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The oppressive nature of mathematical facts

I was frustrated watching the news tonight, seeing reports of long lines of people waiting to buy lottery tickets for tonight’s $500,000,000+ jackpot. There are several angles of absurdity to consider here. For example, why all the excitement over $500 million? Wouldn’t any of these players be equally thrilled by $10 million or even $5 million? Another example: Several of the people interviewed, who had just bought hundreds of dollars of tickets, were unemployed, facing foreclosure, struggling to pay medical bills, and so forth. But putting all that aside, let’s just look at the math.

30x500 orientation

I recently enrolled in 30x500, an online class designed to teach you how to launch successful products. I know how to run a consulting business (been there, done that) and I know how to build software applications, but I had no real idea how to build and launch a product. After tweeting about my enrollment, a few people responded with curiosity, intrigued at the idea, but not yet ready to put down the money to join. Today was orientation, so I decided to start documenting my experiences right away, not only for my own benefit, but also for those perhaps on the fence about taking this class themselves. Orientation began with the instructors introducing themselves. Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman, the course creators, were joined by Brennan Dunn, a former alumnus of the course. Speaking of alumni, there were a lot of them taking the course again. One of the interesting aspects of 30x500 is that you can re-enroll in the course at any point in the future with no additional cost. Enrolling again isn’t a sign that the course is ineffective, it’s a sign of just how dense it is with information and how supportive and amazing the community is.

Git goodies: see all unpushed files

My preferred workflow is to be able to push changes into production using git. However, sometimes the project/server doesn’t support this (yet). In these scenarios, it is very useful to be able to see which files have not yet been pushed to origin. Here is a nice one-liner that does exactly this:

Using Google Authenticator on more than one device

I take security pretty seriously. Some might even call me a little paranoid when it comes to password strength. It’s no surprise that I love two-factor authentication then. Not only can I have a super strong password, but I can now require that I have a security token in my possession in order to login. In other words, even if you knew my 16 character random password for gmail, you still could not login without also having my security token. The fact that Google supports two-factor authentication is great. If you have not enabled this on your Google account yet, please go do it right now.

Contributing to open source projects slides

Thanks to everyone who attended my talk today, especially those that asked questions and gave me feedback afterwards. I’m posting my slides for the talk I gave at WordCamp Milwaukee today. As with most talks, there is a lot more information than what the slides contain, but at least it is something. I also heard that the video recording of my talk will be posted to wordcamp.tv at some point too. Once I get that link I’ll post it here.

Speaking at WordCamp Milwaukee

Just a quick note that I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Milwaukee on June 3. The talk is titled “Contributing to Open Source Projects”. It’s not really a WordPress specific topic, but more of a general encouragement for everyone to get involved in open source and how specifically to go about it. Read the official brief on the WordCamp site. Also, if you haven’t purchased a ticket yet and you would like to attend, I have a discount code that will bring the already cheap $20 price down to $10. Use the code wcspeaker when buying a ticket. See you there.

I love Twitter Bootstrap

If you haven’t heard of it, go take a quick look at Twitter Bootstrap. As you click around the github project site, you’ll get the sense that all these layout guides and widgets and buttons and icons look oddly familiar. Part of that is the fact that Twitter itself is built with this style package. But even beyond that, many many many many sites are using this tool kit as well. I’ve sensed a little backlash, mostly from designers, at this rampant use of the Twitter Bootstrap. At a certain level, I agree, but I’m here to talk about why I love Twitter Bootstrap.

Onsite for CodeMash

Over the next week, I’m going to be adding quite a few short posts chronicling my experience at the CodeMash conference. The event is a few years old, but this is the first year I’m attending.

Date calculations are more complex than you think

Date and time manipulation is an area of programming that seems relatively simple on its surface, but lots of danger lurks just out of view. How hard could it possibly be to take a date/time and add 1 day to it? or 1 week? Piece of cake, right? You might do something like this: $eventTime = strtotime('2011-09-15'); //add one day to the date $newEventTime = $eventTime + (24 * 60 * 60); //expects 2011-09-16 and will USUALLY work echo date('Y-m-d', $newEventTime);

The importance of upgrading

Most web sites use third-party code. This code comes in a few different flavors: client-side libraries (jQuery, dojo) server-side libraries (form mail scripts, oAuth integration) server-side frameworks (Zend Framework, Symfony) entire applications (WordPress, Joomla)