Aston J

How to stop FaceBook from tracking your web history

Posted on: October 2nd, 2011 by AstonJ No Comments

Worried about Facebook or other sites tracking your web history? Then all you need to do is open a new private tab in Opera (or a new private window in Firefox) and simply load Facebook into that, and then pin it (Opera lets you pin tabs) – then just make sure you use that tab for all your facebook browsing. Simple but effective :p

Update: Looks like facebook REALLY don’t want you to do this, because now, when you log in to facebook from a ‘private’ tab or session you have to jump through hoops to identify yourself!! Try it and see!

What’s special about Ruby?

Posted on: September 5th, 2011 by AstonJ 16 Comments

Would you believe this is my third attempt at writing this piece? The last two were waaaay too long (there’s just so much to cover!) Well let’s start with a few stand-out thoughts on Ruby:

  • Ruby is an object of beauty –> inspired & passionate developers
  • It’s elegant and concise –> a joy to work with
  • Easy to learn but very powerful –> more experienced developers
  • Is designed for programmer happiness –> all of the above


Richard Dawkins letter to his 10 year old daughter

Posted on: September 2nd, 2011 by AstonJ No Comments

This letter was written by Richard Dawkins, and given to his daughter when she turned 10. Richard Dawkins is a respected scientist and author.

To my dearest daughter,

Now that you are ten, I want to write to you about something that is important to me. Have you ever wondered how we know the things that we know? How do we know, for instance, that the stars, which look like tiny pinpricks in the sky, are really huge balls of fire like the Sun and very far away? And how do we know that the Earth is a smaller ball whirling round one of those stars, the Sun?


The Little Book On CoffeeScript .mobi version

Posted on: July 5th, 2011 by AstonJ No Comments

If, like me, you don’t like reading on screens that flicker (LCDs – which give you eye fatigue!) then you’ll be pleased to know I have converted The Little Book On CoffeeScript to .mobi format for use on your Kindle.

Just download and copy to your Kindle – it’s that easy!


What the hell is happening to Rails? Answerback.

Posted on: June 18th, 2011 by AstonJ 21 Comments

This is an answerback to the recent ‘What the hell is happening to rails?’ post by Steve Coast. He says Rails has become too hard/advanced for beginners, and recommends they ditch learning Rails 3 and go with an older version:

If you want to learn rails, don’t get the latest pragmatic programmers book. Go and get the 1st or 2nd edition. Get an old copy of rails and ignore all this. Once you’ve figured that all out then upgrade and expect to spend the same amount of time learning all the new stuff. You don’t save any time jumping to Rails 3+. You will love rails if you begin at the start like we all did, but you might hate it starting off with 3.

I disagree – in fact I strongly recommend you don’t take Steve’s advice or his post too seriously.


How to submit your MacRuby app to the Mac App Store

Posted on: June 17th, 2011 by AstonJ 5 Comments

If you’ve been scratching your head (or tearing your hair out!) trying to do this then, a) join the club, and b) fear no more! Here’s a quick guide to get you set-up and submitted!

Step 1 – Create your MacRuby App

First step is to create your MacRuby app in Xcode. Rather than me repeat what Andre has written up on his blog, go there, follow the guide, create your app as you normally would, then come back when you are ready to submit your app to the app store…

Step 2 – Get your certificates!

Next you will need to get 3 certificates from Apple:

  • Developer Application cert
  • Developer Install cert
  • Apple World Wide Developer Relations cert


Invalid Signature error on submitting an app to the Mac App Store

Posted on: June 14th, 2011 by AstonJ No Comments

If you get this error on submitting your app to the Mac App Store:


Best way to learn/read/study

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011 by AstonJ 3 Comments

Saw this mentioned on Stack Exchange earlier (via @ryanbigg) and as it was a post I was going to be doing anyway (to accompany a forthcoming feature, ‘Best way to learn Ruby & Rails) I thought I’d go ahead and do it now.

Ok lets get started… but first it should go without saying that the ‘best’ way to learn is whatever works for you – these are just a number of tips that I find help me. Maybe they’ll help you too.

1. Learn something you’re interested in!

This one’s easy. If your heart’s not in it, forget it. We learn best when we have an interest in the topic. Of course our reasons for learning something may vary – you might want to learn something so you don’t have to pay someone else to do it, or, because you genuinely like/love whatever it is you are learning. The more you like it, the more likely you are to master it.


Rails TextMate Themes

Posted on: April 22nd, 2011 by AstonJ 2 Comments

Looking for some of the best TextMate themes for Ruby on Rails? Well look no further as I’ve done all the hard work for you and have compiled a list of some of the most popular themes :-)


What’s so special about Ruby on Rails?

Posted on: April 14th, 2011 by AstonJ 14 Comments

There are many reasons why Rails is special, but in order to keep things fairly short, relaxed and n00b friendly, I won’t delve too deeply into the mechanics. Instead I’ll cover the things that first drew me to the framework… and subsequently got me hooked!

The best technologies

One of the biggest draws to Rails is that it saves you a heap of trouble having to spend weeks or months researching/agonising over which technologies to adopt or methodologies to follow. If you’ve ever wanted someone to just tell you what the best are, then consider yourself told!

Here’s a list of some of them: