Stop Hurting the Web

From time to time friends ask me what they should use if they want to start blogging, and for a while I was considering adding Medium to my list of suggestions, especially for non-technical writers. But I can’t support this kind of anti-web architecture.

I want to like Medium but it’s fast becoming just another walled garden.

Need a Boost?

Execupundit has you covered.

It can be difficult to predict the popularity of topics. Supervision may become a mainstay subject since new supervisors are always in the pipeline and even the senior ones need refreshers. I've had people in class who last attended a workshop on supervision around 30 years ago. Many, of course, were never formally trained. One day they were told, "Congratulations! You're a supervisor."

That's why it is not rare to hear a senior supervisor exclaim, "I wish I'd had this class when I started in this job."

Monoid - Open Source Coding Font

Hello Atom!

About a year ago I made the jump to Vim. Having finally mastered enough of the keystrokes to muster through a single coding session, I made it my default text editor for programming. In the last couple of months though I’ve been using Atom for most of my programming. The reason for the move? Just for a change. Atom does have a number of niceties that encouraged the switch.

Good Looking

Vim is simple and productive but let’s be honest, it’s not exactly an eye-opener as development tools go. Sure you can cut and splice code like a keyboard armed ninja, but its look begins to get a little dull when you’re using the same development environment for most days of the week.

Atom, like Sublime Text is it’s own application and doesn’t run within your terminal. The plus side to this is that it isn’t restricted in the way the user-interface can give feedback to me through elements like auto-complete suggestions and notifications.

Atom is easier on the eye and maybe that’s a cop-out reason for making a change in your development tools, but my eyes start to strain staring at a two-pane terminal session for most of the day. Maybe it’s an age thing, but coding with Atom is much easier on the eyes than writing code within my terminal app.

Keyboard Friendly

Atom, just like every other development tool on the planet has a list of keyboard shortcuts that eliminate the need for a mouse. Not only that but there are some keyboard shortcuts from Vim that I can take with me to Atom. Also, like Sublime Text it includes a command palette to allow you to lookup and select the right command for the job.

Atom is keyboard friendly but more importantly for me, it’s familiar in that most of the keyboard shortcuts I use are either from Vim or similar to shortcuts that I previously used in Sublime Text.

Switching to Atom wasn’t prompted by it being a more productive editor, its growing community of packages or the fact that it’s made by Github. The reason for the switch was just for a change. Sure I’m just as productive with Atom as I was with Vim or Sublime Text but sometimes you just need a change of tools to keep things interesting. A simple change like this can stir things up for the next few months or even years. At least until they perfect a text editor in the browser.

The Pixar Theory

Jennifer read this over the weekend and suggested I read it too. With two young kids, a Pixar movie is usually on the television at some point during the week.

The theory is that all of Pixar’s movies exist within the same universe.

We also learn that this witch inexplicably disappears every time she passes through doors, leading us to believe that she may not even exist. Don’t get ahead of me, but we’ll come back to Brave. Let’s just say, for now, the witch is someone we know from a different movie in the timeline.

Read on for the full explanation. Great fun for the adults being able to piece the movies together.

Repeating the Basics

A tweet by Brian P. Hogan sums up brilliantly what I’ve been doing in the last two weeks to stay sharp.

Whether you’re playing scales, shooting free-throws, or writing a web page, repeating the basics keeps you ready to perform.

I’ve started using this practice in the last two weeks to help me stay sharp both mentally and physcially.

Mental Practice

In the last couple of weeks I’ve started learning Python. To do this effectively I needed a list of problems and solutions in Ruby that I could compare with Python. I didn’t have anything so I started building Ruby implementations of basic data structures like lists, queues and stacks.

The solutions themselves are not complicated but that practice of writing simple classes and tests is something I’ve been doing almost every day for the last two weeks. What I’m hoping to do is to have a repository of code examples that are easy enough to do in thirty minutes, but can be used a starting point for other programming languages.

So far, I’ve been implementing similar data structures in Python and so far I’ve found the learning process to be much easier than if I had simply just started reading a book in Python.

Physical Practice

They say you never forget how to ride a bike, what they do forget to tell you though is that your body usually forgets rather quickly how much effort is needed to ride a bike.

Over the last twenty years I’ve had gaps in my riding that has sometimes amounted to months. Technically, I’m good on the bike. Shifting weight between the wheels, getting the right gear in place for tricky climbs and maintaining balance on the bike for when things almost grind to a complete halt. These little tips and tricks have been amassed over years of riding bikes. They never leave you. What does leave you though is the rest time that your body needs in between intervals of high intensity cycling.

To combat this physical forgetfulness, I’ve started doing intervals at my local trails to help get my recovery time down. The basics of bike riding are often seen as having the technical chops to guide the bike fast through obstacles on the trail, but you need more than this to keep the momentum of the ride going. The intervals help by reducing the rest time your body needs through periods of high and low intensity riding. After a couple of interval sessions I’m already starting to see improvements.

Repeating the basics can be applied to any profession or activity. Taking the basics of the activity and practicing them regularly help ensure you never go rusty or get out of shape. It’s a small investment in time and effort to stay sharp but it’s an investment I’m willing to make for the benefits in the long term.

Notebook Lost and Found

Music Recommendation

Bold New Start

Don’t wait for the new year for a bold new start. Start today with Nicholas Bate and reap the benefits.

Hint for NB: Would love to see these as a deck of index cards.

Fixie Friday - Affinity Kissena

Second Affinity bike I’ve added in the last few bikes, they really are beautiful looking bikes.

Photograph: Side shot of a Affinity Kissena bike

via FGGT, photo by Father Tu