Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Don't under estimate e-mail. It's the new drag and drop and notification system.

This will likely roll up into another blog post, but writing it down so  I don't lose it.

In the 2000's using a computer meant using the windows desktop. Two common capabilities from those days were the ability to do a user initiated share of data between applications, and the ability to asynchronously notify the user.

User initiated data sharing on the windows desktop was accomplished with drag and drop. Today there are no apps so there is no notion of sharing between them, except - e-mail. For example, if you want to share a video via youtube, you can send a mail to a special youtube address.

Asyncronous user notification used to be done with notification windows in the bottom user of your screen.  Today there is no notion of an on your latest device alerting platform - except e-mail. For example if youtube wants to tell you your video is ready to be shared, you get an email.

Cool how the world evolves eh?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cool Tools: Vim Keybindings

This post will enumerate the vim emulators I use, I expect it to refresh as I learn of more. 

The VIM community is very passionate and frequently adds plugins to support VI keybindings in random tools. Here are the tools I use with their vim key bindings. 

Chrome -  Vimium 
Visual Studio - VsVim
OneNote - Vim For OneNote

Happy VIMing. 

Soft Skills: Job Hunt Stress

This post targets currently employed developers who want to switch jobs.  

Job hunts are stressful, and my goal for my job hunts is getting the job I want without getting too stressed.  My job hunting stresses come from: lack of confidence, being rushed, not having options, disappointing others and the pressure from my current job responsibilities. By expecting and mitigating each of these stressors I greatly reduce the stress during my job hunt.

Below are my stressors and mitigations:

Lack of confidence
Study for interviews - Study Cracking the Coding Interview. Expect to spend 4-8 hours a week for 4 to 8 weeks.  The longer it's been since you've interviewed last, the longer this will take.
Do mock interviews - ask your friends and colleagues to interview you.  You should fail the first few mock interviews it's normal.
Being rushed
Know your "must be done by" date -  don't get stressed over  your own fake deadlines.
Lack of options for next jobs
Figure out what you want to accomplish
Look around for who is hiring
Start and maintain a list of candidate jobs
Have a worst case scenario job
Disappointing others
Be honest with yourself about what you can control and share.
Think about what you can do to reduce the impact to your  customers, partners,  subordinates and bosses
Pressure from current job
Negotiate with your current boss for time to work on job hunt.
Recall your highest priority is the next job, but you have existing commitments.

Even when you know about the common stressors a job hunt is still an emotional roller coaster. Expect to have "ups" and "downs". Have a support network with whom you can vent, share disappointments and gloat.

Good luck on your next adventure!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cool Tools: Git Helpers

This post will enumerate the helpers I use with git, I expect it to refresh as I learn of more. 

git-credential-winstore - Cache your git credentials for windows
gitk - Built into the git distro, gitk allows you to visualize the tree

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cool Tools: VIM for Onenote

If you use OneNote and VIM, checkout VIM keybindings for Onenote. If you're having trouble getting this working, leave a comment and I'll give you a hand.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cool Tools: Color Laser Printer

My whole life, I've either not had a printer, or had a crappy inkjet printer. Two weeks ago I bought a color laser printer (at semi-random) for 200$, and every time I print I get a perfect, dry, color print.  I have no complaints what so ever, it's just awesome.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cool Tools: Kindle

If you don't have a kindle, go buy a kindle paper white right now.  If you own a kindle, skim this post to make sure you know about these features.

Things I love about the Kindle:
  • All my books, all the time -  no shelf space required. 
  • No need for a nightlight - The back light lets me read at night, without the hassle of lights.
  • Indestructible Media - I can stop worrying about spilling coffee on my books.
  • Light weight - doesn't matter if it's a 2 lb mega book, or a few page poem, it's just weight of the kindle.
  • Fungible - All kindles are same, get a new kindle, it downloads all your books, bookmarks and highlights. 
Features I use:
  • Sync between kindles - if you use multiple kindles the kindle sends your latest page location to all kindles.
  • Look up word - Press and hold a word to see the definition. A great way to build your vocabulary.
  • Highlight Passages - Run your finger over a paragraph to highlight. You can see your highlights on other kindles, or export them using the cool tools below. 
  • Re-size fonts - Having a big font is wonderful for low strain reading. 
Cool Tools:
  • Send To Kindle - Send content (like web pages or word documents to the kindle)
  • Bookcision - Export your kindle highlights as text

Soft Skills: Read the best book you can.

When I have time to read, I want to read the best book I can.

When I hear about a book I want to read, I either add it to the list of books I want to read, or I start reading the book immediately.   If I add the book to my  "to read" list, I'm almost certain I'll never read the book.  On the other hand, If I start reading the book right away, I'm almost certain the book is worse than books I've already added to my "to read" list.

So, I'm going to try to build the discipline to only read the best book on my "to read" list, instead of reading the last good book mentioned to me.  

I suspect this technique will be hard,  but reading the best books might be worth it.  If this works, I'll try to apply the same technique to other aspects of my life like movies, toys I want to watch, and people I want to have lunch with.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Soft Skills: Instilling stewardship delegation.

Stewardship delegation is a form of delegation where the responsibility for the delegated task is transferred to the delegatee.  Stewardship delegation requires upfront effort, but the long term effectiveness it creates is second to none, so I recommend learning and applying it.

To establish stewardship delegation you must convey five concepts to your delegatee.  The desired results, the operating parameters, the available resources, the measurement system and the consequences of their stewardship.

 I strongly recommend the delegator spend significant time ensuring the delegatee  understands these five concepts. Most of my failures to delegate are caused by the delegatee not understanding the concepts.  Having the delegatee involved in defining the concepts, especially the accountability model and the consequences helps build their buy in and tests the delegatee's understanding.

The desired results is the outcome the delegator wishes to achieve.  Desired results should be conveyed in terms of what is desired, not in terms of how results should be achieved. By specifying what, not how,  the delegatee has the maximum freedom to achieve the desired results.

The operating parameters are the guard rails within which the desired results should be achieved.  While the delegator should give as few as possible, they tend to have experience and prevent the delegatee from making obvious mistakes.

The resources available are what the delegatee may use to get the desired results accomplished.  Because the delegator tends to have experience they can often suggest useful resources, however the delegatee should have the freedom to ignore the unneeded resources.

The accountably model defines how the delegatee will be measured. This includes the measurement function, the measurement frequency and the way the measurement will be reported.

The rewards and consequences defines how the delegatee will be rewarded for their efforts. This includes the both rewards for success, and consequences for failure.

By using these delegation guidelines you should be able to kick off steward ship delegation. Even though it takes more time upfront, the overall return on investment is excellent.

By the way, I'm trying to leverage the stewardship delegation method with myself, by taking a desire I wish to achieve and going through the five delegation concepts. I expect I'll find this method very effective.