Origins of Ruby Nuby, And a Way You Can Help Right Now

The following was posted recently by Malcolm Arnold, founder of Ruby Nuby, to the group’s discussion list on Google.  Click here and take a moment to watch a brief video about Ruby Nuby and vote for it to win an important grant from British Airways.

I was researching Open Source Social Networking Platforms (OSSNPs) to build a social network on community activism where a portion of the community who were programmers and believed in the cause would actually programming the site. I spent 4-5 months fulltime evaluating platforms and languages and even went to Elgg Camp (PHP based) at Harvard. Elgg was the clear leader for my very specific criteria IMHO (Buddypress had not been released).

I came to the conclusion that if my concept failed that I would be stuck with PHP as the technology that I would have learned and would use on future endeavors. My goal then and now is to fail as fast as possible and to iterate anew.

If I chose PHP, then I would have to code in PHP…eeewwww;)

I was reentering programming after a 16 year layoff. My major was Computer Science 20 years ago and I learned Assembly, Pascal, ADA and Fortran. I did this paper on this brand new technology that had just been invented call Hyper Text Markup Language. I explored how it was going to totally revolutionize the learning process by enabling the user to choose the paths of learning and resources to learn from or about. I did nothing with CS in the military as I became a Russian Interrogator, later Counter-Intelligence Agent and led teams of both.  Later still, I designed training including language training.

Ruby was the clear choice even though the RoR OSSNPs were very nascent and there weren’t that many programmers out there.

So I started learning RoR. I saw there was not a streamlined curriculum and the resources for Nubies were VERY lacking. Some good to great resources here but no clear strategy for a streamlined learning process that would have one hire-able in 90 days. Without any programming knowledge, a dedicated talented student studying full-time should be hire-able after 90-120 days in a capacity that contributes to a company.

Ding Ding Ding

I will form Ruby Nuby. Take advantage of the market conditions where: everyone want to learn this, no one knows how to go about it companies desperately need developers and create incentives for everyone to work together to do social good that that greatly favors their economic self-interests.

I will take my original idea and template it upon the RoR community.  I will learn all the skills needed to fulfill my original idea: how to start a 501(3)c, do social good on a global scale, build a social movement from the ground up, create incentives for disparate groups and individuals to work collaboratively towards common goals even though they may have different goals or interests.

I will help train the community of activists who are programmers. A subset of this community will then feel drawn to my original idea when I release it in the future and will help build that site which would be based upon community activism.

What is the follow on to the Ruby Nuby social movement?

Stay tuned..we have to build out Ruby Nuby first. We are only in the 0.01 could say at doing social good, we are …. Nubies;)

Malcolm Arnold


PS. I hate calling myself the Founder as that elevates me or puts me in a different class. We are a collective working together. I prefer RubyNuby01. Think of us as an array moving forward to do social good, working collaboratively to support each other and working with those who want to help in our socio-economic mission. With regards to our collective array moving forward, as RubyNuby01 I am just on end of the array. Though, I would prefer to be…Malcolm in the Middle;)

Restoring Data and Configurations from Back-ups in Ubuntu

Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment. Lately, rather than test out some ideas on a copy of the Ubuntu Linux distro installed on Virtual Box, I’ve practiced directly on my laptop. As a result, I’ve been forced to re-install from a live CD and my backed-up data. This is actually less painful than it sounds, and I’ve worked it out so that once I’m done everything on the laptop looks pretty much like it did before.

Oh…but I will start using Virtual Box for my experiments!

Anyway, what follows are the steps I’ve worked out to back up and restore not only data, but also most configurations. If you have any trouble with these directions, let me know in the comments. Please be aware that I am not (yet) an IT professional. Take my advice at your own risk. I accept no liability.

If you have messed up something so badly that you can even boot back into your Ubuntu (or Linux Mint) environment, do as follows:

  1. Reboot with Ubuntu live CD.
  2. Transfer (drag and drop through the GUI) the directory with the user name from the home directory to an external hard drive.  For example, /home/username
  3. Verify the contents of the user directory on the external hard drive, unmount the external hard drive and disconnect.
  4. Reboot the computer with the live CD in, opt for full install and go through the process.
  5. Transfer the user directory from the external hard drive to the computer, making sure the directory names match (again, /home/username) “Okay” for merge all.
  6. Verify the contents of the hard disk in “Places." 
  7. In the terminal, type sudo apt-get update
  8. Either in the terminal or the gui, install all recommended software updates.
  9. Reinstall any programs you might need, like conky, cdargs and/or Terminator (some of my favorites.
  10. sudo su
  11. In /usr/bin/sudo type chown root:root 
  12. In /usr/bin/sudo type chmod 4755 
  13. In /etc/sudoers type chmod 440  
  14. chmod 644 /home/username/.dmrc
  15. chown username /home/username/.dmrc,/tt>
  16. chmod -R 755 /home/username
  17. chown -R username /home/username
  18. reboot (remove live CD when prompted) 

At this point you may need to do some tweaking here and there, but if all went correctly you’re already over 99% done and should be back almost to normal.

Using the Add-App-Repository Command in Earlier Versions of Ubuntu

Lately I’ve come across instructions to add repositories from the command line using sudo add-app-repository. However, the result was always something along the lines of “command not found.” Turns out, this means of adding repos only became available for Ubuntu with 9.10 (Karmic Koala). If you’re like me and prefer for one reason or another an earlier version of Ubuntu, there’s no need to upgrade. What you need is the python-software-properties_0.75.4_all.deb package. You have an earlier version of it already if you’re using Ubuntu.

To upgrade, go to the Ubuntu download page for this package and select a mirror near you.  Clicking the link should download the package. Click the downloaded package to install.  In the command line do a sudo apt-get update and then proceed to use the add-app-repository command as you originally intended.  If your experience is like mine was, it should work fine now.

Ruby Nuby: Promoting Ruby on Rails and Social Good

A few weeks ago I stumbled across Ruby Nuby’s Meetup page. I’m so glad I did.  Here’s the group description:

Ruby Nuby is a soon-to-be non-profit dedicated to teaching the first year of Ruby Programming, Rails Framework and Related Technologies to professionals who then learn better by teaching at-risk, disadvantaged youths and helping Nubies become professional Rubyists.   We only assume that one knows how to press the power button on a computer.

Malcolm Arnold is the group’s organizer, and he’s doing a fantastic job pulling things together. His vision is to do essentially what the description above says.  Apparently there will be both a for-profit organization and a non-profit. The former will feed funds to the latter. This project is in such an early stage, though, that at this point the community is still in formation.  Classes are being held on Monday evenings in Manhattan, and I am joining with others in learning more about Ruby on Rails.  I hope that as I gain mastery I can begin teaching classes as well.

As I’ve discussed here before, I hope to move back to Brazil in a few years and begin community development work.  Providing training in open source technology to help young people lift themselves out of poverty is a major interest of mine.  Ruby Nuby may be an excellent means for me to gain the skill set I need to proceed down this path.

If you live or work in the greater New York metro area and have an interest in Ruby on Rails, why not check out Ruby Nuby?

See Also:

Ruby Nuby: Learning Ruby on Rails in NYC (

Ministering on the Emerging Grid (

Project Cauã (

Ruby Nuby: Learn Ruby on Rails in NYC

Not too long ago I wrote about learning to program in Ruby, and provided a link or two to online resources and a book you could buy.  If you live in the New York metro area, there’s another good option now: live classes in Manhattan.

Are you a complete n00b?  No problem. Whether you only know how to power on a computer (hopefully a bit more than that though) or are already a developer skilled in other programming languages, Ruby Nuby can help you become proficient with Ruby on Rails.

Ruby Nuby is a group in formation, one part for-profit and one part non-profit.  The for-profit portion is projected to help fund the non-profit part. The goal of the non-profit is to help at-risk youth learn valuable job skills in tech.  The for-profit will apparently focus on providing RoR training to professionals.

There are a lot of details to hammer out, and this project is in the very early stages, but classes are already underway.  Every Monday evening in Manhattan there are classes working from (a free book if accessed online) with a qualified volunteer instructor. Cost? Only a $10 donation per class, one that you need not feel pressured to make if you are out-of-work or otherwise unable to chip in.

This is one way that I am working to build my skill set for better employment and to eventually return to Brazil as a community developer utilizing open source in tech education.  Whatever your motivation, if you live or work in or near Manhattan and want to learn Ruby on Rails, here’s your opportunity. As I write this  you’ve only missed a couple of classes, and if you come across this post at a later date, check out the meetup group anyway to see what other opportunities to learn you might have.

Hopefully this will become a movement for social good from within the RoR community.

About World Convention

In the United States the independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ have the North American Christian Convention and National Missionary Convention as well as various state and regional conventions, to get people of like faith together.  The a cappella Churches of Christ have the Tulsa Workshop as well as the college lectureships.  The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has General Assembly and the International Churches of Christ have numerous conferences seminars and other gatherings, including Jubilee 2010 the annual International Leadership Conference.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some truly worldwide gathering of this broad fellowship of churches.  There is one, and it has a perfectly reasonable name: “World Convention.”

This international gathering takes place every four years at a different location around the world each time.  The current executive director is Dr. Gary Holloway, a professor and minister from an a cappella Church of Christ background.  As a global assembly, this non-delegate, non-legislative get-together welcomes people from branches and denominations of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement worldwide.  This fact, the diversity, may be unsettling to many.  It is my hope even still that with the guidance of God through His Spirit and the Word, this next World Convention may bring together more people with the courage to love those who hold even to vastly different views, without necessarily glossing over the differences.

What I’m suggesting here would require an enormous change from past ways of dealing with differences in the church.  There always has seemed to be either debate and division or complacent acceptance (in silence) of divergent viewpoints.  Neither of these options make us better or stronger.  For these reasons the World Convention really isn’t for everyone.  It is my hope and prayer that God will raise up people with the patience and will to meet others, cross old boundary lines and really discuss not only our differences, but also what we can share in common mission and ministry.  Ultimately, World Convention needs to be about coming together to better participate in God’s mission in this world.

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. – John 17:20-21 NRSV

See Also:
A Gathering in Goiania

RevGen 2010: A Quick Review of New Jersey’s Biggest Christian Music Festival

For some reason the organizers of RevGen, an annual Christian music festival held near Frenchtown, NJ, opted to hold the event on Saturday and Sunday this year, rather than Friday evening and Saturday. Church obligations wouldn’t have allowed any in my group to go Sunday, but we attended on Saturday and had a blast. Here are a few quick thoughts about our day there.

Last year I was less than impressed with the “Christian” aspect of this event.  Jesus was rarely mentioned, from what I could tell, and I’m pretty sure some kids attended without a clue it was a Christian music festival.  This year was far different.  There were messages by evangelical pastors throughout the day, and every band I heard made some mention of the Gospel, and pretty clearly too.

There are five stages representing five genres within Christian music.  The kids in my group stayed mostly at the Philadelphia and Come&Live stages where the “hardcore” music is played, complete with mosh pits.  I preferred to stay over at the New York stage where contemporary Christian music is featured.  For one ticket price attendees can sample every style available throughout the day.

Oh, and we got a deal on tickets. Because I’d attended the Reload 1.2.3. youth workers conference this year I was offered a discounted rate. Sweet! It made it really easy for all of us to attend.  A special thanks to Jack Redmond and Fourth Generation for coordinating the tickets.  I only wish I’d had a larger vehicle to take more people. Something to work on, for certain.

One continued aggravation is the food and drink policy. RevGen does not permit any outside food or beverages, including water. Although it’s obvious that this is to drive up revenue for vendors, they continue to explain it as follows on the FAQ:

“Due to a request by the NJ State Police; coolers, water bottles, etc. will NOT be allowed into the festival grounds. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. If you wish to bring a cooler you must leave it in your car. Your hand stamp will allow you to re-enter the festival grounds as many times as you wish.”

This year I ran afoul of this rule, not by trying to bring something from the outside in, but by trying to re-enter with something I’d bought inside. I’d ordered a cheeseburger and chips, ate the cheeseburger then ran to the car for something. On re-entry one of the guards checking my backpack chastised me when he found the chip bag for trying to bring outside food in. I told him I’d bought it inside, he tried to enforce the policy anyway, then referred me to a supervisor. The supervisor questioned me about it then grudgingly let me pass.

What aggravates me about this is two-fold:

1) This is a “Christian” event. It seems obviously false that the NJ State Police would ask that no outside food or drinks be taken into the all-day, outdoor event.  Why lie about it? Just tell us that no food and beverages can be carried in, without the accompanying falsehood.

2) There should be some way for people to get back in with food/drink purchased from vendors inside. Some sort of marking system or something.

The merchandise tent was a busy place, as usual, and my daughter got a few good deals on shorts and T-shirts. A number of regional evangelical institutions were represented, and I was a little disappointed (but not surprised) to see that Ohio Valley University and Mid-Atlantic Christian University were absent.  The former being an a cappella Church of Christ institution located in a fairly conservative area of West Virginia, it makes sense that they would eschew the alternative, contemporary climate of RevGen. Mid-Atlantic’s absence could be a matter of not knowing about the event, or perhaps cost of participation being prohibitive.  I’m not sure.

One of the featured non-profits this year was The Blind Project, an outreach to help women and girls to escape from slavery and the sex trade in Southeast Asia. They are doing good work and deserve support. Through their Twitter feed I also learned about Restore NYC, an effort to help immigrant women in the NYC area to escape from the sex trade.  It’s great to know about real steps being taken to fight this ongoing evil both locally and around the world, and I’ll be watching to see if there are concrete ways I can help out.

Music and ministry really came together at this year’s RevGen, and everyone in my group had a fantastic time, as I’ve already mentioned. This is the sort of event we leave already talking about attending the next year. If you are going to be within 100 miles of Frenchtown, NJ over Labor Day weekend in 2011, RevGen is the place to be.