The Unicorn’s Horn is a weekly summary of what we have been up to lately at Mendicant University. It should come in handy for folks who want to keep up with what we are working on, but don’t have time to read each and every one of our updates.
It’s been a busy week in Mendicant-land. As we finish up week 5 of the new direction for Mendicant University, we’re seeing an increasing number of community members stepping up and organizing office hours, study sessions, open source clinics, and more. The amount and variety of activities are helping to shape the future of MU. Let’s keep it up!
This week also marks the 2-year anniversary of Mendicant University’s conception from the brain of Gregory Brown and into the world. For your enjoyment, here’s the idea that started it all. We want to commemorate our birthday with an ‘open house’ event soon, so stay tuned.
If you’d like to get involved in the homesteading effort to document and map out the infrastructure needed for the new MU, drop us a line in the forums. We can always use the extra help.
Gregory Brown organized a workshop on technical writing on Tuesday. Five folks participated in the writing exercise that Greg prepared ahead of time that formed the basis for the session, and several others joined in the discussion. Topics included the tradeoffs involved in using of novel vs generic terms, defining what to assume about your readers, advantages and disadvantages of including a glossary, use of sidebars and hypertext effects, recall costs of specialized terms, use of metaphor, and more. The transcript here, and a summary will be released soon.
Greg also held a study session/roundtable discussion Friday on using mock objects in testing, together with Greg Moeck and Eric Hodel, based on Greg Moeck’s 2011 RubyConf talk, which we watched concurrently. A huge amount of ground was covered (see the etherpad and transcript). This one may take us a few days to summarize, but we’ll announce it here when we do.
Rafa de Castro’s book reading club for Beautiful Visualization has started - you can join in on this forum thread. The first chapter we’re discussing is on wordle (a word cloud generator), and you can read it for free here.
Eric Gjertsen and Pablo Torres each held office hours this week. Pablo is offering to help with Python questions as well as Ruby. If you have experience with different languages, please feel free to offer up your expertise to the community.
Also, if you can speak/write another human language, be sure to add your name to the translators’ list we’ve started.
Shane Emmons is running a open source software clinic on Monday, June 11, focused on hacking on Anita, the new Mendicant IRC bot.
Eric Gjertsen is again having office hours on Monday, which hopefully will become a standing weekly appointment.
The 5th Global Hack Day is happening on Thursday, June 14. Sign up here if you plan to participate, even if you don’t have a project to work on, to let folks know you’d be available to help them with their work.
The following week, Sean Marcia will host a ”Share Your Favourite Gem” discussion on Tuesday June 19. Come swap gems — from the must-haves to the most unknown.
The Mendicant homesteaders will continue to work on whatever needs to be done to make the new Mendicant University a wonderful place to be.
That’s all the news for this week. Stay tuned for another issue of the Unicorn’s Horn next week and have fun. Go Unicorns!