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Aug 30 13

Rails: Filtering has_many through associations

by Warren
Ruby on Rails

Ruby on RailsJames Brooks demonstrates a concise, simple way to filter the results of an ActiveRecord has_many through relationship. The secret sauce is in the ActiveRecord::SpawnMethods#merge! method

You should have seen the convoluted tangle I’d created to resolve this, previously. If I’ve learned anything about Rails, by now… it’s that there’s always a simpler way to do it!

Read on…

James Brooks : Rails – filter using join model on has_many through.

Jun 22 13

A company of one

by Warren
Freelancer Holiday Party
Freelancer Holiday Party

Photo by Kevin McShane

Recently I was laid off from my sweet full-time position as a Rails developer. I started this job in August of last year and it was my first professional foray into the world of Ruby programming and the Rails framework. Prior to that I was working in PHP which I picked up when it arrived on the, then infant, web development scene in 1995. Prior to that I was manipulating text files with Perl… yes, I’m that old!

Anyway, I went into this new position at a pretty small company after many years at a large agency feeling like I had no voice in helping move the company forward. This new company seemed like a great place to have a voice and (hopefully) help it grow. My first 6 months, I spent just trying to keep up with the (new to me) world of Rails. I kept thinking, once I get over this learning curve, I’ll speak up a little more and explore the reason I joined a small company in the first place. Sadly, I never got there. What I did get, though, was a taste for a smaller more nimble working environment.

Since the layoff, I’ve taken on any and every freelance project I can get my hands on. In many ways, this has been fun. Lots of variety and lots of making an actual difference, as I’ve stepped in to help people that needed quick turnaround. Some days, I stare at spreadsheets and start to panic about the lack of predictable income. It can be terrifying… if I allow it to be.

I have no point, or conclusion, to draw here. I simply wanted to remind myself, through writing, that I currently have ultimate control of the smallest, nimblest “company” I could ever imagine.

Stay positive, Mr. Me!

May 13 13

A Chandelier that Projects Tree Shadows | Colossal

by Warren


A Chandelier that Projects Tree Shadows | Colossal.

May 12 13

Watch “Space Oddity” on YouTube

by Warren

May 12 13

Nigel’s not here, but I’m making plans anyway

by Warren
Left here without comment... for now.
Left here without comment... for now.

Left here without comment… for now.

May 11 13

When art and commerce collide… nay, merge

by Warren


I spent that last two days at the second annual QCMerge event in Cincinnati (at the Contemporary Arts Center). This is a yearly conference for developers, designers, and marketers to gather, meet and hear what one another have to say. The presentations range from how to control a robot using Javascript (@SaraJChipps) to how to stay motivated in a create-on-demand industry (beaccidental). As with the previous year, I found it incredibly inspiring and a great motivator for me to go and make something. Last year it provided the courage to leave my current position of many years and join Ample (cofounders, along with Gaslight, of QCMerge) as a Ruby developer. At that time, I knew nothing of Ruby. Ample took a chance on me and allowed me to learn by doing. They’re pretty awesome!

Some highlights of QCMerge, for me.

Nate Westheimer (@innonate) spoke of his experience with the New York Tech Meetup and how it went from a handful of people in a room to 31,000 members and selling out an 800 seat auditorium in 10 minutes. The emphasis of each meet up is demos. Show us something on which you’ve been working. I’d love to see this aspect incorporated into the monthly Cincy Web/Tech drinkup. Now that I’ve said this out loud, I’d better be able to stand up and do something about it!

Todd Henry (@toddhenry), whom I heard speak at Landor a few years back, spoke of keeping up the quality in our create-on-demand lives, and not just simply delivering mediocrity. When I heard Todd speak a few years back, he really shook me out of a funk and reminded me why I do what I do. He delivered again this year. I highly recommend listening to hime speak if you ever get a chance.

Sara Morgan (@SaraMorganSF) spoke at last year’s QCMerge as well. Since then, she has founded Eleven Eleven PR and is helping companies get the word out, without being schmucky. Sara had some good tips for starups and even estabished companies on how to promote yourself without even seeming like you are. Honestly, Sara has such great energy she could be talking about sportsball and I’d still be interested.


From Nate Westheimer’s talk

Chris Glass (@glass) is kind of a design celebrity around these parts. The dude is the embodiment of leading a creative life. Chris’ talk was a simple personal story of what he’s done and what he loves. He claims this was his first ever public speaking gig. If this is true, it’s just one more thing he’s good at… and it started with crayons.

Finally, two of the partners of Ample, Rob Sloan (designer) and Kevin Comer (writer) presented a very transparent look inside the way we work at Ample. This included things that didn’t work as well as what’s working right now. Rob and Kevin did a really nice job and I was very impressed with their candor and ease of delivery. Their talk reaffirmed my decision to join Ample last year… a great group of talented, nice people.

Looking forward to next year’s QCMerge and putting some of what I learned into action.

Exhibit 1: This blog post

Exhibit 2

Exhibit 2: stop saying, “I’m no designer, and learn a bit about design”

Nov 28 12

A Lamp to make Pixar proud

by Warren

Controlled by Processing, OpenCV, Arduino and some clever humans, this not-so-ordinary desk lamp exhibits a fun personality that would make John Lasseter proud.

More details at

Nov 26 12

A Clever Cacophony of Clunky Cassettes

by Warren

Stephen Cornford take the unintentional noise of many cassette decks and turns it into a clockwork symphony. More details at

Nov 20 12

HOLO Magazine

by Warren

Support HOLO

Jul 10 12


by Warren

Very cool modules for prototyping or just playing with electronics. littleBits Brand Video