The Trouble With Creative Work

The problem with creative work is that sometimes by the time people catch on to what’s valuable about what you do, you’re either a) bored to death with it, or b) dead. You can’t go looking for validation from external sources. Once you put your work into the world, you have no control over the way people will react to it.

Advice to Junior Developers

Being a junior developer is tough. There is a ton of learning that you have to do. Especially when it comes to technology and being an effective software developer. Not only from a technical standpoint, but also on the soft skills and learning how to navigate a team environment or a companies culture.

However, focusing on the technical aspects of things and working specifically with code. It helps if you can pay attention to how you feel while working on your project - especially, when you’re getting irritated. In particular:

The Evolution of my Creative Resume

My best friend, Curtis Schlak, and I have been working together on-and-off for almost two decades now. He’s been an amazing mentor and friend as I’ve progressed through my career.

Somewhere along that journey, we started riffing off of each other’s resume. Over the past 15 years our resumes have had some pretty drastic changes. He would add a super cool addition to his resume. I would take that idea and incorporate it into mine with my own style and vice versa.

My Leadership Style

As I’ve progressed throughout my career, I’ve moved a bit up and down the development, leadership, and management ladder. Depending on what the company or team has needed. Sometimes we need more of a focus on management and sometimes we need more of a focus on development. The pendulum swings back and forth quite a bit.

I also realize that as you move forward in your career from junior, to senior, to architect role, and even management specific roles … managing people and working with others becomes more and more important. I truly enjoy helping other people progress their careers as well, their development skills, and just helping people navigate through difficult situations. I don’t always have the answers, but I tend to be a great listener! One of the perks of being raised with four sisters who had a lot to talk to me about, I guess.

Politics, Religion & Lifestyle

Just some random political thoughts that I had during this whole pandemic and drama filled 2020 …

Politics for many people has essentially become a combination of religion (literally) and a lifestyle brand. The religious leaders that they follow tell them - in no uncertain terms - how to live, and that their politics are a part of that. Politics have turned into something that is moralized, and at issue absolutely everywhere.

What's It Like Working With Bryan?

I wanted to put together a list of things that I find to be my strengths and weaknesses. I’m continually working to improve my strengths and minimize or compliment any weaknesses that I have. It’s never easy to reflect on these things and improve upon them, but I love to figure out how I can continually make myself better! Or surround myself with others who can help me be better!

My Salata Story

This is a bit of a long story, but one that I felt compelled to share, because it was an important part of my day.

Tonight I decided to eat dinner at Salata. If you’ve ever eaten at a Salata, you’ll know that the tables are fairly close together. If you’ve never eaten at Salata, just know that their table placement does not take your personal space in to account.

Interviewing Software Developers in 2019

I’ve been through quite a few developer interviews in my career. Some were great, some … not so great. I still remember one in particular, back when I was a young junior developer. I went in to an interview and was absolutely grilled by a couple developers in a conference room. I can still remember to this day walking out of that building feeling so embarrassed. My tail tucked firmly between my legs and a strong disdain for the company and almost my entire profession.

It’s a feeling I still carry around with me to this day. A feeling that helps me empathize with developers I work with as well as developers I interview. And I don’t ever want to make anyone feel the way that I felt that day.

Using Go to Build Out a RESTful API

I see a lot of the benefit of Go. It’s “simple.” The stdlib is great. However, nothing ever seems to scratch the surface more than “look … I can start a web server using the stdlib and serve a single endpoint. It’s great!” Finding a good article or book that describes how to organize your (web) application seems extremely rare.

Any developer who has built something of substantial size (small to medium), knows that there are some things that you typically don’t want to do when building software. I’m trying to find out if these are “bad” habits that I’ve learned? Or perhaps I need to think differently in Go?

From Linode to Light Sail on AWS

Most of the companies that I have worked for began moving their products to the “cloud” (read, “other peoples computers”). These companies have been mostly Microsoft shops, so Azure has been the obvious choice. Azure has a great user interface, a great set of services, and all the black magic pricing that AWS comes with. One of the things that lured me towards giving AWS a real look, was Light Sail.

Google Chrome Debugging

Google Chrome is a very popular web browser used by many web developers today. With a very quick release cycle and a powerful set of developer features turned the browser into a must have tool. Most developers are more than likely familiar with many of Chrome’s features like live-editing CSS, using the basic DevTools and the basics of the debugger. However, in this post, we’ll be going over some great tips and tricks that may help improve your workflow even more.

Microservice Architecture

We’ll be taking a look at the microservice architecture. We’ll look at some of the problems microservices can cause. And also some of the bigger architectural issues that can occur in the future. We’ll also take a brief stroll through Domain Driven Design (DDD) and some possible anti-patterns that can come from microservices. So let’s get started … How big should a microservice be? Microservices are typically described in terms of the single responsibility principle as they should just do one thing really well.

Agile Project Management

To begin this post, I want to say that I am a fan of agile. I don’t think it is the perfect way to build software and I don’t think you can be as rigid as some of the original agile books suggestion. But I do think it is the most well defined software development lifecycle that we currently have. That being said, I tend to fall on Dave Thomas’ “Agile is dead, Long live agility.

Window Management With Moom

Moom is a window management tool that makes it easy to position and organize your applications. And while window management may seem like a very simple, if not, unnecessary tool in your toolbox … it has certainly been one of the staples to my workflow and productivity. I’ve used just about every window management tool there is and my personal favorite is Moom. However, there are plenty of others out there to take advantage of.

Crystal Lang Exploration

Crystal is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language. The language is statically type-checked but does not require that the type of variables or method arguments be specified. Although resembling the Ruby programming language in syntax, Crystal compiles to a much more efficient native code using an LLVM backend. This comes at the cost of disallowing the dynamic aspects of Ruby. However, the advanced global type inference used by the Crystal compiler, combined with the usage of union types, give Crystal the feel of a higher-level scripting language than many other comparable programming languages.

My Learning Journey Into Go

Go has been a good experience. It is generally a very nice language, once you get used to it. I’d recommend that anyone curious about Golang to give it a try; in particular, you should really commit to persisting through the first 2 weeks, where you will most likely find some of Golang’s ideologies challenging at first (like “why is every line an if statement?”) package main import "fmt" func main() { fmt.

Erlang, Elixir, & Phoenix

Elixir has recently found a lot of success in the form of some very impressive performance metrics coming out of the Phoenix framework. The Phoenix team recently posted their impressive journey on the road to 2 million individual websocket connections. They also provided the process for their optimizations and gave some incites in to how they were able to achieve these results. I would like to have comparison data for the 2 million number.

Identifying different types of personalities.

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. Working in an enterprise world has its rewards and, obviously, its challenges. I work with a lot of people on a very big project. All of which are very smart people. These are people who know their craft and their business really well. I’m honored to be considered the same ballpark as them. It’s been a great learning experience.

NodeJS and my side project: Huddle

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. - Confucius I keep procrastinating my writing until 11:00 PM and by that time my brain has fully shut down. So here I sit again, dear reader, just babbling away in to the keyboard. Nothing really valuable to add to my site other than things I’m currently doing or tinkering with. I started to tinker with NodeJS over the past 5-6 months based on a recommendation from my buddy, Curtis.

Spiking a web control that behaves like Excel. Thoughts?

If your actions inspire other to dream more, learn more, do more, or become more, you are a leader. Curtis has a much better post than I do today. Head over there and check it out for something more informative. I need to spike some code that allows for Excel like formulas in the web. It doesn’t have to support a lot of Excel functions. Really, I think it would only need to support SUM() and possibly AVG().

A poisoned dagger coated with dreams ...

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. - Albert Einstein

I had high hopes to actually write something with substance. But alas, time hath crept in on me, like a spiteful theif in the night. It hath stolen my desires, my awakedness and left a poisoned dagger in my mind. Coated with dreams, I fret. I shall strive hard to do better in the morrow.

Don't take for granted the knowledge you acquire or the skills you hone.

To be yourself in a world that is trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Often times, I think I take my technical skill entirely for granted. I forget that the things I build “for fun” or “for pay” can’t be done by a lot of people. I don’t mean that as an egotistical thing, because I’m certainly surrounded by a lot of people who are smarter than I am. I just need to remind myself that I’ve worked very hard to hone a skill and some times I take it for granted.

The importance of interacting with others.

Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people - your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.

Today I met a sales woman named, Logan. I’m not sure why I feel compelled to talk about Logan, but I do. Logan was friendly. Logan had a great personality. Or at least it was highly compatible with mine. Our personalities instantly worked well together.

Too tired to be able to think of anything worthwhile.

Day 2 of 31: I’ve literally been sitting at the computer for the past 30 to 45 minutes debating what to write about. I’ve been awake since 4:30 AM and, unfortunately, I just can’t come up with anything relevant to write.

I’ve been catching up on the House of Cards series. It’s incredibly intriguing and has managed to keep my attention very well. I’m just about to wrap up Season 1.

Behind every great man, there is a great woman.

Day 1 of 31: My long time friend, colleague, and mentor, Curtis Schlak, asked me to be accountabili-buddies and begin creating the written word with him. Everyday … for the entire month of May. It’s quite the endeavor, but how can one possibly turn down such a challenge?

It’s been a long time since I’ve written, but I’ve always enjoyed it and this is an attempt to form a new habit. One that doesn’t involve caffeine, nicotine, opiates, alcohol, sex, drugs, or rock and roll. Just some good ol’ fashioned creativity, wordsmithing, and a boat load of know-how.

Software that I couldn't live without.

This is a list of software that I have found useful in some way or another over the past year. I’ve been using some of these tools since I started using a computer and others have been more recent. But, ultimately, I’ve found each of them to be extremely helpful at some point or another. The Obvious Chrome Firefox Utilities Directory Opus - File Management, a Windows Explorer replacement. There is also a free open source alternative called FreeCommander as well.

Backbone.js and it's ilk ...

For the past couple weeks I’ve spent some time getting back in to the Rails. Well, not particularly rails, but I used Rails to get a some playtime in with Backbone.js. I was a bit skeptical at first. I’ve never been a fan of “heavy” javascript front-ends, because they tend to produce massive amounts of untested code. However, after spending a half a day with backbone.js … I was sold. The awkwardness of linking jQuery directory to DOM elements is gone.

Dependency Injection Performance - Part 1

Let me begin this by stating that I’m not a huge statistical person by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not all that interested in crunching numbers and I really don’t have a knack for this sort of thing. The reason for this is that statistical analysis can almost always have a counter-argument; and I really dislike debating numbers. It’s just not all that entertaining, in my opinion. Nonetheless, I do have a strong interest in dependency injection in general; which is why I decided to follow up on the topic …

Type A(B) Personality.

This past weekend, my wife told me that I was a Type A Personality. She didn’t mean it to be offensive by any means, but nonetheless, the statement threw me for a loop, because I had always considered myself as the opposite of a Type A (Type B). Quite a while ago, I read the book “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.” It was the book about the Enron corporation and the people who were behind that whole train wreck.

Thirty (30) days of thoughts.

I recently watched a TED talk that described doing something for 30 days straight. I’ve been procrastinating it for the past few months on the basis of, “Well, I don’t have a calendar yet to mark my progress off … so I’ll wait until I get one.” Needless to say, my brain and I recognize that as procrastination at work. I’ve recently found myself getting in to this rut of not starting things or not completing things, because there is that one little thing that is holding me back: there’s not enough time, the learning curve is too big, I don’t have a calendar yet to start that, my blog isn’t how I would like it to look … I’ve become very good at finding excuses on how not too succeed at something.

Reading ... it does a body good.

Been on a bit of a reading spree this month and just wanted to share what I’m currently immersed in and what I have coming up on the list. I’m currently reading Catcher in the Rye by the late J.D. Salinger. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve read this book and I’m not entirely sure why I like it so much. It’s a bit strange reading a book over so many years though.

American Idol contestants and their visions of grandeur.

I’ve always been a fan of American Idol. Well, let me clarify that a bit; I’ve always been a fan of the American Idol auditions. Once they get down to the Top 24 or so I don’t really pay too much attention aside from just keeping up with it so that I know trivial pursuit pop culture questions. I like the initial process: everything from seeing all the raw talent that some of these kids have to the nut jobs who are attempting to get their five minutes of fame.

A fresh new start ...

I’ve been out of the writing scene for far too long now. Not only from technical writing, but also from personal writing and expression of my thoughts in general. I’m going to make a valid attempt to put a fresh set of paint on my personal site and to make a valid effort to use my writing ability. I’m planning on keeping some paper and a pencil with me at all times.

A useful Terminal command ...

This isn’t going to be a very long post, but I just wanted to post about this useful command that I just learned about: open . Simple. Awesome.

Moving from WordPress to Jekyll

Over the past year, I’ve really fallen off the face of the internet. I know you’ve all missed me {sarcasm}, but I’ve recently had the urge to get back in to the swing of things. Actually, I’m not sure if this is an urge to start blogging or just an urge to freshen up the site a bit, but, nonetheless, I had the motivation to put a fresh coat of paint up for the masses.

An experiment in saving money ...

This post doesn’t have anything to do with development, but I’ve just been pretty excited about it and felt pretty inspired to write something about it. This is my experiment with attempting to get my life back to “scratch.” I’m making a valid effort to cut out any service that I don’t feel adds to my daily “happiness” factor in an attempt to reduce my monthly cost of living. I’m sure you’re thinking, “What in the world is a happiness factor?

An rSpec Pending Snippet

So I’ve been AFK from the blogging scene and pretty much any other scene that’s imaginable for the past couple months. Typically, when I’m generating specs I tend to do something like this: its TAB This will use the rSpec TextMate Bundle to insert a snippet like this: it "should do something" do end Which is very handy … unfortunately, a lot of the time I’m putting together the behaviors of a specific model or controller I like to “stub/pend” out all of the behaviors I can think of off the top of my head.

MerbDay presentation went well.

Well, I made it through my first presentation and I have to admit it was a lot easier than I had imagined it. My nerves were probably on edge, because the last time I presented in front of an audience was back in college when I was trying to slink my way through a presentation about social reform during the great depression … yeah, it was brutal. But I’ve learned that presenting is pretty easy when you’re actually knowledgeable and passionate about what you’re speaking on.

Presenting at MerbDay Atlanta

I’m sitting here in Atlanta for MerbDay. We’re currently in the first half of the conference; which is a live coding tutorial session. It’s been pretty smooth so far for me, but a couple of my co-workers have had some issues with dependencies. Some strange params errors that are being spit out by ParseTree. Anyways, this will be my first time presenting so I’m actually a bit nervous. I’ve got this bad preconceived notion that I’m just going to speed through the entire thing in less than 10 minutes.

Up and Running With Webby

Welcome to the all new It’s actually got some pretty interesting technology behind it … static files! It’s all being powered by static HTML files which are dynamically generated by “Webby”:webby and then pushed up to the server. I have to admit it’s a nice change of pace to be able to only worry about content and not have to worry about my administrative interface for entering in my blog text.

Part 1 - Getting your first Merb app up and running

I know this may seem like the most basic of tasks, but there are not a lot of up-to-date articles on just starting out with Merb. So, over the next couple of months. I’m going to go through some of the latest Merb code and things you can do to get up and running with Merb. This isn’t going in to the detail of creating models, controllers, tests, etc … that will come in the next post.

Some Changes to Merb Edge You Should Probably Know About

While doing a fresh pull of “Merb”: edge this weekend I realized that all of my forms had suddenly just disappeared and I was also receiving some NoMethod errors; which is never a fun scenario. Just in case you like to develop on edge (and who doesn’t when it comes to Merb?) you should probably be aware of a few changes that went through this week. There was a pretty big refactoring with the form_helpers.