Things I’m thankful for

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in the US. This is a time of year where we try to reflect on the things we are grateful for. Well, at least that’s what we are supposed to do. Some folks tend to use it as an excuse for excess…

But I digress. I’ve been on quite the adventure the last year so I thought this would be a good time to take stock and see where I’ve been. So given that here’s some things I’m grateful for.

Opportunities

This is a great time to be alive. There are so many things available to most people (especially here in the U.S.) and all that you have to do is reach out and take them. I’ve always known this, but have I always taken advantage of it? Perhaps not.

This year I worked harder to take advantage of things that came my way. Truthfully its pretty amazing what things are around you most of the time. Opportunities to learn, opportunities to earn, opportunities to just be involved. Going forward I’m resolved to say yes to more things.

Community

There’s an old saying that “no man is an island”. Being involved in communities is a wonderful thing. Finding your tribe is one of the greatest things you can accomplish. Be it a programming community (Python is great!) a neighborhood group, or a mastermind (I’ll have a lot more to say about that in the near future!), finding a group can make a world of difference to your outlook.

I’ve found a few communities this year and I feel it has helped me grow in a lot of different way. I’m very grateful for finally realizing that having a group (or several) is a great thing to have.

Family

Family is where its at. Big or small, blood or not, having a support system you can always count on is so important.

Find or make one. You need it. I’m grateful for mine.

Consistency

This year I began to explore the true meaning of consistency. Publishing this blog every week has been part of that consistency. Thank you for reading and helping me keep this consistent habit. 🙂

I’ve also been working to consistently reflect on things at the end of the week, or more frequently in some cases. This simple practice is very powerful, it is “forcing” me to be aware of things. Part of this reflection is thinking about things I’m grateful for.

Conclusion

This has been a pretty hectic year, but one that I’m very thankful for. What are you thankful for?

Learn a new programming language

In the world of software development there’s always something new popping up. New languages, frameworks, operating systems, databases, you name it. The challenge for a developer is to stay on top and ahead of these new technologies. It can be very tempting to give up and not learn anything new, but I want to propose that learning new things like a new language or framework can be very helpful!

Learning begets learning

The more you practice the art of learning something new, the easier it is to learn new things. This sounds like tautology, but it is true. Continue reading

More Experiments: Traffic thoughts

The greatest waste of time ever invented by humankind is sitting in traffic.

My traffic thoughts? What a waste of time.

Think about it. You are literally just sitting. There are very few things you can realistically do other than just sit. Talking on the phone is possible, but who wants to talk to someone who is stressed because of their sitting in traffic? Reading, exercise, playing… all of these things are unavailable to you because you have to wait for the person in front of you to move up a half a car length.

One day as I found myself sitting in this situation, I had an inspiration about how I could turn this to my advantage. I would try my hand at video blogging.

After a quick MVP video or two, I invested the $20 in getting a phone holder. Now when I get stuck in a traffic jam I hit the record button and bust out “traffic thoughts”.

My thinking is that I just pick a topic (usually inspired by a podcast I just listened to or something I’ve read recently) and just go for it.

I have no real set objective for this experiment. I record them when I hit traffic, and then I’m speaking I try to just go from the gut. When I get home I upload the videos to YouTube and do some minimal editing of the description.

Things I’ve learned while doing this:

  • Having a list of ideas (usually just a word or phrase) is absolutely necessary. If nothing else, it will keep you from repeating yourself.
  • As soon as you want to record something, traffic seems to disappear. I wish I understood this phenomenon. 🙂
  • You might think you could rant for hours about a topic. I have found that if I talk for more than 2 minutes that I feel less confident about my stance on the topic.
  • Its an interesting way to pass the time when you are literally sitting in traffic.

Be sure to check out my play list with all of these videos: Traffic Thoughts

 

Flow: Why I like writing tests

Tests are a contentious topic among programmers. Some really like them, others see them as a necessary evil. I think that they are important and if implemented correctly can improve both programmer productivity and code quality. Why? Flow.

Flow. It is the state of being so “in-the-zone” that things just happen. Actions are fluid. Progress is constant. Things are happening. This is where the awesome happens. So why doesn’t this happen more frequently?

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Developer Mastermind

Recently I have been describing myself as “A developer interested in entrepreneurship”. And lately I’ve been hearing a lot about masterminds. Inspired by a few podcasts, I threw together an MVP to see if I could find other like minded people who would be interested in a developer mastermind. Lets dive into this fun little experiment!

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Moving from Django to Flask

Recently I was working on a project that involved breaking up a Django app into smaller services. As we looked at the new services it occurred to me that we might be able to use Flask instead of Django. It was pretty straight forward to move things to Flask, but there were a couple of little gotchas that I thought I would share on moving from Django to Flask.

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