple Programmer and signed up for his FREE “Create A Blog to Boost Your Career” [which, for the record, I suggest you try, if you have even the smallest inkling of wanting to be a programmer…]

But I digress…

In today’s lesson, [which I don’t mind talking about, since he gives this away if you sign up… and I’m not repeating the whole lesson verbatim, just focusing on the one concept in it] it was discussed that I need to make a list of of blog post ideas… and he says to put 50 ideas on the list… which immediately caused the title song to pop into my head… which brings us to here…

[By the way, you’ll notice I love using ellipses… if it offends you, i’m sorry that your offended by it, but I won’t stop using them…]

Of course, the idea of brainstorming 50 ideas isn’t about filtering what is good or bad, just making the effort to come up with 50 ideas… and for me, the first idea was to blog about creating the list… which is what this post is about! Now, the nice part is the course comes with 21 ‘generic’ topics… the idea is to use those generic ideas and come up with specific post ideas… for example, one of the topics is “Tutorials and how-to’s”… so the idea is not to use that as 1 entry, but think about writing a how to on setting up my old linux computer as a Retro Game Console box (to use with only legal roms, of course!)

So here is my initial list of 50 ideas:

  1. Creating my initial 50 ideas {being used right this moment}
  2. Maintaining 50 items (every so often coming up with new ideas and blogging about those)
  3. How To’s set up KODI on my old linux machine
  4. Book review on Soft Skills
  5. Course review on Learning Python
  6. How to on retro gaming rig
  7. Programming discussion on my table manager program as I design it
  8. Programming discussion on my amatuer author new story finder
  9. Solving and discussing my solution to Project Euler challenges (although, techinically, this could be broken out into 556 posts currently)
  10. Solving and discussing my solutions to Code Wars Kata Challenges (similar to project euler, this could be hundreds of possible posts)
  11. Solving and discussing my solutions to Daily Programmer subreddit challenges (see above 😉 )
  12. Progress discussion on freecodecamp course
  13. Discussing my opinions on the Solus linux project
  14. Discussing my opinions on the Ubuntu-Mate linux project
  15. Discuss my programming workflow
  16. Solving non-propietary problems with my customers
  17. Converting my DJ computer to linux
  18. Fixing and updating personal coding solutions
  19. Reviews of programs I personally use
  20. Discussion of current blog posts of other bloggers that I find inspiring and/or useful
  21. Discussion my solutions to stack overflow questions I answer
  22. Discussion of my solutions to reddit javascript questions I answer
  23. Discussion of my solutions to reddit python questions I answer
  24. Discussion of various solutions to reddit python questions I’ll be asking
  25. How to set up my site with Let’s Encrypt
  26. any interesting stories involving my band shows
  27. any interesting stories about songs i’m writing
  28. any interesting stories about songs I’m learning that other people have written or performed
  29. any interesting stories about the creation of a new musical project
  30. Review of Automate the Boring Stuff in python
  31. Top # favorite linux apps
  32. Answering any computer/linux/music related questions brought before me
  33. Building vs Buying a computer
  34. Why I run Linux
  35. Product reviews of my personal computer items (like monitor, printer, etc)
  36. Discuss various other blogs I read
  37. Discuss various websites I use
  38. Setting up my Raspberry PI as a spare download machine
  39. How I clean up my music collection
  40. How I clean up my movie collection
  41. Gaming Tool designs
  42. Diary of updating Trish’s Computer and coverting her to Linux
  43. Interviews with Trish about starting to use Linux
  44. Commenting about anyone else I convert to Linux
  45. Personal health
  46. My computer workflow
  47. Why I hate Windows
  48. Comments/Reviews on various VLogs and web tutorials I see
  49. Life Lessons
  50. What I’ve learned this week

So there are the 50 things that my ‘initial’ blog post ideas contain…  As suggested, once I use some of these up, I’ll have come up with more ideas (and some of these are generic topics themselves, which can generate multiple blog posts as well)

Next time I’ll talk about my experiences with the Learning Python course I took and review it (as I’ve finished it) and how I’m currently implementing what I’ve learned!