Ruby On Rails was released in 2004 and has been used to build applications such as: Basecamp, GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, Zendesk, Square, Highrise, Cookpad.
It’s open source software, which in plain english, means it's free to use. If you are skilled enough, you can actually edit the software and make it better for everyone.
In the days leading up to the course I googled a lot. I was trying to figure out if everyone there, would be at my skill level i.e non existent, or if they would all be Facebook and Google inventors wondering who let the seventeen year old Sim’s and Minecraft player into the building.
I couldn’t find a lot of information about the course and as I stepped off the plane in Wellington with my little sister, who was also attending beside me, it was easy to say I was a tad nervous.
The questions running through my head were things like, will I fit in? Will I hold everyone up? What do computer programmers wear? Do I need to buy a hoodie and black jeans and a band tee and massive square glasses? Oh and a beanie? What is the culture of computer coders? Will there be hackers? What if I meet a hacker? What if I accidentally hack into a site and then get arrested because I accidentally hacked into a site? I don’t want to go to prison. I wouldn’t survive. Actually, hackers are held in reverence in prison so I would probably be fine! I could start a gang and everything. Trinity’s Girls, I like that. We’ll have special T-shirts made up and everything.
We arrived at the hotel in a Taxi, I remembered to pay at the end of the ride, a big achievement for me, and as I was pulling the card out of the machine a very tall man in what looked like a five piece suit wearing a top hat opened the door for me. I was momentarily stunned and I think I heard my sister choke back a gasp.
Some context, however full of myself and stuck up I might seem through my writing, I am definitely a big backpack and grubby hiking boots kind of traveller. I feel most at home in myself when I’m wear the same top I’ve been wearing for five days and my boots are carrying mud and dust from all the different places I’ve been.
One of the best times in my life was when we were suiting up for a white water rafting adventure, I was wearing my swimsuit, a full body wetsuit that was still damp from the last adventure, a musty smelling fleece and a size to big water boots, then a lifejacket. And I swear, I felt more confident than I’d ever felt when I was wearing anything flimsy and lipsticky.
However, if I wear my suit I can easily pass for being in my twenties. Which helps if you are in a position, where you are bossing around people in their thirties or older. People don’t seem to want to take orders from a horrendously underqualified seventeen year old. Much as they didn’t want to take orders from a five year old girl. Mysteriously. I wouldn’t want to either. So, I try to do all I can to reassure the people that I am in fact not entirely incompetent.
I think that's why fashion and outer appearances are something that fascinates me so much. I can’t change how old I actually am, but I can change the way I look and act.
Anyway, some girls need lipstick and heels. I need boots and backpacks, back to the story...
Luckily, because I was travelling with my fourteen year old sister I had dressed older, in case airport security looked a little closer at our boarding passes and figured out my sister who is a minor, was travelling with another minor.
So, taking the lovely man opening my door wearing a top hat completely in my stride I stepped out of the taxi in my black flared pants and navy sweater, the outfit I had seen many french women wear non stop, and had decided to shamelessly plagiarise. Looking up, I took in the hotel.
Just off to the side was a tall bleach blonde woman in a long red dress with a cheetah print bag and those big black eyebrows that you could tell weren't one hundred percent natural.
The entire scene struck me as something out of a movie.
The man with the top hat had disappeared with our bags. He hadn’t told me where he’d taken them and I didn’t care. He’d walked off with such reassuring confidence that I figured even if he was taking them out to a back room to set fire to them, it was probably the right decision.
I pulled at my navy sweater self consciously taking in the glorious reception. My sister wasn’t even trying to fit in, twirling around in circle with her mouth open so wide I thought her jaw might dislocate.
I had reherhersed the check in process in my head the whole trip. As per usual, I drew inspiration from some of the fictional characters that often helped me through situations like this.
Today I was Jack Dawson from Titanic. Smiling at the check in lady, I gave her my last name, Smith, she smiled like she had heard that name a billion times before. Smith is the name businessmen give when they are about to engage in an affair with their receptionist. It’s also the last name movie stars and royalty give when trying to be incognito.
I have to say, if you are any of the above, use a last name like Burtenshore or Henton. Because the hotel’s are on to you.
We received our keys and made our way to the room. Inside the room our bags had been laid carefully on the little cabinet in the corner.
Grace, my sister, expressed exactly how I was feeling and ran with a scream and a jump on to one of the double beds.
After that we unpacked our things quickly, shoving the contents of our heavy bags onto the bed.
Then putting our computers into my backpack, we made our way downstairs. I had put my hair up and was actually wearing jewelry so that I felt I could walk through the hotel lobby without being kicked out.
Naturally I passed about four gorgeous women with cascading hair and casual ball gowns.
I felt I could relate more to the staff of the lobby than those women. Those women are the women rock stars write songs about. And it seemed like everyone in the hotel knew it. Most of all themselves.
I wondered at my innate feeling of not fitting in. It seemed to follow me wherever I go.
We walked to the building the course was going to be held in. Grand doors led to a beautiful reception room tinted rosy pink from the bright neon lights that read ‘Boldly Go.’
We signed in and entered the workspace room. It was littered with computers and tables all with a ridiculous amount of stickers on them.
Sitting down some coaches came over and we started checking that our computers had the correct software installed.
The person helping me didn’t stop at checking my software and before I knew it we were launching a local host website from my terminal.
I had always been attracted to the terminal that sat ominously in my launch pad. When you opened it and typed things in it didn’t really ever do anything for me, but I knew it was one of those things that you could use to do spectacular Special-Agent-Spy-level things.
I had also downloaded a text editor, called Atom. When you open Atom it brings up the kind of screen that you see in a movie.
With Atom and the Terminal and the language Ruby downloaded into my computer I felt fully armed to enter the Matrix.
We left what was titled the ‘Install Party’ feeling supported. The environment had been low pressure, all the coaches had been kind and were very willing to help us, aimbiling patiently through commands that they could have hammered out in probably a few seconds.
Walking out of the building me and Grace were both grinning.
We paced quickly to a restaurant we knew well ‘The Crab Shack’ and gorged ourselves on delicious food. I even remembered to pay at the end.
That night I settled into the ridiculously fluffy bed, and wondered what the next day would entail.
More coming soon, thanks for reading..!