This is a very good source of information. Watch “Google Root Access: 3 ways to get developers to buy into your platform, …” on YouTube

Google Root Access: 3 ways to get developers to buy into your platform, …:

Posted to WordPress for your enlightenment. Enjoy your day today.


Teaching Trident Tech College Students how to work on VoIP phone system


Every Saturday morning the Student Chapter of AITP (Association of IT Professionals) meet to discuss what is going on in tech this week.  The topics can vary quite a bit.  It just so happened that I got an emergency call for a Client late Friday night (6pm) about a phone system that had decided it was time for the entire shop to go home early.  I had planned the site visit with the Client and asked them if I could bring along a couple Students from the local Trident Technical College which they gladly agreed.  In an effort to help Students understand how to work with Clients I had a couple of helpers.

The call when well, the Students Travis (on left) and Chuck (on right) were delighted that the owner (Ms. True – center) graciously accepted their presence on the Service call.  AT&T was dispatched shortly after we reviewed the situation, one of the VoIP (Voice over IP) routers had failed even though there was a dial tone at the phone handset the systems digital connection was not getting past the faulty router.  Great learning lessons, wonderful Client experience training and everyone gained from the short call.

Getting involved in the community, pay it forward.  Helping the AITP Student Chapter & TTC Students learn what really happens when we go onsite to help resolve a complex system issue.  Client management is the same whether there is software or hardware problems.  Software components are just logical repair/replacements.

Calls for support can be broke down into a few basic steps:

  1. Set Client expectations
  2. Identify what is wrong
  3. Find the faulty component (what is or is not working)
  4. Isolate & Resolve or Replace faulty component




Glad to be a part of the Local AITP Professional and Student Chapters.

Posted to WordPress for your enlightenment. Enjoy your day today.

Been busy with personal life and classes at TheIronYard.

Happy belated Memorial Day.  I don’t always looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend.  I am reminded of close comrades who have gone ahead personally giving the cost of their life for the Freedoms of others.  Some Americans do not fully appreciate the Freedom we have come to know in these fine United States of America.  My hat is off to the people (ladies and men) who have made a personal commitment to Our Freedom.  Whatever small or large price that you have paid in time, effort, money, Patriotism…you are Thanked and Appreciated by me.  ARMY, NAVY, MARINE, AIRCORP, COASTGAURD you are each and everyone of you awesome in your own way.  THANKS!


I have been sort of “falling off the writing wagon” – but no fear, I plan to get back on this blog and continue my story of how thing went during my training at TheIronYard.  I even have some new time management tools to help.  I have enjoyed using Harvest for the past two weeks, reasonably easy to use, setup is simple and easy to modify activities, as well as billing categories.  

Here is what Eric Dodds has to say: 

Track time, expenses and get paid

We’ll keep this pretty simple: use HarvestFreckle or LessTimeSpent. You can do almost everything financial you need to do as a freelancer with one (or more) of these apps. A few features some of these tools have that will make your life easier:

  • Really slick desktop and mobile apps that you can use to keep track of the hours you work
  • Tools to track all of your business-related expenses
  • Generate invoices that you can send to clients digitally
  • Accept payment (generally via PayPal or Stripe, but we recommend Stripe)

Nick our instructor artfully took us down the path of reality with a discussion on Projects Estimating, and developing web planning wireframes.  “Ok, guys remember you are Junior Programmers and not worth….” 

We went over estimating our work, the project time, setting Client expectations, stuff you can’t bill for, stuff the Client should be paying for, the stuff the Client should not be paying for, plus several nuances – inny and outy type things you should and should not do.  Great lecture, Nick has a sound business mind.  It was a pleasure to hear how he thinks a projects through.  “This is what the IronYard is all about” was all I could think.

Image Nick  Image Calvin

It has been a pleasure, really more like an honor – to watch Nick and Calvin in action on the platform.  Professional in every way with a jab of humor to keep the topics light.  We are learning more everyday, so much information it is almost surreal.  The IronYard Support Staff folks are hard at work in the background.  We can certainly feel their active presence.  Staff members who are not teaching our daily classes like Eric Dodds who has a world of information in his freelancer information write-up, check it out.

Another good point to look at is what a veteran developer says is the right thing to do, full article here from Joshua Blankenship.

“There’s nothing magic about 15 hours; it’s just what made sense for the lifestyle we want to live in this season. We’ve all got 168 hours in a week. If I’m at the office ~45hrs a week, getting 8 hours of sleep every night and doing 15 hours of client work each week, that gives me 52 hours to spend with my family or by myself. Any more work and the cost/benefit ratio dips into unhealthy and unhappy for me and mine.” – Joshua Blankenship

I am really looking forward to what Eric has to say.  We have had a great line up of speakers so I am really glad to hear from Eric. Especially glad to hear from Eric on what experience has taught him in how to manage Client expectations and being sure projects go smoothly.  Well, I have got to keep this blog short – I have got homework, to attend to.  Plus I am being stalked by these iron yard folks…ha, left that little nugget in there for you folks…take care 😉


 Brian (foreground) and Kevin (background)

“cramming more nuggets of knowledge into our brains”

Be good to people you care about, tomorrow is just a promise.

Roger Swanson, Twitter: @roger_swanson,


What It’s Sunday already!?! Wow time is flying…Classes continue at The Iron Yard


Wow, this past week has gone by so fast – I was shocked it is Sunday already.

What a great day to start off a New week, so Happy Mothers Day to all the Mom’s out there.  Us sons and daughters stand in awe of all the BS you put up with when we were kids…seriously folks.  Hat’s off to my Mom, GrandMa’s & GreatGrandMa’s of past we love you all too.

So just how is it going over here at the IronYard? Topics flying by like jet planes, just a quick touch and go because if you will look to the right we have those big ol’ hills to cross over.  Yep we are moving through topics like an airboat in the swamp.  My brain is stretched, but somehow we start another week and continue pushing through what our veteran Instructo Con “Nick” tells us we “got to know”.

This past week we were given a task “Student Homework Tracker” to check our cumulative skill sets, from building the scaffolding of the planned project, applying the Twitter Bootstrap tools, customizing our pages and then getting JavaScript running…yeah I would say we are a bit busy this week.  Challenges all around to keep us thinking and learning to do tasks that programmers do…like – what the crap?  I was watching tv on a short break from studies and boom here comes the commercial and I thought of the “total waste of the next two minutes of my life”…but wait, there is this car that you can find in a parking lot.  But Wait!! Can I make a set point in a mobile device or reference it have a start point and then when I am ready to go back to my car the magic may begin.  So point my phone…hope the internet and google as well as the sun in the right quadrant of time…then get a pointer to go back to my car…using google maps and walking directions….hay – I think that is do able?!!

So thinking like a programmer or maybe just reading as many books, articles, “RTFG’in” every freaking thing about what the heck does this error mean…yep then I suppose the process is working.  🙂 – Aaahhhhh I starting to think programmer…yikes.

Note from Nick’s lectures:

Design for “Fat Models, Skinny Controllers”, Remember: “Business Logic goes in the Model”

Gems for this week:

Hey Thanks goes out to all The Iron Yard Staff members

Having a great place where careers and lives are being changed before our very eyes!

Be good to your Mom today, thanks to all the Moms out there and have a wonderful new week.

Here is a Steve Jobs thought: Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow truly know what you want to become. Everything else is secondary. -Steve Jobs

BBQ at The Iron Yard

BBQ at The Iron Yard Charleston

New Week – New Beginning…go own it!

Everyone had a chance to blow off some steam this week with a BBQ at The Iron Yard on this past Friday. Thanks to the folks at The Iron Yard, Sally did a great job finding the BBQ, getting a the grub lined up.  Nick and Jake were out rocking at the grill with everyone having a good time and relaxing a bit.  Here is the video – built in on MAC iMovie…not bad 😉 took a 20 minutes…

Roger Swanson – Charleston, SC – Twitter: @roger_swanson

Buckets of Information – I have become a digital juggler!

So I have become a digital juggler of my three buckets of information…

  1. One bucket is the information that I have been given already and working through to learn
  2. My next bucket of information is what I believe I understand, this changes as I learn new things 🙂
  3. The big bucket is the information that I have been given and I am trying to put in a place in my mind and organize fashion…new learning

Lots happening at The Charleston Iron Yard this week.  Our minds are being stretched and lots of us are in information overload.  Good to know we are not alone.  I was talking with one of the other students on a break and asking how they were doing….”Ah, wow” they said, just trying to get this stuff, “it is coming so fast”.  I responded with the A typical “Yeah, we are all working to our level of inability”. I figure it one thing and then the next day we are given a new topic to learn.  We continue our journey of filling our heads with the information our instructors have gathered over several years.  Always getting an encouraging word, and still just keep plugging away at grasping the next topic.  John Saddington has told us on his last visit “keep grinding”.  We are all looking forward to another visit by John this Friday to get more insight as to what we should be thinking about for the big picture.  Of course getting a job is on lots of minds.  Not just a job but what is the next new adventure we can take a ride on the knowledge train build some really cool app with other like minded coders to help the world in some way…that is the part that I am still trying to figure out.

David Heinemeierer Hansson (DHH) founder of Ruby on Rails put up TDD is Dead on his blog so we just learned about TDD (Test Driven Design) from a great coder Robert Pearce this week. Wow, after that killer presentation from Robert Pearce on the how to’s of setting up TDD as you build your code, then to hear what Nick said the main and the main RubyDubyDo guy “DHH” in Chicago said about TDD ?  He said in short on stage in Chicago and on his blog – no substitute for good code.

I guess clean code will always rule.  🙂

I have been reading a book, well, more like listening to a book.  I do the auto university as I ride my truck or my Harley to class in the morning.  I have gotten into a good habit of digesting one good book every month, a good friend and mentor encouraged me to eat books.  So i have been listening to a self help type book every day to help get the day rolling.  A great habit I have been doing my best to stick with for several years.  My latest listen is from a great author the topic is of course in line with what I hope to be doing soon –  “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. Eric is a very insightful gent.  The book is narrated by Eric and he talks about software development and building a MVP (Minimum Viable Product).  Get the product out there, get Client feedback ASAP.  Eric goes on to discuss how he was involved in a flop startup and what not to do.  Then the tone of the book jumps right into what you should do, giving examples of how he navigated the troubled waters of change.  Just get the book or audio, I know you will enjoy it.

The recent Ruby on Rails and general Coder conference “Confreaks” was in Chicago so you check out the videos and see some of the presentations at, click the link and have a look what just went down.  Great community, great people all around in the Open Source World.


Very cool stuff, this is a really active and supportive community.  I think what I like the most about the open source community is the way people treat one another.  It is like there is a “no asshole” unwritten code that everyone follows.  Everyone has started at the bottom and worked their way to be great programmers as well as great contributors to helping others and helping in local and national ways.  Promotion of community rather than Self of the typical corporate “look at me” attitude.  I really like that and have started to enjoy the way many extend the hand of assistance to those who don’t know as much – that would be me :-).  I have recalled many times in the corporate world and my time in the USNavy Submarine Fleet where the love just wasn’t there.  Not that I expect to get chummy with every person I meet, personalities are always in a bit of a churn no matter what circle you find yourself in.  I am pleasantly surprised when someone is gracious or kind. I am seeing that is the norm in the open source world.  If you are trying there is usually someone nearby to offer assistance.  Assistance is not always a conversation that happens one on one but more one to many.  Online books I am finding are many time free “RFTG” (read the friggin google), once you have unlocked the code to how to search for information the world is your oyster…of course the drinking from the firehose does apply when it comes to the Internet.  Oh yeah and be sure you watch which source you are reading from that is a big deal too.

So here are a few new Ruby Gems that we discussed, I will keep these going there is a never ending list of tools to make Ruby on Rails an incredible platform for making a software idea come to life.

  • Heroku – Host your Ruby Project for free, love the price.  Up to 5 projects online and get names “”
  • RSpec – Testing your code, Test Driven Design (TDD)
  • Simple_form – great tool for making forms, details on GitHub
  • Pry – Stop your code in time and see what the variables are, Pry is a powerful alternative to the standard IRB shell for Ruby

I am very happy that The Iron Yard found me, glad to be a part of the Open Source movement and looking forward to a great future in coding….well I have to run.  Got to go for a walk with the lovable wife and get back to my 50/10 minute study periods.  Hope to get to bed before 2am but who knows…probably get on some technical rant and just keeeep grinding.

Take care,

Roger Swanson

twitter: @roger_swanson


It’s a new week at The Iron Yard Academy in Charleston site.

There is new material everyday and making my best efforts to apply the knowledge and keep pushing forward.  Today we covered lots of great information including setting up a Heroku account and learning how to put our Rails projects online using the free version of the Heroku system.  This is really fantastic to see how an application we build on our project MAC machine is able to be put online and the world can see it.  I am not sure if I am ready for the world to see the stuff I am creating yet.  Lol

Working at the Charleston Iron Yard

Our instructor Nick is a great motivator and encourager.  I am not sure about the other folks but there are areas that I struggle with. Nick always has an encouraging comment and is quick to give me the “well done” to keep my spirits up.

After our lecture on the SCRUM teaming we gave it a try in class and well, we are still learning how to be good team members…and I will just leave that alone…seriously the teaming stuff is really much more difficult that I thought it would be.  We are working on different areas and perform a push to our repository (where our version of the files sit at GitHub)….then wham there is a merge conflict.  I get the deer in the headlight “what the heck happened”, call out to the instructor and hope I have not completely crashed my small part of the project.  No Problem, Nick comes to the rescue and solved the issue.

It kills me that Nick makes solving the GitHub problems and many other issues we encounter look easy.  The main point is he has experience, we can see that in the class and the worst part is he makes it look easy.  I am over in my chair scratching my head “what did he just do?”.  I am trying to be patient with myself keep doing the reading and sticking to the task of learning Ruby on Rails.  I have decided that no matter what I am going to keep at this and sooner or later I will just get it!  So with 150lbs of determination I am going to keep working on this, solving one issue at a time until I have crawled over this mountain of understanding.  Yeah, I am probably making this sound worse but you get the idea.  Not an easy undertaking but I know learning this new skill is going to give me long term gains that are hard to see from where I am sitting today.

Big news, John Saddington is going to be coming to town later this week the topic is “Projects vs Products”.  I am really looking forward to hearing what he has to say.  I must say I have been stalking his twitter discussions.  This week he is discussing whether he is going to continue to tweet or take a break from the process. I had to laugh out loud when I read him talking all about why he thinks he is not going to be tweeting any more…you can read it for yourself.  I don’t think he will be able to stop personally, it is like that good habit of running or any exercise.  I can’t stand getting up early in the morning and knocking out that 12-15mile bike ride, I hate to take that GNC vitamin pack.  We all know we need to do certain things, we don’t always like to but it is for our own good.  I don’t think John Saddington will be able to stop the blog/tweet moments because it has become such an ingrained thing for him he will probably feel weird if he stops.

I am on the other side of the tweet/blog issue.  I have known for years this is really the best thing for me personally to keep journaling.  So I am getting back to this task.  Hope to make this a lifelong habit and maybe someday my grandchildren can have a nice read on that plane trip around the world.  Who knows I may be able to encourage someone to get started in a new technology career or point some person in the right direction for what they are working on.  I will keep on trying to update my blog, telling others “What’s Up” this week and hope to drop a few nuggets of knowledge or understanding at your digital doorstep.

So here are some really neat GEM’s that Nick let us know about and we are trying to use them in projects we are building:

Heroku – web hosting, get your app online

Mailer – tool to send emails out to users (be careful to follow those FCC Rules)

Letter_opener – tool to open emails in browser windows so you can test Mailer

Paperclip – use on like file share to store files like dropbox or AWS (amazon)

All good stuff at The Iron Yard.

Take care and be sure to tell the people close to you that you care…then go prove it to them…small things do matter.

Roger Swanson, Charleston, SC, Twitter: @roger_swanson

The Wheels of Progress must move forward at The Iron Yard

My Selfee pic for the day

So I have been enjoying my Easter Holiday weekend by doing Google research and working on my Ruby on Rails Server project…so to answer before you ask. No, software coding does not stop just because a holiday happened to land on our training window.  Welcome to the real world welcome to “The Iron Yard”.

I totally understand the wheels of progress must push forward.  Hey, did you know it is a physical impossibility for a kangaroo to walk backwards, no really check this out about kangaroos.  Hey check out this neat trick, let me show you how to look something up in google use this site  So, the way I love my leather Bramah hat, I should have been born in Australia or so my lovely wife says.  Ha, I just love the people, climate, and those critters are all over down there.  So many kangaroo’s in that country but apparently they are a lot of trouble and all the trucks have roo-gauards.  I have met some great people from Australia who have traveled to the USA for some of the technology conferences I have attended.  “Goo day”, to those in Australia.

So I am being a Kangaroo Man (don’t backup) this weekend, taking the occasional break to do some weeding in the garden, cut the grass in between rain showers, and enjoy a fantastic dinner or lunch prepared by my honey bunny, Dep Thi.

Back to the code learning process.  Workflows is a gem we are went over on Thursday last week and now learning this weekend as we build the doctors office and the transitions managed by that gem.  My next challenge is to figure out how to make all these workflows, methods & digits work together then, to get the forms rendered, the methods and the haml all working together.  I have lots of questions for Nick on our Monday class.  Nick posted in HipChat (private messaging tool) he will be at class an hour early to help us.  What a Guy!

Never a dull moment, still putting the pieces together on the haml I just got an email from the “Instructo Con” Nick B. “Week 4” and guys Get your homework done! A gentle but firm nudge to keep working on it.  I appreciate what Nick is trying to do.  Taking folks that have some knowledge to lots of “gitter done” in Ruby on Rails land.  He is trying not to give away the steps and challenges us to look up the answer so we can learn how to teach ourselves.  This is no simple task.  I know we are in good hands so I just keep my head down and keep pushing ahead.

I had to put my business hat on for a few hours today as well.  I posted three slide decks to the SlideShare site when I gave a lecture earlier this year to the South Carolina Chapter of The American Payroll Association, here they are if you are interested.

SlideShare links: to lectures given – Hardware Trends in 2014

SlideShare links: to lectures given – Cloud Services Today, means what?

SlideShare links: to lectures given – BDR & Data Protection

What is SlideShare you say? Here is the link: 

Spent some time going over our company Business Plan (which is never finished), made some notes for followup and then got back into my research on the workflow stuff.  It is a real challenge to disconnect and let my staff run the shop, trust them completely, and focus on the task in front of me. Mainly figure out the code stuff.  I am not sure what direction of fate will take me when I finish the Iron Yard course I just know this is the direction I want to take and must trust my gut I have made the right call.

The Easter Holiday is a reminder for me, well as for all of us.  What it means to sacrifice yourself completely for another person.  Many times my emotions will get the best of me and I sit down to a big plate of crow…the feathers are the hardest part to swallow. Ha, Ha, I am so used to getting my poor wife upset at me for the silly things I do.  I am a lucky guy because she is quick to put me in check so I can keep my attitude back in alignment and not be thinking the worst of others.  I am fortunate to have someone who cares enough to tell me the truth no matter how it makes me feel.  I wish that for everyone.  I sometimes wonder if I am the only one that thinks this way but over the years it is apparent this is a curse applied to the entire human race.  Politics and emotions aside we have all been reasonably Blessed in some form or fashion. The Easter Holiday is a good time to reflect on the good we have in each other and accept one another for who we are.  Knowing we are all a bunch of screw ups any way.  Whatever form of Creator you believe in, they must be looking down on us all and laughing at the silly ways we act, how small things get blown up to much more than what they really are.  Lol, but when we are in the middle of all that emotion…no one can tell us anything.

So sit back and learn to have a good laugh at yourself then be like a kangaroo and move forward.

The Ruby gems being taught in class are really interesting.  On the list for this week is Data Associations/Relationships, User Authentication, something called Devise and another gadget called Paperclip.  API’s are also on the list this week so I had better get going, don’t want to fall any more behind than I already feel like I am.

Overall The Iron Yard training is everything I had hoped for, fast paced, super intense learning and just what I need to get the information injected into my brain.

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, recharged, ready to take on the tasks the new week has in store for us.

Be good to those you care about, remember to tell them and then go prove it by doing something special with them.  Oh yeah, get over yourself because everyone else already has…Ha Ha.  Live, Laugh, Love – great stuff. I saw a coffee cup at Starbucks with that saying on it and had to laugh.  The great points of view life gives us if we just open our eyes taking one day at a time.

Take Care,

Roger Swanson, Twitter: @roger_swanson