Dancing Through Another Door

Father.Of.The.Bride

This year my youngest daughter is getting married.  She asked me to pick the song for our Father-Daughter Dance at the reception.  I’m the music snob of the family, so I’m thinking, I-have-so-got-this!  Right?!

Not so much. It took about a month of listening to the rest of the world’s suggestions, combing through my own library on every device I own that holds music. Finally, I narrowed it down to 9 songs for her to choose from.  I realized I couldn’t pick a favorite, so we’ll work together to narrow it down further.

Below is the playlist running off Spotify.

 

 

Meet Bella

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Bella

Meet Bella!  I had the unplanned privilege of hosting Bella last night at my home while we were trying to find her owner.  She wandered about two miles ( we think) from her home through the woods and next to a lake.

It took her the rest of the night to calm down and rest – she wouldn’t eat or drink and that much exercise was pretty tough for her to say the least.

During her stay at our house, I realized how much I missed having my own pet, and being able to project my own love and care toward something like a pet.  In a previous life, I had an orange tabby cat named Lucky.  Much the same story as Bella, but he was born into the home where I was staying at the time.  Not such a sweet disposition as Bella, but he was just Lucky.  Lucky didn’t get much attention from the other home dwellers and was often bullied by them.  But he and I got along just fine.  I still miss Lucky.

Lucky’s ending isn’t happy, and he passed away much sooner than he should have, and that was a very hard day for me.  And with only spending a few hours, roughly one day and a half with Bella I starting getting attached to her very quickly.

Belle’s story has a much happier ending though.  We put up flyers around the neighborhood where we think she came from and we found someone who thought they knew the owner.  So we left the dog with the neighbors.  Unfortunately the potential owner’s English Bulldog passed away last March.  So, the neighbors took her to the county animal shelter the same day we left her with them.

Almost a week passed before we knew any of this, and the potential owner never contacted us to say anything about the dog.  So we decided to go back to the potential owner’s house and see for ourselves.  The neighbors decided not to take the dog back the potential owners once they found out from another neighbor that the “real” Bella had passed.  So after I rang the doorbell, and asked the potential owner how Bella was doing, she was very confused.

She gave me the story about her Bella, and I gave her the story about mine.  Not a comfortable conversation once I learned the real Bella had passed.  So, what now?  I queried the family that took her that one day, and they gave me the whole story.  I shared that with Bella’s owner and she set out to find out where this dog is, or was going to be.  She was transferred to a rescue shelter because of some health conditions she had, but was also placed on an adoption list, which Bella’s owners are at the top of.  We’re hoping this Bella can connect with her new owners so everybody wins in the end.

 

The Magic Factory

magic.factory

I recently discussed the “Magic Factory” with my girlfriend to see what she thought about a Grand ReOpening.  Oh, what is the Magic Factory? It’s a place I walk into mentally with one, or two, maybe three ideas and blue sky what might happen if I built applications around those ideas.

I’ve had a bunch of ideas up on AgileZen waiting to be unpacked and built but just lost the fire last year about this time to pick up my tools and start writing software again until this conversation happened.  But after trying all last year to relight the fire, all I could render was a spark and that was about it.

Then last month our shop announced Hack Day 2014 – hmm… how could I pass that up, right?  Our shop is going to give us 24 hours to build something from scratch then present to leadership the next day.  The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes were pretty sweet, but it wasn’t about winning for me – it was a test to see if I could start and finish – something you take for granted when you a bit less gray over the ears.  So, freakin’ sign me up!

I found a great (and smart) peer on my team who wanted to help build something in 24 hours from scratch.  I thought this would be the real test to see if I could pry the doors open on this place I used to spend so much time in.

We didn’t win the grand prize, or make the final cut – but we built an app in 24 hours that conveyed the business idea we wanted to promote.  So, now with the doors to the magic factory swinging with activity and visitors like my grandma’s front porch screen door, things feel a bit more normal now that this place is open.  Oh, by the way, welcome to my “Grand (Re)Opening!”

 

Say Your Name…

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If you watched this series, you know everything starts to unfold and come a bit unglued when Walter (White) asks the person on the other side of this scene to “say my name…”  This blog probably won’t be nearly as exciting at this scene was, but hopefully a few tweaks will help ease the reader’s eyes.

This week in the blogging courses I’m going through we were challenged to change the title and tag lines of our blogs.  I did change my title from “onefloridacoder’s bit bag” to “john@Scale” – however my muse took a break when I started playing around with the tagline.

I read the advice from other bloggers but it didn’t get the muse off his coffee (or whatever he drinks) break.  Still, I think it should change it and I will.  I’m sure one day or evening when I’m riding my bike to or from home – it’ll hit me like a bug on my visor.  Stay tuned.

Orlando Coding Dojo 2011.07.30

After a bit of discussion the dojo group decided on the Python language – there are many others the group has used by in my experience it’s only been Python and Ruby, neither are easy to use for me.  Once the choice for language has been established the problem for this dojo was a Euler problem 7.

Ketema, the host of the dojo had setup TMUX to run the session.  Usually we have one PC that drives the coding through a projector that everyone can see.  With TMUX everyone got a session and could pilot and co-pilot their five minutes of coding on their own machines.  I’ve not seen this before, so this was one thing I took away wanting to figure out.

Once everyone got started it was about helping everyone else out that had not seen or used Python (myself included) or written a program before.  In some ways Python reminded me of my Ruby experience I had at the dojo last year.  The SMEs in the room were quick to help us understand why Python did it certain things, and how it can do things differently than Ruby.  This is where the dojo begins to add lots of value quickly.

If you’ve never written a program using a test first approach (aka TDD), this is something that will help you make sense of it all.  If you’re used to the term baby-steps and fire-engine-steps, these are baby-step coding sessions.  The group coding for roughly two hours and only put up about (excluding whitespace) 30 lines of code.  The best part about this was that almost every function and code block was discussed at length so all (I think) 11 of us understood why something had been coded the way it was – very cool!

This being my second dojo to attend, it was a another great experience and encouraged me to try a few things I haven’t done and to do the some of the things I currently do, better.

My favorite quotes came from one of Caike’s friends he had brought all the way from Brazil.  We (geeks) have heard the notion that we should keep functions/methods to ~10 lines of code.  The statement someone made enforce this tenet, but also my own idea that the third time you write (or refactor) it will be close to it best state whether it is 10 lines or not.

“When we try to keep our functions to 10 lines sometimes it causes us to write [poorer] code to achieve this.”  A few minutes later he stated this, “[In Rio] we use red, green, and blue.  Blue being the refactor step that gets us closer having better code.”  To paraphrase something else he mentioned code should be correct first, testable second, and elegant (readable/maintainable) third – in that order.

Again, just a great session of learning and sharing, stuff you can’t really get from a book and only from a community that wants to share and strive to become better developers than we were yesterday.

Know the rules, before you buy the tools

resharperI met Scott over three years ago and this was one of the quotes that stuck with me; not to mention he’s a very smart developer.

So over the last six months I turned off ReSharper and just used the refactoring tools in Visual Studio 2010.

I reached the place where I ‘m most annoyed at creating code that (ReSharper) short-cuts and macros can provide more quickly.

I did have a friend one time who shall remain nameless (you know who you are) that could type faster than Intellisense could on a wickedly fast machine; ReSharper literally slowed him down, yes, he was that fast of a typist.  If you’re that fast, don’t bother; if you’re one of the normal folks that can use some (non-Mavis Beacon) typing support, check it out.

As a PSA, I did try to upgrade a 4.x license I had purchased a few years ago; but the folks that were handling my order let me know that I had already purchased the upgrade and arranged for a full refund.  Hopefully you buy your tools from the same type of shop.

-ofc

It Could Be Much Worse

I’ve never been a physio-nerd at all; like following what my body is doing as I get older and if or when I should start worrying about stuff.  I decided to dive into a book and find out what’s in my near future for my age.  After 30, stuff happens, after 40 more and different stuff happens and so on, and so on.  I work with guys who are younger than me so I see what they are up against right now and kind of compare that to what my “physio-whatevers” were doing back then.  that has been a bit  of a white elephant but did convince me that everyone, yes Virginia, everyone is created differently.

I had someone recommend (can’t remember who, but I’m told that more exercise will increase short-term memory) a book about 40-something guys’ health stuff.  So I took their advice and decided to figure what’s going on b/c I can’t figure out what I think should be happening, and what I think shouldn’t be happening – that made no sense, but maybe exercise will help preventing making statements like that too.

Anyway, it’s go a lot of interesting facts backed up by this or that PhD or institute of something or other; it is interesting reading and it make sense when my brain tries to decipher each chapter.  Bottom line, I’m going to live; the other part of my findings so far is that I can live longer if I do and don’t do certain things.   Of course every single syllable sounds like common sense – but we know common is sense isn’t common; so I’m learning which is good and like I said just from what I learned so far, it could (totally) be much worse.

This month my first endeavor will be to join a Couch To 5K group at my company’s health center.  That should be fun, and rewarding according to this book.  I’ll let you know how it works out.