What computer should I get?

If you work in tech then I’m sure you are familiar with the question of “what computer should I get” and outside of “will you fix my printer” it’s probably the one I get asked most often.

What you might find odd is I am a software developer building web applications. I honestly don’t keep up with hardware at all and as long as my computer turns on, is quick, and can run my text editor then I’m happy.

But I know many don’t understand and assume it’s like asking a mechanic which car to buy. So if we take that analogy to heart, then I would tell you to buy an iPad.

iPad’s are affordable, easy to secure, easy to update, and with the recent iOS releases they can do almost everything a laptop or desktop can do. Honestly, I’d use an iPad for everything if I could figure out how to build web applications on it.

The only trouble you might encounter is with printing, you will need a printer that can be setup and managed wirelessly. Just search for “AirPrint printer” or “iPad printer” on Amazon and you can find a bunch that will work.

If you are unsure of which iPad to buy I’d recommend checking out the Macrumors buying guide and seeing which has been recently released, and what’s reaching the end of life.

After you’ve decided on the size and model I recommend you get at 128GB of storage. On the just-released iPad, the default is 32GB and I’m sure you’ll fill it up.

Finally, consider paying the $0.99 a month for more iCloud storage that way everything automatically backs up and you don’t have to worry about it.

Old Racing Pictures

Growing up my family would travel somewhere in the southeast every weekend to race motocross. This went on from the early 1990’s to around 2002 when I eventually quit racing.

I have so many great memories from that time of my life and met some amazing people along the way. Last week my dad was rummaging through some boxes and found a few pictures of me racing and I decided to share them on social media.

One of my old racing buddies seen it and it reminded him that he had a bunch of photos of me and we shared contact info and then today I received about a dozen he had.

All of these are from when I was around 13 to 15 which means they are all about 20 years old. It’s hard to believe that they haven’t been thrown out.

I know for him these were probably in the attic and forgotten about but I was very excited when I seen them arrive. These are from a time before selfies and Instagram and I don’t have a ton of photos from back then.

It’s great when you are reminded of the good in the world when so much of what we see and read is negative.

AeroPress Recipes

AeroPress was invented back in 2005 and a few years ago it felt to me like it hit critical mass and everyone was using them.  I finally decided to get one for making quick cups of coffee but in my first few attempts, my results have been fairly lackluster. I talked to some friends, mainly Chris Gmyr, and he started telling me some tips as well as several recipes to make it better and I wanted to document all the recommendations here in one place.

Inverted Method

The first method that I’ve heard several people talk about is what they call the “inverted method” and here is a great site with full instructions including pictures. I’ve copied and pasted them below for a quick reference.

  • Grind 17g of Coffee (about as fine as table salt)
  • Boil 270g of water (195-205F range)
  • Insert the plunger into the Aeropress, filter-side up.
  • Add your coffee and pour enough water to submerge the beans (about 34g).
  • Stir so no grounds are left dry.
  • Wait 20 seconds.
  • Fill with your remaining water.
  • Your grounds should be about a quarter inch from the top.
  • Stir again if you think your grounds aren’t fully immersed.
  • Wait 1 minute.
  • Attach your filter to the top and place your mug on top of that. After placing one hand on the vessel and one on the Aeropress, smoothly turn the combination upside-down.
  • Gently press straight down on your plunger for about 20 seconds. You will know when to stop when you hear a hissing sound.

Standard Method

The next method is what you might consider the standard and was the winning entry in the AeroPress championship

  • Grind 17 grams of coffee
  • Boil 277ml of water
  • “No bloom! Just a low and slow pour and a low and slow press.”

Outside of these recipes I also learned that using fresh coffee beans is key, and to always grind just before you brew as ground beans start going stale after 15 mins. Use filtered water from your fridge, and finally rinse your paper filter before you start.

As a complete coffee noob, all these are new to me and hopefully, it helps someone in the future. I know coffee is something many people are passionate about and if you have anything to add, sound off in the comments below.

Featured Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Basecamping With Friends

A few months ago I had a conversation with a few online friends about writing and after a few hours of the back and forth we decided to start a Slack group where we could all have a place to communicate, ask for feedback, and hang out.

A few weeks later and I decided to switch all my Laravel News stuff over to Basecamp because I was losing track of things and wanted to unify everything. That move went so flawless that I decided to pitch everyone on the idea of moving our group over to a new Basecamp project and to my surprise everyone agreed to give it a go.

It’s been about 21 days since the move and Basecamp is excellent for this. We use Campfire to communicate throughout the day, the automated check-ins to share and cheer each other on, and finally the message board for those more extended questions that need to be thought out vs. an instant chat reply.

Right now it has about eight people in it, and I love how it has all the tools available to make a little private community and still have important features like the “latest activity” where I can ignore everything during the workday and checkup on my time without always having to feel like I’m missing something.

The only downside, of course, is the price but if you can afford it, then I’d recommend it. I don’t ever want to go back to what I had before with everything scattered everywhere.

Every Busy Two Lane Interstate in America

Both lanes packed with cars as far as you can see and there is always that one person on the inside lane going a hundred miles an hour trying jump in the tiny gap before they crash into the back of the slower car.

Of course, I’m guilty myself and trying to change by remembering that taking risks like this only save you a few minutes at best. The risk/reward is stacked heavily against you.

How to Keep Going – Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon giving a talk on 10 things to stay creative in our chaotic times:

  1. Every day is Groundhog Day
  2. Build a bliss station
  3. Forget the noun, do the verb
  4. Make gifts
  5. The ordinary + extra attention = the extraordinary
  6. Art is for life
  7. You are allowed to change your mind
  8. When in doubt, tidy up
  9. The demons hate fresh air
  10. Spend time on something that will outlast them

On Social Media,​ A Chronological Feed is Never Coming Back

I joined Twitter almost a decade ago and it’s changed a lot over the years. In the beginning, you’d see the fail whale more than you should, they added official support for retweets, likes, and offended all 3rd party developers multiple times.

One of the worst moves for me was where they added the, “you may have missed” section at the top of the feed. In fact, this alone annoyed me enough to stay with Tweetbot.

I’ve been adamant that a chronological feed is the right answer and everyone should embrace it, but this year I made a change in how I use Twitter and I started following more people. Previously I kept my total following count to around 150, and if I followed someone that posted a bunch I would unfollow or mute. Now I’m currently at 326 and the feed is unusable. Every time I go back to check it says I have 100’s of unread and I don’t have time for that, so I just scroll to the top, read around ten, then close it and go on about my business.

Unless everyone decides to follow a very select 50 to 100 people the stream is unusable and it just can’t adapt to a constant flow of 300+ people. So the ranked and weighted feed is the only way to show you highlights and keep you sane.