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Awesome August

31/07/2019 (255 words)

Tomorrow is a new month. A line in the sand. A chance to recalibrate. A new chance to challenge myself.

In July, I let slip my reading, my eating habits became more unhealthy and my work ethic (both professionally and for side projects) has suffered.

In August, my goal is to fix all of these. I already know I'm planning too much, but I want a challenge. I feed off challenges.

In August, I will;

  • Complete what I'm calling "Awesome August", which is making my spreadsheet 100% green. I attempted this in for Flawless February but wasn't quite successful.
  • Read, every day. I'm currently in the middle of Company of One, but I've not read anything in several weeks. Once I've finished Company of One, I'll read Shape Up by Ryan Singer, of Basecamp.
  • Up my exercise to 4 times per week. I've been running 3 times per week for a while now. I want to mix it up a bit, so I'll try something new, but still run at least once per week.
  • Eat healthier. I have eaten incredibly poorly recently. Time to sort this out!
  • Lose weight. I'm pretty close to my target, but I've been stagnant for a few months now.
  • Participate in Fixathon. I have a team project planned, but I wanted to do a solo project too. I'm not sure the latter will happen though.
  • Progress on The Cake Pays. I started this in January, but never made any significant progress.

View on 200 Words A Day: awesome-august-239195d41ff695b188

30th July 2019

30/07/2019 (219 words)

Today was a good day! Woo.

I wore light colours - light purple shirt, beige chinos, white shoes - I felt very summery. My shirt fit me quite nicely. It's hard to get clothes that fit you nicely while you're loosing weight.

A colleague forgot to bring a change of clothes when then came to work, so ended up working in their workout gear - thankfully not sweating and gross, but it was amusing.

A lot of progress has been made on our bathroom. The tiles are going up and we know what the end result is going to look like - where the radiator is being moved to, where the suite will be set, our new bath shelves. It's going to be great. I can't wait to have a single room done (huge sigh).

I went for another run. It should have been last night, but I went for a lengthy walk instead. This was my penultimate run for July. My goal was 50 miles, I'm at 47 miles right now. I've also completely season one of Zombies, Run! It was an interesting story. Maybe I'll do an entry on season one...

As the season is ended, I'll do one of the spin-off stories for my final run, instead of starting season two right away.

View on 200 Words A Day: 30th-july-2019-238575d40bb03dd7a8

29th July 2019

29/07/2019 (202 words)

Whew, I've left things I bit late this evening.

I was due to have a call with a client this evening, but they didn't answer. So, I prepared for my run. Although, I ended up skipping my run in favour of a long walk with my partner. I still want to run, even now. It's gone 11PM.

I then had a call with a member of my Fixathon team. If you haven't signed up, then I'd encourage you to do so!

We've got a plan for how it's all going to work. Our models, which tables and classes, which columns and attributes, even some ideas for methods. Since it's going to be a mobile app, we're splitting into a front end and a back end repository. I have never worked on a project split up like this before, so it will be a big learning curve. I've also never really built a mobile app at all, but neither have any of us really - we'll be learning together.

Now it's late and my habits have been a bit out of sync, I'm blasting through them to catch up. Duolingo next!

View on 200 Words A Day: 29th-july-2019-237885d3f6d2b1ee51

28th July 2019

28/07/2019 (202 words)

Another dairy type entry. I don't know how many of these I can churn out. I'm not exactly proud of the content I'm producing right now, but keeping things real, keeping up with the consistency going and sharing what's going on has at least a minimal appeal to me - it's not a dead cause.

So, sorry about that, but I'll be back on track soon!

I want to up my game in August.

I saw another post on 200WAD that was talking about what kinds of articles they want to write. I want to go through my previous articles; review them, expand upon them and republish them more publicly.

I do currently have 200WAD posted publicly on my personal website, but the sheer number of articles are undoubtedly going unread. I don't want my website to have an endless scroll of my random ramblings. I think I'm going to update this page to be more of a "where to find me on the internet" page. This page would include links to 200WAD and Makerlog, but currently nothing else.

I really don't use that much. Do you lot use anything else on the internet?

View on 200 Words A Day: 28th-july-2019-237195d3e140e7edbd

27th July 2019

27/07/2019 (225 words)

We're trialling Sky Cinema right now. I watched 3 films today.

Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile

This is the fairly recent movie about Ted Bundy. It was fine, but these are more Nay's kind of films - films about true events. I think it was done quite well and there was a lot of realistic / near identical scenes, as proven by the outtakes. That being said, any film was idolises or promotes this kind of real event evil disturbs me somewhat.

The Lion King

Who doesn't love The Lion King?

This was a brilliant live action adaption of the original. I heard beforehand that critics rated the film quite poorly because it was a scene for scene live action copy. I also heard that viewers were rating it highly for the exact same reason.

I loved it.

Overlord

We missed this when it was in the cinemas originally. It looked decent, but I was wrong. It's sold as a circa-Hitler Zombie film, but it just felt like two genres smashed together.

If it was just a war-time infiltration mission to demolition a tower to allow plane landings, then it would have been good. Otherwise, they needed to add more zombies and sooner.

Ultimately a poor film. Also, does the actor of Euron Greyjoy just play the same character in everything...?

View on 200 Words A Day: 27th-july-2019-236695d3cd1cc6c594

26th July 2019

26/07/2019 (217 words)

The end of the week is here! I feel invigorated. Lots to do! However, it seems like I have a peaceful weekend ahead. Electrical work is beginning on our house - we don't need to be there.

We're going to have a bit of a lazy day tomorrow, make time to go and see The Lion King and I might catch up on my Race At Your Pace goal. I'm going for a run after typing this, but I'm a little bit behind my goal. Typing this has just give me an idea to add pace to my running spreadsheet... I love light bulb moments like these.

With tomorrow's breezy day, I might plod on with some work while my partner is busy making some cakes. I have a few items I need to crack on with, a Fixathon meetup and some minor tweaks I want to make. Going through these things will take me most of the day, but they will keep me busy and out of trouble.

No doubt, we will cave in and head up to the house to see how the work went. I'm expecting a big clean up after. Dust will be everywhere... and what else can go wrong? Surely something we haven't thought of yet!

View on 200 Words A Day: 26th-july-2019-236035d3b6ed204df4

25th July 2019

25/07/2019 (205 words)

Today is my sister's birthday. We didn't really chat too much. We spoke briefly and happy birthday was exchanged, but we are both busy right now.

Today was pretty hectic for me. I had a lot going on. My partner was having a meltdown about the house. I was having a meltdown about the house. We were calling electricians for a second opinion. Work was busy. I had my review at work - it went well!

My niece (daughter of the sister whose birthday it is) decided today was a good day to fracture her arm. Happy birthday from the hospital, I suppose...

After work, we once again went to the new house. Have you heard guys? I have a new house. I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned it. We were discussing where we wanted and no longer want plugs, where light switches were going, who needed to shut up for a second - the usual things when you go for a viewing.

Interestingly, I came out of the evening with a prospective client. Hopefully that will help pay for all the work we need doing. It would be lovely to have a new client. The next we months should be good!

View on 200 Words A Day: 25th-july-2019-235195d3a267ceb88b

24th July 2019

24/07/2019 (251 words)

After work today, I attending a meetup in Liverpool. Tech Nomads X Code Up Liverpool.

They event itself was quite good. The setup, hosts, etc were early days, so there were a few teething issues, but they did a good job and I enjoyed the evening. It was the first event I had gone alone too, without someone else from work. I actually mingled a bit more, which was great.

The talks were:

  1. Word clouds with Python
  2. Serverless
  3. Inclusive Code

They were all very well presented. Kudos to them.

I stayed after, had a quite length chat with one of the speakers before heading home. I got home late.

Before going to the event, however, I got the glorious news that my house is in utter shambles. The work we were waiting for the plasterers to complete had begun, but needed to be postponed.

An electrician came today and apparently our entire house needs rewiring. It's going to be a huge job that requires knocking through walls. Thank god we've only wasted the price of a plaster for a single day. Imagine if all this work was done, the bathroom was done, the decoration was done and we had moved in before know this... and THEN it all needed doing.

Hopefully, we can rescue the flooring, but it's possible we may need to redo the walls, floors and redecorate every room. We wanted to decorate the living room, the master bedroom and move in...

@brandonwilson - sweat equity, eh?

View on 200 Words A Day: 24th-july-2019-234435d38d6a4759c4

23rd July 2019

23/07/2019 (214 words)

My 200 words have mostly been daily-like entries lately. It's a busy time at the moment, so I've wanted to prioritise my 200 words. I think it's important to emphasis that sentence - I've not want to prioritise them. I think @basilesamel is correct when he talked about making time - you have the time, you just have different priorities. It's also important to remember that that's okay!

Anyway, how do I turn on this adulting expansion pack to life? It's too expensive. All of our money is being drained from our accounts. We've made a few expensive purchases - a new bathroom, a new sofa. We've also had a few problems creep up on us at the same time - mostly the car; the suspension needed work, we needed new tyres because the tread was at the legal limit.

We got our new tyres today...

After we got the new tyres, we started having a horrible grinding sound on our car. Apparently, we had a trainee working on our car... Perhaps related.

It appears a wheel weight came off and fell into the break calliper, causing it to grind and has potentially damaged our breaks.

We'll have to pop into the garage to get it fixed tomorrow.

Wonderful...

View on 200 Words A Day: 23rd-july-2019-233515d377780c28de

22nd July 2019

22/07/2019 (223 words)

Boom, we're closing up on all the tasks we need to do with the house before we move in.

All the downstairs wallpaper is stripped ready for the plasterers.

All the bedroom wallpaper is stripped. It might not need plastering, but there are a few bits that need a bit of work. Maybe some filler will do the job. Why would I know? I'm not an expert.

All the bathroom tiles have been completely removed. Nay had a bit too much fun smashing stuff yesterday, but I finished off the final tiles today.

Tomorrow, we need to pull up the floor tiles and that will be the final thing we need to do for at least a week.

Once we're wrapped up, it's just a waiting game for workers to finished. Then another waiting game for the work to dry and set - or whatever it has to do. What? Why would I know? I'm not an expert.

Then we can decorate and move in!

I've been doing loads of work. I'm not usually this active, but even with all the work, I've so full of energy. I feel like I want to run more. I don't know if I should take advantage of this energy or take the time to chill out and unwind.

View on 200 Words A Day: 22nd-july-2019-232795d362346a309e

21st July 2019

21/07/2019 (212 words)

If I had a hammer. I'm hammer in the morning. I'd hammer in the evening. All over this land.

Boy, we have done a lot more house work. We're so close! We should be finished tomorrow, but maybe we've book some people in to do work a bit to early.

It's been a lot of work. Probably more work than I have ever done. I'm not very handy, but we were insistant on doing stuff ourselves. I can't wait until it's done - all decorated, our stuff moved in, new bathroom, new sofas in. All in time for a well over due feet up and chill.

We managed to squeeze in a break to see Toy Story 4. Great film, but of course, not the best of the series. Next on the agenda is Lion King and then probably Spiderman. I've enjoyed the Disney "remakes" - they have been amazing, but none of them have been as good as the original.

Today, we cleared up a lot of the remaining wallpaper and finally got started removing bathroom tiles. I thought it would be a lot harder - and getting it started was difficult, but it was surprisingly okay. It turned out, Nay enjoys smashing tiles. Who knew... ?

View on 200 Words A Day: 21st-july-2019-231955d34dea3ee7b0

20th July 2019

20/07/2019 (250 words)

I'm all out of sorts right now. My routine is shot and my motivations to do other things are near zero. It's not too surprising because we're doing a lot of house work, but my diet and workout routine has gone to hell. I'm keeping up with the work outs in a way, but I'm not being consistent. My diet though... let's just say I've wrapped up a McDonald's this evening, I've had a KFC, Subway and Wednesday pizza at work (I never had pizza at work) recently. It's a difficult week to keep up with the things I want to keep up with, but it will all work out. All of our hard work is coming together very soon and we'll have ample opportunity to correct ourselves. It has been bleeding into other facets of our lives. Nay is overly stressed with the house work and a bundle of cake orders - the humidity isn't helping with the buttercream and the icing, which is causing cracks and bulges. She's ready to give up, but I think there are other issues at play here.
She makes amazing tasting cakes, but often doesn't spend the time to make sure she is prepared, fully concentrating and ready to perform her art. In my opinion, she overbooks and under charges, and the stress is making her lose her passion.
I think we could both do with a bit of recalibration.

View on 200 Words A Day: 20th-july-2019-231255d338c65e9ed8

Just and It

19/07/2019 (217 words)

I recently saw this post on Twitter, I can't recall where from!
It was a post detailing 6 words you should remove from your professional vocabulary.
  1. Honestly
  2. Just
  3. Things
  4. Sorry
  5. Hopefully
  6. Your speech disfluencies (the f... ? Oh, umms and errs)
I saw this post and mostly agreed. The particular word that jumped out to me is "just". In this post, they say;
It also packs a big punch to detract from your credibility and confidence and negates from the importance of your message.
Although this wasn't what I thought. For me, saying just implies a simplicity that some people might not have, even at different levels of software development - but not exclusively, this simplicity could be implied in any context.
"Just do this small thing" implies it must be easy. Maybe it is for you, but is it to the person you're talking to?
The rest of the words they discuss didn't appeal to me quite as much. I agree to some extent, but my pain is with the ambiguous, "subject" words, such as it, this and that.
I often find it clearer to remove the ambiguity and just say the subject itself. Instead of "could you do that?" - what is that? Is it X or is it Y? Say "could you do X?"

View on 200 Words A Day: just-and-it-230405d3232a004684

Fitness Inspiration

18/07/2019 (207 words)

People say some wonderful things.
We were talking about fitness and our general routine. I currently run 3 times a week, aiming for 50 miles in July (have I mentioned that before?), while she goes to the gym to do a variety of different classes 5 or 6 times a week.
We both do exercise for similar reasons - mostly because we actually enjoy it.
For me, there is health benefits, including loosing weight, although I'm not loosing much at the moment because of my eating habits - which leads me to the wonderful things people say:
You make muscles in the gym and you loose weight in the kitchen
While my mind shattered into tiny pieces, I begin thinking about this for the rest of the day. It's so simple, and really, we all know it. You just don't feel it.
There are great benefits to exercising. There are great benefits to eating healthily. Combine the two and you're onto a winning package.
I'm grateful for the people I have surrounded myself with lately. They constantly inspire me to better myself through little nuggets of wisdom, specifically tailored challenges or sheer brilliance.
I think if you read this, you'll know who you are. Keep being you.

View on 200 Words A Day: fitness-inspiration-229145d30e769c9c5c

The Abyss Between

17/07/2019 (202 words)

On the one end of the abyss, there is our previous home. Our flat; a glorious, large space, which is extremely familiar territory - we've been there over 5 years now.
On the other side, we have our new house. It's not a home yet, it's bare - of both content and memories, but we're already building them.
We're currently in the abyss between the two. We have boxes of our stuff stacked up in our flat, but with the decorating (and waiting the workers), we have nowhere to move it. We've sabotaged our current home and we're not really able to do anything in our new home yet.
It's stressful, but we're slowly plodding through. We'll get there eventually, but it is getting to us a bit. The long, drawn-out process has got to us. Before we're done with the process, we're thinking of booking a hotel for a day or two - just to chill out. It seems weird, but we do just need to chill out.
Slow and steady progress is what I endeavour for in most things - making, running, life. Why am I trying to rush this process?

View on 200 Words A Day: the-abyss-between-228185d2f8e35be89e

100

16/07/2019 (219 words)

What a milestone... 100 days in a row.
I don't even know what to say.
Today is 196th day of 2019. I've spent more than half of that maintaining my streak on this platform. I was a day ahead on Makerlog, but accidentally used a rest day when I fell asleep after writing my 200 word entry - aligning my profiles.
My days are full to brim right now, so I'm deathly aware of my dwindling quality.
The last few days have basically been the same:
  • ignore my 7:00 alarm
  • wake up at 7:30
  • brush teeth
  • scramble to get dressed and make the 7:55 bus to work
  • Duolingo streak
  • get to work around 8:40, make a cup of tea
  • have a bit of a natter
  • catch up on emails and plan the day before stand up at 9:15
  • 10:30 brew time - very important!
  • lunch at 12:00
  • 15:00 brew time - very important!
  • leave work at around 16:45
  • catch the 17:10 bus home
  • get changed into scruffy close to get to work on the new house
  • endlessly strip wallpaper from our living room - we're almost done!
  • head back home around 21:30
  • chill out with an episode, write my 200 words
  • sleep
  • repeat
It seems like everything is coming together, but I can't wait for it to be over, so we can relax and enjoy our new home - with our new comfy sofas!

View on 200 Words A Day: 100-227325d2e46413919e

15th July 2019

15/07/2019 (234 words)

Today was supposed to be the day we picked up our keys, but we managed to make time on Saturday. With that in mind, we had booked the day off! This meant more time at the house to sort things out.

We wanted to strip the living room (which is one big, open room for the living room, diner and kitchen) and the master bedroom before moving in... and everything is gone to hell. Hurray!
We knew it would be some work, but little things keep adding up.
Firstly, we knew there was a small leak from the bathroom into the kitchen below. Not too big a job, just a loose tile that needed replacing and we wanted to re-tile the bathroom anyway. This added the bathroom to the list and was preventing the kitchen from being sorted.
Secondly, while stripping the hideous wallpaper, we realised the walls need "skimming", which is preventing and delaying decorating.
Argh! We want to be in by 1st August!
We've had people round for bathroom and plastering quotes too.
Back to the decoration: Jesus... in just the (open plan) living room alone there we're 6 types of wall:
  1. Sort of sun-patterned blue (painted wallpaper)
  2. Black, wavy vinyl (wallpaper)
  3. Purple rose (wallpaper)
  4. Plain, royal purple (painted)
  5. Plain white (painted)
  6. White worded pattern (wallpaper... ON THE CEILING!)
What.. the... [Sound is muffled and screen fades to black]...

View on 200 Words A Day: 15th-july-2019-226405d2cf1d69a758

Team Streak

14/07/2019 (331 words)

This is my reply to the multiple 200WAD / Team Streak posts. (Each word is a different link!)
I personally find it quite difficult to keep up with many communities. I'm just not active enough. I read the odd 200WAD post, but I could read more. The reason I'm part of the 200WAD community is mainly because of these few things;
  1. I saw what @basilesamel was building and it came at the right time for me. I wanted to improve my writing, and in particular, my communication skills. I do think I have improved, but maybe not a whole lot. That improvement has mostly come from keeping up this commitment
  2. As you all know, I'm a sucker for a good habit. Healthy habits lead to a healthy life and there is nothing like writing out your day, spreading your thoughts, your progress or simply getting things off your chest.
  3. The community has been brilliant. I'm not too active, but you've all been so nice me. From having a little bit of recognition for writing a post to a simple "Thanks for the updates" when I post about my day, especially you Brandon.
These positive comments aside, I do feel some negativity too. I particularly relate to @jacklyons' post, as I often find myself questioning quantity vs quality. It's an odd thought. Often, you can generate quality by amassing a quantity, but surely there is a line. When do we know we've hit it? Do we stop when we do? Am I slave to the streak? Will my motivation die if my streak is removed?
I'm not sure.
I think 200WAD is a net positive in my life. I'll continue to use it - and to support Baz and the gang. It's not perfect, but it's ours.
PS. @brandonwilson, count me in as part of #TeamStreak. Although I'm not vocal, I love reading these updates.

View on 200 Words A Day: team-streak-225665d2b82fe81f84

I own a home

13/07/2019 (230 words)

I picked up my keys for my first home today! It's been amazing.
I'm just jotting down some thoughts, but I know some of these will come out negatively, but honestly, I'm happy!
We both feel they process has lost that initial excitement because it took far longer than it needed to due to some annoying and incompetent lawyers.
It's weird because I feel like I should be over the moon, but I don't really feel that right now. There are times when we're ecstatic and other times when we feel crippled with the sheer amount of things there are to do! Maybe that is normal, but with it being our first home, we don't really know!
When we popped into our new, deserted, empty house, it was amazing. Walking through the threshold was awesome - this is ours!
The previous owner has been amazing. He left us a card with our neatly piled collection of assorted keys and documentation. He was organised, sorted everything out and left the place in a great condition. We have no complains about him, he went above and beyond in some aspects!
We met a neighbour for the very first time - a guy with 3 kids. His wife was out. They seemed very nice! Thank god.
I'll probably talk about some other thoughts regarding the house quite soon!

View on 200 Words A Day: i-own-a-home-225105d2a581156c88

Running Another Spreadsheet

12/07/2019 (207 words)

As is typical for someone like myself - a develop with a few ideas brewing. I attempt to do too much, failing at them all and ultimately produce nothing. On that vein, I thought of something else...
I'm constantly sharing my runs with a certain person in particular - we keep each other motivated. She's European and so uses kilometres. Urgh, but I'm British, I use miles!
Light bulb moment...
To the spreadsheet!
I track my exercises in a spreadsheet anyway. Currently, I just put yes/no to exercise and add a note saying what I did. So, I can easily do that and get some extra benefits too.
I'm on my forth month of Race At Your Pace. I often wonder:
  • how many runs do I have left in the month?
  • how much I've done so far?
  • what distance that means I need to reach on average for other runs?
  • If only I could instantly get Miles to Km conversions without having to ask Google after every run.
It's fun to work on new things, even if they're small. It's often said that it's better to work on something small that you (yourself!) currently need. Let's do it!

View on 200 Words A Day: running-another-spreadsheet-223985d27b9d6ec272

11th July 2019

11/07/2019 (230 words)

It's a Thursday night. 4 day weekend for me… or is it really? I feel all out of sorts.

I'm currently listening to Foo Fighter's One By One album. So, let's write up my day and talk about the weekend.

I managed to progress my "main" ticket somewhat today, but there was a lot of back and forth between branches, changes and running a lengthy section of our test suite (our tests take far too long). All this back and forth for some progress here and there feels necessary for this particular ticket, especially considering it's playing with people finances - and more specifically, something they submit to the government for tax, so not just for records!

All these little steps made more progressively more restless until the afternoon ended up feeling like 4pm on a Friday - the week is done, you just want to go home.

I'm off work tomorrow for a wedding and I'm off on Monday to pick up my house keys! We'll have probably picked them up before then, but that's our back up plan. We're expecting to be slight inebriated tomorrow evening, so they might prevent us - it wont!

Once we've got the keys, we're going to be in moving mode! I'm excited to move near a country park... Did someone say dog?


View on 200 Words A Day: 11th-july-2019-223955d27a9392767c

10th July 2019

10/07/2019 (215 words)

Today, I woke up a bit grumpy - more than usual. A bit sleep deprived. That being said, I've made some decent progress on a ticket at work. We've done some things in a strange way that has bit us in the ass, but we're getting there.

After work, I planned to meet a friend, but I needed to do my Wednesday run. I clocked 3.64 miles. I think this is my "usual" run now. I've added an extra couple of street to go around the train station.

I met my friend and we went to a small Indian restaurant for a natter. Nothing too fancy, we spent about £25 between us both. A cheap date, if I do say so myself!

Then I came home to the news: The Climate Fixathon details were announced!

Is anyone else taking part?

I had been excited to see what they involved all day - all week even. I was slightly disappointed, but motivated at the same time. Does that even make sense?

I don't know what I was expected, but it was just some small tid-bits of information. Nothing that would sway a decision on what we were working on, as we already had an idea. We're already discussing it in more detail now.

View on 200 Words A Day: 10th-july-2019-223025d264be7ca8a7

MoneyApp

09/07/2019 (205 words)

I'm resurrecting my dead money app.

It was the first app I made myself that I put online for others to use. A few people checked it out, but it was mostly friends testing it out.

I'm not expecting it to get more traffic or take off this time around, but I think it has a key ingredient: I use it!

The premise is quite simple;

  • Budgeting sheets are ever growing comparisons from different periods. I don't care about that. I want to see my current situation.
  • I'm looking for simple calculations that will take into account a recommended budget and tell me how I'm doing.
  • A simple projection based on my current situation will let me know how bright my future looks - or if I need to do something about it.

Easy right?

I introduced the original app on Twitter back in November 2018. I started building it in the open due to seeing progress threads on Twitter. At the time I was fascinated by them. I was so used to seeing people being protective of their ideas, but it turns out: people don't care.

You can literally give away your best product ideas and nobody will build them!

View on 200 Words A Day: moneyapp-222005d24fcc83a5b7

Hey, I'm Craig and I'm Casual

08/07/2019 (292 words)

I'm a recovering geek, who is trying to improve myself and my life by build better habits in 2019. From my late teens to early adulthood, I was addicted to World of Warcraft. I've not played for many years now and the craving is completely dead. That style of game is still my favourite - that is, games where you can constantly improve, climb ranks and beat harder opponents.

My habit process started with tracking key attributes I wanted to improve, on a daily basis, including:

  1. My health
  2. My dental hygiene (this makes me sound really disgusting, but I promise I wasn't that bad!)
  3. My gaming/side project balance

Overall, I think I have improved in these areas this year, but as always there is much to learn and more to improve upon. During this process, I've developed other healthy habits, such as writing on 200WAD and learning a new language on Duolingo.

I've successfully completed 3 months of 25 mile Race At Your Pace challenges, and - due to an exceptional colleague - I'm in the middle of a 50 mile challenge where I have had to cement my Monday, Wednesday, Friday running habits. My running has processed a lot too, but I'm hoping to improve my times!

While I sometimes think I've gone too far into the extreme with my habits, I think my life is going rather well right now. I'm healthier than I've been for a long time, my worries are generally for "unimportant" things instead of essentials and I have a great home life.

It's been a long process, but I'm about to move into my first home with my long-term partner, Nay. We're moving to a house near a country park and will possibly be looking into foster a dog after we're settled.

View on 200 Words A Day: hey-i-m-craig-and-i-m-casual-219205d2136455206b

Hey, I'm Craig and I'm a Professional

07/07/2019 (233 words)

I am a Rails Developer, currently working at Yozu in Liverpool. I have experience developing accounting software which is used by over 20,000 companies.

In my current role, I deal directly with the client to gather information on new feature requests, help narrow down the scope and implement these requests with a high standard of easily readable code. In addition to development, I help train and mentor new employees - getting them used to our office environment, our style of coding, but also developing my own communication skills. I'm always looking to learn and improve - helping new developers is proving to be one of the best ways to do this.

Alongside development, I've also lead a small team to produce an account management system for software that helps access detailed vehicle information. Our system is used to manage payments for the service as well as user permissions, invoicing and historical information.

In my own time, I work on several smaller projects and freelance work in order to help fulfil business needs and expand my own knowledge;

  • I've made many static websites.
  • I've self-managed and developed an ecommerce platform that has been very successful in its first year.
  • I'm developing skills in other areas, such as DevOps, Marketing and UI/UX Design.

I've recently found the sharing of my knowledge to be the best way to improve myself - so, I do this by writing and teaching.

View on 200 Words A Day: hey-i-m-craig-and-i-m-a-professional-219135d2129c8c47a5

Brighton Ruby Summary

06/07/2019 (465 words)

# IM CHEATING. IM AT 400 WORDS, SO IM POSTING TO KEEP MY STREAKS. IM STILL EDITING! #

Yesterday, I posted about my trip. Today I'm posting about the event and the talks.

There was a total of 12 talks, so the day ended up being quite long. I often get restless - need to stretch my legs, get a drink - but there was nothing I wanted to miss!

This is just going to be a brief summary of the talks and things I remembered.

Setting Up To Fail @vaidehijoshi

A great introduction to Brighton Ruby. A talk about the basics of distributed system and expecting them to fail. It was simply discussed while still acknowledging the difficult of it all. It's easy for people to talk about complex problems and how to solve them, but it's hard to avoid saying thing like just do this incredibly complex thing first.

Why Should You Care About Cultivating Trust? @GarethMarlow

People Debt and Trust are an exceedingly large part of any group, community, employment and we need to learn to improve on these factors. I particularly enjoyed the pyramid (from a Google project) regarding effective teams. I feel like I can take some of the knowledge shared in this talk into work to improve my life and that of those around me.

From Developer to Architect (and back again) @matthewrudy

The slides are available already. Matthew seemed to do some cool work, including working with the MoJ. I thought the next step after Lead Developer was Lead Developer and then again in bigger letters. It's interesting that more experienced coders and seniors do less code first. A wise, young ex-colleague said that 80% of the work should be done without touching the keyboard.

Embracing Openness in Open Source @a_adewusi

This was a brilliant talk. Getting starting in open source or just tech in general can sometimes be overwhelming or completely daunting. There is more we can do to make people feel welcome and Amina helps explain how.

Fixing Performance Problems with ruby-prof @fglc2

Frederik wrote about his experience at the conference.

Better Coding Through Unit Tests @valeriecodes

This was a great talk about animals. So many beautiful animals. Huh? What? She talked about testing too? Riiiiight, yes, yes.

This was a brilliant talk. So many of our problems are based around testing right now. I probably should have took notes on this section. I spent too much time bashing my head against the seat in front of me. It felt like I was being attacked.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Technical Debt @sroopsunar

Six Years of Ruby Performance: A History @codefolio

You may have encountered a bug in the Ruby interpreter @qyliss

Ruby like it’s 1995 @matiaskorhonen


Defragging Ruby @tenderlove


If the conference was bad... you could have called it a BrightOFF.

View on 200 Words A Day: brighton-ruby-summary-218675d2086a57d43c

Brighton Ruby Day

05/07/2019 (395 words)

I’m typing this on my phone. Low battery. A little deflated. It’s been a long day, but it has been brilliant.

I woke up super early to go for a short (planned) run with a colleague. We headed towards the seafront, a lovely blue view.

After showering, we headed down for a breakfast. A  full English from the hotel restaurant. I managed to smuggle out some croissants with my juice.

The team headed towards Brighton Dome in two separate taxis. While we were waiting, I saw Aaron Patterson of GitHub game. Pure fan girl moment for me. What a legend.

There were some amazing talks today, particularly from sroopsunar and valeriecodes. There was a total of 12 talks, maybe I'll summarise tomorrow after I've had time to catch up on some rest. It's been a long day!

Outside the talks, we were encouraged to mingle with the other attendees. I'm AWFUL at social situations. I'm fine having a conversation, but I have no idea how to initiate. I'm the awkward creepy lurker - please talk to me (quiet sobbing) #cringe.

We ended up having to leave slightly early than planned. We only had the hotel booked for the night before. We had a bit of a nightmare on the way home. We missed our train from Brighton to London Victoria. We had 15 minutes until our train from London Euston back home, so we popped into a take out food place. I wasn't going to eat, but we had time. A colleague ordered and food was ready in 2 minutes. I ordered and we waited... and waited... I was going to ditch the food, but it seemed like we had already missed the train, so I waited longer. 

Then we headed down to the platform and the conductors stopped us getting on the train. So we missed our connection and had to wait an hour for the next train home. At least we could chill out and take our time with the food, but we just wanted to get home.

To make things worse. When I got to our destination, I still needed to get another train back. It was the last train on a Friday night - I had forgotten about this. Then, my phone was dead, so I couldn't ring my partner to pick me up or get a taxi. I had another 20 minutes walk home to do.

View on 200 Words A Day: brighton-ruby-day-218385d1fb16fbec97

4th July 2019

04/07/2019 (275 words)

I planned to write some Brighton jibberish this evening, but I’m not even sure what to say.

We finished work around lunch and headed to a Korean place called Chop Chop. It’s literally the smallest place I’ve ever seen. You can’t eat in, only take out, but their food is delicious. We got the Katsu Mega. Bosh. 

After the light stroll in the sunshine, we headed back to work to sit on the roof garden. Enjoying the sun with our tasty noms.

After lunch, we headed to Tesco to get some drinks for the train. A cheeky 2 for £5 offer on a 710ml bottle of Corona, along with a small can of Flamingo Colada. Have I ever mentioned I love Pina Colada? So good!

Once lunch was over though, it was difficult to go back to work. For a start, I had already turned off my computer. Whoops. It’s a good job there was a few minor issue to help other people with, mostly related to features I had implemented.

Once we left work, then we headed to the train station. A multiple stop journey isn’t too bad when you have company. It’s kind of awkward dealing with a group of 6 on trains though. They’re mostly 4 seat groups. I’m always the outsider. 

Once we arrived at the hotel, we sorted food, headed down the beach front before skipping some stones and heading back. We gathered in a room - which was upgraded! - for a chin wag and some final beverages before heading to bed to type up my day.

Brighton Ruby conference is tomorrow. I’m going to be up for a 7am run before hand. Urgh.

View on 200 Words A Day: 4th-july-2019-217725d1e7bf165ea0

Brighton

03/07/2019 (206 words)

Today was my last full day in work today. I have a half day tomorrow and I'm off on Friday. I'm headed to Brighton Ruby in, well, Brighton!

6 of us from work are going. We're heading down on a mid-afternoon train, hoping to arrive before 19:00. We'll be having "train beers", we're that team...

I've not really been a conference like this before. I want to get involved, but I'm not great at mingling. I think I'm pretty good at talking to people, but I'm not good at initiating the conversation. It's something I want to improve. Any tips?

We'll be staying at the Malmaison hotel, just under 2 miles from the venue. Staying over for just one night and heading home after the event. We still haven't really arranges what time we're going home. My guess is that we will miss the last train and be stranded over night (quiet sobbing).

I still plan to keep up with my goal of going on my MWF runs. A colleague has expressed they will go on a (slighty shorter) run with me before the event... in the morning (quiet sobbing). I should definitely do it. I want to. I just don't want to carry sweating gym clothes around all day...

View on 200 Words A Day: brighton-217005d1d287d857d8

50%

02/07/2019 (271 words)

Today marks 50% of the year that is 2019. Day 183 of the year.

I spent this evening catching up on my stats, that I've been tracking every day* since the 1st of January. I have been posted monthly stats on Twitter during this year too. You can see June's here, but with the tweet regarding 50% of the year, I thought it would be cool to summarise the stats so far too.

I've made a net loss of almost 1 stone (a little over 6kg) in weight this year. I've lost more in total and June has been particularly sporadic. We've eaten out a lot, which could explain why my syn goal is at 6019 - over 131% of my target!

I've exercised just 66 times (33% of 183 days), which is okay. I've really upped my running in recent months.

I've walked 274 times, which is 75% of my 2 walks a day goal. I've typically been counting this as walking to and from work, to encourage this instead of getting lifts to the train. These walks are roughly equivalent (but not necessarily) to 1 mile each.

A lot of my 2019 goal has been to focus more on Investments over Distractions. With 140.5 vs 55 hours, I have achieved that, but I suspect people reading these stats might be a bit confused. I named these stats because of Steph Smith, but I've made amendment, eg; I've purposefully not been counting things like time with friends playing gaming as Distractions.

* I'm tracking it daily on a spread sheet, but haven't updated my website since I didn't count some holiday details in April. It's up to date, but I haven't transferred the information yet. I'll do it soon!

View on 200 Words A Day: 50-216295d1bd420aa0ec

Consistency With Challenges

30/06/2019 (275 words)

I was going to write about consistency today. Then, I saw the post by @gabrielgreco that concreted that decision.

Consistency is an amazing thing.

I'm reminded of an incredible interview with Simon Sinek that really emphasises the point about consistency. I've not even rewatched this. I don't need to. I know it's gold. I would recommend watching or reading everything involving Sinek. I even have a Trello card with a quote from him that helps me stay motivated sometimes.

Sinek says (and I'm paraphrasing) individual actions can be pointless on their own. It's the accumulation of all the little things that make you great and make you achieve your goals.

Brushing your teeth once does nothing. Brushing your teeth every day is where you see clean teeth and gums. Exercising once does nothing. Exercising regularly will eventually get you into shape.

This is why I like to build in little habits into my routine that will help me achieve all my goals. Some days, I feel worthless and like my goals will never happen or they're too far away. Other days, I'm pumped and can take on the world.

This is where challenges come in. With consistency, you can get complacent.

I've been doing Race At Your Pace, where I've been running 25 miles per miles. I've definitely been complacent at 25. I would often skip work outs, even entire weeks. I was challenged to do 50 miles in July.

I worked out, running 5k every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, adds up to 43.4 miles in July. If I stick to my planned routine, then I'm almost there already.

This challenge was the kick up the ass I needed.

View on 200 Words A Day: consistency-with-challenges-214755d192e7097155

I don't have time

29/06/2019 (242 words)

I keep planning to... well, plan. Something keeps getting in the way. I just don't have the time. Whenever I hear the sentence, "I don't have the time" I always recall an article I read that says;

Instead of saying "I don't have time" try saying "it's not a priority" and see how that feels.

After a quick Google, I do recall the 2012 lifehacker article it came from, which is quoting Laura Vanderkam of Wall Street Journal.

It's been a life changing for me.

To start planning, I like to see what is currently holding me back. In a typical week;

  • Work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.
  • Running 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Slimming World group on a Tuesday.
  • Granny's every Thursday, usually accompanied by my Dad.

I have a long term partner, who I try to spend a lot of time with, but sometimes it feels like this is preventing me from doing some things I really want to it, but then on the other hand; I love spending time with her (usually, ha!).

It's true that sometimes you need to spend time a part. It means we don't have to miss out on things, while having my quality time together.

My free days are basically Monday, Wednesday and, usually, the weekends.

I need to plan times to work on my projects, play games and still enjoy time doing everything else. Monday and Wednesday seem like good places to start.

View on 200 Words A Day: i-don-t-have-time-213905d1788154164c

Suits

28/06/2019 (237 words)

My weekend plans involve getting a new suit. I love wearing a suit.

I've not had too many suits in my time. I don't really have a need for them. I don't need them for work - we have a smart casual dress code. I don't need them for much else, but I did like to wear a suit to work every Tuesday. I stopped doing that, but I should get back onto it.

Special occasions like weddings are the only reason I would need a suit, which is why I'm getting a new one - I'm attending a wedding in the middle of July!

Thinking about it, out of all the suits I have owned, they have all been bought for weddings. The reason I have to by another suit, instead of reusing my old suits is because I've lost a load of weight.

I bought an expensive suit for my sister's wedding. A beautiful, grey number that I got refitted after losing over a stone when I went to yet another wedding.

After losing more weight, bought another (black) suit for an interview! I got the job and I'm still there but I've lost even more weight! Jeez, this is starting to sound like I've lost 100s of lbs, but I've lost around 3 stone in total.

This time, I'm going to get a three-piece. I'm thinking blue with a crisp white shirt. I'll take a look tomorrow.

View on 200 Words A Day: suits-213535d16890a99ead

Plagiarism is rife in tech

27/06/2019 (225 words)

...and that can be fine.

To get things working, it can often be best to find a solution that someone else has already implemented.

The problem here is when you do this within your own code base constantly, without any regard for the lack of knowledge or hacks that were made the first time round.

If you ever say to yourself "I'm doing it like this because that's how it's always been done" or "so and so did it this way, so I'm doing it this way". Stop and think!

Argh, even writing this, I'm torn with this idea, since often times you just want to get something done and out, but maybe it can be improved. Maybe the original copy-cat did it for a reason you don't know, don't understand or straight up just doesn't apply to you.

Loads of people copy work. Don't get me wrong. Hell, I've copied a tonne of work. It's convenient. Someone has already done it. Brilliant.

You might have heard of the 3 steps:

  1. Make it work
  2. Make it better
  3. Make it fast

Plagiarism often only covers step 1.

Plagiarism gives you development speed. Plagiarism doesn't give you understanding, code improvements or personal development. Oftentimes, it will lead to spreading bad code around the system. Oftentimes, this comes with the intention of cleaning it up later, which almost never happens.

View on 200 Words A Day: plagiarism-is-rife-in-tech-212635d153fa0aadec

Project Plan: Climate Fixathon

26/06/2019 (217 words)

After writing about my 4 projects for 2019 yesterday, I met up with some colleagues after work to discuss our project for The Climate Fixathon.

I believe we all went in this meeting expecting to expand upon our existing idea of measuring and improving our carbon foot prints, but we all had an open mind. It was interesting because we all come from different backgrounds. Our team currently consists of 2 men and 2 women.

We discussed what we wanted to focus on, what are goals could be and how we would influence users to perform these actions.

During our talk, I think our biggest break through was narrowing down what are goals would be. Our choices were education or action. Ultimately, our choice was easy when we thought about our own difficulties. We came to the decision to tackle a small problem we struggle with - just what can be recycled?

This is going to give us a chance to play around with some new technology that we're not familiar with, whilst still being able to use technologies we are proficient in. As well as developing skills from each other, managing a small stand alone project and dealing with communications between all of us - especially considering one of us is moving to the other side of a country before the fixathon starts.

View on 200 Words A Day: project-plan-climate-fixathon-211935d13e48131627

Project Plans

25/06/2019 (354 words)

Solving problems is what everyone encourages you to do when building products for other people. I do think that's important, which is why I'm taking part in the Climate Fixathon. I do think it's also important to build things for yourself or for fun. Sometime fun gets overlooked.

At the start of the year, I planned to complete 4 projects in 2019. I've not made much progress, but during the course of the past few months, I think I've decided on what challenges I want to pursue. They aren't ground breaking, but hopefully they do provide some value.

The Cake Pays

Nay is a baker and she often struggles with managing her prices, and hates her cumbersome spreadsheet. The initial goal is to help manage these prices and send quotes to her clients. The ultimate goal would be a complete management system for bakers, handling quotes, recipes, orders, reminders and financial management. It would be glorious if this become a one stop shop for bakers.

Slouch

A colleague and I often struggle to keep our posture correct whilst at work. She is more disciplined that I am, but ultimately she uses Slack to yell abuse at her. I'm not sure how this would come together, but I'd like to use this as a basis for another project. I'm envisioning yellow...

Climate Fixathon

We've setup a small team to discuss our goals for this upcoming event. We're meeting tomorrow to discuss this is more detail, but it seems like our plan is going to involve tracking and improving carbon foot prints.

Project #4

My final slot is undecided so far, but I have so many options. I'm coming around to be more focused on others, but I have a growing amount of problems I want to tackle.

As I've discussed, I've enjoyed tutoring, so perhaps it might be an educational based project. Additionally, communication is a growing problem that I personally face, particularly when sharing what you think amongst peers. I've been thinking about how to encourage peers of equal levels to raise problems and encourage or communicate preferred behaviour. Difficult, but perhaps that's a challenge I need?

View on 200 Words A Day: project-plans-211165d12876ca4401

Pair Explanation

24/06/2019 (221 words)

I've been tutoring a University level student in Ruby on Rails for a few sessions now. I think it's going quite well. We've been building a medical based application that allows patients to make appointments and doctors to consult and prescribe medication.

It's been refreshing to work on something new.

As I've written about this before, I'll slightly switch up the subject.

Not only has it been refreshing to work on a new project, it's been amazing valuable to me to mentor another person on a new project. When you develop the same project for a long time, it's easy to fall into traps of "this is just how it's done". When you have a new project, it's nice to develop these new skills yourself.

When I develop code, I find nothing more fulfilling than being able to pass my work onto another developer (or even a shiny, new employee) and them being able to understand it. If I could do this with a non-technical person, then Valhalla has been reached.

However, when mentoring, pairing or tutoring, you need to be able to do this on the fly - explaining as you go. This is where I'm currently trying to progress.

Now I've written this entry, I'm reminded once again of the incredibly useful Pair Programming Guide from the team at Tuple.

View on 200 Words A Day: pair-explanation-210345d114a40b3380

23rd June 2019

23/06/2019 (229 words)

I've had a pretty good day just plodding along with some development today.

Nay was out at a dress fitting, so I thought I would catch up on this weekends Rocket League Championships. The finals were this weekend, but I've not kept up with most of the season. It's been good to catch up and relax.

That being said, I did plan to do some side work, so I continued with the update of my personal website. I had some great feedback and suggestions from people, including design, content and some nice tips and tricks. I've not managed to fit them all in, but I've made great process.

The design is lovely. I got berated for my choice of a side bar instead of a top menu, but hey it looks nice!

I recently listened to an amazing talk on design, aimed at developers such as myself. I wish I took more of it in, but it did give me some great advice. White space is very important. Your choice of font is important. You must think about what you want the focus of the page to be. More often than not, it's not the header menu with your name and picture in it. Make these smaller, use greys, emphasis more important elements.

It's a shame that I'm still having trouble deploying, otherwise it would be online right now…

View on 200 Words A Day: 23rd-june-2019-209465d0fe7f83f932

Gin Journey

22/06/2019 (262 words)

Today was the day I booked for our Gin Journey in Liverpool. I bought this experience for Nay's birthday in May, but this was the first day we were both available and they had two spots free.

If you've never been on a Gin tour before, after today, I can highly recommend it. We went with a good little bunch - 4-5 couples and a group of 6 or 7 women for a 50th birthday, a rowdy bunch, but it was fun!

We went to Liverpool early to grab some lunch in preparation for the extrodinary amount of alcohol we were about to consume. We tried Five Guys for the first time. Exceedingly overpriced, but damn tasty burgers and fresh milkshakes.

After arriving at a quaint, little bar called Furnivals Well, quite early. We prompt outselves up at the bar and got a head start on the party before moving outside into the sun. A glorious day for it.

We made our way around 5 stops, with 5 different gin 'shots' and 5 different gin based cocktails. All the venues were amazing - one inside an old style phone box and another hidden away behind a back door that looks like a staff entrance.

Nay had been involved a competition to take a load of photos on the tour. The most posts won a prize - our lovely set of 4 gin glasses!

We wrapped up the evening with more expensive food and a quick visit to a house party before a slow sobering bus journey home where Nay now sleeps on the coach while I type up our day…

The end.

View on 200 Words A Day: gin-journey-208785d0ea8bdeced0

Lessons from Side Work

21/06/2019 (203 words)

Having a full time job and doing work on the side can be quite difficult.

I've had trouble maintaining the ever searched for 'work life balance' and often find myself procrastinating or just out right abandoning side projects. Additionally, the extra work has caused burnouts, effecting my full-time employment too. Fortunately, I have a flexible work schedule (It's 9-5, but we can leave early and come in late as long as well get the work done and don't take the piss).

As is probably obvious, both have suffered.

Planning has been the key for greater productivity, but my planning as severely lacked recently.

Money shouldn't be the greatest motivator for doing side work. Doing it for money leads to burnout very quickly.

Now that I have completed some stressful projects for alternative clients, coming home to relax and unwind, playing games, hanging out with Nay and socialising has been much better for my mental and psychical health.

With that in mind, I'm going to spend time this weekend thing relaxing, hanging out with Nay, drinking, socialising and coming up with a plan for the future. What I want to do, how I want to achieve them and figuring out my 'enoughs' - financially or otherwise.

View on 200 Words A Day: lessons-from-side-work-208015d0d5dfbc67bf

Self Evaluation: Step 1

20/06/2019 (285 words)

I'm at a stage where I need to evaluate what I want to do. I often overload myself with new tasks, new mental barriers and I end up fatiguing myself. As I mentioned in a previous post, I need to step back and evaluate my goals. Unfortunately, I don't feel like I'm in the right mental headspace to do that right now. I need a few days to unwind… but it's always tomorrow.

I know it needs to happen and it will relieve a heavy burden, so I'm going to stick to the 'Get It Done Now' side of @jacklyons' latest post, but move the details down the road into the 'Get It Done Later' side…

I had a couple of 2019 goals that I'd love to keep:

  • Grow my Twitter audience to just 50 followers. (Check)
  • 4 sides projects released into the wild.
  • 3 vacations into new countries.
  • Make money on the internet.

We're 6 months in.

I've add 40 followers to my following. I'm currently at 65.

I've started 1 project, The Cake Pays, but not really implemented any useful feature. I spent a lot of time tweaking designs and updating copy. I was really enjoying it at the time, so I don't feel like it was wasted. I think these projects will be the key to making money on the internet - unless anyone wants to buy me a coffee?

I've been to Majorca. I started my 200WAD journey the day before I travelled and have maintained my streak since. We've booked Krakow for September and think we will go to a Christmas Market in early December.

My 2019 goals aside, I need to think about other factors in my life and that's where I'm struggling to come to grips with things.

View on 200 Words A Day: self-evaluation-step-1-207135d0c084b7ccd3

Powering Through A Weird Week

19/06/2019 (223 words)

Not feeling it right now…

I'm powering through. It's been a weird week. I still have a friend staying at mine. It's been unusual coming home and not being completely free. That's not entirely the case, I've mostly been able to do what I want and I've made sure to keep on top of my exercise and somewhat keep hold of my routine.

It doesn't help that Nay is ill too. Sometimes, I would go off into my office and work on some sort of side project, but I've not been able to do that.

Work has been usual too. We have a colleague leaving soon, so we're dealing with a hand over, but also fixing newly introduced bugs. It's been strange.

Then today, I got some amazing news! Our house purchase has progressed! I'm so excited. The initial date we were given is now a week on Friday! Woah! I'm still holding out on a full celebration just yet, because our solicitors have been a complete disaster. Thank god our chain has finally progressed though!

I'm hoping once this week is over, I can regroup and continue with some sense of normalcy. Although, right now, I'm not in a state to see that happening. I'm just holding onto that mental light. Maybe the Gin Tour we have planned on Saturday can help…

View on 200 Words A Day: powering-through-a-weird-week-206185d0aaee74f87e

Maslow

18/06/2019 (271 words)

Many of my interests when it comes to writing, articles and the like do revolve around self improvement. Not necessarily in a self help kind of way - that makes it sound like I'm struggling. I'm not struggling. Life isn't really difficult for me. I know people who are struggling and need help. I want to be there, but sometimes you have to worry about number 1 to help number 2, 3 and 4. I mean self improvement in a progressive kind of way.

Goals keep me focused.

I need something to achieve.

Whenever we think of goals, we immediately jump to financial goals. It's only natural, I suppose. I think it's short sighted, but ultimately, money does help.

Bing… Maslow's Hierarchy… a mental detour… (I wonder if I'll finish an article with my original point. Maybe one of these days…)

I'm in a fortunate position. I think I'm on the upper end of Maslow's pyramid.

I have the basic needs covered, I'm well fed, have a lovely flat and I comfortable bed. I'm safe, I don't worry where my next meal is coming from - other than ASDA, Aldi or Tesco. I'm not 'rich', but I have enough savings that I wouldn't be completely screwed if I lost my job tomorrow.

I'm in a long term (5.5 years), loving relationship with my girlfriend, Nay. I have a great - albeit small - circle of friends I can rely on for anything.

Although, this is where the buck stops…

My pyschological need for esteem, prestige and accomplishments are unquenched and this is preventing me from joining the upper echelons of Maslow's chart.

…but I do feel like I'm close.

View on 200 Words A Day: maslow-205395d09535979e6a

Know Your Team: Employee Engagement Questions

17/06/2019 (504 words)

I've been quite a fan of Claire Lew of Know Your Team for some time now. She recently asked these 32 employee engagement questions.

As my review at work is coming up, I thought I'd answer them.

I plan to do it publicly, but I'll think about that as I answer them and see if that is actually reasonable. I've previously answered a handful or so, but due to an issue going on in my personal life, I'm just going to post the questions for now.

  1. Have you met the last person we hired?
  2. How many miles do you travel to/from work each day, and how long does it take?
  3. Is risk-taking in the team encouraged, and what happens when people fail?
  4. Do you want more feedback about your performance?
  5. Do we get together as a whole company often enough?
  6. What would you want our team to be known for 20 years from now?
  7. Have you ever been afraid to suggest an idea at work because you thought someone might shoot it down?
  8. Do you feel like you know what is expected of you in each of the areas you are responsible for?
  9. If someone asked you to describe the vision of the company, would a clear answer immediately come to mind?
  10. How is our team doing with gender equality? (You can keep your response private, it won’t be shared.)
  11. Do you have time in your day to learn?
  12. Do you feel like we have too many meetings?
  13. What is the most repetitive part of your job, and do you have any suggestions for streamlining it?
  14. What changes would you suggest making to our monthly team meeting structure?
  15. Do we provide enough context about how we’re doing as a company?
  16. Are there things you don’t know about the company that you feel you should know?
  17. Is there one specific part of your job that you find the most difficult? What is it and why?
  18. Which core value of the team speaks to you most, and why?
  19. Do you crave more depth in any area of the work you do?
  20. What are your top 2 wishlist items for your desk/work station?
  21. Do you feel like your ideas are being considered?
  22. Do you feel comfortable speaking up if you see something at work that doesn’t feel right?
  23. Are you afraid of anything at work?
  24. Do we make the time to recognize each other for a job well done?
  25. Are you proud of how we treat our customers?
  26. Is there anyone at the company you wish you could apprentice under or shadow for a day?
  27. Are there any small things we could do to show our appreciation for each other’s work?
  28. Did you have at least one 4-hour block of uninterrupted time to work last week?
  29. Have you been confused by any recent decisions at the company?
  30. What is your most productive time of day and environment?
  31. Are there any benefits we don’t offer that you’d like to see us offer?
  32. Did you take a vacation last year?

View on 200 Words A Day: know-your-team-employee-engagement-questions-204615d0800664a181

Community Dipper

16/06/2019 (241 words)

I often try to get involved in communities around my interests, but I'm not very good at staying in touch. I've been involved in many over my time - he says as if he is a 90 year old man.

I tend to go through a lot of phases. Sometimes I'm really involved, other times I dip in and out and sometimes I'm nowhere to be seen. Oftentimes, that ties directly into my real life. If I'm busy at home, I'm not productive. I'm looking to pick up a development laptop so I can make stuff while hanging out on the sofa with my partner. I've not managed the balance yet - I do too much of one or the other.

I've met many interesting people like this, mostly via online communities. This mostly includes gaming communities; Phantasy Star Online, World of Warcraft and Rocket League. Most recently, Makerlog and 200 Words A Day. These are two communities I aspire to be more involved in, as they encourage actions I want to enhance - writing and making. I don't feel like I'm great at either at the moment.

I amazingly still keep in touch with a handful of people that I met on World of Warcraft, but I suppose that's to be expected from a decade of playing. If I can keep in touch with a handful of people from a more productive community, maybe we can do great things together. It's difficult to go alone.

View on 200 Words A Day: community-dipper-202585d04bd83bcd5a

Gemfile #3: Bundle

15/06/2019 (237 words)

This should close out my previous Gemfile posts with part 3. Potentially the final entry, but a lot of this is covered by Thoughtbot in 'A Healthy Bundle'

Thoughtbot talk about exact and pessimistic versions, as well as versionless. Whenever I start a new project, I try not to lock my gems to a specific version, but if they are being problematic it can help.

If you're using a standard setup for Rails, you're probably using Bundler. These version 'states' will affect how bundler handles your gem updates.

Running bundle update will have the following affects:

Exact: gem 'devise', '1.2.34' - no change

Pessimistic: gem 'devise', '~> 1.2' - updated to the latest PATCH version of 1.2.x, eg; 1.2.34

Versionless: gem 'devise' - updated to the latest version. Full stop.

Whatever time period you chose to upgrade in, you can see what needs to be upgraded by using bundle outdated

The default gem source for Rails is RubyGems.org, which is important to remember. Sometimes searching for a gem name could take you to the wrong documentation if the name is taken elsewhere.

When I pick what gem I'm updating, my priority is typically to open the changelog and inspect the changes. I've been bitten too many times by just upgrading a gem without doing this. Often, a gem might seemlessly upgrade, but introduce breaking or unknown consequences - you may have read my groans about adding tailwindcss to my application. The pain came from upgrading a major version of webpacker without following the major upgrade documentation.

View on 200 Words A Day: gemfile-3-bundle-201265d02c8b8138ac

Gemfile #2: Read The Fucking Manual

14/06/2019 (262 words)

Continuing from Upgrade Early, Upgrade Often

When upgrading, it's important to take little step. Usually, this means it's best to incrementally upgrade. Sure, maybe try upgrading everything straight to the latest version first and see what happens.

If that doesn't work, start upgrading a single gem at a time by upgrading that gem to the latest PATCH version, then the next MINOR version, and then finally the MAJOR versions. Making sure your code is functional or updated along the way.

Remember: RTFM - Read The Fucking Manual. In this case, the upgrade documentation or change log.

If necessary, make a PR for each stage detailing what was upgraded, why this is happening, where they can find the documentation and what implications this entails for your app. It'll be much easier for your team to hunt down any problems or see what change cause a specific issue.

It's also important to start with low hanging fruit. With Rails 6.0 around the corner, you don't want to jump right in with a major version bump for the main framework of your application. Make sure you're other gems are upgraded, functional and amended first.

All of this comes much easier if you stick to upgrading early and upgrading often. If you only updated gems when a new version of Rails came out, it would take months to upgrade, but it could be as simple as a version number change if you prepare in advance.

Let's all get in the habit of upgrading our Gemfile at least once a (insert your time period)… maybe a sprint?

View on 200 Words A Day: gemfile-2-read-the-fucking-manual-201245d02c507912ae

Gemfile #1: Upgrade Early, Upgrade Often

13/06/2019 (203 words)

A Gemfile is the home for dependancies in a Rails application.

Ruby gems use semantic versioning. This is a version number that read like MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH, for example a line like: gem 'devise', '1.2.34' would take a Rail application to install the 'devise' gem at MAJOR version 1, MINOR version 2, and PATCH version 34.

A Gemfile can continuously grow, but as it does, so does the number of dependancies in your app. Beind tied up by dependancies can be a bad thing. Maybe you want to change how a specific thing works, even just tweak it slightly and it becomes a bigger problem. Making your own version of that dependancy can be beneficial in the long run. That being said, certain dependancies are invalueable and provide benefits you couldn't possible have the time to develop for yourself. In almost every application, I use Devise for user authenication.

When you have dependancies, it's important to keep them up to date. It's easy to install them, get them working and then forget about. What happens when they start blocking other changes? You're forced to update them, sometimes several versions at a time. That can have a catastrophic impact on your development speed.

So how do you approach this?

Upgrade early. Upgrade often.

View on 200 Words A Day: gemfile-1-upgrade-early-upgrade-often-201225d02bd6278e51

Phone ramblings

12/06/2019 (229 words)

I'm currently typing on my phone and apparently this editor doesn't do auto correct, or manage capitals and case shifting very well, nor does it have handy inputs like a double space being a full stop.

It's interesting though. I'm really concious of my streaks. Not in a sense of 'I must continue my streak' but in the sense that I want to continue writing. It has definitely become a habit. As discussed the other day, completing and maintaining good, healthy habits is a constant pursuit.

The reason I'm writing on my phone is because I have stayed late at work for a 'Future Planning' meeting. I ended up going for drinks with some colleagues after, including one I've not historically got along with. I don't think there is any malice there, we get on, but we disagree on a lot of work based 'theory' I suppose. It actually felt great to discuss this in person.

Communication is key to all relationships.

Often in a work environment, it's difficult to establish that rapport between your peers, and often it's difficult to speak up to a more senior person - whether seniority is by role or by standing/length at the company. I'd emplore you to speak up. Your opinion matters, especially if it is affecting your day to day life or your mental health.

Maybe I'll take my own advice…

View on 200 Words A Day: phone-ramblings-200425d01741cc28bd

Re: Re: A streak matters

11/06/2019 (214 words)

I've definitely been guilt of making a private post to keep my streak alive. Only once - and then I rewrote the actual piece I wanted to submit without worrying about a time constraint.

I think streaks are great.

I totally agree they can be a double edged sword, but I'm trying to form a life full of purposeful habits. Streaks are helping with that.

I have several streaks going right now:

  • Logging 'Craig's Life' since 01-January-2019, 162 days. This includes investment time, distraction time, dental hygiene, exercise, food in take and weight.
  • Makerlog, 66 days
  • 200 words a day, 65 days
  • Duolingo, 10 days, I've started learning French.

The more my day can be dictated by keeping streaks alive, the more I know I'm investing in good choices. I want to exercise. I want to create. I want to loose weight. I want to spend more time on improving myself instead of monging out in front of the TV.

I know it's not a long term plan, but it's working for me right now. There have definitely been days when I've not wanted to or even completely forgotten until last minute, but the more they become habit in my daily routine the less I need to think about them and, ultimately, the better my life will be. In theory…

View on 200 Words A Day: re-re-a-streak-matters-198915cfee2dcdfe6f

Tutoring

10/06/2019 (216 words)

I'm being paid for some Rails tutoring at the moment. It's kind of weird.

It's sort of like going to work and knocking out a feature that has been requested. We're building an application for Doctor consultations, but it includes some features that come preboxed with in Rails - image uploads, validations, etc.

The reason I say it's like work is because I don't know everything I'm being asked. Sure, I have a good foundation of knowledge and I would say it's going well in general, but there are definitely things that I - straight up - don't know the answer to. This is software development in a nutshell.

You have to Google a lot.

Another reason it's weird, is because I'm learning things myself. My current project at work is still using Paperclip, a deprecated gem for handling image uploads. I got the opportunity to learn a bit of Active Storage. Simply uploading files worked fine, but manipulating them didn't quite turn out as expected.

It's good to tinker with new technologies. It's easy to get out of shape and out-dated in the technology world. Being on my project at work has certainly held me back in some aspects. I'd like to stay more up to date with Rails progress. I need to look into Active Mailbox, too.

View on 200 Words A Day: tutoring-198875cfedd590efda

5 Years Ago

09/06/2019 (222 words)

The time is today, but 2014. 5 years ago.

Someone asks you, perhaps in an interview, where you want to be in 5 years.

Do you know what you said? Do you even know what you would say now?

Did you make it?

I'm not sure I did, but I'm sure I'm entirely to blame. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I do wish I had evaluated my goals more often and kept myself on the path I want to be on. Evaluation is critical to progress and not just in linear progression, but to make sure your goals are still what you desire in the long run.

5 year ago, I was in my final year at university, looking to work in software development. I've now been working at the same software development company for 4 years - almost to the day. It was mid-June when I started in this company. I joined up straight out of University, hungry for knowledge and keen to help develop fresh software. It sounds cheesy, but as long as I'm learning, I'm happy.

As it stands right now, I don't feel like I'm learning enough at work. Emphasis on enough. There is always something to learn - new employees to mentor, new features to develop.

This entry has been quite therapeutic, so I might continue this another time… 200 words and out.

View on 200 Words A Day: 5-years-ago-197735cfd6042b1941

Slack Setup

08/06/2019 (215 words)

My slack is set up in a very clear, compact manner. I have nothing visible.

I'm in as few channels as possible and I never have the desire to hunt for messages. If for whatever reason I do - I can search for it. The S is Slack literally stands for Search.

S.L.A.C.K is Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.

If my input is wanted, I'll get a direct message or an at (@) tag, which will give me a notification and an ping. I never need to hunt for a message.

My setup is designed to remove distraction.

My preferences:

  • I use the web app, so I don't have any application giving me desktop notifications.
  • I have DND set for out of hours. Always.
  • I turn off notications being sent to my mobile when I'm inactive.
  • Only show unread and starred conversations.

Whenever I get a message I want to remember or reply to I put a '//' in the chat. This way, I can't accidently send it, becasue '/' is a command and the channel (or more often the direct message) moves into my side bar. With the latest Slack update, this moves into a new category called 'Drafts'. Perfect.

Now, just to figure out how to get people to stop poking me on the shoulder.

View on 200 Words A Day: slack-setup-195505cf9884a0b952

Friday

07/06/2019 (244 words)

Today was a strange day.

With it being a Friday, work was rather loud and hectic.

Three of my usual rag tag bunch of friendly faced colleagues are now, separately, away until Wednesday. I'll be all alone, except for a couple of others from the rag tag bunch. I guess by the previous statement, they are the less friendly faced ones.

I tried a small, local Korean takeaway called Chop Chop today. It was an extremely small restaurant, barely big enough for 2 staff - although they managed to squeeze 5 in there. I ate the 'Mega' Chicken Katsu Curry. It was absolutely delicious.

After work, I met up with a good friend of mine to have tea and see Aladdin (first time for him, but again for me!). We ended up bumping into some old - let's say - friends at the cinema before we went in. Effectively, this was the friend that connected and introduced us and we all kind of stop talking. As far as I was concerned, nothing malicious, we just grew apart. It had been several years, probably over 10 for them. It seemed like they buried the hacket and exchanged numbers.

We watched the film and my friend hated it. Devastated. I really liked it. Of course, no scratch on the original, but it was great.

I arrived home rather late, spilling out my 200 words, before winding down with the missus… Let's see if this saves with that large error looming over my text…

View on 200 Words A Day: friday-196385cfae88b4e206

Slack

06/06/2019 (229 words)

I work in an open office with a staff count of 40. It can get busy. It can get loud. It's easy to be distracted, especially with tools like Slack.

I've heard many stories with their love or hate for Slack. It seems like people that work in an office (especially open offices) hate it, but people who work remotely or part remotely grow to love it.

I'm in the hate crowd. Maybe that's just matching the Average Joe.

Slack is for Slacking.

Slack is the ultimate distraction tool. It drags you in with the promise of great communication, but ultimate it's a scare tactic. We don't want to miss out! It's in our nature.

I try to fight that and follow the Joy of Missing Out.

I remove as much distraction as possible. I often completely close Slack when I want to focus for longer periods of time. The problem with this in an open office though, is that people will just come and poke you in person. Boom, distracted.

I think Slack reduces the quality of commucation too. If you can't get your point across in a clear, concise and preferablly asyncronous manner, then instead of improving your communication skills, you can just interrupt people and talk face to face instead. Nightmare.

In another post, I'll go into more detail about how exactly I have things set up.

View on 200 Words A Day: slack-190195cf1a01e2c03d

I did my first talk

05/06/2019 (269 words)

I'm super excited.

I think it went really well.

You might have seen a few of my previous posts, with previews of the talk content or how I was feeling. It finally came together and I took to the 'stage' tonight.

My talk was titled 'Does it have to be complicated?' and I got all my points across but in typical self-assassination style, once the talk was over, I kept thinking of things I should have said. Things I could have improved.

Why do we doubt ourselves?

I got some great feedback on the build up to my talk. Advice on things to add. Advice on things to remove, tweak, improve. I'd like to give a huge thank you to those people - if you read this, you know who you are. You're amazing.

Before the talk started, I was a little bit nervous. It wasn't too bad. I expected it to be must worse. During the talk, I immediately relaxed and just went through what I have practiced. I took notes, so I didn't forget where I was up to, but I knew what I was going to say and I felt really confortable with the crowd.

After the talk, I had some great feedback from friends and colleagues, but also from strangers I've never spoke to before!

Apparently, I should do stand up comedy! During my talk, I knew there were a couple of things that got the crowd laughing, but I didn't feel like I was that funny!

I really wish the talk was recorded. I was asked to record it, but I completely forgot. Actually gutted.

View on 200 Words A Day: i-did-my-first-talk-194695cf83de7bff38

My Week With Apple

04/06/2019 (234 words)

I've had an iPhone XR for over a week now - which is not quite the latest model, compared to the iPhone XS. I really didnt't know what to expect. Since I've had a smart phone, it's always been an Android. I previously had a Samsung Galaxy S8, so I'm not comparing the same generation of phones, but it's such a jump in quality.

Apple has always had this quality look about it. Sleek, clean, equisite but simple design (let's just ignore the new Mac Pro Cheese Grater, though…)

I've never previously tried out any Apple product due to two high barriers to entry;
1) price tag!
2) existing saved data

Even most of the phones come with an additional (close to) 50% extra on a monthly subscription compared to Android.

I got a good deal this time, with extra mobile data and I've gotta say - it's beautiful! As with the design, it's such a sleek, clean, equisite but simple experience. I'm most impressed by the sheer speed of applications, especially Apple Pay and the facial recognition software.

One of the decided factors was Apple's approach to privacy. Of course, large corporations (which certainly includes Apple) gather lots of data, but Google's privacy is getting to be a bit of a joke.

I'm just concerned about the integrations between phone, watch and laptop. Apple is likely going to be a new money sink that I probably didnt need…

View on 200 Words A Day: my-week-with-apple-193865cf6d9688009a

Procrastination

03/06/2019 (201 words)

Do you ever have those days where you have so much to do, that you curl into a ball and do nothing?

Anything else. Please!

I wouldn't say I particularly have loads to do right now, but I want to focus on developing and practicing my talk for Wednesday.

I got some great feedback and I'm quite looking forward to it (albeit a bit nervous), so I thought I would dive right into it - but nope!

I sat on the coach for almost 2 hours without realising how much time had disappeared. Then, when I finally got up to do something - the door went!

Poof, gone again.

I like eliminating motivation though. I don't have any. I don't think anybody else has any, either. It's fickle. I prefer forcing myself to do things, even if I don't want to - by sheer force of will.

Getting started with anything is always the hardest part, and that's when temptations for procrastination are at it's peek for me.

This applies to almost everything for me; starting a new exercise program, running, dieting, lessons, side projects and apparently practicing my talk.

Anway, guess I should get back to it. All these things aren't gonna sort themselves…

View on 200 Words A Day: procrastination-192515cf56ccc72f31

Opening 200 Words

31/05/2019 (200 words)

Talking about yourself is difficult. Why not try to professionally introduce myself in just 200 words.

Since finishing my degree and starting my career as a Software Developer, I've learnt the importance of self improvement, both personally and professionally.

I've developed an interest in maintaining great habits, using that strong emphasis on self improvement from learning styles to professional skills such as development techniques, time management and management skills.

Being statistically driven, I've tracked many habits, trends and progress to see how I can change, grow and improve. I feel this has been key to progressing my career and keeping myself accountable.

As an experienced developer, I enjoy getting stuck into a problem, understand the issue and looking for a simple, clean solution and enjoy sharing my knowledge with other developers by mentoring new starters, pair programming and posting content online.

I've been looking to take on a more senior role and leading my own projects, which is what led me to start managing my own projects under my trading name of Calajo. Managing my own projects has led me to develop skills outside of my usual role, such as working with clients, DevOps, Design, UX and other business management skills.

View on 200 Words A Day: opening-200-words-188215ceef12f9c41c

Complexity: Coming Together

30/05/2019 (222 words)

Putting my talk all together is proving to be more challenging than I originally thought.

I'm full of doubts. Is what I'm saying worthwhile? Will anyone care? Gah, it's stupid really. I know I've had these doubts when I started writing blog posts, tweets, products, even 200WAD entries. I don't think these doubts ever go away when you start somethign new.

Tomorrow is Friday, the last working day of this week. I want to be able to go into work tomorrow and walk through this talk with a few trusted colleagues for their input. That will give me the weekend to collate these suggestions and make any modifications I want to make.

Then, I'll need to actually run through the talk and time how long it will take. It's supposed to be about 15 minutes, but I don't think I need to worry if it comes in under (or even slightly over).

In a strange way, I'm looking forward to it. I'm not sure if that's to get it out of the way or as a stepping stone for the next talk.

This talk will be more of a suggestive talk: think about what you're doing, are you doing it simply or is it over complex?

Maybe my next talk will be at Rubyside… and maybe it will be a bit more technical.

View on 200 Words A Day: complexity-coming-together-189055cf02e7b33eb4

Complexity: Code

29/05/2019 (207 words)

Oof, talking about code complexity. What the hell have I got myself into?

I want to pad this section out with a couple of code examples, maybe even just one.

Principles

Occam's Razor: effectively, the simplest solution is usually correct.

KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.

Naming

In my day to day development, I try to remove any ambiguity from anything I write.

We have several classes that are a nightmare to type out:

  • SBTLI
  • PA
  • BPF
  • (I)BT
    - This one in particular is my favourite, because in bt is backtrace in byebug
  • (B/S/P)FI
  • GGA

Oh, interesting acronyms… No… what the hell do they mean?

If you gave this to somebody they wouldn't understand any of it and why would they?

It's an understandable mistake though. Naming is hard. Typing out long names is frustrating.

If you can get this right. Give me a shout.

CRUD

I'm a firm believer in CRUD controllers. These are controllers that adhere to the 7 actions that are needed to do everything.

If you're adding more actions over these 7, then you have just made a CRUD actions that should be in a different controller.

The perfect controller action would be (nearly) empty.


That's 200 words, but I need to elaborate on these…

View on 200 Words A Day: complexity-code-187365cedab79f16b6

Complexity: Colleagues

28/05/2019 (207 words)

Whelp. Time to get fired.

Kidding… maybe…

What I would say to my new colleague and anyone joining is from this great tweet:

You are smart enough.
Learning to code just takes time.
Be patient.
You'll get there.

The complexity of code can be a huge stepping stone for new employees.

I'm not even refering to junior or graduate developers.

Off the top of my head, I don't even know how to make a basic table in Pandle. Sure, I can figure it out from experience (effectively, just remembering it), but a new (even experienced) starter probably couldn't pick it up with out help.

Garbage!

But what can we do to improve things?

Right now, I'm not sure. I would need to think about this and expand on it some more. Documentation? Wiki pages? README?

Sometimes being the only person who knows how a piece of code works can feel great. Almost like you're Liam Neeson.

Until you realise, you're that unamed bad guy that dies in the first fight scene.

Making code readable and ready to hand off to anyone is the ultimate goal. If you can't let it go or you think you're the only one that can manage it. You've done a shit job.

View on 200 Words A Day: complexity-colleagues-186585cec4f148ac37

Complexity: Food and Blogs

27/05/2019 (207 words)

Complexity can cost time and money.

There are pros and cons to everything, including complexity.

I want to kept the it of my talk ambiguous. I believe this applies to many different aspects. Code, Design, DevOps, System Architecture but even non-technical aspects too.

There is a cooking book I use quite a lot. It's called Take 5. It has loads of quick to make recipes using only 5 ingredients. They all taste amazing.

How many websites have you seen that are overly complicated, when all they do is host a couple of blog posts? Knowing the overall goal of an application before you proceed can save a huge amount of time and money.

Blogs are common. If you're starting a blog, then you have many options:

  • I chose: a self hosted rails application
  • FTP files to a server using eg; Filezilla
  • A blogging service that gets you up and running in minutes

If you host it yourself, you might want a design.

This takes time: probably knowledge of HTML and CSS

Or this takes money: buying a theme, albeit you can get one for £10, but how much does this save you overall? It probably costs you more in the long run.

Maybe WordPress or Medium is good enough.

View on 200 Words A Day: complexity-food-and-blogs-186505cec454140567

26th May 2019

26/05/2019 (226 words)

In typical fashion, I've ticked another few items off my list. Nothing major, but I actually love working this way. I'm sure @basilesamel would approve of the small and steady approach after reaching 200 day streak on Makerlog! ;)

My progress for today:

  • I've fixed my personal site's deployment, so it's now possible to view the 200WAD user information on my website.
  • Done 100 press ups. This was a goal for the whole weekend, but I've done them all today. Last week, I've also weaved press ups into my morning routine. It's helped a lot and I'm getting stronger.
  • Updated to Tailwind v1 and drafted a new design. I've started implementing it, but it's a while off now.
  • Caught up on several podcasts, including: Rework Mailbag, Episode 1 of Rails with Jason, and a couple of other podcasts that we're very interesting.
  • Checked off a few bookmarks, but a lot of my remaining bookmarks are audio/video, which I sometime find difficult (I realise that weird to say after talking about podcasts…)

I didn't focus on the draft of my talk or consider WHAT I do in my downtime today. Classic procrastination. Tomorrow though! For sure!

The beauty of my goals for this weekend is; I've added just enough to keep me busy but probably too much to quite get through it all.

Tomorrow: I will work on my draft!

View on 200 Words A Day: 26th-may-2019-185415ceace018512c

25th May 2019

25/05/2019 (200 words)

I've managed to check off a few items from my bank holiday checklist, but there is quite a bit more to go.

I didn't do as much as I wanted today, but today was the day I got an iPhone. I've never used an iPhone before, but I've wanted to try one for a while.

In terms of my bank holiday progress;

  • Fixed a minor bug with the order of articles
  • Updated words page to include 200WAD profile data
  • Went for a run
  • I plan to do 30 of my 100 press ups goal before bed
  • I've install Tailwind on my personal site, but there is a bug prevent deployment. I've not set something up correctly, because it can't find the tailwindcss module - that'll be tomorrow's problem though
Module build failed (from ./node\_modules/postcss-loader/src/index.js):
Error: Cannot find module 'tailwindcss'

My priority for tomorrow is to prepare an initial draft for my talk. I need time to practice and share what I'm doing. The earlier the better. When I have a break, I'll be sure to consider WHAT I do and fix some minor issues.

I wouldnt have thought I would make much of a dent in my podcast list or my bookmarks, but keeping progress small and steady is the key to success!

View on 200 Words A Day: 25th-may-2019-184855ce9c1eb96cff

Bank Holiday Plans

24/05/2019 (201 words)

My plan for this weekend. This weekend is a bank holiday, so I have an extra day.

I'm planning on getting back into developing again. It's been a couple of weeks now. I do this a lot though. Back and forth with productivity. I'm in the mood again though.

Granted, it's a bank holiday, so all of this might go out of the window if gin is suggested. Nay has some cake plans for tomorrow, so I'll have some time to start working through this list.

My goals for the weekend are as follows;

Talk

  • Prepare an initial draft

Personal Website

  • Fix a minor bug with the order of articles
  • Consider how to show *WHAT *I do, instead of *WHO *I am
  • Implement new design idea
  • Update Third Party profiles, including using the 200WAD profile end point

Maker

  • Implement line items for The Cake Pays quotes and recipes*
  • Play around with Slackbot notifications for a new idea

* This has been the premier feature of this entire app, that I've put off and off and never achieved anything with.

Extra

  • Go on at least 1 run
  • Do 100 press ups
  • Catch up on several podcasts
  • Clear out my bookmarks, including my general Trello board

View on 200 Words A Day: bank-holiday-plans-184035ce8661c78884

Streaks are weird

23/05/2019 (223 words)

Streaks are weird. We have an overwhelming desire to maintain them. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but ultimately, who really cares?

This is day 46 on 200WAD for me, which means day 47 on Makerlog.

For me, these streaks don't have the same value.

My 200WAD's streak is a symbol of my continuous writing progress and I've found value in keeping up the habit, improving my writing and overcoming my fears of sharing content by keeping it small.

My Makerlog streak was an accountability exercise to achieve the same goal, but with development and side projects. It's not turned out that way. I've kept that streak alive by adding 200WAD articles as a task. It's a fake streak, which I should have lossed. It's not been possible for me to work sometimes, I have a desktop and sometimes I'd rather hang out with my partner. It's easy enough to pull out a laptop and do 200WAD, but going to the other room and putting even just 1 hour a side to work hasn't been top of my priority - and in this context, I have no interest in it being.

That being said, I do want to buy a development laptop. I'd love to work more, but I like to be able to hang out with my partner while she watches terrible TV in the evening.

View on 200 Words A Day: streaks-are-weird-183215ce7089cd46ab

Origins

22/05/2019 (226 words)

Everyone has an origins story. At least all the great heros (and villians).

I'm not going to go into detail of my origin story - it's nothing cinematic. I thought I'd share where my online names came from. I've been asked a few times.

My online alias is Jaliso.

Originally, when I first started playing games online, I was "Ghostly". I used this name for my characters in Battle Master, a text based RPG and for online chats, like mIRC (Shout out to Jext!)

Later, I used Fanta for PSO (Side note: WOW! I just dug out my Guide to 4th Evolution Mags, so nostalgic). I used this name because, man, I loved the drink! Especially Tropical Fanta. Delicious.

When I started playing World of Warcraft. I began as a Druid called Mahoofis (An amalgamation of Massive and Hoof). Then, I later made my Warrior, Jaliso.

Jaliso (original Jalizo) is the first 2 characters of my mother and two sister's names, Janet, Lisa and Zoe - Ja, Li, Zo. I just thought the "s" looked better.

I also took this naming pattern when naming my "company". For freelancing and side projects, I trade under Calajo, which is the first 2 letters of my niece's and nephew's names, Caitlin, Lacey and Josh - Ca, La, Jo.

I'm sure I'm just screwed myself on some kind of security quiz, but there we go!

View on 200 Words A Day: origins-182465ce5c032441e0

Slouch

21/05/2019 (215 words)

I'm going to be working on a mini project which we came up with the idea for during a colleague's "Gamification for Social Change" workshop that I attended this past weekend. It's a fun little idea.

A different colleague and I are planning to fight our ongoing war with slouching. She (probably doesn't mine me saying that she) has a stupid spine, that's causing her some issues, while I hunch and lean forward a lot. It can only progressively get worse.

Within the spirit of the gamification workshop, we want to make it fun. So, we're looking at how we can implement some kind of points system, but we're not sure how will we do that that. We've been told positive reinforcement is better and ultimately more productive in the long term. Once a points system is in place, we'd need a purpose for these points, but we lack ideas.

We used Slack reminders at the moment, but my initial thought is to use a pomodoro technique with reminders to correct your posture and gaining/lossing points depending on how you've done in that time frame. We also want to include interactions between different players, so you could gain points if you help somebody else correct their posture.

It's silly, but it should be fun.

View on 200 Words A Day: slouch-180765ce46f0f0b730

Re: Obligatory GoT post *Spoilers*

20/05/2019 (250 words)

This has been the worst season, by far.

The last couple of seasons have been fairly bad, but this has obviously been the culmination of all these seasons "plots" coming to a close.

What a complete disaster.

That being said, I went into the final episode expecting to hate it. To my utter amazement, I think I actually liked it. I'm not sure why, my guess right now is that it was "okay" and okay is currently the highest ranking compliment amongst my final season comments.

I feel like many of the conclusions mostly made sense, but they were just rushed.

My problems were many though.

- The complete character assassination of Jaime Lannister. He was build up from a season one bad guy and progressed right up to a righteous, battled hardened, likeable character only for the writers to nose dive his whole development in a few words.

- Bran as King? Seriously...? Meh.

- Arya's character was fantastic in early seasons. Then she vanished - presumably in training. Finally to reappear, make a single jab to kill The Night King.

- The Night King's death. What the fuck was that? We spent 8 fucking seasons building up to it and he dies in the first battle. He doesn't kill anyone! All he ever did was raise his hands like "come at me bro". So, they came at him, bro and he died.

I could go on, but I'll end it here.

What did we expect from a series with a dragon called Drogon... ? Sigh.

View on 200 Words A Day: re-obligatory-got-post-spoilers-179895ce32b877e872

Does it have to be complicated?

19/05/2019 (214 words)

I'm doing a talk on 5th June 2019.

Minor spoilers ahead for anyone coming to it…

I was somewhat pressured into it, but I don't mind too much, since I wanted to do a talk anyway. I've shied away from it for the usual reasons - embarrassment, self-doubt, what if they don't like it? What if they think I'm stupid? I'm only doing a talk at the same event as the CTO of Blackberry. No big deal…

My only gripe is that I was pressured into decided a talk topic and title with about 3 seconds notice, but in the grand scheme of things I have enough time and support to develop my content and practice. Although, this has added more doubt - what if I picked the wrong topic?! Urgh, stupid brain. You'll be fine…

The truth is that developers love complexity. I'll be using this great Power Ranger's meme to show what I mean. They love to jump on new tools and check them off their list, and that's fine to learn and progress. I'd encourage it!

If code looks interesting, then it's likely that means there is stuff to think about. You want to remove ambiguity and KISS (keep it simple, stupid).

The simple fact is; boring is better. (Which might have been a better title…)

View on 200 Words A Day: does-it-have-to-be-complicated-178685ce17952b84e2

Eurovision

18/05/2019 (203 words)

Every year, around the middle of May, Eurovision comes on. They have this huge build up, including semi-finals, etc but we never pay attention to that.

I was never particularly bothered by any of it, but my house mate loved it, so I joined. Then, when I got with Nay, she loved it too.

We always have a Eurovision party at our place now. Bring your own beer, but we provide soft drinks and quick snacks (buffet style). Usually about 8 people come and a couple stay over, which is also the case tonight too.

I have no idea who any of the acts are, what they do, if they are any good at all. That's the way I like it. It would ruin the show for me to have already seen all the acts. It's unusual that I've not even heard the British entry though - you normally can't avoid it on the radio.

We give everyone a pen and paper (sometimes printing off the BBC rating cards), and get everyone to rate the acts. At the end, while the countries score each other, we compare and have a laugh. Nobody ever likes the same stuff! I suspect tonight will be exactly the same.

View on 200 Words A Day: eurovision-177635cdfe27c00799

Digital Mentoring

17/05/2019 (203 words)

After being given a half day by work to take part in the event, I took part in my first digital mentoring session today.

The whole course is for UI/UX which isn't really my forte (although, as you know, it's an improving part!), but I was only covering for someone else who was on holiday in New York.

It's a great cause, getting kids involved in tech. Innovateher have done some great work preparing the sessions, but I don't know how much work was done by the lead mentor. There was basically a list to work through; a "firestarter", a recap of the previous session and then the main block for the current session.

When I met with Innovateher, they seemed keen to get me involved straight away, even suggesting I run a programme myself. It felt like this was too much and my initially feeling was the programme was completely under prepared and the work was untested. I made these concerns known before it was suggested that I cover this session and maybe run a September course instead.

In reality, the lesson plans seem extremely well thought out and I'd welcome the opportunity to run a Web Development course in September.

View on 200 Words A Day: digital-mentoring-177355cdf370d0ec4b

10 Club

16/05/2019 (217 words)

I saw a tweet recently:

Goal for your 20s: Find your “10 Club”
Your 10 Club is a group of 10 people you want to work with later in life. They should be kind, ambitious, and generous.
Travel together, meet their families, and attend their weddings. Get to know them.
Massively valuable.

I'm almost 30 and definitely feel like I've missed this. I don't have my 10 club, but (very recently) I have built a collection of people I can talk to about many things.

I had an awesome evening hanging out with a colleague tonight. Granted, I'm very tipsy, but he is definitely one of these people. He even said my writing improved since starting 200WAD - it felt great to hear!

This tweet got me thinking though. Who is in my 10?

I think this is funny, because the people you are closest to aren't necessarily the people you interact with the most. Also, this list suggests people you want to work with... does that change things?

I'm going to avoid names, but I think they are (in no particular order) as follows;

1) My partner

2) My university mentor

3) The colleague I spent this evening with

4 & 5) My best friends

6 & 7) A couple of designers that offer their invaluable advice

8) My current motivator

... It seems that I have a couple of spots open. 

View on 200 Words A Day: 10-club-176355cddd6f8e689a

Throw yourself into things

15/05/2019 (243 words)

I've had a great day. I'm starting to settle down at work again. I sort of lost myself for a bit, but now I'm really enjoying it. I feel like my work have improved recently. Not necessarily the quantity, but the quality. I owe thanks to a couple of crucial relationships that I've built at work.

Equally, the reason is I'm trying to do more things. Granted, this is partly because these people are suggesting or pressuring (in a good/friendly way) to do these things.

I've wanted to do a talk for a while. I don't know what on, but I've never done a talk before. It seems scary. I was going to do one at our next Rubyside event, but I was asked to do one at the Liverpool Software Developer's Meetup instead (or as well?). I wanted to say no, but I really wanted to say yes.

I've no idea what to talk about... I'm sort of excited.

I've also decided to help with a digital mentoring programme, to help high schoolers get interested in tech. I wanted to just help out, but I've been sort of thrown in at the deep end.

I recently released a side projects article, but I thought it was difficult to read on such a wide line length. So, now I'm redesigning my personal website. I've been encouraging a colleague to do the same and I'm enjoying design at the moment. So, why not?

View on 200 Words A Day: throw-yourself-into-things-175475cdc720a2c9a0

Side Projects continued…

14/05/2019 (236 words)

More details on each project can be found on my original post.

Following reading the 101 side projects article from @anthilemoon, I thought I would share my current, growing list of ideas I might never attempt to implement. I started writing these ideas down after reading MAKEBOOK - which I still haven't completed, as per @levelsio advice, I started making instead. Although, I've still stumbled and not fully released any of my side projects.

I'm currently building The Cake Pays, a quote builder platform for cakes and bakes. Although, after discussions with my initial user base, a slight pivot is required. ANYWAY... where was I? Ahh, yes, here is my list of "problems" that could be transformed into side projects:

1) Client discussions

2) Bug Hat Selector

3) UK VAT Submission bridging software

4) Ethical products, rating system

5) Anonymous feedback

6) Anonymous wages

7) Subscriber

8) Work In Progress

9) Best Meeting Time

10) Productivity / TODO app (yawn)

11) UK Car Pool

12) Booking System

a) College/University Admission system

b) Cinema booking system

13) Memory list

14) Pic-A-Day

15) Food dairy

16) Habit tracker

17) Non-zero Days

18) Today I Have

19) Inventory / Stock control

20) Time tracker for invoicing

21) Rocket League Rankings

22) Image requests from non-technical users for events

23) Cheese board

24) Multi-host chat app

25) Amazon ShopperBot for Slack

26) Pagy Tables

27) YABA: Yet Another Budgeting App

If you fancied taking on one of these projects, then please let me know and I'll pass on the notes and ideas I've had so far. Just get in touch.

View on 200 Words A Day: side-projects-continued-174355cdb2addbc532

The Cake Why

13/05/2019 (210 words)

I'm making The Cake Pays - or rather, I'm dragging my feet in making The Cake Pays. @harold41 asked me to elaborate on my why. This is one of them.

They always say to make a product that solves one of your own problems. I lead a lovely life and don't feel like I have any problems that can be solved with software. I just need to speak up! Maybe there is something else a bit further down that I'm yet to think of, that will inspire me to work on something new. Nothing has come yet, but I am releasing an article of side project ideas soon.

My closest problem is actually my partner's. She makes cakes for a living and often needs to quote her customers. This tends to be a problem, especially when changing prices, updating costs and offering discounts or deals. Finally, a problem I can help with.

Using this as an opportunity to work on a side project has also allowed me to play around with some new tools, to learn something new I will use for many years to come - Tailwind.

That being said, it's not tools that are important. It's the skills you pick up that are: product management, marketing, design and user experience.

View on 200 Words A Day: the-cake-why-173385cd9c9d51fd5e

Start With Why

12/05/2019 (206 words)

I'm ill. It's not stopping me from writing my 200WAD entry, but I am struggling with what to write. It's good to power through and stick with a habit even when you don't feel like it.

I'm trying to take this mindset into many things that I do.

This reminds me of a great interview with Simon Sinek. I love this guy. He is the person behind "Start With Why" amongst over things that I can't vouch for - but including "Find Your Why", "The Infinite Game" and "Together is Better", all of which you can find on Amazon.

I think starting with why is incredibly important. Many people just make things for the sake of making things, which is amazing for learning. However, when making thing to sell to a user, a why is more important than a lot of people consider. Many of the great makers we know have a purpose, whether they tap into it or not.

@basilesamel built 200WAD to encourage people to form a writing habit, but it's clear that he built the platform to encourage himself to form a writing habit and start a community that will keep him accountable - and maybe make him some money ;) (Tell me if I'm wrong!)

View on 200 Words A Day: start-with-why-172295cd869c7ed448

RLCS

11/05/2019 (201 words)

It's about to be the 7th Rocket League Championship (RLCS). I used to play Rocket League almost daily and reached the rank of Champion. Something I was quite proud off.

I wanted to hit that habit on the head this year. It's been 4 and half months and I don't miss it too much. I've played a handful of games this year. I don't think it's gone too well. Sure, I spent more time doing what Steph Smith calls Investment, but have I accomplished much? Not really, nothing concrete I can point to, but I'd say it's been worth it overall.

RLCS5 was in London, mid-2018. I went down with my good buddy, Dave. It was a fantastic event, but Jesus Christ can my friend store. He actually woke up the people in the hotel room next door - wow!

Back then, I was routing for my team, NRG. This time, they are on fire once again. I've not been watching as closely, but if they keep up what I've seen, then they will be unstoppable.

They came second to Dignitas, who become two-time world champions. This time, they've lost a key player and don't seem to be performing as well.

Let's go!


View on 200 Words A Day: rlcs-171545cd74292f19e4

D&D Episode 1, DM Summary

10/05/2019 (287 words)

(Not written by me, but our DM. This was posted alongside an image of a Forgotten Realms map showing the path from Neverwinter to Phandalin. In future posts, I will share my version)

In the city of Neverwinter, a dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker asked you to bring a wagonload of provisions to the rough-and-tumble settlement of Phandalin, a couple of days' travel southeast of the city. Gundren was clearly excited and more than a little secretive about his reasons for the trip, saying only that he and his brothers had found "something big," and that he'd pay you ten gold pieces each for escorting his supplies safely to Barthen's Provisions, a trading post in Phandalin. He then set out ahead of you on horse, along with a warrior escort named Sildar Hallwinter, claiming he needed to arrive early to "take care of business."

You've spent an uneventful few days following the High Road south from Neverwinter, but not longer after you veered east along the Triboar Trail you came across the fallen horses of your patron and his guard and blundered into a goblin ambush.

With the party divided between dealing with them peacefully, and smashing them into mush the goblins proved hard to hit, but between the sharp shooting arrows and crushing blows violence won the day and the goblins were reduced to bloody corpses.

From the mutterings of a briefly pinned down goblin, searching the horses, and following a hidden hunting trail leading north towards the hills it seems that Gundren and Sildar have been captured and dragged off by more goblins.

After walking carelessly into a snare, the party decides to take a short rest and heal up in the forest before venturing forward.

View on 200 Words A Day: d-d-episode-1-dm-summary-170865cd5f93e9c21f

D&D

09/05/2019 (200 words)

We played a D&D campaign with people from work a while back. I made notes with the intention of writing a story of what happened on our adventure.

My plan is to use the 200 words to share the story I came up with. From memory, I actually sat down and wrote out Episode 1, but I do remember making less and less notes as the campaign progressed.

You're getting a semi-live reaction of what is going down, because I'm opening my Google Doc now to see where I was up too...

Ahh yes, I typed up less of my notes than I remember, but I still have the original hand written notes somewhere. (Yes, yes, where did I put them...).

My notes were laid out in a Neil Gaimen's Norse Mythology style, where the "players" were introduced and our opening background was shared on a wiki page from work. Classic.

Our party was:

Lux'Tanaar, Tiefling Paladin (That's me)

Thurunt, Half Orc Barbarian

Marynka, Half Elf Bard

Thalamar Highmoon, Half Elf Rogue

Ralzire, Human Cleric

Chet Boarseye, Earth Genasi Warlock

Erfara Elmsong, Elf Ranger

Disdyakis Triacontahedron, Dragonborn Sorcerer

I'll attempt to piece together my notes to make a coherent story.

View on 200 Words A Day: d-d-169865cd48e451bff4

Stack

08/05/2019 (451 words)

This is sort of a continuation from yesterday, but I think it's separate...

I've seen a lot of talk about what stack people use lately. I think people get caught up with this too much. Obviously, the Rails stack is the one to rule them all - I jest, stack does not matter.

That being said, I love the Rails stack. As DHH said in his Rails Conf keynote, Ruby was designed by Matz for developer happiness, what a wonderful thing. Rails is a beautiful language. I've tried other stacks, including PHP, Java, C - nothing compares for me. I sometimes wish I was more of a polyglot, but then I remember one key principle.

Stack does not matter.

Whatever you choose, the goal is service. A user doesn't care about your stack. When you're starting out, you don't need to worry about scaling to a million users - you might never get a single one.

My problem with trying a new stack is that I always think I can do this better with my old stack. Then there is more overhead when it comes to DevOps, deploying and maintenance. I might have already solves these problems in my existing stack, what would I gain from using a new stack and learning this all again?

Is that short sighted?

---

The purpose of writing about my stack is to hopefully indoctrinate, er... show the simplicity of Rails, maybe give some people some ideas on what they can use and to eventually document how I go from zero to deployed (that won't happen in this entry).

Ruby/Rails: From their own website: Ruby is a dynamic, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. It has an elegant syntax that is natural to read and easy to write.

The focus on simplicity and productivity and the fact it is easy to read and write is why I love it so much. The Rails Doctrine is a gold mine, but fundamentally follows Ruby's ethos, but I like the particular segment about being a basic toolbox that provides you with sharp knives.

PostgreSQL: Usually my database of choice. It's simple to set up and I've never needed to worry too much about this. Rails default is sqlite3, but this comes with deployment complications, because this is effectively a file, so you have to deal with symlinks and shared locations.

Puma: The default server for Rails. It's simple, fast, built for concurrency and has great documentation. Plus, includes Nate Berkopec as one if it's maintainers - dreamland.

Capistrano: Used for automated deployment. Takes very little setup and deploys my code in under 60 seconds. It's very simple.

That's more than 200 words, so I'll post more in another entry.

View on 200 Words A Day: stack-168975cd3247061cee

Nobody can code

07/05/2019 (201 words)

Coding is difficult... you can read documents, practice daily and take millions of courses and still never remember how to perform a simple function. There is so much to learn, it's easy for previously gained knowledge to vanish into thin air.

I've been a "professional" for 5 years now - in the sense that someone has actually paid me. I often have days where I feel like the no idea what I'm doing dog.

Moving into a development team is even more complicated. The amount of different styles and different knowledge bases different developers have is staggering. How is it possible for these different styles to work together without tripping each other up. Spoiler: It's not, you'll constantly get in each other's way.

When you're working on your own projects, you'll still get yourself into a complicated web when trying to figure out how to fix things or solve problems. Why won't it just god damn work?

You start copying random code snippets from the internet. Stack Overflow has some amazing helpers right? Welcome performance problems and security vulnerabilities. What the hell was SickCoder69 thinking when he shared this?

Maybe I should pack up now and move into a different line of work.

View on 200 Words A Day: nobody-can-code-167015cd0a41dba9f1

Anyone can code

06/05/2019 (212 words)

We had a motto at work; if you can say it in English, we can do it in code. I've not heard it in a while and I don't know how true that is really, but there is a simple truth to it. 

If you can say or write coherent sentences, you can code. At lot of a developers job is putting these sentence in a new language, it just happens that that language is a code syntax.

The equivalent of coding is learning a new language. That's exactly what it is really.

This is another reason why I love Ruby. The basics are simple, the syntax is English.

For showing different colours on my habits page I use a simple condition:

English:

if value is greater than 0, then show green span, else show red span.

Ruby:

```
if value > 0
  green_span
else
  red_span
end

```

There are many ways to learn how to code, but it doesn't have to be complicated. There are great articles, tutorials and general advice out there when learning to code.

I've personally been a big fan of Steph Smith's approach recently. She has some great articles on her blog.

Almost everything can be picked up from Google and/or Stack Overflow. That's basically a developers life.


View on 200 Words A Day: anyone-can-code-166135ccffc74b38ce

Challenged

05/05/2019 (209 words)

I've been challenged by 200WAD's very own @brianball.

Based on a recent article I wrote, Brian has recommended we both write "Anybody can code" - no backing out now, dude! It's out there. He's also suggested he'll write the opposite - nobody can code. I think I'll do both, too!

After this, those 2 articles will take me into #TeamStreak, yer baby!

I've already opened my Trello board to look at my notes. I have a few ideas written down for these, but there is definitely some work to be done here. My notes probably won't even take me to 200 words without dragging it out needlessly. I want to avoid doing that.

Thanks again for following up on keeping me accountable, Brian. While it's added some work at an unexpected time, I do appreciate it and I can't complain too much - it's what I've asked for!

I like being challenged, it's the biggest motivator for me. There is nothing like the accountability of letting someone else down. It's easy to give up on yourself, but so much harder to give up on others.

I've also been challenged to a couple of other things; a running challenge for May, press up challenge between runs for strength exercises, so a writing challenge some perfect.

View on 200 Words A Day: challenged-165485ccf259a4ff3b

4th May 2019

04/05/2019 (201 words)

I didn't really have a plan today, but I did have plenty of breaks with the missus; talking about plans, our house move, etc.

I started out feeling like I wanted to redesign a couple of websites I've seen. The site I was looking at redesigning was Record, an old work place of mine - as a university placement.

After trying to set up Tailwind with Jekyll - and failing miserably (again), I gave up.

In the end, I barely started redesigning the website, but I did feel like I wanted to do something.

I played around with 200WAD's API and set up the third party page for my personal website. I don't really like the style of my website for this kind of thing. I like it for articles, and the general theme, but for smaller, numerous posts like that, I don't feel like it fits.

I think I want to redesign my own site using Tailwind and add a Third Party index to house where people can find me online. That's pretty much just 200WAD and Makerlog right now (as well as my social media), but I think it will be nice to expand these things has I get more involved.

View on 200 Words A Day: 4th-may-2019-164775cce04c68e415

Zombies, Run

03/05/2019 (231 words)

With it being May and completing Race At Your Pace in April by the skin of my teeth, I've decided to once again commit to running. It's a great habit for me and I always feel better after exercising.

I think I do prefer weight training and even HIIT, but I don't keep up the consistency and consistency is key - as I've literally just seen @richardlynch write about. For now, I'm going to focus on running, but I think in the long term I might weave in different types of exercise.

That being said, I've typically ran without music. I've changed that in the last couple of runs with the latest run using an app called Zombies, Run! It's so helpful. For me, the hardest part about running is what to focus on. I try to focus on posture, breathing, but not my legs. With this app or music, I didn't even feel the need to focus on these aspects as much.

I managed to do an entire run without stopping tonight. Almost 5k in 26 minutes. I think that is on par with my personal best in the past - nothing too impressive, but it felt good.

The story was simple, and the voice acting was near-dire at times, but it was fun and distracting. There is an option to turn on random zombie chases. I think I'll try that next time.

View on 200 Words A Day: zombies-run-163995cccb376f2317

Stack

02/05/2019 (216 words)

This is sort of a continuation from yesterday, but I think it's separate...

I've seen a lot of talk about what stack people use lately. I think people get caught up with this too much. Obviously, the Rails stack is the one to rule them all - I jest, stack does not matter.

That being said, I love the Rails stack. As DHH said in his Rails Conf keynote, Ruby was designed by Matz for developer happiness, what a wonderful thing. Rails is a beautiful language. I've tried other stacks, including PHP, Java, C - nothing compares for me. I sometimes wish I was more of a polyglot, but then I remember one key principle.

Stack does not matter.

Whatever you choose, the goal is service. A user doesn't care about your stack. When you're starting out, you don't need to worry about scaling to a million users - you might never get a single one.

My problem with trying a new stack is that I always think I can do this better with my old stack. Then there is more overhead when it comes to DevOps, deploying and maintenance. I might have already solves these problems in my existing stack, what would I gain from using a new stack and learning this all again?

Is that short sighted?


View on 200 Words A Day: stack-163265ccb62ac8c4e4

The Opening Sermon

01/05/2019 (224 words)

The recent Rails Conf keynote by DHH, has brought up some old wounds. The talk was typical of DHH, as it meandered here, there and everywhere, but he always seemed to bring it back to a related cause. There was (pretty long) stretches where I wondered what on earth he was talking about and his far-fetched anecdotes were spouted.

I love his brashness. His unrelenting resolve to avoid the status quo.

Often - too often - programmers enforce guidelines as whole truths. Disciplines that must be obeyed without question, at the cost of anything else.

I'm struggling with my own project right now. I want to help and make a difference to my (really) small base of users, but DHH's comment about Dropbox was eye opening to say the least; 

For fuck sake, Dropbox. You host my files!

You don't need a world conquering mission statement. Just serve your customers.

Regarding Rails' large user base, for it's open source platform, he lists some huge, household names, including Twitter who he calls out as;

Rails is open source. Twitter freely used Rails and eventually hung itself on unrelated problems and used Rails as the scapegoat.

What an ungrateful bunch.

It's easy to blame your tools - but harder to realise a lasting truth. You are nothing if you don't serve your customers. What technology you use does not matter.

View on 200 Words A Day: the-opening-sermon-162425cca0e1739678

Running

30/04/2019 (202 words)

I've just submitted my evidence for Race At Your Pace, April 2019!

As, I've stated before, I set myself a small goal of just 25 miles. It's all I thought I could achieve with a few factors; what little free time I had after completing my priorities, my holiday, my side projects, work and just general life.

It seems I hit it right on the head. I had to squeeze one final run of 7.62 miles in tonight. The furthest I've ever run! Wooo!

I'm planning to take part in a charity 10k run in June. I never thought I'd be prepared. I thought I left it too late.

A couple things I've learnt;

- Starting is the hardest part. Just start, you don't have to be fast (or good).

- Plans go out the window.

- It takes longer to recover when you first start.

- Doing the same route isn't always the best plan. (I used to use the same route to have markers for progress. It doesn't matter)

- It's a good way to explore your local area, particularly if there is nothing to find.

- You can do anything you set your mind to. (I've had this on my CV that got me my current job, haha)

View on 200 Words A Day: running-161505cc8b4fdeae1c

Dev Journal: Node Modules and Death

29/04/2019 (201 words)

I really need to learn how webpacker, yarn and friends work...

It's holding me back so much.

Everything seems to work locally and then when I go to deploy, it's just dead. Capistrano gives me an error.

The errors are something I've probably dealt with locally, but because presumably  gitignore is omitting node module it's not being copied over to the server of something.

Seriously though, what's the difference between npm and yarn? I thought one replaced the other, but sometimes I see you need to use one for the other... Why is is annoying? I don't care about any of these packages, I just want it to magically work.

Small issues like this affect (I still don't know if this should be affect or effect) me a lot and causes knock on issues.

I get frustrated.

I achieve nothing.

My repo just gets messy because of a wall of "attempted to do x", where I'm repeatedly committing and failing.

It's looking like it might be due to babel 7.4 right now, but I'm giving up to go watch Game of Thrones with my friend.

I'll update this later with more information. Maybe the break will do me good.

Speak soon team...

View on 200 Words A Day: dev-journal-node-modules-and-death-160535cc748604bbea

Race At Your Pace

28/04/2019 (214 words)

I've struggled to managed my physical health since going on holiday earlier this month.

My goal is to run a 10k (6.2 miles) in June.

Race At Your Pace is a seemingly great organisation that gets people running. It's certainly helped me this month. I've not ran consistently (or basically at all) for nearly 2 years. Due to my holiday to Majorca earlier this month, I signed up to just 25 miles for the entirety of April - I'm currently at 17.57 miles, so I'm cutting it fine.

On my first run, I managed to do 2.69 miles running my usual haunt, which gave me confidence that I hadn't completely lost my technique. Although, my run was a sporadic, stop-start run, my time wasn't too bad at roughly 10 minutes per mile.

Since then, I've done several other runs, including a 4.36 miles run on a new route tonight. My timing is roughly the same, but I have much let stopping and starting.

Stopping is the hardest part. I've found if I stop, I find it much harder to start again - and not just in running.

I have 2 days and 7.43 miles to go.

PS...

I just can't shake the terrible, terrible acronym that it has; RAYP. Eek, that's er... unfortunate?

Anyway, regardless of this oversight. I've enjoyed getting back into running again.

View on 200 Words A Day: race-at-your-pace-159575cc61ff4ef3cd

Dev Journal: 27th April 2019

27/04/2019 (241 words)

I've not managed to complete my goals for today, but I've had a great time playing around with Tailwind.

Goals for today:

  • Complete STEM Ambassador and DBS Applications
  • Strip out Bootstrap from The Cake Pays (and replicate existing screens using Tailwind)
  • Update welcome email copy for new sign ups

Complete STEM Ambassador and DBS Applications

I didn't even start this, but I should prioritise this tomorrow. I need to do this if I want to participate in a digital mentoring programme that will get students (particularly girls) into STEM roles, such as computing and development.

Strip out Bootstrap

As far as I'm concerned, it's just another tool like Bootstrap. The transition hasn't been as amazing as the hype suggested, but it is nice to use and I'm loving dabbling in design at the moment.

I spent a lot of time playing with Tailwind today. So much so that I technically achieved nothing.

I still need to finish the sign up pages, but I'm very happy with the outcome of this so far.

Email Copy

Wow, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing here. It's really difficult.

You want to sell your work, what features you have and maybe whats upcoming, but at the same time... there is nothing to sell at this stage. I think I need to wait until my main function is at a stage I'm happy with, but maybe a generic "thanks for joining" would suffice.

View on 200 Words A Day: dev-journal-27th-april-2019-158665cc4d26e26de6

Gin

26/04/2019 (223 words)

As part of my attempt to participate more, I went to a local gin bar with a colleague today. She's been working at our company for several months now, I honestly thought it was longer! We've get on pretty well, probably more so than a lot of people at our company.

I like gin. Do you like gin?

When I first tasted gin, I thought it was disgusting. Turns out... it was tonic. Urrg, gross. I tried it again this evening and still vehemently agree. The actual phrase I used tonight was "it tastes like lemonade, but with an after-taste of soap".

I'm a fruity guy. I love pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain). Tonight, I had Malfy and Bathtub Sloe gins, while sampling some strange concoctions involving chilli and ginger. I'll definitely be sticking with the fruit going forward.

I had the best evening ever. It was so refreshing to just go out after work, with a single person instead of a crowd and just chat. We didn't get drunk or do anything dumb. We just sat in a booth, slowly drank our gins and talked about our lives.

3 hours later, we were hungry and left with intentions of making a home cooked meal. I'm writing this having just ate McDonald's...

If you read this, thank you for my evening.

View on 200 Words A Day: gin-158135cc37f492fd77

Can't please me

25/04/2019 (202 words)

I'm not going to discuss any spoilers or plot content, but I saw Avengers Endgame last night. I went to the earliest showing possible which was a double bill, including Infinity War and then straight into Endgame after a small 20 minute break.

I'm sleep deprived right now. I was up from 7:00 until 4:00 the following morning for the film and up again just 3 hours later for work. It's currently 21:30, zzzzzz - to bed after this I think...

I was just incredibly underwhelmed by the film. I used the term underwhelmed recently about the new season of Game of Thrones. Maybe it's the same reasoning?

We've had this incredibly long wait. We've been hyping it up for literally years and ... that's it? That's the best you can do?

Literally everyone else I've spoken to has loved everything that I've thought has been completely and utterly mediocre. I'm starting to think I'm going mental and must be insane.

Maybe I've just set my bar so incredibly high that nothing can reach my expectations, but isn't that whats expected when hyping a series or a film for so long?

I try not to take this into other aspects (like development) but I clearly just can't be pleased.

View on 200 Words A Day: can-t-please-me-157325cc1eab75f9c5

Article Ideas

24/04/2019 (255 words)

Following my post yesterday, I thought I would share some of the article ideas I have listed on my Trello board.

As with all blogs, I was planning to write a number of articles, but the time never came. Other ideas and plans took precedence. 

I'm planning on releasing an article based on Anne-Laure's (@anthilemoon) 101 side projects, listing my own projects. I'm in the editing draft stage. I planned to do it when I returned from my holiday, but didn't.

Here are my Trello cards:

- Remote: arguing the case for remote in my current work place.

- Setup and Deploys: sharing how I setup and deploy my Rails apps using Digital Ocean, Nginx, Puma and Capistrano.

- Transparancy, not inclusion: about (but not exclusively) meetings and how I hate them.

- Speeding up deploys: how I fixed our deploy time from 20+ minutes to just 45 seconds.

- What I've learnt doing side work: kind of self explanatory.

The perpetual carrot: how much is enough and where will we stop?

- Anybody can code: hopefully I'll motivate someone thinking of starting.

Plagiarism is rife in tech: and that's okay...

- Backlog is a scrapyard: forget about old, dead issues and focus on what's relevant.

- The Power of Habits: I talk about habits a lot, so it was a natural fit.

- Upgrading (Rails) Gems: tips and tricks for managing your Gemfile.

Does it need to be complicated?: forget complexity that doesn't matter, focus on "boring", understandable code.


If any of these articles take your fancy. Let me know and I'll consider doing it next!

View on 200 Words A Day: article-ideas-156635cc0949b5074c

Participation

23/04/2019 (201 words)

How do we get involved in communities?

I'm trying get involved, but my approach has been flawed. I've been lured in with a false sense of accomplishment; streaks, likes, wordless approvals. I need to communicate better with my peers. I need to forget about myself.

Too often, my goal with communities has been for my own benefit. Why don't I have many followers? Why don't people care what I have to say? Why not me? Why me? Why? Why? Why? Me. Me. Me.

Granted, maybe I'm being harsh on myself again. We all want to improve ourselves, maybe we have our own motivations. We want to grow our own audiences, reach a larger crowd, share in the spoils of the internet.

As well as writing 200WAD, I'm going to dedicate this next week on reading 200WAD. Give me your recommendations. Maybe your favourite posts from yourselves and others. (I already have a few).

It's not that I've not been reading some posts. I just want to read more, share more, absorb more.

I tend to read a lot of books, articles and Twitter but I also want to read more from the communities I'm coming to treasure.

I'm becoming a patron.

View on 200 Words A Day: participation-156075cbf87b406e41

[Help Me] Habits and Accountability

22/04/2019 (661 words)

At the start if 2019, I wanted to improve my habits. I made a plan. I tracked everything, every day and posted it openly on my website. This includes times on my side projects, gaming, making sure I take care of my teeth, and the most important factor for me this year: my health - exercising, walking and food management.

After 3 months, these goals are still important to me, but I'd perhaps change them slightly. I want to make a _useful_ product. It's less about quantity and more about quality for me right now. That said, my goal is still 4 projects, but I'm off track.

My goals don't state anything about reading or writing, but these have become more important to me. I've read 13 books in 2019 so far. I've mentioned before: I want to write more. I have many article ideas for my website, but I never get them done.

Accountability is so important to me right now. There is so much I want to do and achieve, but I'm crippled by own lack of motivation or my own thoughts of uselessness.

Before my holiday started, I wanted to hone my habits and get stuff done. I started using Makerlog again. I started using 200WAD. Now my holiday is over, I want to jump right in. Full swing.

Please, help me by keeping me accountable! :)

---

Continuing from by previous entry about accountability; I'm going to write about what I want to be held accountable for at the recommendation of @haideralmosawi. Firstly, I want to go over my 2019 goals and what I want to continue doing going forward.

I have just 4 goals;

1) 3 holidays. This isn't exactly difficult. I just need to book them and go right?

2) 4 projects. I'm way behind with this, but I partly think the long deadlines have been my biggest problem. I've been working on The Cake Pays, but I haven't even finished the main feature in almost 4 months. I've been too focused on design tweaks instead of functionality. I've never done that before, but I'm loving it at the moment. I've also been more concerned with marketing; this has proven to be crucial, but I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

3) Making 50 Twitter followers. (I'm at 48 right now.) While this sounds easy; just follow a bunch of people, get them to follow you back. I don't want to do that. I want to post meaningful content, but I'm in a weird state, where I don't have much useful to say. 

4) Make money on a side projects. Ooh, jeez. This could tie into 4 projects. If something is useful people would pay for it right?

Since making these goals, I've come to want to do a little more. I'll go into more details another time ;)

---

After making these plans for 2019, I had a killer January. Since the beginning of the year, I've tracked many things; making time, gaming time, health metrics, evening tracking my dental hygiene and showers.

I have done this every day since 1st January, that's a streak of 112.

Doing this has realigned a lot of goals. I'm not sure I even want to complete all of them. It may end up that my 4 projects turns into less projects and more features.

Fairly quickly, my new goal was to focusing on myself. Perhaps selfish, but sometimes you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anything else. Your own health (mental and physical) can be tightly linked with many other things, including work and pleasure. Improved health will improve quality. That's my focus now.

Since tracking everything, I've lost 24 lbs. Unfortunately, there have been a series of events where I've gained a total of 11 lbs; 9 of those of 2 separate week periods - holidays. It looks like Baz is right - we over indulge on calorie heavy vacations. These unnecessary decisions put me at a net weight loss of 15 lbs. Still decent, but I can do better. I want to lose another 12 lbs. That's my main goal for 2019.

---

View on 200 Words A Day: help-me-habits-and-accountability-155395cbe2904ec063

[Help Me] Habits and Accountability

21/04/2019 (455 words)

At the start if 2019, I wanted to improve my habits. I made a plan. I tracked everything, every day and posted it openly on my website. This includes times on my side projects, gaming, making sure I take care of my teeth, and the most important factor for me this year: my health - exercising, walking and food management.

After 3 months, these goals are still important to me, but I'd perhaps change them slightly. I want to make a _useful_ product. It's less about quantity and more about quality for me right now. That said, my goal is still 4 projects, but I'm off track.

My goals don't state anything about reading or writing, but these have become more important to me. I've read 13 books in 2019 so far. I've mentioned before: I want to write more. I have many article ideas for my website, but I never get them done.

Accountability is so important to me right now. There is so much I want to do and achieve, but I'm crippled by own lack of motivation or my own thoughts of uselessness.

Before my holiday started, I wanted to hone my habits and get stuff done. I started using Makerlog again. I started using 200WAD. Now my holiday is over, I want to jump right in. Full swing.

Please, help me by keeping me accountable! :)

---

Continuing from by previous entry about accountability; I'm going to write about what I want to be held accountable for at the recommendation of @haideralmosawi. Firstly, I want to go over my 2019 goals and what I want to continue doing going forward.

I have just 4 goals;

1) 3 holidays. This isn't exactly difficult. I just need to book them and go right?

2) 4 projects. I'm way behind with this, but I partly think the long deadlines have been my biggest problem. I've been working on The Cake Pays, but I haven't even finished the main feature in almost 4 months. I've been too focused on design tweaks instead of functionality. I've never done that before, but I'm loving it at the moment. I've also been more concerned with marketing; this has proven to be crucial, but I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

3) Making 50 Twitter followers. (I'm at 48 right now.) While this sounds easy; just follow a bunch of people, get them to follow you back. I don't want to do that. I want to post meaningful content, but I'm in a weird state, where I don't have much useful to say. 

4) Make money on a side projects. Ooh, jeez. This could tie into 4 projects. If something is useful people would pay for it right?

Since making these goals, I've come to want to do a little more. I'll go into more details another time ;)


View on 200 Words A Day: help-me-habits-and-accountability-154515cbce0181e515

Animals

20/04/2019 (257 words)

We love animals.

I grew up with animals my whole life. At my Dad's, we had a poodle called Penny. Later, my sister got a cat which lived to an old age of 18 before sadly being poisoned (we believe accidentally, from a puddle of petrol - perhaps a story for another time).

At my Mum's, we had an array of dogs. Truth be told, I think they were probably a bit much for my Mum to look after. Eventually, we settled on a gorgeous black labrador called Kia, who lived to be about 15. She passed away recently, but she was a fat pudding. My favourite dog.

We also had many other animals, the usual; cats, dogs, fish, hamsters. We also had a tarantula and a chinchilla. We have many stories.

It was natural that we would love the zoo. Nay and I are members at Chester Zoo now. We went there again today. Perhaps a bad decision considering the glorious sunshine and the school holidays. We also had visitors with their young daughter.

When we move house (which hopefully will be very soon - we want to enjoy the sun in our new garden), we'll be getting our own dog. Though, we want to be careful. We've lived in a flat with 2 cats for a long time now. We want to make sure we have what it takes to take care of a dog with our schedules. I think we're going to look into short time fostering before committing to our own. Maybe we'll foster for life. Who knows?


View on 200 Words A Day: animals-153865cbb8e6c074a6

Consistency

19/04/2019 (221 words)

I'm striving for consistency in a lot of things right now. It's difficult for me. Not really *being* consistent, but keeping it up when I fall off... and many things can make me fall off, sometimes out of my control (but sometimes not).

I used to run 5k, 3 or 4 times a week. One winter evening, just before Christmas, I came home practically blue and frozen. So, I stopped. For nearly 2 years.

Recently, I've been trying to eat healthier and lose weight. So, I started being consistent with my exercise and diet. Recently, I went on holiday for just 4 days. So, I stopped. I've been back a week now and I still haven't started again, not really.

I strive for consistency in many things. I don't think it's a bad thing, but maybe it is. I think my problem is restarting.

This is why I use 200WAD and Makerlog. For consistency.

I don't think I'm a particularly good writer. I don't think I'm a particularly good developer. There is always room for improvements.

I started using 200WAD as a way to write down my thoughts. I don't typically think about what I'm going to write. I don't typically edit what I do end up writing either. I just open the app and the text falls where it falls.

I am being consistent.

View on 200 Words A Day: consistency-153135cba3c104b5ed

Being open

18/04/2019 (209 words)

It's so wonderful being open. It releases you from a lot of headaches.

You don't have to play a game or struggle on your own. All your cards are on the table and people want to help - sometimes all you have to do it ask.

Yesterday, I wrote about my frustrations installing Tailwind CSS on my application. I've wanted to try it out for a while, but I've never managed to get it work. Just adding Bootstrap was simple. I knew what to do and it just worked. There was always one hurdle with Tailwind.

I've finally made it over. My app now has Tailwind installed. It's unused, but it's there. Ready to go.

All this happened because I reach out to Adam himself, along with the author of the guide I followed. I have to credit a colleague too, who had some suggestions - including looking at Webpacker, which was ultimately the cause.

It turned out. I updated the webpacker gem from 3.5 to 4.0 without doing any of the additional steps - which weren't entirely required, but wasn't known as a potential issue to the installation of Tailwind.

I feel like this is a great opportunity to add to open source community, but I'm not sure how to go about it.

View on 200 Words A Day: being-open-152285cb8e2cf23fca

Tailwind frustration

17/04/2019 (237 words)

I've been following this guide to install Tailwind in my app.

I cannot for the life of me get it to work.

I just want to try it.

All the steps seem fine and dandy up until the mention of `postcss.config.js`. I don't have that file. I tried making it and it didn't work.

It turns out that it conflicts with the old style `.postcssrc.yml` file that I do have! Huzzah progress. My app was initialised as Rails 5.2.2 with Webpacker 3.5.5, but this guide is for Rails 6 and Webpack 4.0

I tried several methods to get it working in either file. To no avail.

I start digging around trying to find out what on earth is going on. I make a new project and try the step again. It works! Why doesn't it work on my app?

I open up the source code that is being displayed and I notice the step that says to add the import to `packs/application.js` isn't working. It's not importing it. The comment I added is there, but then the next bit of code is an unrelated Stimulus file. God damnit!

My current situation is that I'm here with everything seemingly in order, just randomly searching the internet for clues.

The only thing I see wrong is my import from `packs/application.js` not working correctly:

```
// Tailwind
import '../css/application.css'
// End Tailwind
```

Gives me this output in the source code:

```
// Tailwind
// End Tailwind
```

Interesting...

View on 200 Words A Day: tailwind-frustration-151395cb7a1322500a

Planning and busy days

16/04/2019 (220 words)

Usually, I'm a stickler for planning my days. Planning a lot of things actually. Not it too much detail, just a broad outline. I usually know what I'm going to eat. What I'm going to do. If I'm going for a run or meeting someone.

Today didn't quite go to plan, but I did manage to stay on track with my broader goals. 

My plan for today was;

1) work
2) get home
3) run
4) weighing / group
5) minor Trello tickets
6) 200WAD

I'm doing step 6 now. I've not yet done #3 or (really) #5.

I was thrown off by the missus not coming home when expected. I'd forgotten she was going out. I could have gone for my run while she was out, but I was waiting.

My problem isn't not doing my plan completely. It's the overriding affect skipping certain things does to me. I lose momentum. I give up. I stop doing them completely.

It's a bad habit that I need to stop.

I talk a lot of chipping away at stuff - and in general, I feel that's the goal behind platforms such as 200WAD and Makerlog. It doesn't matter what you're doing as long as your progressing. Even small steps count.

Listen to your own words, Craig.

They're good.

It's 22:30 - I'm going to do another Trello ticket and then go for a run...

View on 200 Words A Day: planning-and-busy-days-150655cb646488df0c

Back to work

15/04/2019 (222 words)

It was weird going back to work today. I've only had a week off, but those 9 days (including a weekend either side) have been great. I've felt like I've got a lot done, even though I didn't really.

The slow, chipping away of my personal task list has done wonders for me though.

Is this slow chipping that I'm trying to focus on, but I really need to focus on the main feature of The Cake Pays this week. I've been putting it off and messing with design and user experience. I think they've made great strides, but it's all for nothing if there is no feature to experience.

At work today, I spent a lot of time focusing on relationships. Due to a lot of factors, I've been segregating myself from the rest of my colleagues; using Slack less (or not at all), turning off emails for extended periods of time, being aloof because I don't agree with the way some issues are handled. I've even turned off notifications on all apps for a long period - and not just at work.

It's time I took a good look at myself.

I want to rebuild these relationships.

My aim now is to connect more.

This week, I will;

- launch my premier feature for The Cake Pays.

- rebuild my relationships.

- think about 2019 Project #2


View on 200 Words A Day: back-to-work-149135cb4ef4f20e3f

Design is difficult

14/04/2019 (252 words)

I have access to some great people when it comes to design. I've recently been trying to pay more attention to design (watching videos, tutorials, etc) but it's coming at a cost to pure functionality and development.

Refactoring UI is an insanely good "design for developers" book that I've taken a lot of clues from. More recently, I enjoyed a podcast with @laurium and @mijustin which gave some great advice. I've started putting it into practice. I'm going to be focusing on "debugging my design" and progressing with incremental steps. After all, this is how I'm trying to progress with functionality too: small incremental steps, slowing chipping away at progress. That's all we can do right?

That caused me to work on initial version of my splash page copy, empty state versions of my products page and then an initial design debug session. White space features prominently in good design.

Check out The Cake Pays for my splash page so far. I think it's a great improvement but it needs a huge amount of work. Here are some items I want to look at next time;

1) Icons for "Why choose us?" cards.

2) Headers, perhaps with a nice (maybe smaller) underline.

3) More obvious Call To Actions (plus, the last CTA is completely missing right now).

4) Text width. It's too wide, making it too difficult to read.

5) Nicer "break points", perhaps diagonal lines or curves. I really liked a full radius bottom border I've seen on another site.

Maybe I'll do these next time...

View on 200 Words A Day: design-is-difficult-148115cb38ef400c67

[Help Me] Habits and Accountability

13/04/2019 (223 words)

At the start if 2019, I wanted to improve my habits. I made a plan. I tracked everything, every day and posted it openly on my website. This includes times on my side projects, gaming, making sure I take care of my teeth, and the most important factor for me this year: my health - exercising, walking and food management.

After 3 months, these goals are still important to me, but I'd perhaps change them slightly. I want to make a _useful_ product. It's less about quantity and more about quality for me right now. That said, my goal is still 4 projects, but I'm off track.

My goals don't state anything about reading or writing, but these have become more important to me. I've read 13 books in 2019 so far. I've mentioned before: I want to write more. I have many article ideas for my website, but I never get them done.

Accountability is so important to me right now. There is so much I want to do and achieve, but I'm crippled by own lack of motivation or my own thoughts of uselessness.

Before my holiday started, I wanted to hone my habits and get stuff done. I started using Makerlog again. I started using 200WAD. Now my holiday is over, I want to jump right in. Full swing.

Please, help me by keeping me accountable! :)

View on 200 Words A Day: help-me-habits-and-accountability-147525cb238534474b

[Alter Nomad] Favourite Quotes

12/04/2019 (259 words)

Today, I'm sort of cheating. Most of these words aren't mine. They're written by @basilesamel, but I've just got home and finished reading Alter Nomad on the flight. You should check it his book.

I'm currently reading The Power of Habits, which is apt, since I'm trying to get into better habits that will improve myself. Writing more. Reading more. Developing more. Supporting more.

My favourite quote I've read this weekend: 

"I've been really lucky," he said. "And I really, genuinely believe that if you tell people that they have what it takes to succeed, they'll prove you right" - Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

I found it funny reading some of the content from Baz, as I definitely fell under some of the terms he used - particularly about travelling quickly and being a tourist.

1)

It’s interesting to note that the term “travel” comes from the old French “travail”, which means “work”. The word “travail” originates from the Latin “tripalium”, an instrument of torture. From an etymological point of view, travel is closely related to work, and torture.

2)

One must justify his/her own choices while understanding what society expects from its members: to create wealth.

3)

This is something we should strive for: a lifestyle fitting you so deeply that even all the money in the world would not be able to change it.

4)

Sedentaries are lonely too, so many are waiting for the weekend to forget it.

If you made it this far, the first person to message me can have a copy of Alter Nomad - paid for by me.

View on 200 Words A Day: alter-nomad-favourite-quotes-146805cb0cd3265443

Majorca, Day 3 (Finale)

11/04/2019 (326 words)

It's our last day. Technically, we'll be in Majorca until 10.30 tomorrow, but our transfer to the airport leaves at 6.55 tomorrow.

Nay planned a couple of massages for late morning. So I took the opportunity to lounge in the sun and attempt to read. The weather was supposed to be sunny until 10.30 and cloudy or even raining for the rest of the day. The majority of the day was glorious sunshine (lollipops and rainbows...). I ended up grabbing myself a couple of pina coladas, falling asleep for 20 minutes and _then_ reading some of my book. I've saved some great quotes that I'll share another time.

We thought we would take a trip out to the local safari, but the attempt was immediately killed when we walked to the station and the bus had arrived (and promptly left) 15 minutes before it was supposed to. We watched it drive away, saddened by the lack of animals in our life. What were we going to do now? Argue.

After our brief argument about what to do, we decided we would walk to town and eat out.

We went to the beach and walked barefoot through the sand. I decided to get my feet wet in the water before learning that I have no idea how to get sand out from my feet. I drenched my socks and shoes and almost lost all of our food money to the sea.

After having a laugh about my sandy incompetence, we found a tapas restaurant that opened in 45 minutes, so we propped ourselves up at a bar down the road with a gin. It was huge!

We headed back to the tapas place shortly before it opened and ordered some great food. Some different plates to what we usually try.

After a great evening, we headed home, bought our obligatory holiday magnet and had pudding in the hotel, before heading to bed to read and snack like the old couple we truly are.

View on 200 Words A Day: majorca-day-3-finale-145635caf84a3e0806

Majorca 2019, Day 2

10/04/2019 (258 words)

Seriously though... is it Majorca (with a J) or Mallorca (with an L, or even 2 LL)? I've seen both... and it's pronounced Mah-yor-ka, with a Y. Sigh, anyway...

Our first day here was great. Lovely time in the sun, great food and alcohol. I slept for 11 hours last night.

Today, we stayed extremely lazy. I don't feel too bad, since that was the plan. We went for lunch, had a nap, went for a quick stroll to the beach... and then checked off another part of Rupert Holmes' Escape - get caught in the rain... so much for the beach. We ran back to the hotel for more maxin' relaxin'

I brought a few books on holiday with me to read. I was reading Power of Habits, but I'm not enjoying reading it long stretches - I ended up starting Alter Nomad by 200WAD's @basilesamel while Nay was napping. So far so good.

Our plan was to go for food and then for a walk along the beach before the sun went down. We finished part one with some great food and went back to the hotel room to get ready. A missed called...

Our pipes had burst at home... wonderful. We rang back to see what was going on, but thankfully it's all sorted and we don't need to worry. Nay is still on the phone. It's been 30+ mins. She and her family are natters, but thankfully someone was there. That would have been a nightmare to go home to.

 I don't know if that walk is still on...


View on 200 Words A Day: majorca-2019-day-2-144835cae34d118323

Majorca 2019

09/04/2019 (248 words)

I'm a bit sipsy right now. Sipsy is what the missus and I call tipsy when we're too drunk to say it.

We're on holiday. We arrived in Majorca at midday today after leaving the house at 2AM and travelling for 10 hours door to door.

We've eaten a lot. I say we because I don't want myself to sound too bad, but in reality Nay has done extremely well to not be a gluttonous beast, like myself.

Normally, we're pretty good with eating healthily, but we're on holiday. Leave us alone.

We've had breakfast at the airport. French toast for me. Lunch almost immediately after arriving. I tried practically everything, but I did keep to the tiny plates to be fair! Then we spent the rest of the day in the sun drinking... Before falling asleep half naked on the sun lounger. Perfect.

I was actually gutted about my lack of recognition for my Pina Colada song reference on Makerlog. Literally nobody noticed (or more likely, cared). I'll repeat it here so you can enjoy my hilarity:

Done: Drink Pina Colada

TODO: Get caught in the rain

TODO: Make love at mi- wait what?

I've just arrived back to my hotel room after our evening meal. We went to the local Lidl to buy some stash for the room, even though we went all inclusive on this trip... I'm exhausted. We might end up asleep within the next 20 minutes... before 9PM local.

Peace oooooouuuuttt.

End of Majorca, Day 1

View on 200 Words A Day: majorca-2019-144005cace3e14af62

CSP Journal 8th April 2019

08/04/2019 (361 words)

I wrote my list of what I wanted to achieve early this morning, ready for when I could put my head down to do some work. Then, I left for a meeting about a Digital Mentoring prospect.

I write my lists using Makerlog. My list included:

- Fix nginx error on TCD (a colleague pointed this out to me early this morning)

- Finish editing article for Maker Mag

- Build quotes functionality for The Cake Pays

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Fix nginx error

My priority was fixing a website that was hitting an Nginx error.

I hate DevOps.

I don't get it. Can someone just sort it for me so it works please? Thanks.

After trying a few things, I remembered I was missing a 301 redirect and finally got it sorted. I wonder how long the site was "down-but not really" before I even noticed.

During my attempts to fix the issue, I did a bit of spring cleaning including Gem updates. This updating included bumping the version of Ruby and Rails on all my projects to the latest (stable) versions - Ruby 2.6.2 and Rails 5.2.3

However, after all the problems with nginx, I realised I wasn't going to complete The Cake Pays task. I removed it from my list for today - happy that I had at least done something worthwhile.

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The Maker Mag article

I'm likely not going to post this on Maker Mag, but rather my personal blog site: https://craigpetterson.co.uk - but I call it a Maker Mag article because it was based on an initial article by @anthilemoon on Maker Mag - https://makermag.com/2019/03/04/side-projects/

I had some great feedback from @anthilemoon which I've taken into account when editing this article and I'm happy it is at a stage to "release", which I'll do when I return from Majorca next weekend.

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Going forward

I'm away in Majorca for 4 days this week.

I plan to laze by the pool, drink many pina coladas and read. I've added Alter Nomad by Baz of 200WAD to the list of reading, since I thought it was apt...

I'm not sure what format I'm going to do these posts in, but I just wanted to write something down to get me started.

View on 200 Words A Day: csp-journal-8th-april-2019-142785cab30cc19f06