Jay McGavren's Journal


Motivating examples for beginning coders

One thing I learned from the authors in the Head First series who came before me is the importance of good “motivating examples” - a task that the reader can easily understand but requires learning a whole suite of skills to actually implement (coinciding as closely as possible with the skills you want to teach). Motivating examples are valuable because they give a reader a sense of progress as they work toward a goal.


Console family timers

The most recent game console generation (Xbox One and PS4) offers NO parental time limits for kids. Microsoft (and presumably Sony as well) continues to ignore the thousands of requests it’s getting for this feature. The last console to do this (mostly) right, as far as I know, is the XBox 360, with its “Family Timer” feature. This is unfortunate. In my case, it means we’ve been unable to purchase any of the new consoles in order to avoid giving my screen-addicted teenager a constant distraction from homework.


Leveraging Ruby Libraries webcast

Video of “Leveraging Ruby Libraries”, my webcast for O’Reilly, has been posted. It’s a whirlwind tour of some of the cool things you can do with Ruby’s core classes, standard library, and third-party gems.


A Head First author's guide to InDesign

The InDesign tutorial that I received when starting on my Head First book was helpful, but there were some super-useful InDesign features it didn’t include. I shared this list of my favorites with my fellow authors, and figured I would copy it here…


I'm writing Head First Ruby!

One reason this blog hasn't seen an update in forever is that I've been writing a book! O'Reilly will be releasing Head First Ruby in mid-November.

Head First Ruby Cover

You can get access to the Early Release right now on O'Reilly's shop.

Or, you can pre-order from Amazon.

Enjoy, and please send feedback!