Not a bad view from @CalHacks.

Not a bad view from @CalHacks.

Best Of: Twitter for Aspiring Programmers



When I decided to start learning web development, I took a “total immersion” approach. I listened to programming podcasts at the gym, filled my inbox with web development newsletters, and made HackerNews my homepage. Thinkful’s “Best Of” Series aims to help you do the same, by guiding you to resources that will bring you up to speed with the world of web development and inspire you to keep learning.

This week we’re focusing on Twitter. Here’s an awesome list of people to follow as a newcomer to web development.

p.s. You can follow them all by subscribing to this list.



Bio: CTO of Flatiron School, Founder of Girl Develop It

Tweets about: women in tech, meetups, learning resources, cats

Michael Hartl, @mhartl

Bio: Author of Ruby on Rails Tutorial

Tweets about: Ruby, various programming languages, Tau Day

Zed Shaw, @lzsthw 

Bio: Writer of Learn Code the Hard Way series including LPTHW

Tweets about: coding tips, learning resources, programming books

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On my way to @HIVESeattle! :D (at San Francisco International Airport (SFO))

On my way to @HIVESeattle! :D (at San Francisco International Airport (SFO))

New digs.

New digs.

Today was my last day in my coworking space. I’m about to pack everything up. I’m going to miss it!  (at Hatchery SF)

Today was my last day in my coworking space. I’m about to pack everything up. I’m going to miss it! (at Hatchery SF)

My First Year of Coding

One year ago today I sat down and started a project that has changed my life. That sounds totally corny but it’s true. April 1st of last year was day one of my 180 websites in 180 days project and I was super nervous. I had no idea how to code. My computer broke and I was using a borrowed laptop. And I set up this crazy learning challenge where if I failed everyone would see it. Clearly I was nuts. I remember thinking to myself if the project did fail I could call it an elaborate April Fool’s joke.

But I was also super excited. I was finally going to learn to build the things I wanted make! I had wanted to learn to code for quite some time, but books and online courses seemed so dry. I was going to just do it by teaching myself. When I finished my website for the first day of the 180 websites project I was incredibly proud. I knew I had a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I had overcome what is often the largest hurdle in any project: getting started.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past year working on both the 180 websites project and YumHacker. One of the bigger surprises was how much I dig data! I’m not a ‘numbers’ gal but getting, manipulating and displaying data has been the most exciting part of programming for me. I’m also continually fascinated by how people engage with the things I make and I enjoy trying to optimize their interactions.

Most importantly, I’ve been able to overcome the fear of being judged. Whether you are making a piece of artwork, teaching yourself something new or building a business you’re bound to encounter some negative energy. People will say some pretty weird or just plain mean things to you when you’re doing something kind of crazy. Those comments sting a bit, but they’re most dangerous when you let them feed your self doubt. Battling your own self doubt is incredibly formidable.

Do not let the Zoidbergs get to you.

In my first blog post, I wrote, “I am not sure where this project will go but I think it will be interesting!” Sometimes I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and sometimes I can’t remember what life was like before I learned to code. This past year has been challenging, exhilarating, lonely, overwhelming, frustrating and awesome. It’s been the best year of my life. I’m still dealing with a bit of impostor syndrome and it still sounds weird when I tell people I’m a software engineer, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Update: Since I finished the 180 Websites project, I’ve been working on a website called YumHacker. You can read more about that project here.

Dark and quiet here tonight!

Dark and quiet here tonight!

It’s about bloody time! :D

It’s about bloody time! :D

Working on the road.  (at Heavenly Valley)

Working on the road. (at Heavenly Valley)

Tips from the Pros: How Not to Suck at Valentine’s Day



Sharing a meal is one of the more intimate experiences two people can enojy together. Food is love. So it’s no surprise that the most romantic day of the year is also one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants.

Dining out for Valentine’s Day might seem as simple as making a reservation, but with so many people clamoring for a romantic table, you could easily end up annoyed and disappointed. So we spoke with people who work in restaurants to get the scoop on how not to suck on Valentine’s Day.

Make your reservation for the beginning or end of the night.

Most diners want reservations between 7-8pm. Making an earlier or later reservation means you will not be there during the most hectic parts of the evening which will most likely result in better service. Earlier is better in my opinion.

Expect to have a cocktail while waiting for your table.

Again, it’s a very busy night. Restaurants also tend to overbook due to the high number of VDay no shows and last minute cancellations.

- Akili, General Manager, Drago Centro, Los Angeles

Avoid the Prix Fixe menus.

Most places will run a prix fixe menu to help the kitchen keep up with the high demand. The point of the prix fixe menu is to get people in and out as quickly as possible. What’s being served is probably not the best the restaurant has to offer.

Instead, go some place not stereotypically romantic.

All the fancy places are going to be packed full. Why not go for a new culinary adventure? Korean BBQ may not sound romantic but dining with your love while risking 3rd degree burns will certainly be fun and memorable.

- Jen, Bartender, San Francisco

Skip Valentine’s Day.

If you’re looking for romance, make a reservation for the weekend before. You’ll miss the insanity of the VDay rush and get much better service. If you mention you’re celebrating early, the restaurant might even throw in an extra treat.

If you must go out, try to snag a seat at the bar.

The bar area is often overlooked as a romantic spot in the restaurant but often it’s quieter and more intimate than the main floor. Plus, you’ll probably get more attentive service.

- Jeff, Server, New York

Be nice to the staff.

VDay is chaotic and stressful for everyone. Being super nice when making reservations and when interacting with the host/server/management goes a LONG way.

Expect to be cramped.

VDay is seen as a huge money making day in the restaurant biz and the goal is to capitalize on everyone who feels they need to go out. Most restaurants adjust floor plans to accommodate more guests, thus creating more cramped seating.

- Shannon, Manager, Baltimore

Don’t look to your bartender or server to be your wingman.

We have been inundated all day and night with pseudo-romance, ending relationships, beginning relationships and we want the day to be over as much as anyone who wants the date to be over.

Be original.

If you are actually going to celebrate romance on the most unoriginal day of the year, at least be original in the execution.

- Victoria, Bartender, The Escondite, Los Angeles