Filed under: Language Learning

Spanish Learning Update Week 3

I have seen some small strides in my Spanish in the last couple weeks.

  • Doing Lingvist every day has been going well. Since beginning of October, I have done every day with goal of minimum of 100 flashcard review and minimum of those flashcards being new cards. According to the app, I have learned 1090 words which is approximately 71% of written text. There have been some minor annoyances with the app being that you can tell the creators are not native English speakers. Some of the “English” words don’t correlate correctly fully to the Spanish words.


  • I have not been doing well with writing every day. Main goal this coming week to do a paragraph every day next week. I think this will help me with thinking in Spanish better.


  • I recently went to the library and went through the children’s section of Spanish books. I found out it helps to read these books as the picture help with understanding the unknown Spanish words better without having to look up what it means. Another tip would be to read out loud. It really works those facial muscles you don’t normally use and can help with practicing saying harder words.


  • Watching TV with my son, I turn on cartoons that have Spanish Audio. He’s happy and I’m practing more. I am starting to here phrases easier! My wife just looks at me weird when I repeat the phrases I understand out loud happily. 🙂 I have also switched the TV audio to Spanish for when watching American Football. I don’t understand much of this, but I can catch some words and phrases here and there.


  • Lastly, I came across and audio course called Language Transfer (Complete Spanish). It is a little rough on the quality(Compared to Pimsleur), but the process in which he teaches is called the “Thinking Method” has really helped in teaching me working my way through Spanish and thinking about coming to the correct words and conjugations. He really gives a good framework on was to remember how conjugations and English words come over to Spanish. I am currently on about Episode 30 with a total of 90 episodes of around 10 minutes each.


Filed under: Language Learning

Have been Married to a Hispanic (for 7 years) and still can’t hold a conversation in Spanish

So over the past 7+ years, I have learned Spanish on and off…. mostly off….. with very little progress to be conversational. I would usually get around her family that many only speak Spanish. After being in that environment, I come back all amped up ready to learn Spanish again….. but that trails off as we get back to the weekly grind. I go back to slowly forgetting all that I had learned. And 7 years in, still can’t get beyond a simple conversation. Hola! Cómo estás?……

So from reading about goals and accomplishing those goals, you need to make a definable goal. Learn Spanish is not a definable goal. It is too abstract and has varying degrees to it. A more concrete definable example, visit a Hispanic restaurant and only speak Spanish with the wait staff the entire time. It is achievable and has a set goal that can be accomplished.

My Goal: Every year my family gets together for Christmas and New year’s with my wife’s extended family (and extend family to the extended family). My goal is to come to New Year’s and have a 10 minute conversation with one of the older Tios, that only really speak Spanish. This is about 90 Days away which gives me nearly 3 months to refresh my Spanish and improve my conversational skills.

The way I’ll be learning:

Listening on my commute. I have about a 50 minute commute, depending on the traffic. I am will be using the Pimsleur Language. Hoping to move on to podcasts when my vocabulary increases and listening is better.

Working on Spanish during my work breaks and Lunch breaks: In the past, I have used Memrise and Duolingo. I am going to try out Lingvist. It’s method is based on a smart algorithm to help you pick up vocabulary quickly.

Writing in Spanish Everyday: iTalki has a great reputation in the language learning world for 1-on-1 language teaching and Language exchange. I found that they also have a section for journaling that native speakers can correct your writings. In addition, I have also asked my wife to only text me in Spanish.

Watching TV in Spanish: Most every night I will be watching a TV show in Spanish. Great thing with Netflix is there are many shows in Spanish and majority of their own shows are dubbed in Spanish, which gives me a lots option…. and includes Subtitles. I also watch a lot of sports, so I have begun switching to the Spanish commentary when available.

Reading: I was given a tip to read comics/graphic novels in your target language. The pictures help with the story, and the speech bubbles are more likely to use language you would use in everyday speech. I’ll have most night reading with “Google Translate” as a companion for 30 minutes before bed. I’m testing this theory with a graphic novel I found at the Library. The Hobbit

Lastly…. Speaking: I have tried in the past to speak in Spanish with my wife on normal day conversation, but it has not gone as well as planned. One of us gets frustrated and switches back to English. Still working on plan to make it easier to practice speaking Spanish.

Interesting Books I have read on the Language learning subject.

Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner (Gabriel is currently in the process of creating an app based on his research from this book. It is currently halfway through the Kickstarter process)

Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis

keyboard computer
Filed under: 100DaysOfCode, FreeCodeCamp, General Coding, Programming

Week 3 of #100DaysOfCode

Lots of banging my head against the desk this week, but I believe I figured out some more javascript/jquery. I posted to a forum to get a better explanation of my problem. Hoping this will assist in my understanding of functions and properties.


Day 21: March 1st, 2017

Today’s Progress: Trying to fix the issue I am having with the var i = 0 that is not working inside the getJSON function.

Thoughts: Completely lost on this point.

Day 22: March 2nd, 2017

Today’s Progress: Did a lot of research around scope of the var in the for loop

Thoughts: Still don’t understand the scope and function. Looking to the forums

Day 23: March 3rd, 2017

Today’s Progress: Couldn’t get my inital funciton to work using the “i” variable in the for loop. Used instead a global variable as a counter.

Thoughts: Will need to go back and understand the scope better but figured a workaround for now.

Day 24: March 4th, 2017

Today’s Progress: The getJSON is asynchronous. SO my function and second function is not firing at the correct time.

Thoughts: Argggghhhh.

Day 25: March 5th, 2017

Today’s Progress: Tried swapping out the getJSON for a $.ajax, it is functioning in correct time, but now giving me just data for the first user every time.

Day 26: March 6th, 2017

Today’s Progress: Researching $.ajax calls to get my app to work.

Thoughts: Why!!!!

Day 27: March 7th, 2017

Today’s Progress: Got tired of working on the Javascript side. Wasn’t liking the color/design. So am working to re-do that for now.

Day 28: March 8th, 2017

Today’s Progress: Well I cracked an looked up a similar project on how he was using the .forEach to go through the array.

Thoughts:I need someone to fully explain, but looks like I was just missing a paramater in the function. userList.forEach(function(user){….

Filed under: 100DaysOfCode, FreeCodeCamp, Programming

Week 2 and 3 (ish) of #100DaysOfCode

Here we go on to Week 2. I seemed to really crush it this week. After getting hung a little bit on Weather App and switching to different way to get User’s Location data. I breezed through tthe Wikipedia Searcher quite quickly.

Then life hit me again and I started missing multiple days. As of March 1. I was able to complete about 20 days in 2 months. Not very good on my part. I did complete two projects. I need to find a better time consistently to be able to do this daily. NO More excuses.

There is approxiametly 100 days till my birthday. I am going to attempt to have 100 days done by then and hopefully, I’ll have 120 days done.


Day 8: February 2, 2017

Today’s Progress: Fixed the toggle click! Now switches between Farenheit and Celsius.

Thoughts: There were actually to issues. First I was using HTML’s onclick funciton instead of the addEventListener function. Second, there was a function at the very top of my code that was continuing to fire and not allow the rest of the code to process. I commented that out and addEventListener function worked like a charm

Day 9: February 3, 2017

Today’s Progress: Aligned the Toggle with the F and C. And made mobile responsive

Thoughts: Weather App is function properly on desktop browser, but won’t work on the mobile site. It does look good on mobile site though with responsiveness working great!

Day 10: February 4, 2017

Today’s Progress: GeoLocation is working except for on some mobile browsers.

Thoughts: GeoLocaiton is working OK, but is slow to respond from API.

Day 11: Febrary 5, 2017

Today’s Progress: Switching to use IP Info instead of GeoLocation

Thoughts: ipinfo.io’s api is very fast. It also doesn’t need any feedback from the user to fire off request.

Day 12: February 6, 2017

Today’s Progress: Need to understand how Javascript is running through code.

Thoughts: ipinfo.io’s api is working, but doesn’ fire til after the Weather API code. Can’ understand why yet, as Weather API is positioned below. Tried using window.onload and $(document).ready to try to get Weather API to wait.

Link to work: Wikipedia Viewer

Day 13: February 7, 2017

Today’s Progress: Took a Pause from Weather App. It was working except for Chrome on Mobile. Started preliminary layout for the Wikipedia Viewer

Thoughts: Getting odd error when using codepen. Won’t show glyphicons on new pen, but when I forked an old pen and deleted everything glyphicons worked????

Day 14: February 8, 2017

Today’s Progress: Moving along quickly with Wikipedia Viewer. Had to go find out how to setup GetSJON/Ajax call again 🙁

Thoughts: Kept getting error when calling wiki api. Everything looks corret, and when I pull within browser URL it works.

Day 15: February 9, 2017

Today’s Progress: Used some more jQuery to push HTML …. appendTo() and empty(). Using JQuery was super easy. Now about 90% complete

Thoughts: Error yesterday was the api URL didn’t have callback=”?” put that in and JSON call was working like a charm.

Day 16: February 10, 2017

Today’s Progress: Added Functionality for hitting “enter” key to search in addtion to the clicking search. Also made search results on put of results returned. No more Undefined results

Thoughts: Had to use trial and error until I found code to use the enter key as a click. (event.which?) need to understand why “Which”… Also used a for loop to out show up to 5 results and stop at 1 or 2 or 3 if data only had that many entries.

Link to work: Twitch Status Viewer

Day 17: February 11, 2017

Today’s Progress: Started with the basic layout for the Twitch App.

Day 18: February 16, 2017

Today’s Progress: Setup the basic connection to the API.

Thoughts: The API is getting data but I can’t seem to get it to call multiples users.

Day 19: February 17, 2017

Today’s Progress: Spent sometime changing the layout to get ready for the API data.

Day 20: February 19, 2017

Today’s Progress: Finally figured out the hack that FreeCodeCamp had setup to prevent API keys didn’t allow you to call multiple users at one time like the normal Twithc API.

Thoughts: I’m having to re-order my code to accomodate for multiple calls.

Bridge to Clounds
Filed under: 100DaysOfCode, FreeCodeCamp

First(ish) Week of #100DaysOfCode


Well this week(ish), has been interesting few weeks. I got off to a good start, then had to take a couple weeks break due to traveling out east for my grandfathers funeral. After a couple rough weeks, I was able to re-start the process.

This week I have been creating and modifying my weather app using the Openweather api.


Weather App

Day 1: January 3, 2017

Today’s Progress: Added basic structure to the Weather App. Figured out the getLocation function

Thoughts: Need to get a better understanding up of to pull APIs. Been awhile since last working on Quoter API. Having trouble understanding all the pieces.


Day 2: January 4, 2017

Today’s Progress: I have the main portion for the OpenWeather API in the code.

Thoughts: Was having trouble getting the lat and long to be implemented into the API. But now how about 90% of the api results working. Just need to understanding the $.ajax operator better.


Day 3: January 5, 2017

Today’s Progress: Got the API to pull weather data!

Thoughts: Need to modify a little more so it doesn’t show full decimals. I got stuck initially around getting the icon to show. I didn’t realize that the Object was inside an Array. After the little fix, pulled the icons in easily, though I would like to put a better icon set as the default icons from OpenWeatherAPI are not the greatest.


Day 4: January 6, 2017

Today’s Progress: Found a tutorial on adding a CSS Toggle. Used that template to modify and add to my project

Thoughts: It appears that codepen.io is not utilizing the jquery normally as the .toggle() is not functioning properly. Need to investigate further.


Day 5: January 30, 2017

After having to travel to North East for a close family members funeral, I am now getting back in the swing of things and continuing my journey.

Today’s Progress: Had some issues with the previous toggle. Reverse Engineering another Toggle

Thoughts: Codepen will not allow the previous toggle to work. I am not sure if there is a setting I am missing, but when I copy the code out to another compiler it works. So I am using another tutorial, and trying to reverse engineer it so I can understnad it better.


Day 6: January 31, 2017

Today’s Progress: Toggle is up and working now with modifications for color.

Thoughts: Toggle required a lot of code to get to work, but modifiying it was not to hard. Still need to fix so that it is inline with the F and C for temperature. But that is more cosmetic right now.


Day 7: Febrary 1, 2017

Today’s Progress: Trying to get toggle to change temperature when clicked, but I have not been able to get past this bug.

Thoughts: Not sure what exactly is causing the onclick to not fuction properly. Reached out to group for guidance.


Awesome Possum
Filed under: FreeCodeCamp

Next Project is the Random Quote Machine

It has been a little while since I posted any progress on my FreeCodeCamp Journey. Trying to work in between feeding my son and driving the in-laws to from and to the airport has limited my time on the current projects.


Since last post, I have completed the Basic JavaScript and Algorithm Scripting and moved on to the Intermediate Front End Development Projects. 

I always get these big ideas for the projects and think of ways I can improve on it.

Awesome Possum

Then I just want to make sure I can actually just complete the project. That is were I am at now with my Random Quote machine. I have the Quote working with the API, and it did take awhile for me to find a API I could easily use and implement. Quotes on Design had an API with easy to use documentation so I can add it to my project.

The simple documentation is a life saver. 

I should come back to this project at a later time and implement a couple of my Ideas, like adding a picture of the Person in the quote. BUT first need to get this twitter API to function properly. More on that coming up next time.

Filed under: Automation

Automation – Track your Sleep

I have always been very interested in automating as much of my life as I can, and I also love data points and seeing what you can derive from the data.

With Products like IFTTT (If This Then That)  and Zapier, it is easier to automate repetitive tasks.

I have always have gotten headaches since I was little. Apparently I got them hereditary-ly (probably not a real word). But my father got them, from his mother, from her father… etc. The gift that keeps on giving… but in a bad way. Any way, I usually notice that I get them more often when I don’t get enough sleep. I bought a Fitbit awhile back and it has the ability to track your sleep.

So I created an IFTTThere which took the data from the Fitbit and logged it into a google spreadsheet for further number crunching :).

One thing that I noticed was that I needed to add the “Header” Row so that I could understand what the data actually was… :S. With a little bit of formulas to make the data easier digestible. I was ready to go.

Now I can start to see if there is any correlation between my sleep and when I get headaches.


Filed under: FreeCodeCamp

On to the First Project

I found out about FreeCodeCamp.com back in January. I had learned some HTML and CSS previously. So, I was able to go through 90 challenges in about 2 days. But life and other things got in my way and I didn’t get back to FreeCodeCamp until last week early June. It took a little bit of remembering what I had gone through, mostly around Bootstrap since I hadn’t learned that previously. 

After getting a little quick refresher, I got to the Basic Front End Projects. These are relatively basic as the name suggests. It took me a couple hours to complete the “Build Tribute Page” Bootstrap documentation was super helpful! After finding the Jumbotron class, the project was built quickly. 

One of the rules that for the project was that you shouldn’t use any CSS or Javascript/JQuery. The project was giving me some issue to reverse engineer the test in the body. I wanted to mimic the larger margins but couldn’t use the simple Margin property in CSS.

Finally, after going through the examples on the Bootstrap website, I found the class=”col-md-8 col-md-offset-2″. I don’t fully understand the different Column options. I’m working testing that currently. BUT… I got it to look like the Example Project by Head FreeCodeCamper Quincy Larson.

My Basic Front End Project: http://codepen.io/ryanmbarger/full/QEbBrQ/

Filed under: FreeCodeCamp

Hello World – My first step towards logging my learning

Hello World – The title of all beginner programs. I’ll title this first blog along the same lines.

In an effort to document my learning process, similar to reading what Josh Kemp did over at his blog, ( http://joshuakemp.blogspot.com/ ),  I am starting this blog to help things stick in the leaky steel trap. I hope this will keep me on track and improve my writing in the process.

This blog should do 3 things for me:

  • Hold myself accountable and continue learning new things.
  • Cement the new knowledge by requiring myself to document it here.
  • Network with people smarter than myself

I’ll be starting out by working through FreeCodeCamp. I have tried learning Web Programming prevsiously but it has never stuck and I have never gotten past the basics. 

I am going to use The “Seinfeld Strategy” to keep me going. Trying using a minimum of 30 minutes a day.

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself—even when you don’t feel like it.

He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis