Is this thing still on?

I swear, I’m the worst blogger in the world. I used to do this all the time, back when blogs were shiny and new and apparently we all had all the time in the world. Remember that? 2004 or 2005? Seems like a million years ago.

Anyway, I’m not going to lie—this blog post is an interstitial.

I hate that I’ve allowed my blog to become a place where I say “hey, I have a new job!” (not true) or “hey, I have a new book edition” (not yet true) or “hey, I’m on the job market again” (100% true) and nothing else really interesting. I much prefer my blog to be a space where I profess my undying love for StackExchange (still true), talk about great hiring tools like Careers 2.0 (it’s really good), and wax philosophical about unicorns and code review (I really really believe in embedded code review processes!).

Maybe now, with some free time on my hands, I’ll join the chorus of people singing the praises of Slack, or I’ll talk about two other SaaS tools that I will try very hard to use wherever I go, should architectures allow: Code Climate (static analysis tool) and Semaphore (continuous integration and deployment). I also have really positive things to say about TrueAbility, which allows job applicants to show off their skills through some pretty rigorous online testing. Come to think of it, I’m also bullish on General Assembly, which offers immersive programs as well as short-term courses and workshops, and they don’t suck at all.

I guess I have a lot to say about stuff.

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Posted in Misc Life

I have a new job (& we’re hiring)

(NOTE: Everything below is 100% true except as of April 2014 I no longer work at the company mentioned in the post. I did my part. We built things. I moved on.)

Since I quit my job in June, I spent a few months alternating between taking a break (good) and stressing out about not having an income (bad), taking the time to finish up a long-overdue book edition, and doing some consulting for a few fine folks. I went on the annual family beach vacation, went camping a lot but not nearly enough, and generally tried to figure out what I was going to do next.
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Posted in Misc Life, Techie

Code Review is an Opportunity for So Much More than Bug Fixes

A recent blog post from the folks at Code Climate (a highly recommended hosted static analysis tool for Rubyists) highlighted a study that found what the researchers deemed “The Unexpected Outcomes Of Code Review”. When I read these “unexpected” outcomes—code improvements, understanding, and communication among colleagues—my initial reaction was “Unexpected? Those are precisely the reason I push hard for an integrated code review process in the first place!”

Then I remembered that I’m apparently a weirdo and have only a rainbows-and-unicorns outlook when forming and wrangling software development teams. Also, that collaborative pedagogy was most certainly beat into me at some point in another life, it takes many forms outside the academy, and the workplace is a pedagogical space. Or at least it should be. It’s more fun that way.
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Posted in Techie

A new book (edition) just in time for the holidays

The “news” item here is that a new edition of Sams Teach Yourself HTML & CSS in 24 Hours (it may or may not end up saying HTML5 and CSS3 on the cover, but that’s what it teaches) will hit the shelves in the beginning of December. I think it’s a pretty good update—the first update of this text that I did in 2010 was the first time the core content had been touched in 5 or 6 years (it was originally someone else’s book), and I still had to walk that “HTML5 is still pretty fluxy” line, but this edition is all HTML5, all the time.

It’s not about beautiful, mind-boggling, hey-look-they-updated-CSS Zen Garden-and-so-can-you-in-a-day HTML5, but it is about valid semantic markup and awesome changes to forms and form validation, and all the other useful basic stuff now firmly on the table (but not in tables…see what I did there?). You can see the table of contents and judge for yourself. Thanks to Jennifer Kyrnin for tech editing this edition; she’s also going to be doing the eventual Pearson “Learning Kit” version of this text in the future, because I suck suck suck at videos and she doesn’t.
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Posted in Projects, Techie

GitHub’s new “Choose a License” decision tool (not just for GitHub)

If I had a nickel for every “which license do I use?” question I’ve heard (or seen at Programmers SE) over the years, I’d be rich. However, I’ve never done a darn thing about it besides count the mythical nickels, whereas GitHub has gone and done a really useful thing: created ChooseALicense.com.

It’s not really a tool as much as it is a web site that has distilled the selection of an open source licenses down to three primary goals: are you looking for something simple and permissive, are you concerned about patents, or do you care about sharing improvements? If you can clearly answer for yourself that yes indeed you are most interested in one of those reasons above all others, then you’re in luck because the link for each will take you just to the one license most relevant for your needs (MIT, Apache, and GPL, respectively).

But if the answer to the big ol’ H2 in the middle of the page, “Which of the following best describes your situation?”, isn’t one of those clear cut answers, then you can browse the list of other licenses, each described in clear language and given a lovely visual treatment with links to the full license (for those of you who enjoy reading legalese).

When you create a new GitHub repository, you can now select a license to apply to that repo right at creation time, or you can choose not to—whatever works for you. But even if you don’t use GitHub, ChooseALicense.com is a tremendous resource that should help you answer the “which license do I choose?” question that plagues every developer at some point or another; this resource is much like the Creative Commons license selection workflow that millions of people have found similarly useful over the years.

“Demystified with <3 by GitHub, Inc.” indeed. Well done.

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Posted in Techie
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