December Review, January Goals

This is a follow-up from last month's goals

1. Deepen Knowledge of Back-end Development

I finished OverTheWire's Bandit series, except the last lesson, which didn't make sense. (It does now! Turns out login shells and "regular" shells are different. I'll take another spin at it some day.) A few benefits:

  • Way more comfortable in my terminal
  • Way better with Less/Vim/Man pages
  • Basic understanding of Linux boxes, SSHing, looking around an unfamiliar system for things of note.
  • Better understanding of how terminal programs and scripts work (.vimrc, .bashrc), how things relate to each other in the $PATH, etc.

For example, before this, the following message wouldn't have meant much to me:

The test files may have the execution bit set so you may also be able to run it like this:

now, without any hesitation, I know that $ chmod u+x hamming_test.rb fixes the problem, and I'm off to the races.

I worked through the LaunchSchool Ruby "book", and did lots of Anki memorization. I'm trying to absorb the basics of object oriented programing.

Now I'm on Exercism. I'm not sure how far through I'm going to go, but it's really useful on many levels. Interpreting error messages, getting tests to pass, test-driven development, etc. Reinforces what I've learned in the LaunchSchool material.

2. Rehab my Wrist

I climbed hard three times last week, for the first time in almost two months. My wrist is still certainly weak, but as long as I avoid certain grip positions, I feel good. So, I can start easing back into projects, as long as I listen to it.

I need to be better at climbing in a "defensive" manner anyway, if I plan on climbing in conjunction with difficult strength training, so this is fruitful experience, even though it's sometimes a bit frustrating.

3. Finish seven more books

Turns out I'd not counted my books that I've read this year correctly. I was aiming to get to 80 books (from 74 at the time) and once I updated my GoodReads profile, I was at 81 or so. I've now read 84 books this year, and don't think I'll finish any of my current books today. (Dec. 31)

January Goals

  • Keep improving w/programming
  • Climb 5.13
  • Get a purchase page up, functioning for Climber's Guide

1. Programming improvement

Turing School starts Jan 23rd. I'm trying to pack in as much prep as I can before it starts. I'm working through some Exercism exercises, and trying to wrap my head around ruby basics, like manipulating/combining arrays and hashes, and understanding Enumerators.

I've been using Anki SRS for a long time now, in a variety of ways in my life. Mostly vocabulary memorization, but lots of other things too. Derek Sivers uses it to improve as a programmer.

If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me!

Here's the thing, though - I don't yet have a good system for making cards. I can stick lots of information in the flashcards, but I'm not yet convinced that I've got the right method of quizzing myself with well-made cards.

Fortunately, my Anki deck is easy to experiment with and modify!

I plan on digging deeper in making programming-specific Anki flashcards later, but for now, the most useful Anki add-on is the Power Format Pack. It lets you apply markdown, including syntax-specific markdown, to your cards.

2. Climb 5.13

I hopped on a project yesterday in Earth Treks Golden, and could do all of the hard moves without much wrist discomfort. It's certainly still weak, but it feels good to cause minor stress to it. I'm considering myself 90% healed.

The two themes of the next few months for me, as far as climbing progression, will be:

  • remember my beta on routes
  • train max-weight hangs on an 18mm edge 2x/week.

3. Get a purchase page up on Climber's Guide

I've got tons of copy written, tons of ideas around this, I've worked out pricing, but some stupid fear keeps me from actually asking for money. I've been working regularly with a few folks in the gym that I've bumped into, and they've all seen massive improvement in their climbing.

The URL will probably be something like or something. We shall see!

I'll also record and post lots of video, talking through some of the finer points. Scary!