Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

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Reach

A mobile canvassing application that allows users to search for and survey people anytime, anywhere.

Skills: JavaScript, React, Redux, CSS, HTML

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Things That Happened in 2018

Fewer than the usual number of walking and eating visits with Marla, but I did go visit her in NJ.
Got involved in politics for the first time with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary campaign.
Spent a couple of days walking around Philly with my best friend.
Saw Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys.
Built a mobile canvassing application with people I met while working on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary campaign.
Had a health scare, but everything is fine. :D
I kept doing CrossFit, didn’t die, and have gotten much stronger.
Another great year of teaching with ScriptEd.
I have continued to shave my head.
I voted in 2 primaries and one general election.
I attended a family reunion in Indiana and met a whole bunch of people I’m related to but had never met before.
Kyle and I celebrated our 8th year of mawwidge.
I tweaked a tendon in my shoulder early in the year and healed quickly, thanks to PT, but missed the CrossFit Open.
My best friend came to visit me and I took him on a four-day food tour of NYC, working our way from Flushing to Lower Manhattan.

And probably a lot of other stuff I can’t remember right now!

December 31, 2018 | Comments Off on Things That Happened in 2018 | Categories: Posts | Permalink

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Windstream

Full re-platform, redesign, and maintenance of Windstream web properties, including updated e-commerce interface and processes.

Skills: JavaScript, React, Redux, CSS, HTML

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Permutations vs Anagrams vs Palindromes

Check Permutation: Given two strings, write a method to decide if one is a permutation of the other.

I’m working through algorithm exercises with a group of people, and there was a lot of confusion about what permutation means, and how it differs from anagrams and palindromes.

So, to clarify:

A permutation is one of several possible variations, in which a set of things (like numbers, characters or items in an array) can be ordered or arranged. A permutation of characters does not have to have meaning.

Example: Given the string abcd, the permutations are abcd, abdc, acbd, acdb, adbc, adcb, bacd, badc, bcad, bcda, bdac, bdca, cabd, cadb, cbad, cbda, cdab, cdba, dabc, dacb, dbac, dbca, dcab and dcba

An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the characters of a string. An anagram must have meaning, it can’t just be gibberish.

Example: These words are anagrams of carets: caters, caster, crates, reacts, recast, traces

A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward. A palindrome must have meaning, it can’t just be gibberish.

Example: Civic, level, madam, mom and noon are all palindromes.

All palindromes and anagrams are permutations, but not all permutations are either anagrams or palindromes.

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Documenting a Clean MacOS Mojave Install

I’m reviving a 2013 MacBook Pro with a clean install and fresh setup. This is mostly documentation for myself.

System Preferences

Install some apps

LastPass
Dropbox
Chrome
Chrome Sync + Extension Settings (must check each extension and copy from previous settings manually)
Mac App Store Apps

Homebrew

At this point I decided to take the opportunity to learn something new. A coworker had recently taught us about dotfiles at our weekly tech check-in, so I wanted to see if I could install the rest of my apps using Homebrew.

I installed Homebrew and Homebrew Bundle and created a Brewfile based on what I had installed on my work machine. I created a dotfiles folder in my Documents folder and stored the Brewfile in the dotfiles folder. Then I opened that directory in Terminal and ran brew bundle.

Mischief managed!

Last couple of steps to reach basic usability:

  • make bash auto-complete case insensitive with echo "set completion-ignore-case On" >> ~/.inputrc
  • setup git/ssh keys

At this point it’s been about 1.5 hours since I started.

My Specific App Setup / Persnickety Shit

Add licenses for Alfred, Bartender, BetterTouchTool and HyperDock
Setup/log into Airdroid, Alfred, Bartender, BetterTouchTool, Franz, HyperSwitch, HyperDock, Kindle, ReadKit, Slack, Spillo, Stretchly, Todoist (copy settings for ReadKit and Spillo from previous settings manually)
Add Spillo, ReadKit, Chrome, Slack, Franz to dock
Install SetApp apps
Customize right-click menu
Enable dragging by swiping on trackpad:
System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad > Trackpad Options > Enable dragging
Enable git colorized output: git config --global color.ui auto
Setup VSCode with Settings Sync extension (Gist)
Add git auto-completion: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-enable-git-tab-completion-bash-mac-os-x-conor-livingston/

November 8, 2018 | Comments Off on Documenting a Clean MacOS Mojave Install | Categories: Posts | Permalink

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Reducing dependency on console.log

A co-worker recently brought to my attention that I always reach for console.log when I’m trying to figure out why some code is not behaving as I expect. It’s rather like always reaching for a hammer and ignoring the screwdrivers and wrenches. Sometimes a hammer is the right tool. Sometimes it’s not. Ultimately, scattering console.log around your code like fairy dust is not a particularly effective debugging method.

 
These are some things I’m reading to branch out and get comfortable with more debugging tools and techniques:

I hope these links are helpful to others looking to improve their debugging processes!

October 26, 2018 | Comments Off on Reducing dependency on console.log | Categories: Posts | Permalink

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Reflecting on my years of teaching web development with ScriptEd

A new school year means another year of teaching with ScriptEd. This will be my 5th year! I’ve been reflecting on how much I’ve grown since my first year with ScriptEd:

I had the worst stage-fright and could barely get through a 5-minute lecture without becoming breathless and shaky. Once I actually stopped in the middle of a lecture and ran out of the classroom, leaving the other volunteers to pick up where I left off. While I’m still no TED speaker (though ScriptEd’s co-founder is), I can get through a class without heart palpitations. I don’t have to read directly off the slides and it doesn’t completely throw me off-track when I stumble over something or when a student interrupts with a question. I’ve even given talks at QueensJS and DjangoGirls events.

I knew just enough JavaScript when I started teaching to read a simple function, mostly understand it and maybe edit it. I learned JavaScript by teaching. Nothing is more motivating than having students depend on me. I’m driven to understand the material at a deeper level and find engaging ways to help them understand it.

Now I write JavaScript almost every day at work. Over the past 4 years I’ve built websites with advanced animations (pieces of a car that fall into place as a user scrolls, a tumblr-style lazy-loading masonry page that scrolls forever and ever) and several applications using React.

Teaching has also improved my ability to communicate at work: I use similar strategies to explain technical concepts to producers and product managers so they understand what I’m working on, struggling with, or need clarity on.

I have more empathy, patience, self-confidence, and new friends among my fellow volunteers.

Teaching is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and its also an amazing way to learn.

October 21, 2018 | Comments Off on Reflecting on my years of teaching web development with ScriptEd | Categories: Posts | Permalink

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Things That Happened in 2017

Kyle and I spent two amazing weeks in Japan.
I traveled to Turkey and Israel for two weeks with my Dad.
One of my bestest pals from high school got married.
A friend brought her kid to NYC for the first time and I got to take a train-obsessed 6-year-old on his first subway ride.
I got my ears re-pierced.
Kyle and I saw Dropkick Murphys, Rancid and Bouncing Souls at Coney Island.
I participated in the Day of Dinners, and had some amazing conversations with cool people in my neighborhood who I haven’t heard from since.
During a round of layoffs at work, I didn’t lose my job.
I finally made it past the shin splint phase of starting to run again and went from a 16-min mile to a 12-min mile before it got too cold to run anymore.
Kyle and I spent the holidays with our families.
Many walks and foods around NYC.
I visited a friend in Miami, we went rock climbing, and the car died on the way home.
Another great year of teaching with ScriptEd.
Kyle and I took his parents to The Cloisters, which was my first time there not for a Medieval Festival.
I kept doing CrossFit, participated in the CrossFit Open, didn’t die, and have gotten much stronger.
My mom took us to see The Play That Goes Wrong, and my face hurt from laughing.
NYC Summer Ice Cream Blizzard!
I got to pet, hold and/or cuddle a ridiculous number of animals.
Both sets of parents came up from FL to visit. (Separately, thankfully.)
Kyle and I built our own coffee tables when we couldn’t find what we wanted.
I have continued to shave my head.
A trip to The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens.

And probably a lot of other stuff I can’t remember right now!

January 1, 2018 | Comments Off on Things That Happened in 2017 | Categories: Posts | Permalink

The Kenny Rogers Rule

The Kenny Rogers Rule states: When building anything, especially something as complicated as a robot, the build can sometimes turn ugly. If you try and just power your way through, you can often dig yourself into an even deeper hole. Frustrations can mount, and with it, mistakes, even accidents can happen. So here’s what you do: “Put the soldering iron down, Poindexter. Step away from the steaming robot entrails!” You’ll be amazed at what an hour away, vegging in front of the TV, rolling around on the floor with the cat, or sleeping on your problem will do. It almost never fails. Here’s a corollary: The extent to which you don’t want to drop what you’re doing and take a break (“I know I can fix this, damn it!”), is inversely proportional to the extent to which you need to take that break. Why is it called the Kenny Rogers Rule? ‘Cause as country Kenny wisely tells us: “You got to know when to hold, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run…”

From Tips of the Week: Silencing a Leaky Air Hose, Women’s Work Pants, and the Kenny Rogers Rule | Make:

August 4, 2017 | Comments Off on The Kenny Rogers Rule | Categories: Quotes | Permalink