Farewell 2018

Daily Log Book

When you are a kid each year feels like a century, when you are an adult each year feels like a month.

The photo is of my daily log book and it’s a great time to start one. You can find this particular one on Amazon but any notebook will do.

Paperlike iPad Screen Protector Review

After spending some time on the iPad one annoying problem I had was the fingerprints on the screen. I tried everything to keep it clean but it was a loosing battle. Finally, I decided enough was enough and went searching for screen protectors and found one named PaperLike.

It’s marketing page said it makes your iPad feel more like paper when you are writing and drawing with the pencil, but it also acts as a screen protector, reduces glare, and prevents fingerprints.

It’s fairly expensive at $33 and I was hesitant to buy it. Before spending the money I asked on social media and a few people chimed in saying how good it was. So that was the tipping point for me to get it. Based on my searching around for reviews I did see some forum threads where people said you can get other screen protectors that work almost as good, but I think about the old motto, “buy it nice, or buy it twice”.

It took a few days for delivery and it arrived in a cardboard package ready to take out and use. I watched their video tutorial and starting the install process. It was actually pretty easy to install, but you have to be very careful about dust. I have one spot where I left a piece of dust and PaperLike now has a bubble around that spot. Luckily they included an extra in the package so I can try again later.

In those first two minutes I felt like I had a totally new device. The best way I can describe it is imagine your iPad is a bright yellow Lamborghini. It’s shiny, it demands attention. After installing PaperLike the bright yellow Lamborghini turns into a flat black edition.

Lambo’s found via Google Image search

It tones down the brightness, reduces glare, and for me it is just a better iPad experience. It feels easier on my eyes.

So far all of those features are secondary to what it’s really designed for, and that is writing with the pencil. I wouldn’t say it’s really paper like, but it does have more drag on the tip of the pencil. So writing is more life like. It is definitely an improvement over the glass screen, but for me the anti glare and zero finger prints make it worth the money. The writing experience is just a bonus.

At the end of the day I totally recommend this product and I can see myself buying it every time I get a new device. For more information and for buying information head over to the PaperLike website.

My 2018 – A Look Back

The last week of the year is when everyone seems to be writing and publishing their own year in review posts and it seems like a great opportunity for me to spend a few minutes looking back on my year.


I started out 2018 doing a mountain bike race in January called the Whole Enchilada, which is basically riding all the trails at the USNWC, about 25 miles. My goal was to finish the race but I failed. I didn’t have the legs nor the energy to do the last trail. From this I decided I was going to step up my riding so I could complete it in 2019.

I felt like I was on track but then I crashed last month and broke my hand. I’ll be out of commission for at least another two months so it’s quit unfortunate that I will not even get to enter the one thing I was pushing myself toward.

Outside of the mountain biking I bought a gravel bike and did my first half century and also rode it to the lake a few days and worked from a hammock.

I plan to do more of that once the weather warms back up and my hand heals.


At the end of 2017 I decided I wanted to get back into blogging and made an internal goal to maintain a streak of blogging everyday for the month of January.

I continued that streak until March and then really slacked off June through September, then picked up again October.

Publishing Schedule

Publishing everyday was a challenge but the one nice side effect is it forced me to look around at everything for content ideas. Of course, the downside is by posting so often I never had time to really sit down and write in depth pieces, but that is never my style. I like to be a curator which fits perfectly with quick posts.

For 2019 I do want to continue blogging and try to force myself out of just tweeting when I have something to say.


In 2018 I had a busy year making things. First I work full time for UserScape and then run Laravel News on the side. Those two take up many hours a week. Outside of these I helped run Laracon Online, LaraJobs, I created Laravel Events, and of course published the Laravel Newsletter almost every Sunday.


Outside of biking and breaking my hand I also had Lasik at the end of November and it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself. It’s hard for me to describe going from always wearing glasses to not even thinking about them. It’s really amazing laying in bed and not having the frames dig into your head, or exercising and not having to worry about them slipping off.

I also kept a daily log book for the first time ever and looking back through it is pretty cool. I like being able to flip through the pages and remember the day. That’s not something I’ve been able to duplicate digitally. Yeah

Farewell 2018

That about sums up my year and I’m looking forward to 2019. I have a few big plans that I hope to accomplish and a lot of little things. Hopefully, I’ll keep myself accountable and focused on the positive things.

Best of luck to you in 2019!

My Strava Stats 2018

I always love the end of the year stats that companies send out based on your data. The video above is from Strava condensing all my workouts this year into a sub 2 minute video. Love it.

If you are also into tracking workouts with Strava give me a follow and once I’m over my broken hand I’ll be logging my 2019 rides. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put in even more miles.

Books I read in 2018

According to Goodreads, this year I read 9,544 pages across 28 books and that is down from the 38 books I read in 2017.

This year I wasn’t consistent in my reading. I would read everyday for a few months, then skip a month, then come back. I think a big reason for that was because I rode my bicycle more than ever after work and I was just ready for bed, so I would skip reading.

Either way I’m excited to share my list below on the ones I completed this year. It was a decent mixture of business, classics, and fiction. These are not rated or ranked, but are only books I finished so, in my opinion, they are good. At least good enough to keep me engaged and entertained.

Business / Work

Personal Finance

Modern Fiction



Royal Kludge RK61 Mechanical Keyboard Review

I’m not sure there is anything more satisfying than a loud clicky keyboard when writing. For me it a mechanical keyboard has a nostalgic feel and brings me back to the typewriter days.

Earlier this year I got my first mechanical keyboard and it’s been great but I’m a little disappointed in the size. I thought going bigger with the keypad would be better but it’s just so big.

As I started working more on the iPad I wanted something much smaller and started researching cheap small keyboards. I didn’t want to make the same mistake again of buying the wrong size and I found this Royal Kludge RK61 for only $40. Surprising it had good reviews, works with bluetooth, and blue keys for ultimate noise.

Before we continue I think we need to talk briefly about the name of this product. Who thought it would be a good idea to name it “Kludge”? Then again I bought it, so what does that say about me.

It’s a 61 key keyboard and when I ordered it I assumed it’d be the same as the Apple iPad Smart Keyboard. It is almost the same width, but the arrow keys are shared with other important keys. For example, the up arrow is shared with a slash (/) and the question mark (?). This has been my biggest annoyance.

It features an orange backlight and the brightness is adjustable as well as the color pattern. It can tho from constant on, to waves, to off.

Name aside this keyboard is really nice, especially for the price. If you are looking to add a small portable mechanical keyboard to your arsenal, for the price it would make a great one to get started with.

You can pick it up in black or white on Amazon for $39.99 at the time of this writing.

New Year Planning

I use Basecamp for all the communication related to Laravel News and inside it I have a private group chat with a few friends and for the most part it’s a low key way to stay up to date with each other and cheer for each other. Today the following question was asked:

How do you guys plan to finish out the year so you can have the best possible start to 2019?

I thought the answers was inspiring and I wanted to share them.

I like to try to use December to clear any roadblocks out for the next year either mental or real and I pick between 1-3 goals for the year.

I usually just write up a year in review post in Day One app, then do another with the new year goals.

I typically write each of my kids a letter about them for the year, summarize 2018 in my journal, and usually those exercises trigger my mind of my goals for the next year

Do you have an end of year routine that you follow? Let me know in the comments below.

First impressions of a developer going full time on an iPad

Since breaking my hand I’ve been trying to find an ideal workflow using the iPad as a primary device and today marks my first complete week doing it. Bellow are some of my quick observations.

First, iOS apps that only open links in their web view can die in a fire. I’ve never been so frustrated at clicking links then not being logged in, then hitting open in Safari only to open the same login page again. Loosing the place I originally wanted to visit.

I know many developers can’t get enough screen real estate but I love the tiny screen. Running every app with no choice but full screen is awesome. Sure you can do full screen on the Mac but it isn’t as smooth. I’ve never felt so focused by having everything except what I’m working on out of sight.

I’ve embraced learning Vim and I set up a dev server, so I just ssh into it, and do all my work. It is surprisingly smooth and feels snappy. The only downside is I can’t find a console for frontend debugging anywhere. Luckily for me this week has been doing a lot of bug fixes and pull requests, so I’ve been able to get by but that is going to be a problem if I can’t find a solution.

The battery life is amazing. I’m working 8 hours then doing Laravel News tasks at night and still going to bed with 20-30% battery life left. I could never get this out of my MacBook.

I originally got the Apple Pencil for drawing cartoons, but it’s been surprisingly useful as a point and click mouse.

As I said in the opening these are my quick obsverations after spending a week with it as my primary machine, and I’ll write more about my development workflow next week when I’ve spent more time with it.

Refactoring For Prose

I’ve worked with a lot of legacy applications and one thing that I have seen many times is small things that are confusing. For example, I recently came across some code that looked like this:

if ($foo) {

    $noAction = true;

} else {

    $noAction = false;


That is pretty straightforward and easy to grasp. But what comes next is where the problem lies:

if (! $noAction) {



If we read this as a sentence it says, “if not no action” and most of us struggle figuring out what the double negative translates too. It’s not something that we encounter very often in English so when we see it our brains turn to mush.

From my experience things like this are common in older procedural code because you are defining the variable so far away from the use that it either morphed into the current style over time, or the variable is used in several different contexts and this was the path of least resistance when it was originally coded.

While you are coding try to think through things like you are writing prose. In this example, maybe something as simple as renaming the variable to $doAction would be sufficient.

if ($foo) {

    $doAction = false;

} else {

    $doAction = true;


if($doAction) {



In my opinion reading “if do action” is much clearer and easy to grasp.

Breaking Routines

There are very few classes from college that I remember, and out of the ones I do remember, only one I’ve thought about since and that was personal finance. At the time, it was a required class for the degree I pursued and I wasn’t very excited about it.

My parents taught me about the basics of money. Stay away from credit cards, spend less than your paycheck, and try to make money work for you through investing. So I assumed any personal finance class would be boring, but I was wrong.

On the first day the instructor went through the normal first day routines, then started telling us his story. I was amazed at how frugal this guy was, and he was blowing my mind.

A few days into the semester he had us all calculate our net worth and shared back the typical observation. The class had a lot of older students and most had the majority of their net worth was from their home.

This lead his teaching back to being frugal as a way to increase your net worth and he said something to the effect of…

I want each of you to go home and switch the direction of your toilet paper.

I remember hearing audible gasps from the class. I had no idea people cared that much about the direction. It blew my mind so much that it engrained that memory so deep into my brain that I still think about it.

It’s a really smart idea and a great challenge. If you can’t accept the discomfort on something this small how are you going to say no to that $6 morning coffee?

Programming on an iPad

Since breaking my hand I’ve been struggling to find a workflow that really suits me, but one thing that I’ve found extremely helpful is the autocomplete and predictive typing from iOS. It’s been really helpful in quick communications like email, slack, Twitter, etc.. Plus the keyboard is smaller making those weird key combinations easier one handed.

Alas, as a developer I was constantly switching between iMac and iPad. Using the former for all my development needs and then the other for communication. I wanted to combine both and thought about how to do development on an iPad, and unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of options outside of ssh and a private server. Not being a fan of VIM and the likes I couldn’t go that route.

After searching I did come across a rudimentary solution and that is using a screenshare app on the iPad to connect to the iMac. This is only my second days using it like this but it ids working fairly well. I get all my comfortable apps like Sublime, PhpStorm, and Sequel Pro all from the iPad screen.

The app I used is called Screens and the on the iMac I used SwitchResX to bring down the aspect ration of the iMac. Here is what it looks like with phpstorm:

Tomorrow I go for a hard cast so I’m hoping that means I’ll get some use back in my fingers and be able to make typing easier, but until then this is working.

Siblings Fighting

I have two kids and one thing is guaranteed, if they are off playing by themselves its just as matter of time before they are fighting. I usually let them work it out, but when it escalates to a certain point they usually come screaming for me or my wife. Of course, not being in the room where it happened means it’s really hard to decipher what happened and everyone trying to speak at once is impossible.

In these situations what I do is look at one and say tell me what happened. As their story begins the other will always try and interrupt and its important to shut down the interruptions. Then after they are done the other gets a turn in the same fashion. Their stories always remind me of this Proverb

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. Proverbs 18:17

Both stories seem to allows diverge and it’s hard to figure exactly what happened. Usually by the time this routine is over both have calmed down and go back to acting reasonable.