Ember.js demo app #1: Poe

One of the first Ember.js project ideas in the Puerto Rico Ember.js User Group was a Markdown Editor. My all-time favorite Markdown editor is definitely Mou. Mou is a Markdown editor for web developers, on Mac OS X.

Mou is great, simple, and has a couple of nifty features built into it. One of my favorite is being able to change the CSS applied to Live Preview and HTML/PDF export. That means that we can use the same CSS styles GitHub uses on their rendered Markdown. That’s why I always write my README files in it.

For this assignment  we wanted to cover as much Ember ground as we could for starters. It consists of listing saved documents, creating, editing, and deleting documents. Documents were persisted in localStorage. A couple of cool ideas that came to mind when try to put this together was that adding a way to Export/Save the actual Markdown file, enhancing the editor, and post to Tumblr. I also think something like this would be cool to integrate with GitHub’s Gists.

I called mine after Edgar Allan Poe. Ta-da!

Check out the demo: http://jpadilla.github.io/ember-poe/

It’s also available on GitHub: https://github.com/jpadilla/ember-poe

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Image: The Paperblanks Blog

Python shell history

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If you’re not a fan of enhanced Python interpreters like IPython or BPython but still do heavy use of it you might have notice how annoying it could get whenever you have to quit it, started again, and remember what was the last things you ran. I do this all the time, usually for simple things like testing out built-in functions or quick hacks.

PYTHONSTARTUP is an environment variable which value is the name of a readable file and is executed before the first prompt is displayed when starting the Python shell.

The following script creates a history file in youra home directory(similar to ~/.bash_history), on exit appends your latest work to this file, limits the number of entries saved to 1000, and as a bonus enables autocomplete on tab. 

After creating the file, you need to set the PYTHONSTARTUP environment variable. Best way is to add the following to your ~/.bash_profile.

export PYTHONSTARTUP=$HOME/.python-startup.py

Bonus: If you use Django, you can take advantage of your history file as well by using Django Extensions’ shell_plus with the –use-pythonrc flag.

python manage.py shell_plus --use-pythonrc

Startups of Puerto Rico Platform

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Two months ago I opened an issue for CAP-0003 proposing to execute a platform to contain what I’ve been able to identify as useful tools for the Startups of Puerto Rico community.

A couple of people showed interest and a conversation was immediately started to discuss it in more details. About a month ago I got together with Ryan Oliver and decided we would start working on an MVP v0.1 that we would just put out there by the end of summer.

About 200+ commits later, I’m proud to announce that we’ve reached our goal and are launching v0.1. We decided to start with the two easiest features, a directory of startups and a directory of creative talent. The basic idea with these two directories is to showcase, which startups are hiring, and who’s looking to be hired.

Roadmap

This is just the beginning and we’re only getting started. We already have something of a roadmap of the next things we want to get to. Some of those are a directory of all the groups out there(Startup After Hours, prPIG, Founding Founders, etc…), aggregated calendar of events, and a directory of resources to showcase available resources for the community. We also have some enhancements thought out for the existing features.

We need you your help

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Here’s what we need from you. Go to startupsofpuertorico.com and signup, and if you’re working on a startup, create a startup profile. If by any chance you’re working with more people on your startup check beforehand to see if they haven’t added it yet. You’ll be able to add a team to your startup soon! We know this isn’t much yet, but it’ll help us get data in there. Once you finish that, we need your feedback. Tell us what you like and what you don’t, what you think about the roadmap, style, copy, etc… You can also help out by sharing the project with the whole community.

You can send a pull request with any changes you’d like to suggest directly to the repo or send me an email. We are managing the project with Blimp so if anyone wants a closer look at what we’re currently doing and want to get your hands dirty, feel free to send me your email and I’ll invite you in.

Huge thanks to Ryan, Jonah, Axel, Omar, Giovanni, and everyone who helped put this together one way or another. We are all in this together!

Being a self-starter

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I spent the last 4 and a half years getting my Bachelors degree in Computer Science. Throughout those years I worked on different things ranging from small personal projects, with small to medium size companies, government, and co-founding Blimp. I accomplished all of these because 4 years before I began college I decided to I would self start. By that time I was just learning basic programming. Months after I took that decision, I got my first freelance client, my parents. Yea, whatever, maybe they did it to help me out more than it was for me to help them out.

During the time I was I in college I met a couple of very smart students that were very passionate about programming and creating things. They aced all the exams, handed in all programming exercises on time, helped others out, etc. The only real thing I didn’t really like about college was that none of my professors encouraged them to be a self-starter, autodidact and independent. There’s no reason why you should wait to take class to learn something, specially in computer related degrees. With all the open learning initiatives like Harvard Open Courses, Coursera, Khan Academy, and the million of free resources available online there’s no excuse, you can learn to do whatever you want.

Most of the conversations and encouragement that happened around went like: “When you GRADUATE and go to work at [INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE LIKE MICROSOFT]…”. Not even once did I hear a professors encouraging students to build the next big thing or even something as simple as learn this or that ahead of time before graduating, find a pet project to work on, or hack something useful up.

Being a self-starter comes more naturally to some than to others, but if students were encouraged by professors, government, parents, and society at an early age to do something more than waiting for someone to teach them how to do something or what to do, we would probably have more young doers working on the next big things and taking more risks.

I think many people prefer to work for an established company with a safe salary. You can definitely be a self-starter and still work for an established company and raise to the top rank, there’s nothing wrong with that. Startups and risk is not for for everyone. But like my mom always told me, if you don’t try it you won’t know if you like it. People should at least give it a try, maybe they find a hidden passion and whatever they create or contribute to others might be the next big thing.

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Photo Credit D. B. Blas via flickr