Trying out Skillshare

Last Friday was a Skillshare day – and it was fantastic! I took a personal day from work to attend the Skillshare Penny conference (first ever), and boy, was it great! I’ll cover the conference in a separate post, and here wanted to recap the experience of taking classes through Skillshare.

All Friday classes were in a brief, 45-minute format. This was because the conf started at 1pm, and i think to encourage people to take a few classes and get a feel for the systems and teachers – very cool idea. I took 2 – a Biz Dev class and a hands-on “optimize your mac workflow”.

First off, both were good. The teachers are obviously experts in their field, so don’t fret fellas. There’s also reviews on Skillshare and star ratings and such.

The biz dev class was mostly the instructor talking through slides, good info but honestly, i don’t ever remember anything in particular that stood out to me and something that I didn’t quite know before. Maybe it was because of the compressed version of his 3-hour class, and I had to run to the next class before he was done.

The 2nd class was a complete opposite – none of theory, all hands-on tips taught by a developer. I instantly knew it was gonna be great, because of the no-nonsense, laid back manner that Jeff was using. Or I’m just partial to fellow developers :) And I’ve gained a lot from the class just by watching him demo his mac tips. Extra points for recommended apps to check out (byword for markdown writing, alfred for search – I do think that spotlight does this just fine though)

All in all, very positive experience with Skillshare, already signed up for another one of Jeff’s classes on responsive design/coding, and watching a few of other cool ones. The classes are very affordable too, I know a couple of peeps who are teaching at NYU and it costs thousands (given, they are longer courses). Skillshare ones are shorter commitment, cheaper and more focused.

And last neat thing about checking classes out: they were all taught at coworking spaces (wix lounge, grind, hive55) so you have a chance to see how they look and know where they are, in case you wanna work outside the house/regular office. That’s what I call a Friday morning well spent.

To follow: notes on Skillshare Penny conf.

Mongo meetup april: quick notes

Excellent mongo meetup again – their meetups are always informative and have good presenters, today all three were great.

1) Custom shard balancer from GameChanger
2) Mongolian – node.js driver for mongo by Marcello
3) Variety – schema analyzer for mongo by James Cropcho

I especially enjoyed Marcello’s and James’ presentations, because both of them are so passionate about what they do and defy the awesomeness of NYC tech scene today: take a NYC-made product and make it better, and open source too. I took James’ ruby class a couple of weeks ago and it was great as well, his easy and engaging manner of speaking and unusual fashion sense just draw attention – highly recommended.

Shard balancer demo was very cool as well, but seemed to solve kind of a custom problem, which wouldn’t apply to as many mongo users as the other two.

Shard balancer (python):

Hosting update: problem resolved

Well, of course it turned to be that hosting was not an issue. Someone found a hole in one of the test sites I’ve had there and sneaked in a pretty interesting script, in Chinese! I had a good laugh once I found it: chinese script injecting redirects to Russian sites, pretty darn cool, isn’t it.

So after I’ve removed all suspicious files and the script in question, everything came back to normal. Phew!

And it was a good time to tidy things up anyways, so all’s well that ends well!

In search of new hosting

I’ve been staying on the same hosting provider for years now just because it’s cheap, worked OK, and there was no real need to change it. However, big disappointment – something that I just discovered by chance: all htaccess files were hijacked and a bunch of weird redirects were added to the top and bottom of each file. The site would load fine, but you see a lot of traffic going to some shady Russian site (duh, not surprising, and I’m from Russia) before it actually loads.

So I spent the past 20-30 mins removing that junk, only to discover that shady redirects were still going on. Then I looked into the root web directory, and there I found a non-previously-existent master htaccess file with same traffic going to basooo dot ru. WTF! Not only existing files were compromised, but also a new files were inserted as well.

Moving off hostmonster ASAP. Screenshot of the shady stuff:

Learning Ruby

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon classes offered at General Assembly, and one of them was a 3-hour class on Ruby. So of course I had to sign up!

I don’t necessarily want to become a Ruby developer, but I’ve always wanted to at least know the basics and how it works and if it’s really as easy as they say to get up and running with a ruby/rails powered web app.

So what’s the answer? The short answer is: it is fairly easy to get the gist of it and put together a quick prototype. Gotchas: lots of things to install, and with any language, you have to know what you’re doing (things such as MVC, database schema design, version control, etc.)

Overall, it was a great experience! I loved that the class was full (30 people), close to 1/3 of them were ladies, and the instructor (James Cropcho) gave us plenty of hands-on time and was available to answer all questions (and chewed like 25 pieces of gum during the course of the class).

Will definitely be checking out more Glasses at General Assembly – highly recommended.