did.txt file

Goal: create an insanely simple “did” file accessible by terminal

Time flies by when you’re learning how to code. Its super important to take a second every once in a while to simple write down what you did during the past mental sprint. Writing down what you learned solidifies the knowledge.

Cue the did.txt file

This file is simply an ongoing timestamped list of what you’ve done. There are many other options, “Notes” on Mac, OneNote but since we do not want to lose the flow of coding, we need this in the terminal

Version 1. A simple txt file

Type in command into your terminal and simply type out what you did.

$ vim ~/did.txt

example did.txt file

Version 2. A simple txt file with time stamps

vim on your command line allows options and this includes running “ex commands”. Here we run the r read command and read the date command into the file as a timestamp at the top of the file.

$ vim +'r!date' ~/did.txt

Version 3. A simple txt file with natural time stamps

Its likely more natural for you to type at the bottom of the file so with normal Go we move the cursor to the bottom before reading from the date command.

$ vim +'normal Go' +'r!date' ~/did2.txt

example did.txt file

Final Version. An alias to open did.txt

Final Step: Create your alias and add this to your .bash_profile.

alias did="vim +'normal Go' +'r!date' ~/did.txt"


Now running $ did in your terminal will bring you to your very own did file!

example did.txt file


For more about vim

Who is the keyword “this”?

`this` – NBA Edition

The keyword `this` is a difficult javascript topic that has been debated and pondered over for centuries – more or less. Its meaning is ambiguous at first glance mainly because what the keyword `this` refers to changes depend on where it is called. Here we explore some of the various ways in which this will be changed throughout your use and we will use the NBA as the backdrop to the conversation. * Feel free to open your console in Chrome and follow along with the examples. The global scope is the NBA. If we open up our console in Chrome and type this, Chromes returns back the window object – or the NBA in our context. The same occurs with console.log(this).

Free Floating Functions belong to the NBA

function whoIsThis(){

whoIsThis(); // returns current context; 

When we call a free floating function like this, the keyword `this` is assigned to the context in which its called. If we type whoIsThis() in our console, `this` refers to the our global window scope. If we tried this in server side code, the keyword this refers to an internal node.js object.

Players and Methods use this Lets create Kevin Durant. Kevin has a method that references our whoIsThis function from above.

var kevinDurant = {
    shoot3pct: 0.391,
    jersey: "Durant",
    findOutWhoIsThis: whoIsThis

If a function is invoked as a method of a player/object the keyword `this` now refers to the player. Type `kevinDurant.findOutWhoIsThis()` in the console and the function returns the object! Remember, keyword `this` is set at run time. Using the same whoIsThis function above, `this` is now Kevin Durant and not the NBA.

Steal moves with Apply and Call Lets create a function to shoot 3 pointers

var shoot3PT = function() {
    if (this.shoot3pct === undefined) { 
        return "Error: NBA has no 3pt percentage";
    if (Math.random() > this.shoot3pct) {
        return "3 points for "+ this.jersey +"!";
    } else {
        return "Shot missed, try again!";

Try calling `shoot3PT()` in the console. Error! The first argument of the apply or call functions will set the context of the function. Since KD has a shoot3pct property, we will simulate a three point shot by Durant with these functions.

    // or shoot3PT.call(kevinDurant) 
    // both simulate a 3 pointer

Nightmare mode: Remember we can always refer to `shoot3PT` as a method on Kevin Durant. Imagine another player, say Stephen Curry, wants to also use that function. We could use `apply` to set the context to him.

    kevinDurant.shoot3PT = shoot3PT

    stephenCurry = {
       this.shoot3pct: 0.99,
       this.jersey: "Curry"

    // Here we call apply on a method 
    // from another Player object!


Stephen Curry is the context for the shoot3PT function because of apply. Think of the possibilities –
We can simulate an entire basketball game with Javascript!

Stay tuned: next week we will explore the Game of Thrones edition. 

LA Hacks


The event was billed as the largest hackathon on the West Coast and is the only one I know of that lasted both Friday and Saturday night. 36 hours of coding and the list of suggested items included, at the top, a laptop and a sleeping bag. At first I was hesitant to sign up for the waiting list because it seemed to be geared towards students so I sent the organizer an email.

LA Hacks ended Sunday and the very next morning was my first day at Hack Reactor, an intensive three month Javascript focused school in the heart of San Francisco. A couple minutes later I received an email from the founder of the event, Hadar, that read, “Sure, come! It’ll be really fun and you’ll learn a lot.”

This is the very reason I love the community around hackathons. Coding is what matters. For most, the event is about learning, creating, and working as a team in a caffeine fueled hyper productive environment. A fellow Hack Reactor student and I took the official bus from UC Berkeley and to our surprise half the students had never been to a hackathon and a third had never coded but wanted to spend the weekend learning.Pauley Pavilion Scoreboard

It was a freaking blast! We listened to talks from founders and developers, met students from all over the country, and slept in the bleachers at Pauley Pavilion. We learned about Node, Express and Azure for serving our app, the Passport npm module for user authentication, Firebase and Go Instant for data storage and Web Speech API voice recognition which we used to create chatrooms by speaking the word “create”. Sunday was dedicated to presentations and it was awesome to show off our app and see the other hacks.

As weekend came to a close, Sam Alton took the stage as the keynote speaker and said, “There are two people in this world. There are those who create. And those who don’t.”

I believe we all create in our own ways. We create space ships, bridges, music, books, paintings, vaccines, charities, relationships, companies, communities, families, encouragement, excitement, craft beer and we contribute the most when we do.

“Keep Building”

His talk ended with one message, “keep building,” and I feel blessed that now at Hack Reactor I am surrounded by incredibly bright people who all want to do just that, build.