Reverse Quitting

I was listening to a radio ad the other week about quitting smoking. It was very compelling. The ad said that all people who quit smoking are people who have tried to quit before, failed, and kept trying until they didn’t fail. They learned each time what didn’t work, until they found what did.

I’m not quitting.

I’m starting.

I love beginnings.

I love the beginnings of each day, I’m a morning person.

I love the intro skill, the back handspring, the toss hands, the hello world program, the basic rule of thirds photograph, the empty notebook before it has been marked.

There is a lot of promise in a beginning. Somewhere along the way I feel like I mess it up. I make a errant mark in the notebook, miss the exposure or composition of the photograph, lose the technique on a harder stunt, each too much junk food by the end of the night.

I keep trying to get started and don’t make very much progress. I give up and live in despair for a couple of days, and then try again.

The problem is, that I’m not sure I’m good at keeping track of my mistakes and avoiding them the next day, the next start.

I’m going back to my “Make Something” manifesto. I’m going to stop ending each night by just watching NCIS episodes. I”m going earn each episode. I’m going to earn each nights sleep. I’m going to earn it by eating better, working on building my projects (van, travel, climbing), and taking care of my body.

I will keep trying to figure it out, and if/when I fail, I’ll figure it out and start again.

Today doesn’t feel like a failure, and I’m excited about carrying this beginning into tomorrow!

TLog-007 Nitro Morning

This post was pulled from my TLog project, but it felt relevant enough to make it to this blog as well. Some interesting stuff about reading and writing code.


I’m trying the Nitro Cold Brew coffee from Stumptown that they just started carrying at Planet Granite. It is tasty, but I like the regular cold brew better and will be sticking to that in the future. Still, I do love coffee.

Grateful List

I was listening to a podcast the other day, I believe it was Finding Mastery with Ariana Kukors: Swim. And they were talking about gratitude practice. The part that really stuck with me was that practicing happiness is really hard. Being happy is a by-product of the world around and the best way to approach getting that feeling may be through practicing gratitude. I’m going to try and say three things I’m grateful for each day.

  1. I’m so grateful that we as humans discovered coffee. It has a profound effect on my life and while I only drink about 2 cups a day, I love it.
  2. I’m grateful that I can afford to take as many pictures as I do now. I love photography and there was point when I was in college when I felt like it was too expensive. Thankfully I can now afford great gear and enjoy using it.
  3. I’m very grateful for my climbing community. Yes, I don’t see as many of them as much as I used to, but I love having a second home at the climbing gym. It is more adult that my cheer community (not that I don’t appreciate that as well), and much closer to my house.

Reading Code

I spend a lot of my time reading objective-c code for work. Reading the basic syntax is pretty easy, but understanding what is going on in someone else’s code has always been relatively difficult for me. I’m not sure how everyone else does it, but the way I tend to read code is to go through a live example of the code and see how variables are manipulated. I like to track a path from a point I understand to a point I need to discover. The larger the piece of the code the harder it is for me discover the flow and the process.

The best analogy I have to this process outside of code is my attempt to read the Odyssey. I moved around a lot as kid and didn’t get to read greek theology in school. I have tried to pick up post school, but understanding the Odyssey or the Illiad has been very hard for me. I can read the words and understand the basics of what’s happening, but I’m not sure I can see the forest through the trees. When you are in class, you have a teacher and class to discuss the book with. The concepts in the book are discussed and you collectively discover what is going on.

When reading code, the teacher/class is akin to being able to talk to developer who originally wrote the code. Sometimes they are sitting right next to you. Sometimes they are downstairs or close by. Sometimes they are phone call or email away. Sometimes there are cliff notes in the form of a really good tutorial or ReadMe. Most of the time, though, you just have figure it out on your own. If the code is written using some common conventions (like a restful api, or common design pattern), it can be easier. Sometimes the code is all over the place and impossible to discover.

Yesterday I was working on understanding MGSwipeTableCell. It’s a pretty well built piece of code, but still rather confusing to figure out for me. I figured out what I needed to, but only after a couple hours of debugging. I wish I had done a better job reading the original piece of code from the beginning.

T_Logging It

T_Logging It

Casey Neistat Is a videographer in NYC. I started watching his youtube channel this week. Apparently he has decided that it would be good to V_Log every day. I can’t imagine the amount of work he puts into each of his daily videos. They are so well produced, and often quite interesting. Sure there is a goal of promoting his product Beme, but mostly he just shares his life.

I want to do that. I brush my teeth every day, that takes two minutes in the morning and two minutes at night. It’s a routine I never miss. I’m neurotic about it. I might shorten the time, but it always happens. Logging is going to be a part of that. I’m going to put it two places, my day one publish, and my tumblr. That’s it. Maybe I’ll get to P_Logging (with pictures) or possibly even V_Loggging it like Casey, but honestly, that is too much commitment for the commit-a-phobe I am.

Today is Halloween. I dressed as Indiana Jones last night, it’s hot outside today, not sure if I feel like doing the dress up thing again, if so, I may switch to shorts and a shirt sleeve shirt. Why is it 80 degrees on the last day of October?

Aside for this site

I’ll post the best things here, the stuff that I feel is useful. Tumblr is a place I feel more comfortable posting life things that aren’t really useful to anyone but my friends. I try to keep that irrelevant stuff off this site.

Moments

My company is awesome. Check it out: SalesforceIQ.com. Beyond the product we build our company is based on four company values:

  • People
  • Moments
  • Ideas
  • Results

Each of these values is important to the company and also personally to me. I wonder if this is why I’m so happy working with my team.

In relation to my own professional development I had a conversation with one of the company’s founders recently and he told me a story about why moments was such an important value to him. He story really connected with me and I wanted to share it with you. 

He had been working for someone else for one of only a few times in his life. He is a constant entrepreneur. If you’ve ever met Adam you feel the intensity he gives off. Apparently he was applying it to his job and his boss was concerned he might have been driving too hard without perspective for the accomplishments. She gave him this analogy. 

Imagine you are a tenacious mountain climber. You are climbing a fictitious peak that never ends. No matter how hard and how far you climb it just keeps going up. You are fine and keep climbing with it and don’t have to stop, but if you don’t stop every once in a while to turn around and look at the view, what is the point?

See, our lives are like the mountain. We don’t know when or how they are going to end. Many of us are driven by internal forces. Adam’s point in telling me this story was that I needed to stop and look around, appreciate all that we have achieved.

Villanova, Me, and Tech

Not sure about how many of my fellow Villanova Alumni are working as a software or hardware engineer in Silicon Valley. I know a few. One of my friends, Arts & Sciences 2005 is out here working on his own start up. Another ECE department grad is working for another software/hardware deal on security in SF. Not to mention John Hennessy, president at Stanford University.

In the mail today was another request to donate to the Alumni Fund and send in a note about where we are and what we are doing. While there is merit in sending this to the university, posting it here serves the same purpose in my book.

I’m working on as a senior software engineer for a start up RelateIQ that was recently acquired by Salesforce. I work on our iOS clients. Previous endeavors include Flywheel Software, Motorola Mobility, FactSet Research Systems, and Bloomberg. As an engineer I have experience with backend development in raw C++ and frameworks like Rails and NodeJS. I’ve helped develop a front end framework MontageJS, and have been working with iOS for the past two years or so.

Aside form my contributions to the tech world, I’ve been coaching cheerleading for San Francisco State University for the past four years, going from assistant to head coach, back to assistant coach. Before that I was at Woodside High School (which appeared in Waiting For Superman). I also cheer and help out at Rebel’s Elite Cheerleading Gym in South San Francisco.

In addition to coding and cheering, I can be found rock climbing at Planet Granite, biking on the streets of the bay, swimming in any pool I can find, eating out at local restaurants, or taking pictures of whatever happens to be in front of me.Not sure about how many of my fellow Villanova Alumni are working as a software or hardware engineer in Silicon Valley. I know a few. One of my friends, Arts & Sciences 2005 is out here working on his own start up. Another ECE department grad is working for another software/hardware deal on security in SF. Not to mention John Hennessy, president at Stanford University.

In the mail today was another request to donate to the Alumni Fund and send in a note about where we are and what we are doing. While there is merit in sending this to the university, posting it here serves the same purpose in my book.

I’m working on as a senior software engineer for a start up RelateIQ that was recently acquired by Salesforce. I work on our iOS clients. Previous endeavors include Flywheel Software, Motorola Mobility, FactSet Research Systems, and Bloomberg. As an engineer I have experience with backend development in raw C++ and frameworks like Rails and NodeJS. I’ve helped develop a front end framework MontageJS, and have been working with iOS for the past two years or so.

Aside form my contributions to the tech world, I’ve been coaching cheerleading for San Francisco State University for the past four years, going from assistant to head coach, back to assistant coach. Before that I was at Woodside High School (which appeared in Waiting For Superman). I also cheer and help out at Rebel’s Elite Cheerleading Gym in South San Francisco.

In addition to coding and cheering, I can be found rock climbing at Planet Granite, biking on the streets of the bay, swimming in any pool I can find, eating out at local restaurants, or taking pictures of whatever happens to be in front of me.

I Work For Flywheel

Over a year ago I switched roles in the software engineering field. I started working as an iOS developer for a company called Flywheel. We are a start up in the transportation industry. Our goal is to provide safe, reasonably priced rides from professional drivers with the entire hailing and paying process handled from your personal mobile device.

flywheel logo

The goal is to make the experience as seamless as possible for the end user. You take out your phone, find a pickup location, the app hails available cabs, and you are notified when a car is on it’s way. When you get to your destination you can adjust the tip or just leave your default. Your credit card is automatically billed so you can worry about what you need to do next.

Making this process simple is a lot more tricky than it sounds. We’ve been working hard to make the experience better for the passenger and there will continue to make improvements over the next couple of months.

We have a blog that covers our feature set on a higher level as well as current promotions. I hope to cover some of the more interesting technical challenges and solutions we have run into.

Amplifying Education, $5 fifth of the month

This charity is a bit more specialized in the past. I tend to rally around Education, and this is tied to that, but is more directly associated with Dispath, the band. They make great music and I’ve been a huge fan for about 2 or 3 years and seen them in concert several times. Along with their performances, they believe in community service. The current charity is called Amplifying Education, and they volunteer while they are on tour. The money raised is distributed to several worthwhile educational funds. So, here is Amplifying Education, pass it on.

Five Dollar Fifth – Podcasting

I saw a link on Daring Fireball the other day about the EFF going after a case involving royalties on Podcasting. This whole patent troll thing has gotten out of control and to think that all podcasts might be subject to a fee just for existing is beginning to scare me. There was also an interesting show from This American Life about it.

Bottom line, this month, after taking a little brake, I’m back with donating $5 on the fifth. You can join me at the EFF Help Save Podcasting page.

Harper High School, $5 Fifth of the Month

I’ve been commuting a lot more. Every Monday morning I hop in the car and start with my favorite podcast, This American Life. (Short aside, I got into this show because of piece I posted about here). Three weeks ago I heard the first of a two part series on Harper High School. To say I was moved is a catastrophic understatement.

This American Life chose Harper because they were in their home city of Chicago and last year there 28 shooting incidents with current and former students. The stories of the lives of the students is a strong juxtaposition with my own childhood. They are forced into gangs that are about protection, not crime. The school is the place they feel most safe. And it has been under a special grant to provide great services for these kids. The grant is ending next year, and many of the support positions will be losing funding. They are collecting donations to support these kids.

I did the math with some friends. If two of my friends pay 5 dollars, and two of their friends pay 5 dollars, and the cycle continues, we would only need to have 18 exchanges to raise 200,000 people. If they each payed me $5, we would have $1,000,000.

Please donate $5 or more, and pass on the link.

Donate $5

If you still need convincing, go listen to the PodCast, it’s tough, but worth it.

Five Dollar Charity on the Fifth of the Month

I’ve been talking about this for a while with a close circle of friends. I’d like to start a trend of donating $5 a month to different charitable causes. The goal being if I can get enough people behind the idea, we could make some significant impact to the charitable space. Each month, I’m going to come up with a new charity, and provide instructions for donating to them. I’ll try not to hit the same charity too often, but there are a couple of causes I feel particularly passionate about.

This month I’d like to pitch one of my favorite charities: Charity:Water. They use all money donated to fund water projects in Africa. Providing clean and drinkable water to people who don’t have easy access. I’ve been donating to them for several years. To donate, just go the website and click donate. Fill out the instructions on the site.

If you donate, please leave a comment, message me on twitter, send me an email or whatnot. I’d like to do a follow up on how much we put to each of these charities over time.