Inspect Browser

Ever wanted to debug a site or web app while on the go, or maybe view it on mobile and do some debugging? As you may know Safari on iOS doesn’t include any form of console utilities but the Inspect Browser makes a great replacement that includes all the basic features to get the job done.

Granted this isn’t as powerful as Chrome or Firefox but it includes the main features like a JavaScript console, HTML inspection, CSS inspection and live preview, network panel, responsive design tools, and more.

Bullet Journal weekly spread

I’ve been a fan of the bullet journal method and been using it for a while. There is something oddly satisfying about looking at your past written notes versus being all digital. Here is a new way of doing the weekly spread that is still simple but gives it a little visual appearance.

Father Forgets

Today is my youngest child’s tenth birthday and every year I have a reminder set to reread Father Forgets by W. Livingston Larned. Since I’ve been doing this I’ve been convicted every year about how I let little things upset and annoy me and it always gives me a reset to refocus. Here is the poem in its entirety:


Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive-and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding-this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

There was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy-a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

A Good Walk Spoiled

pineisland

It’s been just over a year since I broke my hand and I was finally able to play golf for the first time yesterday.  The weather was chilly and I played terribly, but just being outside away from the computer was great. There is something about being out in nature that gives me clarity on problems and helps clear my head.

Another thing that I’ve found useful is after working on a coding problem and getting it working, go for a short walk and just think about the solution again. Typically I’ll get ideas on how to make the code better, and think of other side effects I might not have originally seen.

 

Write a Thank You Letter

Just before the holidays, I received an opensource donation from the nice folks at Algolia.  They sent the money via Paypal and also included their office address. As a way of saying thank you, I wrote them a quick thank you letter, went to the post office and bought a global stamp (they are in Paris), and mailed it off.  Then yesterday I woke up to this nice message on Twitter:

It took me all of about 30 minutes which included the trip to the post office to make this and I want to believe this stands out because no one takes the time to write a thank-you letter anymore. Instead, we’d rather use email, social media, text message, or a DM.

The next time someone does something nice for you, send them a thank you letter. It just might make their day memorable.

Stop Slack from messing with your Markdown

A few weeks ago Slack made a change to the app and added a new WYSIWYG toolbar. This alone didn’t bother me, but they also started doing weird things with markdown style code blocks using the three ticks. Thankfully they just announced you can turn this feature off.  Just hit “Preferences -> Advanced -> Input Options” and then check the following option:

slack-options.png

 

Thoughts on the Impeachment

I’ve been watching the impeachment testimony every day and I’m thankful the Republicans pushed this to be a public hearing. I love watching it and I find the chess match between the two sides in this exhilarating. So far I’ve stayed away from talking-head commentary and only watched the proceedings through my own lens and I wanted to share my thoughts after Sondland’s testimony yesterday. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch the night session so I’m not sure if they had a lot of other new information.

In his opening statement, Sondland threw everyone under the bus and it was damaging to the defense. He said everyone knew what was going on from the POTUS, the VP, and down, and there was definitely a quid pro quo. It was a bombshell.

Really the only recourse the Republicans had was to discredit him and he’s had a lot of changing stories, so it shouldn’t have been very hard. However, I think the Republicans made a huge mistake when they didn’t allow him access to the transcripts of his calls and meetings. Yes, he should have taken notes, yes he changed his story, but for me holding these back had the reverse effect. It gave him more credibility and made them look weak.

In the end, none of this really matters. It will be a party-line vote and he will be impeached, then nothing will happen in the Senate. I think the same happened to Clinton if my memory is correct.  People will scream about fairness, witch hunts, and moving goalposts, but it’s just noise. The impeachment has been decided and they have the votes.

Night Mountain Biking

His description of this was so perfect and I was nodding in agreement the whole time. I haven’t done a lot of night riding and I just did my first one of the season last week on trails that I know. It was a ton of fun, but not sure I’d be comfortable taking a beginner. Although, they would have some great stories from the adventure.

Due diligence

Someone I follow on social media shared a quote this morning and I disagreed with it.

Instead of quickly replying with my smart remark, I researched the quote, found the book it came from. Then, as luck would have it, I had a free Kindle credit so I bought the book and read the entire chapter to get the complete context. Now I agree with the quote.

Local Mayor wins re-election

I honestly don’t follow politics too closely, and I don’t know much about political science at all, but I found my local mayor race this year eye-opening.

The race came down to two men, the incumbent and the challenger. The challenger had signs on every street corner, he sent me 3 or 4 mailings, his name was everywhere.

I had a suspicion he was going to win handily based on signs alone. Yet, I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and the doctor and I started talking about it and he said that he heard they were spending all their money online.

That seemed pretty wild to me because to be honest my city isn’t the most tech-savvy. So I’m assuming it was all Facebook ads. I was actually very surprised to see the paper this morning and see that he won re-election.

If him moving to online to get out the vote really worked I have to say I’m impressed. My gut reaction was that would be a bad move on our small local level. Now I’d love to hear how it was really done and see if they just hired a firm to handle the online stuff or if something more grassroots.

At any rate, congrats Mr. Reid on your win!

Press Releases

Justin Tadlock writing for WP Tavern about the importance of Press Releases:

On occasion, I get a message that says something along the lines of, “Hey, you’re giving the big businesses too much coverage. How about throwing the smaller folks a bone?” That is a fair question. However, what is often the problem is that this news by a smaller company may not be on a particular publication’s radar.

Enter the press release.

This is where smaller companies should sneak a peek at larger companies’ playbooks. Large businesses often have entire public relations (PR) or communications departments. Sometimes they only have one person in that role. What those PR positions are doing is getting the word out, and they are making sure the publications within the WordPress realm know about their news.

Individuals or small companies need not hire someone for communications with the press. However, at least one person should serve as a representative and handle this role.

There are many things happening in the WordPress world on any given day. Even with a press release, there is no guarantee that WP Tavern or another publication will publish your story. There is a guarantee that they won’t if they do not know about it.

The whole post is worth reading especially if you are a small business. Just like Justin, I want to help your product if it’s in the Laravel space, and I can’t guarantee that I’ll cover your launch. However, your chances greatly increase if you can send a press release and the earlier the better. I honor embargo’s and knowing before the release gives us time to put your news in our weekly editorial calendar.

NaNoWriMo

It’s November which means it’s time for NaNoWriMo again. Every year I say I’m going to blog something everyday for the month of November since I’ll never write a novel.

Considering today is November 2nd and I didn’t publish anything here yesterday I’ve already failed, but I’m not going to let it deter me. I’m still going to try and publish something everything for the rest of the month. It could be anything from sharing links, to photos, to ideas.

If you’ve been wanting to start blogging more now is as good time as any. Hit publish with me.

AirPods Pro

airpods-pro.png

I bought the original AirPods on a recommendation from someone I trust, and it’s one of the best purchases I made. Those little things are amazing and I’ve gotten so much use out of them. When I first heard that they are coming out with a “pro” version I ordered a set and they arrived this week.

The first thing I noticed was how awesome the noise canceling is. This is my first headphones ever to have this and it’s a game-changer. If I knew noise canceling was this good I would have bought a set of Bose or something else many years ago. I was literally sitting at my desk listening to music and didn’t hear my family come home. It wasn’t until one of my kids tapped me on the shoulder and scared me to death that I knew they were in the house.

The other neat feature is the transparency mode. It allows sound to pass through but it’s almost like a sound enhancement. You can hear better with that mode turned on than you can any other headphones I’ve used. I like to ride my mountain bike while listening to audiobooks, and this mode allows me to still hear things going on around me better than the original AirPods did. I’m impressed.

Now, yes these are expensive, you can’t replace the battery, and whatever else people are saying, and I’m not an audiophile. What I can’t say is that other headphones aren’t as good because I haven’t tried other brands of noise canceling. But after just a few days I’m confident in saying these are the best headphones I’ve ever owned.

If you do want to get a set, you can save about $14 ($234.99) buying from Amazon.

Identity

Identity is your distinguishing character or personality. If you want to be known as a cat person, talk about cats. Want to be known as someone to avoid, only talk about the negatives. Want to be known as a jerk, be a jerk. Want to inspire, encourage others.

Your identity is how others see you, but through your words and actions, you can control the narrative. Now the hard part is stepping outside yourself and figuring out how the world sees you.

Mistakes

Every Sunday I send out a newsletter and right now it’s at about 35,000 subscribers. It just so happens I made an embarrassing mistake in today’s issue:

When someone first brought it to my attention I tweeted about it thinking it was a funny mistake, and since then I’ve had hundreds of emails about it.

Now I could feel bad about myself and think about what an idiot I am, but instead I choose to look at it as a positive. I’m thankful I have this many people that read what I write each week. A lot of weeks I think I’m emailing into the void, but this proves how mistaken I am with that outlook.

What is also funny is Monday is another big day for people reading the newsletter so I’m going to bed tonight expecting many more emails.

The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

This is a passage from Theodore Roosevelt speech The Man in the Arena, and I feel like it’s a great ode to all the creators. It’s so easy to get down from the peanut gallery of the world, and it’s nice finding great quotes like this to lift your spirits.

Framework Defaults

Sebastian Schlein on why you should stick to the default Laravel architecture:

Projects which are built by teams of developers and that take months to build, need to be easily maintainable. They should be easy to understand and follow as much default conventions as possible. Why? Teams change.

How do you prepare a project for changing teams? Stick to the most common standards and use boring technologies. So if you use Laravel, do not introduce an additional architecture on top of it. It takes more time to build this architecture, and every time a new developer joins the team, you need to teach your way of doing things. It takes time until they become productive, and if a deadline is near, you miss the opportunity of outsourcing a feature to a freelancer to get everything done in time. The custom architecture requires time to learn, and this is exactly the resource you don’t have at this moment. Goal failed.

I am of the same mind as Sebastian.  When I started with PHP, no frameworks existed, and as soon as I tried one, I was immediately hooked because of the advantage that any developer anywhere in the world, with knowledge of the framework, could jump in on day one and know what is going on. As soon as you start changing the defaults it adds even more overhead to the whole codebase.

It’s like going to your regular grocery store. It’s comfortable, you know where things are and can be in and out without much fuss. Then compare that with being on vacation where you have to visit a new grocery store. You can’t find anything, what typically takes ten minutes now takes thirty, and it’s super frustrating.

Sticking to the defaults also pays dividends on projects that are not long-lived. I have apps that are many years old that still work and only require the occasional bug fix. Because I stuck to the defaults I can quickly jump in, make the fix, and go on with my day. In apps where I’ve changed them, it feels like it takes half the day to relearn how it works and why it works.

I prefer simplicity, and the defaults are simple.

Local Elections

Early voting is in full swing in my area and I had the ability to go over my lunch break yesterday and cast mine. This year was short and sweet with only the mayor and three city council races.

I know we all focus on the presidential elections but these local ones probably affect you directly more than national races ever will, and these typically have small turnouts. So your one vote could potentially carry more weight. It’s definitely worth your time to research the local candidates and make your voice heard.