Being a maker during a Pandemic

I have been involved in the maker community for a few years now. I really enjoy makerspaces because it gives me both something to do, new things to learn and lots of interesting people to meet.

Now that COVID-19 is happening, the hackerspace that I belong to is no longer open to the public. They did close for members for a while too, but have recently started allowing members only to use the space again. This means that I can no longer attend open make night, board game night, random outings to the hackerspace to work on things.

This made me sad. It really did. I’ve had the most social stuff that I do taken away from me. It looks to me like it will be at least a year before things get back to normal. I decided early on that I was still going to make. Of the 3 things I love about the makerspaces, I’m going to have something to do, I’m going to continue to learn things and I’m going to become one of those interesting people that I love to meet.

I came across something called Hackerboxes. Now I love subscription boxes. Well, not quite, I love to subscribe to them at some discounted rate and then cancel future boxes. Hackerboxes so far is different, I want to keep getting more projects. I got a starter kit and a Defcon exclusive right out the gate, then subscribed for some more fun down the road. The starter kit came with a soldering iron and some other necessery items to begin my journey, but lacked other things that I think really should have been in there, like protective eye wear.

The Defcon exclusive box I got was Best of Visions. So far I’ve made the WOPR badge (very cool!), the fidget spinner – which I broke 🙁 and next I’m making the glowing cube. I’m very excited about the glowing cube, it will probably take a while to put together, so I wanted to put some time and effort into getting better with soldering before I attempted that one.

Now that I’ve been doing the Hackerboxes for a hot minute, I’ve realized that the soldering iron that I recieved does not heat up as high as I need it to. It goes up to 500F. I made many very sad soldering messes with that soldering iron since it wasn’t getting hot enough to melt the solder. I did some Googling and figured out that Weller is like THE NAME in soldering. So I decided I’d get me one of those. I looked around and found the most gorgeous looking soldering station. Oooh whee it’s so pretty. It’s like a light teal blue color, it doesn’t even seem like something that would be sitting on an electronic bench.

I did make some badges I got from the Tampa Hackerspace, they had some leftover badges from the Tampa Maker Faire. Enjoy a viewing of me putting together a badge on TikTok.


Soldering a Maker Faire Tampa Badge. ##solder ##hacker ##maker ##tampahackerspace

♬ Næsta Skref – Daði Freyr

I’m hoping to continue this journey of learning about electronics, soldering, hacking things and just in general improving my knowledge of how things work.

I’m also creating a home lab. I will probably write about that as well in another post, but I have a ServerIron server (she’s a beaut!) and I’m setting up a Kali box and other things as well. So yes, pandemic for me means learning and expanding my mind and skills 🙂

ET out.

Request me to be your tutor

If you happen to be in a Full Stack coding Bootcamp powered by Trilogy Education Services and are in need of a tutor, then please read on.

I am a Senior tutor, I have been through the same Bootcamp you are going through, graduated from it in 2016 and have 3 years of working experience since then. You can request me to be your tutor, by putting in a request in with your Student Success Manager. Tell them you want Edna Jonsson as your tutor.

There are a lot of tutors that are available and as such, I have been working on standing out, however, if nobody knows I’m here, then I’m not getting requested as their tutor. Which is why I wanted to tell you what makes me great.

Not only do I know the material forward and backwards, I have done every single assignment that you have done and are going to go through, I know which parts are tricky and how to organize your code. Most importantly, I know how fast paced this course is and how difficult it is from experience.

I have an easy to use scheduling system with lots of available times, you can preview it on and once a session is scheduled, I send you a confirmation e-mail 24 hours ahead of time, as well as the scheduling system will send you a text message 2 hours before the session time to remind you of your session.

I really love what I do, I have upgraded my tools to make my students experience better. I use a pro subscription to Calendly, I have upgraded my headset and I have a microphone that is of the same quality used for podcasts or professional video recording, I have two additional cameras. I won’t use my built in camera, the video quality of it is too grainy. I also try to work on making my knowledge base better, I try to find better ways to explain concepts that are challenging, I keep copious notes and I look at how others explain the same concepts I’m teaching.

But don’t just take it from me. Here is what some of my prior students have to say about me.

“Edna assisted me with gaining a better understanding on some things I was confused with.”

“Edna was great and very knowledgeable.”

“Edna is great, very patient and explains topics well.”

“Edna demonstrated that she genuinely wants to help me further my understanding of whatever material I present and I appreciate her honest appraisal”

“Edna was great! She helped me a lot by breaking down what was happening with functions, for loops, and objects.”

If you want a quality tutor, one who works with you to make sense of the material, helps you find resources to continue your studies and is your cheerleader. You can request to get me as your tutor.

I’m a JavaScript girl who really likes C

I have a confession. I’m a JavaScript girl who really likes the C programming language. I took a boot camp and learned all about JS, because I thought that C was scary, I also thought that C was a not so useful programming language any more. Well, I’m going with the line from Home Alone, “I’m not afraid anymore”.

Home alone Not afraid anymore

I’m picking up C and it’s going swimmingly.

I am dabbling with the course CS50 on edX and it’s quite exciting.

I really how we write #include <stio.h> and how I have to point my pointers somewhere and deal with memory, it’s like all the things I don’t have to think about, I’m becoming more aware of. There’s more going on under the hood and I’m really digging it.

The C Programming Language book cover

If you want to come join me, the course is called CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science and is available for free on edX.

They have other languages as well further in the course, Python and JavaScript. I’m half tempted to go jump to those and knock them out of the way since I already know those languages and they’re low hanging fruit for me, but I’m being good and staying on track.

cs50 Problem Sets

I already have plans for the final project and will be working on that as I make my way through the course. It’s called Service Dog Log, it’s a logging application for dog training, specifically aimed to be of assistance to the service dog community, but will be able to be used by anyone training their dog. It will track a dogs progress over time, encourage the user to keep training their dog(s) and give helpful suggestions for training your dog.

Connecting Eat Da Burger to JawsDB on Heroku

Steps to setting up the Node/Express/MySQL app EatDaBurger on Heroku with a working database.

My code for this app is located at Github
I’ve deployed this app using these steps to Heroku

Screenshot of Eat the burger MySQL application

Step 1.

Add a .env file, which you will use to get the process.env variable from for your MySQL database. Also add the .env file to your .gitignore. You don’t want to add your database credentials to GitHub or anywhere else on the internet where it can be grabbed.
echo .env >> .gitignore
There’s more information on getting JawsDB set up at

Inside your .env file set the JAWSDB_URL equal to your MySQL string you get from JawsDB, you can get this information from or from the running the command heroku config:get JAWSDB_URL


Step 2.

Inside your connection file add this to connect with JawsDB if it’s online or localhost if you’re on your machine

var mysql = require('mysql');

var connection;
if (process.env.JAWSDB_URL) {
    // Database is JawsDB on Heroku
    connection = mysql.createConnection(process.env.JAWSDB_URL);
} else {
    // Database is local
    connection = mysql.createConnection({
        port: 3306,
        host: 'localhost',
        user: 'root',
        password: '',
        database: 'nameOfYour_db'

var mysql = require('mysql');

Step 3.

Set up db connection to your JawsDB in MySQL workbench.
Use your JawsDB credentials to sign into MySQL workbench, then open up a SQL editior.
Inside the SQL editor, make sure you’re using your JawsDB database, by running the USE command.

USE jawsDBname;

Once you’re inside your database, using your JawsDB databse, then run your SQL commands in MySQL workbench.
Now your app should be working within a couple of minutes.

Extra Step. If error.

If you’re getting error H13.
Whenever your app experiences an error, Heroku will return a standard error page with the HTTP status code 503. To help you debug the underlying error, however, the platform will also add custom error information to your logs. Each type of error gets its own error code, with all HTTP errors starting with the letter H and all runtime errors starting with R. Logging errors start with L.

I looked up the heroku error code, which you can read yourself, which wasn’t that helpful in solving the problem.

These two articles were helpful.

Here’s what you need to do. Inside your server.js file, add a timeout. I grabbed a timed out function, then it has to be called after your app.use statements.

// Timeout

function haltOnTimedout(req, res, next) {
    if (!req.timedout) next();

I hope this has been helpful, if you have questions, leave me a comment.

I’m starting a YouTube Channel

I’m starting a YouTube channel. It’s a project I want to do with my kids, I’ve been wanting to do introductory coding videos for kids and beginners for a while now. My girls, I have twin girls by the way, want to help me out and get this channel started together. One is going to be talking about birds. She wants to become an ornithologist (expert on birds). The other one wants to be behind the camera and help with editing and filming. She’s really interested in photography. This is going to be a great mother/daughter bonding project.

Screenshot of Edna's youtube channel showing no content has been posted
Much thinking and planning before we will get our Channel going…

It’s kind of hard trying to figure out where to start though. We also don’t have a lot of fancy equipment (Santa… help?) so it will be shot with the iPhone camera and held by our trusty camerawoman and maybe we’ll put together some lamps for lighting. Ok, well the first video is always the hardest, right?

We have set a goal. We are going to get 10 subscribers by the end of the year 2018. Let’s do this! Yeah.

Touching up old Coding Boot camp assignments

I started working as a tutor for Trilogy, the company behind coding boot camps in Universities all over the United States and now internationally. As I’m helping students working through challenges that I’ve had to overcome myself, I’ve decided to pick up old homework assignments and make some improvements.

It’s pretty neat to go through and add features that just make the projects better, a lot of it is small stuff, for example adding sounds to the trivia game to indicate success or failure on the guesses or improving the train time to display the current time as if you were looking at a train schedule board at a train station. I also disabled letters in hangman so that the user wouldn’t be guessing the same one over and over.

It’s a lot of little stuff, but I think it makes my projects look more polished and it shows that I put some thought into it.

I also found out that my repo for Psychic game shows up #1 on Github if you search for a psychic game, so that was pretty neat. Several of my students for tutoring have told me that they’ve read my code before they were assigned to me, so it’s kind of neat that they already know I know my stuff before we get started together.

Edna’s Psychic-Game showing up as #1 on GitHub

What was coding boot camp like? Part 2

This is the second part of answering questions about my boot camp experience. Make sure you also check out What was coding boot camp like? Part 1.

I enrolled in coding boot camp in February 2016 and I started at the end of March 2016. It was a 6 month long, part time boot camp at University of Central Florida. I wanted to answer some of the common questions that I get often from prospective students who want to know my point of view.

Logo text reads, UCF coding boot camp offers the only university based coot camp in Florida

What coding knowledge did you have before starting the boot camp?

Almost none. I had watched the YouTube videos of CS50 at Harvard and I had also done a little HTML and CSS editing, but I had not written a function, I could conceptually understand how a program ran, but I really was a noob.

I’m in college and I’m considering dropping out to attend boot camp. Should I do it?

Umh, I’m not your mom. (And yes I actually have been asked this question).

My thoughts on the matter are this, if you haven’t gotten your Bachelor’s degree and you won’t be getting a ton of student loans from going to college, stay in college. A Bachelors degrees is required for many software engineering jobs, even if it’s not in software engineering. I’m not able to help you evaluate your specific situation. The boot camp has admissions advisers you can talk to, you can talk to the guidance department at your college and also to friends and family, but I’m just a stranger on the internet, I’m not going to tell you to drop out of college.

Do you think the program was worth it?

YES!!! For me it definitely was. I would not have been able to learn as much as I did in such a short time period if it wasn’t for the boot camp, the curriculum and the staff was amazing. I definitely got my money’s worth.  Does that mean that you will get your money’s worth? I don’t know. It depends on how committed you are. I have a “Successful Coding Boot camp experience formula“, it is up to you if you’re going to have the same successful experience. If you set your mind to it, you will be able to accomplish a lot in a short time period.

I wanted to get a college degree in programming, but I didn’t have the luxury of time and the money to do it. I was going through major life changes at the time when I found the boot camp. I was hired at the largest insurance company in Florida as a software engineer two months after graduating from the boot camp. That is incredible to me, it’s such a life altering step. So YES, the boot camp was definitely worth it.

Should I read any books?

The boot camp I went through didn’t require any books and in fact recommended to stay away from them as it might confuse you. I would say, if you think of them as reference books, get

  1. HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites
  2. JavaScript and jQuery: Interactive Front-End WEb Development

But really, if you want to get a book, get a book. If you’re not in a boot camp, I’d say any way you want to learn to code, is up to you. The more exposure you have to code and coding concepts the better. Do what works for you.


Do you have questions that you’d like me to answer in a future blog post? Go to my Contact page, fill out the form and let me know what’s on your mind.

What was coding boot camp like? Part 1

I enrolled in coding boot camp in February 2016 and I started at the end of March 2016. It was a 6 month long, part time boot camp at University of Central Florida. I wanted to answer some of the common questions that I get often from prospective students who want to know my point of view.

Logo text reads, UCF coding boot camp offers the only university based coot camp in Florida

What was the most challenging project?

The final project was the most challenging, I spent so many hours trying to learn Angular and figuring out how to do things like user login and authentication. I used up all the office hours I could to get help, I got one session of tutoring and I used a service called Hackhands to get extra help. I was getting really frustrated because when I went to get help, I would spend time on such basic things like folder structure that I wasn’t seeing much difference on the page, but I didn’t realize at the time how important getting basic things like folder structure right would be.

What was the most challenging homework assignment?

I think all the homework assignments were tough, they are meant to challenge you. The one that brought me closest to tears was early on in the program, it’s called Hangman. We had a recommended assignment and then an alternative that is an easier assignment. I now recommend anyone going through the boot camp to do the easier assignment, if you can finish that in a couple of days do the recommended assignment. These assignments are tough and when you start this program with no coding experience, trying to do even the easier assignment is a real challenge.

What helped the most?

Creating habits where I was constantly coding helped me enormously. I can’t recommend enough having set time every week that you spend coding and also if you can try to do it with someone else who is on a similar level to you. I was working full time, going to boot camp part time and coding every minute that I could in between. I think what kept me motivated was that one of the TA’s, Victor, created a workshop for the students that were interested in extra challenges. He not only came up with additional material to compliment the boot camp lessons, he created coding challenges for us to solve, for example he wrote code and had big blanks in it that had to be filled out in order for the program to work. Having someone who was that invested in helping me succeed really kept me going and I wanted to make sure I was not wasting his time when I came to those workshops.

Are there any outside resources that you used to help you learn?

I did get a subscription to Code School, which has now been acquired and adopted into the Pluralsight platform. I also would read documentation, watch YouTube videos and I would use Mozilla’s Developer docs a lot.


I wrote the second part to this, go check out Part 2

Why are you Princess Code Warrior?

I was working at Florida Blue, as a junior software engineer, the department I was in was being built and we were adding new teams frequently and were being shuffled around. We had one person who was cared a lot about titles who wanted a new title and a raise, that was not something that was available to him, so that person made the ultimatum either I get the title or I leave. That person ended up leaving. Our IT department manager came and talked to us, said that we could have whatever title we wanted to as long as we did the work.

On the spot I asked if the title Princess Code Warrior was available. He said yes. Since then I have kept the title Princess Code Warrior.

To me that title means that I’m a woman, a developer and I’m going to do my best to overcome my coding challenges. I’m going to work hard and I’m going to keep learning. I intend to be in this field for the rest of my working career, so I’m going to make it an awesome one.

Logo Princess Code Warrior with a pink crown on top of the text