Johnathan Lyman

My name is Johnathan Lyman. I'm an engineer at Papertrail, a huge Apple nerd and semi-regular blogger. I enjoy bubble tea way too much and find Farming Simulator relaxing.

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2014 – 2018 Johnathan Lyman. All 338 posts and 12 pages were made with and in Seattle.

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October 2015 Archives

Starting Soon:


I officially signed up last week for’s Full-stack developer bootcamp becuase I feel while I can learn a good deal of stuff on my own, I’m not going to make on my own to the level I need to be in order to make a fundamental career shift to software development that will actually still support my family.

The program doesn’t officially start until the 9th of November so I have a little over a week to go. It’ll be a long year and change and a lot of new stuff will come my way. I’ve only scratched the surface of what Ruby and Rails can do. I started a simple Rails app a couple days ago that could one day turn into the platform for any and all of my sites, if I stick to it, enough. Right now, I don’t know enough on how to make it great.

With time, I will, and as I progress the app will improve. My goal is to one day have it replace WordPress as my blog, portfolio of work, and anything else about me I feature online. I may even adapt it to restart my photography portfolio.

I’m really looking forward to what I’ll be learning in the coming months and I’ll be sure to share all of it with you.

How to Fix Misspelled Column Names in a Ruby on Rails Database


I came across a small issue this afternoon while building out one of my first Ruby on Rails apps. When I generated the database table, I misspelled a column name. Luckily for me, it’s easy enough to fix and this is how I did it.

1. Create a New Migration

At the command line from within your Rails application folder, run this:

You’ll be generating a new database migration with the name FixColumnName (which interprets to `[timestamp]_fix_column_name.rb`) inside the `db/migrate` folder inside your rails application. Open that `.rb` file and update it so it looks something like this:

`:table_name` – the name of the table in question

:old_column – the misspelled column name

:new_column – the correct column name

If you have multiple columns you need to change, introduce additional rename_column functions:

Keep in mind that after this migration, you’ll need to update your references to the column everywhere within your app.

Seems like a simple fix but as someone who’s relatively new to Ruby on Rails, this saved me a load of time figuring out what to do and preventing me from starting over.

Future Ruby on Rails Developer


“Rails Developer” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

In my hunt to figure out where I want my career to head long term, I keep coming back to the idea of software development. I’ve told stories about how I had a rare opportunity a couple years back and I didn’t take it. Well, this time I’m the one creating the opportunity.

Right now I’m working on a self-paced course through Coder Manual and I’m having a great time. However, it may be billed as a complete “bootcamp” but the next stage for me really needs to be one-on-one with a touch of free-wheeling. It’s easy to follow along and build the same stuff the instructor is building. Where the real learning takes place is when free flowing creativity starts to happen.

This is where Bloc comes in. A long-term coding bootcamp, Bloc covers front end, rails, and full stack development with the end goal of being job-ready as a junior ruby on rails developer.

I’ve considered other languages like Python, Java, Swift and Objective-C, but none of those really hit home for me what I want to do. Rails as a platform allows developers to build complex and fully-featured web applications that can do amazing things while not having to focus on the medial.

Looking forward to what’s ahead.

Returning to Morning Greatness


Yesterday I decided to shake things up a little but when it comes to my morning routine. By shake things up I mean go back to what I used to do that seemed to work so well. And by what I used to do I mean be creative.

I’ve talked about this struggle, before, but moving to California (and the effort therein) really messed up my routine. I’ve decided enough is enough and am slowly working my way back into the old swing. Yesterday, and every day before, I would get up at 8 or even sometimes 7 AM. That’s way too late in my book. My new goal is to return to my 5 AM rise time which will allow me to exercise my mind with tasks I enjoy before work.

With a cup of my home made cold brew iced coffee at my desk, today is day one of that goal. I didn’t make it at 5 AM, but I did get up early. I figure every day I can push a little bit harder.

So what inspired all this? A little site called My Morning Routine. Every Wednesday a new individual is featured on the cover and they spend a few minutes talking about their morning routine and why it’s important to them. You can follow this up with statistics on each of the routines archived and the key points to take away.

For example: did you know the average bed time for their respondants is 11:14 PM? That seems so late to me, but in reality, it’s not. It really depends on what you’re doing at that time. If I wanted to wake up at 5 AM, that may be a bit late, but in my case, 9 PM may not be.

I also found it interesting that 68% of the people featured meditate or practice yoga in some fashion. This intrigues me because of my inital success with meditation.

The stories give me some fuel to shape my own morning routine that I find to work best for me. I’ve added a bit of extra work on top from the sole fact that I’m starting this at the time of year in California when it’s dark until almost 8 AM.

Will it be hard? Probably, but the best things in life are the ones we have to work hardest for.

I look forward to documenting my progress and eventually looking back and wondering how I was able to get by with practically doing just the bare minimum to stay alive (or so it’ll likely seem).

The iMac as Told From the Inside


“When we did the previous mouse we spent so much time dialing those feet, the material, the geometry, everything, so that it sounds good and feels good when you move it on the table,” says Ternus, whose title is VP for Mac, iPad, Ecosystem and Audio Engineering. “But then you change the mass of the product and you change the resonant frequency of the product and all of a sudden the feet that we loved weren’t great anymore. They weren’t what we wanted.”

What exactly was wrong with it? I wanted to know.

“It had just changed… kind of… the sound,” says Ternus, who has been working for Apple since 2001. “They all make a noise — the question is getting a noise we like. It sounded… not right.”

Steven Levy received an exclusive view into the world of development behind Apple’s new iMacs and other hardware. It’s a super interesting read and if you’re a Mac user, a must read.



I’m always looking for new an interesting ways to stimulate my brain. I’m also always looking for new ways to clear my head when necessary.

This is where Headspace comes in. I’ve used Headspace for a total of one day as of this writing and so far, I’m pretty impressed. Only time will tell if it’ll be worth investing money in. After my first session, I did feel a bit more relaxed and “with the program.”

Headspace is free with a premium subscription option. Once you get past the first level, you need to pay, but the price is pretty affordable. Paying monthly will set you back $12.95 each month. If you pay up a year in advance, it drops to the equivalvent of $7.99 a month.

When you start using Headspace, you’re greeted by a soft spoken gentleman (his name is Andy) who first walks you through the process and how Headpsace works. Once you dive in, you’re introduced to your first ten minute session. Find a place where you won’t be bothered. You don’t necessarily have to find a quiet place, as the voiceover will help you take advantage of the noise.

You can work through the daily meditations on your computer via or on their mobile app available for all major mobile platforms.

Feel like paying? Subscribing to Headspace opens up a whole host of situation-specific meditations for things like health, mental performance, and even a series on how to improve your meditation game. One category I find the most beneficial is the SOS category of meditations. If you’re working through a troubling situation or are literally freaking out, the SOS option will help you get your head back in the game and bring your mind back down to Earth.

I won’t give away the rest but I will say that I enjoyed my first Headspace experience. I recommend you give it a shot. I think you’l enjoy it, too. Check it out at or download the iOS or Android app.

Formula E: All the Speed Without the Noise


Sometimes I wish this type of racing would come to my neck of the woods. In this video, Formula E is described as being the quietest race in the world.

So what is Formula E, exactly? It’s F1 racing with electricity-powered cars. Because they’re electric, they’re inherently much quieter. If you want a good idea of what to expect at a race like this, checkout the above video. For an idea of what a whole race is like, checkout the below video featuring the Formula E 2015 Round 7 race in Monaco.

Granted, these races are much shorter (40-60 laps), but even still, these races are still exciting and the cars zip around like that Tesla you wish you owned. Watch out for the beginning action. During the broadcast they keep track of each car’s charge levels.

I love Formula E. It’s not on TV very often here in my market (likely because F1 races typically get delegated to some of the lesser-watched Fox networks and Comcast doesn’t carry like Fox Sports 2).

Extra Life 2015


Folks, serious post here. I’m participating in Extra Life 2015 in support of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and I think it would be amazing if you donated just a few bucks. I’ll be streaming on Twitch the 24 gaming session and will be interacting with everyone.

Link to my Extra Life page.

Thanks in advance. It means a lot!

Macs Equal Fewer Helpdesk Calls


I’ve been a mac user for four years and I can honestly say that I’ve spent less time needing to maintain my systems than any Windows PC I’ve never owned.

It’s not really news that IBM rolling out the usage of Macs for its employees, but one thing that’s made at least small headlines is that after rolling out 1900 Macs a week, IBM made an announcement during a talk at the JAMF Nation User Conference that during their deployments and thereafter, the number of Mac users who’ve contacted their tech support for assistance has been several times less than their PC counterparts.

To much fanfare from the crowd, Previn said that IBM is deploying 1,900 Macs per week and currently have 130,000 Macs and iOS devices in the hands of users. And all of these devices are supported by a total of 24 help desk staff members, meaning that each staff member effectively supports 5,375 employees. One stat that particularly stood out was that 5% of Mac users call the help desk, compared to 40% of PC users.

Total Transparency


I’m a huge fan of transparency. To see BareMatrics supporting ten companies’ pushing for transparency in their business is awesome. Check out their site and see which ten startups are totally open about how they’re doing.

On Never Quitting


There seems to be a trend that occurs every few months with me when it comes to my writing. I find myself, and I lose myself, and I repeat. I battle with staying consistent every day and writing something, even if it’s not that interesting. When I first started blogging on a regular basis, I did it in the morning before work as a way to get my mind right and get focused for the day.

Now, I don’t feel like I need to do that before I go to work (my job is much more satisfying) so the time I’ve set aside to write has pretty much drifted off into space. I never came up with an alternate solution to fix this problem.

A friend of mine, maker of Desk (the minimal blogging and publishing app collection), and habitual blogger, John Saddington recently reflected on sticking with something and “showing up every day” and it really gave me the boost I need to jump start my creative juices, again.

It’s so easy for me to blame the lack of creativity when it comes to missing a day, and there were a lot of those. When I first started this blog right after New Years 2015, I was showing up and writing several thousand words a week. Within the first twelve weeks, I put down almost 60,000 words on digital blogging paper and I enjoyed it. I cranked out thoguhts and musings every weekday morning from 5-6AM and didn’t feel like I didn’t have enough time. I just sat down and wrote.

When someone who’s likely written over ten thousand blog posts (9500+ of which are on his current blog) says something like this:

continuing to move forward, personally, professionally, whatever it may be, is the most important thing that you can be doing. Creating momentum and being as confident as you can be in those few steps is life-giving, life-changing.

I pay attention. This is advice I can use not only in my side worlds, but in my personal and professional worlds, too.

So much has happened in the last couple years. I can’t wait to see what the next couple years have in store. The number of potential opportunties around me will grow and my time to jump will happen soon… I just have to continue working to reach my greatest level of awesome.

The Costs of Technology


It’s pretty common knowledge that the cost of technology goes down over time, but there’s one category, as highlighted by Buisness Insider in this rather impressive graphic, that’s actually become more expensive.

The top line (green if you’re color blind) is the cable/satellite/radio category. What I’m not sure of is if this category covers Internet as well.

There are two things I know for sure:

  1. There’s less Internet and television competition in the United States than there should be.
  2. I’m paying less than I did a few years ago.

Regarding that second point: I may be in the minority, and I probably know more than the average person on how to land the best deal possible on my information services. Part of me wonders if increasing royalties (radio) and retransmissions fees (aka broadcast network greed) are just blindly being passed on to consumers. It wouldn’t surprise me.

The only way Internet prices go down is via competition. I live in an area that may someday have Google Fiber (it’s on the list of “potential” cities) and as such, Comcast charges me $135/month for roughly 175mbps of download bandwidth and 220 channels on TV including HBO, Streampix, DVR service, and whatever else that all comes with. In essence, I’m paying $67.50 a month for a 175mbps Internet connection. While Google Fiber would cost roughly $70 for the same basic prospect and raise the limit to 1000mbps, it would be hard to take advantage of that full speed without spending several hundred extra dollars to upgrade my WiFi hardware to match.

Needless to say, also, is that I shouldn’t have to get 220 cable channels to get that kind of price for Internet, but I do. I enjoy watching TV so in my case I get my money’s worth. Cord cutting would cost more, every month (by around +$20) and would come with siloed content services.

Without getting too far off course, we still shouldn’t be seeing the overall price of these services rising. It doesn’t matter the reason. If something’s moving the market in a direction that’s affecting profits, figure out how to make your service more appealing to the mass market, again, don’t just programatically raise rates to counteract and keep those coffins padded with C-notes.

Become a Genius


We all want to be smarter. Thomas Oppong put together a list of 33 Web sites that we all can use to become geniuses.

“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

A few of my favorites from his list:

  1. University of the People – having educational opportunities that reach beyond online video courses is fantastic.
  2. Coursera – this one is always on every list I make regarding top educational resources.
  3. Investopedia – knowing more about how the markets work and personal finance can never be a bad thing.
  4. Mental Floss – great for learning about some of the cooler topics science, culture, and society.
  5. In a Nutshell – while not technically on the list, this YouTube channel put together by some german graphic artists covers a wide array of topics in a way anyone can understand, with awesome visuals.
  6. C.G.P. Grey – also not technically on the list, however as an educational YouTube resource, Grey tops that list, if there is one.

Check out the rest of Thomas’ list if you’re curious. I recommend you check out every link he listed.

Enemies Considered


Have I not destroyed my enemy when I have made him into my friend? ~ Abraham Lincoln

So often we spend all of our time trying to literally destroy our enemies and fail to understand that while it may feel good in the short term to have conquered someone with negativity, we’re just terrible people.

It’s easy to say that while not in the heat of the moment, and sure, words slip from time to time. The point is that using words to put someone down—accidentally or otherwise—didn’t just happen by chance.

Instead of using all this energy to bring someone down to your level or below, why not lift them up? There may be a reason why you dislike an individual today, but that reason may not exist for ever.

There are actions that once committed lead to irreversable consiquences, and in those cases, it’s wise to just move on without that person in or around your life.

For everyone else, you might be surprised how easy it is to defeat your enemies by becoming friends with them. You might find that whatever was bothering you about them wasn’t actually that bad, after all.

Psychological Life Hacks


Every time we meet or communicate with someone, be it face to face, over the phone (who does that anymore), text message, email, Skype, etc., we have a fresh opportunity to make the best of the situation.

High Existence has a great article listing 25 “life hacks” to make the most of social situations. Number eight is key for me. I’m terrible at remembering names. Number 12 is so true, too.

The key in all this isn’t to necessarily dominate in a conversation, but to use certain things, triggers, the environment, and each others strengths and weaknesses to your advantage.

I’ll admit there are quite a few in this article that I could learn and use in my own life.

Re-Invent High School


Going to keep this one simple: I wish High School had prepared me for real life. High School never taught me:

  • Real money management
  • Taxes
  • Real job search skills
  • Computer engineering
  • Neutral views on social issues

You know what I did learn? A lot about the past. It seemed like every class taught me stuff that people discovered a long time ago, but not how it was relevant to the present day. Homer wrote some books and some mathematical equations were discovered quite some time ago, but how can I apply this to real life, the life that’s in the present?

When I find out, I’ll tell you, because high school didn’t.

XQ, The Super School Project aims to reinvent the high school and make it something that can acutally teach kids what’s relevant for today’s world. We’re not just talking about stuff like how to program. Learning [subject] is important, but not in the context of memorization and anecdotal fact memorization (the current method); [subject] is important in the context of how it can be applied today, right now. What about Greek Mythology can I use right now, to do something or make an advancement in my career or society?

Also a good question.



In just a week, we pack up and head south. When we moved to the Bay Area, we needed a place to land in short notice. Now, we’re “moving up” in terms of location. Looking forward to being so close to some of the greatest tech companies.

Starting Ruby on Rails


I’ve started learning Ruby on Rails. One thing I want for myself in the next year or so is to do more software development. As an added bonus, if my career shifted into that type of work, I wouldn’t mind.

I chose Rails because of it’s completeness. It’s not just a language—ruby is the language. It’s a complete framework for building any kind of web app you can think of.

I have a lot of ideas on web apps I want to build and some of them could turn into real things that could make money. In order to be able to do that, though, I have to have a platform to build upon. I think Rails is it.

Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
blogging, design, technology, software, development, gaming, photography