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.

Deploy on Friday?

There are two trains of thought on the question of should you deploy on a Friday. One believes you should deploy on Friday’s because if you have a sound system in place, you can always roll back, the other thinks it is not worth the risk.

Both of these people are correct, and if you have a complete automated deployment process complete with rollbacks, and the rollbacks are continuously tested, then sure go for it.  But in every other case, I don’t think the risk is worth it.

If it’s an emergency sure, but I’ve rarely found a deploy to be so important, it’s worth disappointing my wife and kids if it goes wrong. The risk/reward is just not close to being worth it for me. Work can wait.

 

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

NYT: The Whistle-Blower Knows How to Write

Jane Rosenzweig writing in the New York Times about how well written the whistleblower report is:

Every semester, I encounter students who tell me variously that they hate writing, that they’d rather not write, that for the careers they aspire to they won’t need to write. I explain that no matter what careers they choose, they will have to write — reports, strategic plans, proposals and, if nothing else, many, many emails.

But I also tell them that learning to write matters because some day they may have something to say that really matters to them and possibly to the world — and they will want to convey it when the moment arrives in writing that’s clear and concise.

I really wished I would have paid more attention to writing in school. I was a spitting image of a student she describes and I never could understand why I would need to write. Now, I write all the time and wished I would have paid attention in those classes and challenged myself.

If nothing else it’s a good reminder to myself that when kids say a class or a subject is worthless I can remind them that there are reasons for it, even if you don’t see them today.

Be kind in code reviews

From the Nerdery’s documentation on code review guidance:

Be kind. Yes, a person is not their code, but writing code is a creative act. Creators are by nature intimately involved with their creation. You’re going to be critiquing another person’s creation, at a minimum, be kind when you do it. Better yet, find positive as well as negative things to say. We want both the code and the coder to be better once you’re done; don’t make it easy to reject your constructive observations by being a jerk about it.

Lot’s of other great advice in the linked document, but this one really resonated with me.

Commercial Packages

It seems everyone loves creating packages and releasing them as open-source. I understand the appeal, it’s much easier to release something this way as it lets you wash your hands of a lot of the responsibility.

Need a bug fixed, send a PR or GTFO. Have some questions about how to do something, hopefully, Stack Overflow can help you.

Of course, this is merely a caricature of some maintainers, and then you have others that are super responsive and are happy to help you use their package.

If you are one of the second groups that are responsive to support and community engagement then I’d love for more of you to consider making future packages commercial.  Granted it’s probably not going to be as easy as just pushing up a repo, but we have tools available now like gitstore that makes this easier than ever before.

This came about because I struggled with a JavaScript package all day yesterday, and today I found a similar commercial version that just worked instantly.  If I would have found it and went the commercial route first I would have already saved all the money in time that it costs.

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!

You vs You

I like to mountain bike as much as I can. Typically that means two or three times a week and since my broken hand last year I’ve never fully recovered to the pace I was before. It’s not been so much speed as it is my cardio, I can ride a lot faster than I’m going if my heart rate would stop maxing out.

The past week I’ve been trying to supplement my mountain bike rides with a trainer and I’ve been using Zwift. The idea behind Zwift is fun and it’s neat riding with other people.

zwift.jpg

Over the coming winter, I’m planning on doing some longer training programs and now I’ve been doing an “intro to Zwift” program where it sets your FTP and gives you the basics of the app.

So far it’s been fun to do but I don’t feel the stats it is generating is accurate. From all the research I find on the internet, my FTP is low, my heart rate is high, and a couch potato is in better shape than me.

I’m not sure if it’s my trainer and setup or if I’m really just that out of shape. But it is pretty demoralizing how you can be giving it everything you have, about to puke, and be passed by someone going 20 miles per hour faster.

I guess that is par for the course on the internet but I have to remember I’m not competing against random people. I just want to improve against myself and to be honest that is hard. I’m made to compete and I want to win, even if I don’t have the cardio to do it.

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.

Remote: Work from anywhere

Outdoor Office

I’ve been a remote worker for about a decade now, and I love parts of it like not fighting traffic, being always around for my family, and occasionally working from anywhere. Unlike a lot of people, I like my routines and having a designated workspace is one that I  need. I’m okay working from someplace different for a few days, but eventually, I start missing my home office. I want the solitude and the feeling of it being “my space.”

Not everyone is wired like me, and that is what makes remote work so great. If you are the type where you can work from a coffee shop every day, a park, or a strange city, then you can. Or if you are the type that wants their regular spot with the option of sometimes switching things up, then you can have it too. Just like today, the weather is perfect where I live, so I worked from the patio.

I can’t see myself ever wanting to work a job where I have to go to the office every day. Thankfully I may not ever have to.

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.