Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! (Rails Rumble)

Here’s something I never thought I’d ever say: This weekend, Kevin and I participated in a 48-hour Programming Competition called the Rails Rumble. It’s true, I’ve crossed over to the dark side, and I Love It. I’m not sure how I feel about admitting all of this, but hey, #YOLO, right?

Note: This post is 1 day early because we need you to vote for us!  (See “Help Us Win!” below.)

What is the Rails Rumble?

The Rails Rumble is a 48-hour programming competition in which hundreds of teams (a team is one to four people) from all over the world compete to build a web application with Ruby on Rails. After the competition ends, everyone who participated gets to rank their favorite applications.

The winners are treated to some pretty awesome prizes! They receive a bunch of goodies, but my favorite from the list is the “Rails Rumble Championship Belt” for the first-place team, which I picture to be something like this:

Here's Hoping the Rails Rumble Championship Belt is this blingy.

Here’s Hoping the Rails Rumble Championship Belt is this blingy.

And let me tell you, if we win, we’ll make sure to take a similarly awesome photo, complete with confetti, and share it on the blog. Kevin could even grow a beard. It will be awesome. In all seriousness, though, the other awesome prizes include generous gift certificates to Amazon and memberships to various online software tools. So winning is a really big deal.

What Did We Build?

Here's a peek at Pomatillo

Here’s a peek at our Pomatillo landing page

You might have read my post about how much the Pomodoro Technique has increased our productivity. We’re still hooked on Pomodoros, but we’ve been hankering for a tool to help us track our work a little more easily. Enter Pomatillo, the simple online tool we built this weekend to let users easily track their work segments.

Hop on over and visit Pomatillo to take a peek at what we came up with – it’s easy to create a guest account just so you can log in and poke around. We kept things simple since we only had a weekend to throw things together, but we’re pretty happy with what we ended up with, and we’ve been using it to track our work for the past few days! In fact, I’m using it right now to track my time working on this Blog Post!

Help Us Win!

One of the prizes goes to the “Public Favorite” web app! We’d love to get your votes! Unfortunately, voting for our entry is much more complicated than it needs to be. I feel like I’m typing out brain surgery instructions. Bear with me. Here’s how you can vote:

  1. Visit the Rails Rumble page for Pomatillo
  2. Sign in with a Twitter or Heroku Account. I know I know, you have to have a Twitter Account or sign up for one, which is sort of a bummer. (Mom and Dad, I KNOW you’ve been waiting your whole lives to sign up for Twitter – this is your chance!)
  3. After signing into Twitter, you should be redirected back to the Rails Rumble page for Pomatillo, where you can click the “Favorite” button to favorite our app!
  4. The last thing is to finalize your picks – visit your Rails Rumble Favorites page to rank all the apps you favorited and finalize your votes.

Voting ends on October 26 at 7PM Central Time (click here to convert to your local time zone)!  If you have the patience to get through Step 4, please leave us a comment or send me a note! If I had the power, I’d make sure everyone who voted for us got their very own Championship Belt as a thank you. We could all use something like that in our closet to spice up our winter wardrobes, AMIRITE?! However, I’m not sure I will ever figure out how to mail packages from Thailand, so hopefully a thank you email will suffice.

What Did We Think of the Rails Rumble?

We had a lot of fun competing, and we didn’t kill each other. Success! It was kind of like a marriage team-building activity. Admittedly, we were probably a bit more relaxed about things than other teams may have been. I’m certain that a lot of people kept a much more rigorous schedule than we did, probably pulling at least one all-nighter. If you know me at all, though, you know that sleep is waaaaaaaaay up there on my list of priorities. Instead of stocking up on caffeinated beverages and junk food, we bought a bunch of fruit:

Papaya, Persimmon, Mango, Bananas, and Dragon Fruit.  YUM.

Papaya, Persimmon, Mango, Bananas, and Dragon Fruit. YUM.

We also took what I’d describe as pretty relaxed approach to our work hours for the Rumble… We kicked the competition off by waking up without an alarm, having a delicious breakfast, walking to the local fresh market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables to get us through the next few days, and got down to work at about 11am. We also took a couple Pad See Iew breaks:

Kevin and our beloved Pad See Iew.  Best in Chiang Mai, for just $1.

Kevin and our beloved Pad See Iew. Best in Chiang Mai, for just south of $1.

The best thing about competing from Chiang Mai is that you can celebrate and unwind from the competition without breaking your budget! We took all of Monday off, treated ourselves to 90-minute Thai Massages at Miracle Spa, did a little day drinking while we watched the Seahawks lose to the Rams (so so sad, thank goodness for beer), and then capped the day off with dinner and some Kanom Krok.

A Special Video

Here’s a fun tip for anyone out there who uses Git for software source control.  You can set up a Git post commit hook to take a snapshot of you every time you commit.  Here’s how.  For those of you out there who are pretty sure I just wrote that last sentence in Thai (this Time last year I would’ve been in that camp FOR SURE), that just means that my computer takes a picture of me every time I check-in a software change.  I threw the photos into iMovie with some music, and this is what came out:

I hope you are laughing at our embarrassment…

We Want to Hear From You!

If you vote for us, please let us know so we can thank you! Also, if you visit Pomatillo, please leave us a comment here to let us know what you think.

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