Good Stuff Is Hard To Find

The great (and recently late) singer, songwriter and musician Tom Petty said, "Good love is hard to find" in his famous song "You Got Lucky" (yes, the video is a bit cheesy, so feel free to read on). As it turns out, good products seem equally hard to find. Superstores like Walmart and Target and Amazon, where most of us shop these days, only carry certain products. How do they determine what to carry? As much as I don't write much anymore (all my notes are typed), I'm a big fan of good writing instruments -- mostly, I use them for highlighting the key sections in books I'm reading. For instance, I bought these awesome color pencils at Target on a hunch.
They write well, shapen well, the lead never breaks and is soft to write with, each color has a distinctive name, e.g. Dijon for the mustard colored pencil.
And I love the packaging; makes it easy to pick out the pencil you want and put it back in when you're done.
I've never been able to find th…

Are you still using handwritten notes?

The Context

I am big on taking notes.

A while ago I realized that trusting my memory was a losing proposition. It would only cause me to forget more.

I have decent handwriting. And I love handwritten notes. It feels great. There's something primal about the experience of pen on paper. Pencil feels even better. Like hugging a sibling rather than a cousin.

But there's a rub.

Try looking for that note you took about the time someone told you about a really cool text editor.

Still flipping through pages?

Or maybe you're looking for the notebook from 2015?

The Transition

Enter 2018.

About 2 years ago I stopped taking handwritten notes. It was a tough change for me. I have a stupendous collection of writing instruments staring me in the face everytime I go looking for the stapler on my stationary shelf. Will they ever be used? To sign a check, maybe?

The Purpose

The reason I stopped taking handwritten notes is that I realized they failed in their purpose.

The purpose of taking not…

Closet Shelving Installation

Our bedroom closets are pretty huge. I measured them at 6ft door width plus an extra 1ft on each of the insides for a total of 8ft width. The depth is 2ft and the height is 8ft. That's 128 cubic ft of space. Previously the shelving was only one layer of 1ft deep shelving, which certainly did not make adequate use of the space.

I decided to use the Rubbermaid Fast Track wire closet organizer system. I started with a 7ft top rail that extended almost all the way across the top of the closet with just 6inches to spare on each side. Then I installed four 6ft uprights 1, 3, 5 and 7 ft from the left wall respectively. This ensures that the shelves have more than enough support.

I used 79pound drywall anchors which I picked up at $14 for a pack of 50. So just over 3 anchors for a dollar. I stripped 3 anchors before realizing that I was using a shallow Phillips bit. Once I switched to a deep Phillips bit I did not strip a single anchor and they went in more easily.

Also, I ended up havin…

Ang 2 QS Dependency Tree

Angular 2 | QuickStart | Dependency Tree

Here's the Angular 2 QuickStart dependency tree I captured after installing the example project located here:

This is not a good or bad thing, it just is.

Since Blogger doesn't seem to let me post PDFs, here's a high resolution PDF of my screen captures of the dependency tree.

There's a lot to learn just from browsing through this tree.


Troubleshoot Your Internet Connection

There are several types of internet connections. Briefly they are as follows, in order of increasing speed/bandwidth.

(Bits per second is abbreviated as bps. Kilo, Mega, and Giga represent one thousand, one million, and one billion respectively.)
Analog (up to 56 Kbps)Satellite (less than 1 Mbps)DSL (up to 8 Mbps)Cable (up to 20 Mbps)Tier (T1 through T5, with 64 Kbps per channel, cumulatively up to 1 Gbps) Optical (1 Gbps+)Internet2 (100 Gbps) Most homes use either Cable (e.g. Comcast) or Optical (e.g. Verizon FiOS).

You Know Your Project Is Dysfunctional If...

I discuss below five easy-to-recognize smells that point to some serious dysfunction within your project team. Often the dysfunction can be traced to a specific person who is poisoning the team. Most likely it's a team member who is defensive and doesn't wish to ask for help or be called out when s/he makes a mistake. But it can also be a stakeholder who is too overbearing and/or disengaged. Either way, these smells are merely symptoms (like an incessant cough that finally causes you to seek a doctor's professional opinion). Don't make the mistake of interpreting symptoms as problems. Fixing the symptom without ferreting out and addressing the underlying malady will only make the problem worse. (Analogous to taking cough syrup when what you really need is an x-ray to identify pneumonia.)

So, here's my list of top five smells I use to identify a dysfunctional project.

You can't remember the last time you saw two team members huddled over the same computer screen

Web 2.0

It's disappointing that the O'Reilly book Web 2.0 Architectures: What Entrepreneurs and Information Architects Need to Know (Nickull, Hinchcliffe, Governor) hasn't received more attention and acclaim. It should have. Too many developers today dive headfirst into programming without first appreciating the 10,000 foot view and a sense of how we got here. As the saying goes: if you don't know where you came from, then you don't know where you're going.

For example, how many developers know that Microsoft's introduction of the XMLHTTPRequest (XHR) object to its Internet Explorer browser is what led to the revolution called AJAX (ignited by Google Maps), that underlies Web 2.0? Google has also been behind much of the NoSQL innovations that are now fueling Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn and other Internet giants. Awareness about how major innovations took place in the past is important because it enables the early identification of opportunities for future innovatio…