Are you doing now what you wanted to when you were 10?
Be the 1st to comment!

“As I’ve gone through life, I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old…At that age, you know enough of the world to have opinions about things, but you’re not old enough yet to be overly influenced by the crowd or by what other people are doing or what you think you ‘should’ be doing. If what you do later on ties into that reservoir in some way, then you are nurturing some essential part of yourself. It’s certainly been true in my case. I’m doing now, at fifty-eight, almost exactly what most excited me when I was eleven.” ~ Walter Murch

A very thought provoking quote indeed. As best I can remember, there were three things I thought about the most at age 10: coding, teaching, and writing movies or books.

My dad was a teacher at the time, and though I can’t remember actually wanting to grow up to be a teacher, I used to pretend to be a teacher all the time at that age. My sister would sit in my “class” and I would teach, or preach (my dad did that part time while teaching full time) to her. This was a weekly practice we did for fun.

I’m about to start teaching full time and obviously have been coding for a living for almost 20 years. Not bad, as far as this quote goes, but I suppose it’s time I start working on that novel or screenplay.

How about you?

Birthday 2013
Be the 1st to comment!

Another year, another birthday that brings changes. This year the big change came a week earlier, when I started working full time for GitHub. It brought an end to freelance and contract work, and came at a great time for me mentally. I was burning out on doing the solo development work, and feeling burdened by all the overhead that comes with working by yourself, managing 10+ clients and applications, and always being on call for all of them. The sales, invoicing, accounting, client communication; constant worrying about working enough billable hours, etc. All of it combined to severely limit the passion I have for using technology to solve problems and improve lives.

I’ve transferred all but one freelance project to others, and still maintain a site for a somewhat famous, and now controversial, singer, but even that too will shortly be passed on. It’s a big change, and one very worthy of occurring on the calendar near my birthday.

Personally, I have a few other goals, which unfortunately seem to be the same year after year: return to the physical fitness level I was in when I earned my black belt, get myself out of debt, write and read more, travel more, and continue to work on Commendable Kids so the benefits of the service can be offered to more and more children. At least, for the most part, I can be comforted in the knowledge that I once again spent most of my free time this past year with my family, teaching and leading them, and building memories to last a life time. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I Am Not a Developer
Be the 1st to comment!

Or, more specifically, I am not a code developer. I wrote my first bit of code when I was seven, and have been writing software pretty much non-stop since then. I don’t know if I’ve gone more than a week, in almost 35 years, without writing code. Crazy.

As one might guess from that amount of experience, I’ve mostly always had a job that carried with it the title of ‘developer’. In the true sense of the word, that is very true. I do indeed ‘develop’ something. But in my industry, the term developer usually focuses on writing code. Once again, technically that’s true, I do spend most of my time writing code. Where I differentiate myself is where I place my focus.

Though I may often write as much code as any other developer, my focus is never on the code itself or the enjoyment of coding. From the very beginning, I’ve always written code so that I could have the resulting functionality: a drawing program (pre-Photoshop and Paint), a comic book tracker, a baseball stats tracker, accounting software for my church, a note taker for people I meet on Twitter (PeepNote), a motivational service for children (Commendable Kids), etc. I’m always creating something. Even as a kid I would spend my summers writing software all day.

In order to make a living, I’ve also, of course, written software for other people, organizations, and companies. The catch for me in those situations, was that since I don’t write code because I like the resulting code, I have to have an interest in the particular project I’m being paid to work on. This is possible to some extent when taking a full-time job, but very hard to do as a freelancer. In the latter case, I found myself sometimes having to work on projects I really didn’t care about, which results in me just writing code. Since that is contrary to what I’m passionate about, I lose energy and focus, and lack the feeling of real accomplishment and that I’m helping improve life using technology.

In the end, it’s about creating solutions and the code is simply a tool to get them built. If I were a building architect, I would care more about the resulting building than I would about the materials, tools, or methodologies used to build it. I do work on learning and refining those things, and often teaching them, but that isn’t where I get my sense of satisfaction, nor my energy.

I don’t get that excited finding new ways to code things, or fine tuning a loop to shave off a millisecond just because I can. I do enjoy streamlining the development process, even creating ways to be more efficient, but all of that is focused solely on the goal of creating a specific, helpful, life (or job) improving software solution. I just happen to write awesome code to do it.

My Naughty and Nice list for 2012
Be the 1st to comment!

It’s time to briefly color my beard white, put on my santa hat and issue my Naughty and Nice list for 2012. Apologies if you find yourself on the naughty list. There’s always next year if you try harder and shape up.

First the nice list. You all deserve the best present Santa can bring.

My kids: Brandon and Lily

I’m so incredibly blessed to have my two children in my life. It’s not always easy on a day-to-day basis, but before having children, I had no idea how amazing it was going to be to watch them grow and learn and to be the recipient of their love. Nothing in life will ever compare to this experience. The two of them have made the nice list for the rest of their lives. They have made me a better person, and have brought me blessings beyond compare.

Gauged2, Authentic Jobs, and IMM

While my plans to build a long term future with two different teams, didn’t work out, I still had a fantastic time working with them this year. In the first half of the year, I had the pleasure of working with Dan Denney, Hugh Butler and Tim Robbins at Gauged2. Dan and I have since moved on to other things, but we had some really great times together and all learned a lot and grew from the experience.

I spent the last half of the year working with Cameron Moll and Adam Spooner at Authentic Jobs. We made a great team, had fun, and built an awesome product (not yet released). I’m thankful for my time with them and hope in 2013 I am blessed to work with more equally awesome people.

Also making the nice list in this category is Andy Smith (IMM). I’ve been working with him for four and a half years now doing the Miley Cyrus suite of websites. It’s been a pleasure and I hope we continue working together for years to come.

All six of them make my nice list for 2012, and to all six I say, “Thank you!”.

Apple

Say all you want about Apple holding features back to they can release improved versions, wich results in us spending a lot of the money we earn on their products. The only reason we do so is because of how fundamentally life changing their products are. Having a strong background in both Windows and Linux, once I tried a Mac, I never looked back. The combination of having Mac for your phone, tablet and desktop is unparalleled. The increase in productivity, the decrease in stress, and the pure joy in using Apple’s products earns them a spot on my nice list.

Will Muschamp

I have missed Steve Spurrier for years. Urban Meyer didn’t fill the void (see the naughty list), but finally, we have a coach who does in Muschamp. I love his personality, his style of play, his leadership and the way he handles the team. My son and I met him last year at football camp, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year of Gator football. I hope he will be around for a long time, because he’s finally the coach the Gators need to move on from the Spurrier loss.

Supportive Friends

There are too many to list. Trying to list everyone would result in leaving some people out, but I have to particularly thank two people who have supported me all year in my endeavours: Dan Denney and Steve Pothoven. Listening to me bounce ideas off the wall like a racquetball player on speed, requires a special patience. They always listen, always give me their honest feedback and suggestions, and for that they earn a spot on my nice list.

To everyone else who liked, favorited, retweeted and commented on my statuses, photos and posts throughout the year, a special thank you for allowing this introvert to share his thoughts and rants with you. May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Now for the bad news with my naughty list. Shame on you.

Urban Meyer

While being thankful for the championships that Urban Meyer brought to the Gators, and also giving us Tim Tebow and those four years that will never be topped…I’ve never been a fan of Urban’s. He leads and disciplines kids with a modern day parenting and pop-psychology methodology that is sure to fail and did. Team arrest rates soared, they fought with coaches and refused to do what they were told and got away with it, and then, after allowing the team to implode out of lack of leadership and discipline, he has a mental breakdown, quits, then comes back to make things worse one last time, then quits again and goes to another school where he proceeds to tell all new recruits that the Gators have discipline issues in the locker room and poaches recruits from the Gators based on his own failures. Congrats on making the naughty list for the rest of your life. I now cheer for the Gators and anyone who plays Ohio State.

Rex Ryan, the entire Jets organization, and the majority of Jets reporters

Regardless of your belief in Tebow’s capabilities to throw a football, no one deserves to be treated like he has this year. He’s done nothing but work hard, support his teammates and run the ridiculously stupid plays called for him. Ryan and Sparano get the ‘naughty’ for having not bothered to watch a single game Tebow played in during college. That’s clear from how he’s been used. Tebow never ran the wildcat during college, and for all the talk of him being a running quarterback it was his passing that set every record in high school, SEC and college football. And yes, he set the record for…wait for it…pass completion percentage. “But he can’t throw!”. Right, because the football changed so much between college and the pros. Anyway…

Urban Meyer (his coach in college), said he had to keep Tebow out of the weight room so he didn’t bulk up and get too big and slow down. What was the first thing the Jet’s coaches made Tebow do? Put on tons of weight. He’s clearly been far slower running the ball this year. Equally stupid is continuing to judge Tebow on his practices. He’s never been a good practice player. There are numerous reasons for this, one of which is certainly his will to win that obviously is more likely to kick in when the game is on the line (much like adrelanine when your life is on the line). But there are other reasons. In practice, wearing a red contact jersey most of the time, they blow the whistle the minute any defender is in the area. I watched Tebow’s practices this year when they were available, and every time he would start to scramble and break down the defense, (where he can throw or run when he moves out of the pocket), they would blow the whistle stopping the play. Tebow’s #1 strength is ad-libbing and in practice you don’t do that. Much like training in MMA. When you are practicing a rear-naked choke, that’s all you are working on. If it fails, in practice, then you “failed”. But in a real fight you have the option to transition to other things and pull from all your tools. Judging a guy like Tebow from practice is foolish and narrow-minded.

The reporters end up on the naughty list for their obsessive coverage that turned fans and players off of Tebow. It’s not his fault he’s the focus of the team. He couldn’t be more quiet (except when forced to talk to the reporters by his coaches – also worth the naughty list). The majority of hatred aimed at Tebow should really be aimed at the reporters for causing it. They love stirring you up to hate him, and their latest trick has been blaiming the entire Jets season on Tebow. He played a play or two a game all season, but somehow it’s his fault and not the QB who face planted into his own players rear-end and turned the ball over consistently all year.

Now the reporters have gone so far as to say that Tebow “demanded” not to play the Wildcat anymore. The story has spun out of control, with none of it substantiated. We know Tebow was frustrated about being told he was #2 until #1 was benched and then he was passed over (who wouldn’t be!). We know he said something about the wildcat not working for him, and that’s all we know. Yet now, the claims are he’s “always” been a selfish player. Please, enough with the hatred. It’s far too transparent. We get it, you hate that he gets so much attention despite not having earned it in your opinion. They all seem to forget that the entire business of sports depends on entertaining the fans. They hate what Tebow did last year because the didn’t do it the way they think a QB should. It’s elitist and for that, all of you make the naughty list…to say the least. I hope you don’t represent the people of New Jersey or the entire state might make the naughty list.

The U.S. Government and the American people

First the government for bribing voters with a record-setting number of free offers, including college educations, birth control pills, health care, cell phones, housing, food, and a year and a half of pay without work. As well for buying private companies (still more bribing to win over entire groups of voters from industries) that ran their businesses into the ground. The current government, and by that I mean BOTH parties, has led this country to the brink of financial ruin, all so they can personally maintain their power over the people, and maintain their lavish lifestyles.

They make the naughty list, but so do the American voters for allowing them to do this to this once great country. Fans of football teams demand a coach be fired in his first season for failing to make the playoffs, but in government, you get re-elected (again, not talking just President here but all across the board), for taking your team to 0-16.

It’s time for voters to stop being single issue voters and start voting for people who will allow this country to return to it’s greatness. It’s also time for voters to start reading between the lines and stop listening to sound bites and voting for the guy or girl who has the best speach writers or the best web site, and focus instead of real principles and real facts.

Also making the naughty list in this category are the hypocrites who want “freedom” and want government out of their lives and then turn around and vote for a candidate promising to intrude and control at every opportunity in the name of “helping”.

Conclusion

That concludes my Naughty and Nice list for 2012. I hope you all had a great Christmas and start 2013 off with a Happy New Year!

Commendable Kids Gets and Update and Moves to Heroku
Be the 1st to comment!

After a year’s worth of tweaks and revisions, and listening to users, CommendableKids.com received an update last week! Feels so good to finally get that out. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s one of the reasons I decided to stop working on both PeepNote and We Are Tampa Bay.

The feedback from parents has been very encouraging. There is still a lot more to do, but getting this update out there and having the site on a firmer foundation is exciting!

Along with this update I moved the site to Heroku! As many of you know I’m a big fan of Heroku. I think its the #1 hosting platform for Ruby on Rails apps, and am so relieved to finally have every Rails app I work on now hosted on Heroku!

I go into detail on the revisions over on the Commendable Kids blog. Take a look try it out!

Page 1 of 3123