Angry Email

I send a lot of emails through my various web properties. I’d say at least 200 to 300 thousand emails each month. With this many emails, the likelihood of me offending someone is pretty high, and when someone gets triggered, they sure let me know.

I’ve found that if they are from a different culture, they may not even be upset. I am just using the wrong words and phrases. To them, what they are saying is perfectly fine, but to me, it comes across as tactless and offensive.

Other times it’s just a misunderstanding, and very rarely is someone just straight up being a jerk. That does happen, though, and I always just hit “unsubscribe” in the email they are replying to and go on with my day.

Outside of those people, the way I handle these situations is to respond in good faith, thinking they meant well and are not intending to come across rude.  So far giving the benefit of the doubt hasn’t let me down.

Meetup’s Hostile Pricing Changes

It’s been all over my Twitter feed today about Meetup announcing big changes to their pricing. The way they currently charge is the user group owner pays a monthly/yearly fee for using the Meetup service. For me, this was a reasonable way to do it, but today they announced some pretty big changes to this.

Your new subscription cost is only $2 per month, or $24 per year. That means you’ll be saving at least 80% annually on subscription fees. This will also distribute costs more evenly between organizers and members. Members will pay a $2 fee when they reserve a spot at your event.

Members having to pay just to reserve a spot for your event is the part that many people are having problems with, and for good reason. Oh, you can wave that fee, but then you are responsible for covering the $2 per reservation. Now I don’t know all the stats on user groups, but from all the people I’ve heard from that run them, it’s hard to get consistent members attending. Now, this adds another hurdle to getting them.

It’s about time for all the user groups to find another service and my friend, Dries Vints, just announced a new app he is launching called Eventy.

Some of the things that you’ll be able to do with Eventy: manage user group members, RSVP to events, prepare your conference talks, submit to CFPs. And much more.

I’m super excited to hear about this new app today and if you are running a user group, join the newsletter and find out when it officially launches. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of people wanting to move from Meetup to Eventy.

Buggerino Logos – Hacktinkerfest

My second Hacktinkerfest logo design is now complete, and I just sent off the pull request to Buggerino, which is a native app for Android/IOS that allows you to interact with your Bugsnag account. Here are some of the designs I came up with:

buggerino-before-after
Outline and Colored Options

Here is the larger version of the final colored options:

buggerino.png
Buggerino Logos

As you can see, I went with the bug theme, and Jordy, the creator of Buggerino, said he liked the green and/or blue moth ones the best because of the combination of code and the bug. I’m partial to the blue one too if I’m honest.

These where a lot of fun to create and I hope Jordy gets a lot of use out of it.  I went ahead and exported all of them and sent them to his project so he could use them any way he wants.

 

One hit wonder

I had a single tweet sort of go viral, well, not super viral, just 4,500 retweets and 10,800 likes. But I would still assume that would bring in a lot of new followers but according to Twitter analytics I gained a total of 19 new follows.

Being a viral hit is overrated and brings superficial traction. The real fans are those that find you through the mundane stuff you post or share everyday. Those are the ones you want to interact with and invest your time into.

SILENCE

One of the best new settings that come with iOS 13 is the ability to silence calls from unknown numbers.  This can be found in settings -> phone just like the screenshot below:

3B5DB98A-9DFA-4D9E-B785-61949802A28D_1_201_a

Granted this is not much use if you expect calls from numbers not in your contacts, or if you are worried about people trying to reach you in an emergency. But for those like me who rarely get calls and is sick and tired from the constant robocalls, this is an awesome solution.

I’ve had it enabled for a few days now and it’s silencing close to 5 calls a day. I consider that a win.

Political Enemies

Food for thought… 

  • If you have a friend that aligns with the opposite political party, can you still be friends? 
  • If you have a friend running for office for the opposing political party, would you donate?
  • If you have a friend running for office for the opposing political party, would you help them campaign?
  • If you have a new neighbor with an opposing political party sign in their yard, do you go and welcome them?

With the United States having a two-party political system, everything feels like a competition, and it almost turns into a civil war. Family against family, neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend all because people have different views on the best way forward.

Blogroll

I’m in a nostalgic mood and missing the web of the old days. I’m thinking about how we all used to have personal blogs, read through RSS, and we’d discover others through blogrolls.

In order to help showcase personal bloggers that I follow I’ve created an old school blogroll page with a list of some of the people that post regularly.  Some are friends that write occasionally, others are people I’ve never but I like what they write about.

If you’ve been wanting to add more sites to your RSS reader checkout some of the ones in mine. I also plan to add others throughout the year.

Hacktoberfest for design

Caneco had a cool idea for a spin on the Hacktoberfest to make logos for open source projects and submit the designs as PR’s.

Being a fan of making illustrations I asked if I could help him and he agreed, so I’m going to make some logos this month and here is my first for the Laravel sweet alert package:

Sweet Alert Logo Comp

I’m not actually super happy with this so I’m going to keep working on it but I wanted to make a post and offer an open invitation. If you have an MIT licensed open source project that needs a logo let me know in the comments and I’ll make you one. Free of charge, but you get what you get so to speak.

USNWC Build Your Own Boat Competition 2019

Yesterday was the annual Build Your Own Boat competition at USNWC in Charlotte NC. The goal is that any team can enter and build their own boat and run it down the rapids. The winner is chosen based off a combination of crowd reaction, creativity, and the seaworthy-ness of the vessel. It’s always a blast and I love taking the kids.

This year didn’t disappoint and here is a short video with some of the boats going down the rapids. I tried to speed it up so it’s more enjoyable and to be a quicker video

The creativity of the boats this year was also fantastic. Here are a few photos from some of the boats

Super Mario Boat
USS Heisenberg
Team Baby Shark

A lot of fun was had, and if you live in the area, come check it out next year.

Inktoberfest

Apparently, October is the month of festivals. Developers have Hacktoberfest where they can submit four PR’s and get a free t-shirt, and apparently, designers have Inktoberfest where they just create a drawing each day and hashtag it.

Since I like making illustrations I figured I’d give this a shot but then I realized I don’t have time to do it for the full month, so I’m just going to create when I have the time.

Here is my first for the month. It’s quick, the colors aren’t right, and it has other issues but it’s bedtime so you get what you get.

If all these festivals aren’t enough just wait till next when you can join NaNoWriMo and write your next novel. I can’t see how all these people have enough extra time on their hands to do all these. Haha

Would you make your art if you were the last person on earth?

Great question by Derek Sivers and my answer is yes, 100%. However, I would probably do less of it because without other humans gone I’d be driven back to the stone age and have to turn my life into being a hunter gatherer.

Funny antidotes aside, of course, I would still make art and it’s like asking a pro skate boarder if they would continue to skate if they were the last person alive. It’s the enjoyment of it, not the sharing it.

So yes, I would still create art, but I’d be sad that I couldn’t share all my cheesy drawings that hopefully generates a smile from you.

TDD Man – Saving the world one test at a time!

Red Bull pump track championship at Poston Park

This weekend George Poston park in Lowell NC held a Red Bull pump track championship qualifying round.

It was super hot and the sun was beating down on the spectators but it was great to see how fast the people could around the track. Here a few photos from the event.

I definitely hope they make this a yearly event because I’d love to come out and be more prepared like bringing an umbrella and lots of water.

Video: We Recreated Every Apple Wallpaper

This is a fun little video from a group of friends that went on a road trip to recreate every Apple wallpaper. Yes, it’s kind of a weird thing to do but just having a reason to go on a road trip with your buddies is good enough for me. I find so much value and inspiration just from the conversations when I do weird trips with my friends.

 

A love letter to my website

Tobias Van Schneider writing about why you should have your own website:

In contrast to our personal websites, we don’t own our social platforms. They own us. On top of eating our time, our emotions and our focus, they are demanding our privacy. Whether we realized it or not, we signed away our rights when we signed up for these platforms. We not only give giant tech companies our personal data – we allow them to use, sell and share our content in whatever way they wish. Soon, we will see the repercussions of freely giving away our data and our work. When it comes to creativity and self-expression, the loss is already apparent.

On social media, we are at the mercy of the platform. It crops our images the way it wants to. It puts our posts in the same, uniform grids. We are yet another profile contained in a platform with a million others, pushed around by the changing tides of a company’s whims. Algorithms determine where our posts show up in people’s feeds and in what order, how someone swipes through our photos, where we can and can’t post a link. The company decides whether we’re in violation of privacy laws for sharing content we created ourselves. It can ban or shut us down without notice or explanation. On social media, we are not in control.

In my opinion, social media keeps winning because it’s easy and we are all lazy. Every day it seems I’ll have a random thought and I think, hmm I should Tweet that. Before long this gets ingrained into your routine and it’s hard to break it. That’s why for the past week or so I’ve been trying really hard to instead of sharing on social media, to write a quick blog post and just publish it here.

How sound works

Back when I was doing a podcast I never could seem to get the echo out of my office. Not being an audiophile I just couldn’t understand exactly how sounds works. If you are like me and would like to learn the basics on improving the acoustics in a room watch this short three-minute video. It’s the best explanation I’ve seen.

Me, Myself, and I

From the moment we are born we see the world through our own eyes. Everything we see, everything we do, everything we think is from our point of view, and it’s easy to become selfish. I always notice it when I start thinking things like…

  • What can they do for me?
  • Why are they treating me this way?

Because so much of the world is focused on self an easy way to stand out is to actually care about other people. Change the questions…

  • What can I do for them?
  • How can I improve their lives?
  • Who can I introduce them to, to better their career?
  • How can I train someone to be better?

I know it’s simple and rather cliche, but by truly focusing on others with no hidden agenda you’ll gain more friends, followers, and change more lives than you can ever imagine.

Advertising

I always assumed people hated online advertising because of the tracking and the sleazy way companies target you after you’ve seen an ad. That’s also why I generally dislike it and like to rely on more direct sales with my stuff.

As an example, for the past four or five years now I’ve been running a weekly Laravel Newsletter and each week I allow one or two ads. There is no tracking, it’s just an image, some copy, and a link to find out more if it interests you. Ethically I feel like this is a good balance. It pays for my time, for the software required to send the email, and the subscriber gets it for free, so we all win.

I think the majority of people are fine with this setup but you know how that one naysayer can get under your skin, well that happened to me last week. I had someone complaining that having ads in this was unacceptable. Of course, I responded back asking if they’d be willing to pay a monthly fee for it with no ads and I’ve heard nothing back.

Like it or not advertising is important to the web. Without it, so much of the stuff we enjoy reading wouldn’t be possible. Especially from the small publishers who do not have the backing of big money.