failing like never before


42gems Explained

I looked at my site's URL today and wondered why I chose the domain name “42gems,” and for the life of me I couldn't seem to remember why. Before I go any further, I'd like to describe how and why this site came about.

During the summer of '06, before I started my senior year in high school, I was an intern at Intel Corporation. I worked in Technology Automations and Manageability Services, a subgroup of IT. Essentially, my job was to design web applications. This of course, required that I know some sort of server-side scripting language. My manager gave me two choices, Microsoft .NET or Ruby on Rails. During that time, I knew very little about web programming, my programming experience consisted solely of c/c++, Javascript, and some HTML and CSS (of course, neither HTML or CSS are really programming languages, but I digress). However, even when I was sixteen I still had a dislike for Windows, so I chose Rails over .NET.

My internship was a dream, I was being payed to learn, payed to sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day working with a language that I actually found myself enjoying. But even after my internship was over I knew that I was still a Ruby noob (and I still am), and I wanted to continue working with the language so I thought about what kind of a project I could start working on by myself to enrich my knowledge of the language. The first semester of my senior year I did hardly anything with Ruby, until December when I realized that I had to have a business project for my Econ class the next semester. So I thought a bit, and then came to the conclusion that I should create a website using Ruby on Rails. Eventually, I settled on creating a sort of blogware, and then charging people to host their blogs. As a business project it ended up sucking (I didn't make any money, and ended up “in the red”), but I felt I did a pretty decent job on my programming overall. Fortunately, my grade was not based on how much money I made, but on the effort I put into the project, and the amount of time that I spent studying Ruby and Rails and learning how to work Apache and FastCGI, probably took more time then anyone else put into their project. Of course, I doubt anyone else in my class, especially not my teacher, (he was a little confused by what I meant by "screenshot") understood how much work I put into building my site. Nevertheless, I still got an "A" on my project.

So far, this has absolutely no reason behind why I picked the domain name “42gems,” but I'm getting there.

I had to do some deep digging through my business reports for my econ class, but I finally found my amazingly stupid explanation. I chose “42” because it was the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” (from Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), and I chose “gems” because that is the name of the packaging system used by Rails. On a scrap of old paper, I also found a few other domain names that I had thought of. In a sort of "" style, my first pick had been "" Cool eh? But someone already owned the domain name and wouldn't respond to my e-mails asking if I could buy the name off of him for twenty-five US dollars. (I thought I was giving this guy a good deal, considering he wasn't using the domain name at all. As of today, he still isn't using the domain name for any apparent purposes.)

So essentially, there really wasn't a good reason for me picking the name 42gems. I needed a domain name, and so I picked a string of letters and numbers that hadn't been used before.

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