Four Short Things – 16 February 2019

Inspired by O’reilly’s Four Short Links, here are some of the things I’ve seen, read, or watched recently.

Git for Ages 4 and Above

My friend Adam recommended this talk as a good deep dive into git. One thing I often preach is the importance of understanding the tools you use on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter what editor you use (but really, it should be vim), what matters is knowing how to use your editor. The same can be said for git. Git is much more powerful than git commit, git push, and git pull. The piece I used yesterday? git checkout master -- filename.jsto revert a single file in a branch that didn’t actually need changes.

Tom Brown at Laugh Fest

Do you live in or around Grand Rapids? If so I highly suggest checking out The Tom Brown at Laugh Fest in March. You will laugh your socks off.

Public APIs

This collection of mostly JSON REST APIs has everything from APIs around art, music, and photography to weather, news, and NFL arrests. It’s a great first stop if you are looking for a data API.

Two Elephants

I finished my first new canvas of 2019.

Four Short Things is a series where I post a small collection of links to art, news, articles, videos and other things that are interesteing me. Follow my RSS feed to see Four Short Things whenver it comes out.

Four Short Things – 9 February 2019

Inspired by O’reilly’s Four Short Links, here are some of the things I’ve seen, read, or watched recently.

The Value of Good Design

MoMA’s spring exhibition includes a show featuring everyday objects, the types that it’s feasible to find in our homes. Brooms, Rakes, Chairs, A Slinky. With an emphasis on work that appeared in shows from the 1930’s to 1950’s, there is plenty of Eames, Saarinen, and Bruan to make any home goods nerd geek out. In addition to the main section of the show, there is a small lab where you can couch and sit on some of the items on display. It’s open until June 15.

Terraform

Describing itself as “Write, Plan, and Create Infrastructure as Code”, terraform allows for almost every part of your infrastructure to happen as code. You can thus keep your DNS in GitHub. You can keep your GitHub config in GitHub too.

What’s new in PHP7.4?

Odds are, you aren’t running PHP7.3 yet, but that doesn’t mean work hasn’t started on PHP7.3. Heck, 8.0 is already being planned. It’s still early, but coalesce assignment is my prediction for what is going to cause the most useless arguments and also be the biggest win.

Inclusive Design: Who’s Opportunity is it?

My friend David uses his journey to help explain how inclusive design is a win for everyone. He looks at Inclusive design as an opportunity for business, content, quality, performance, and people. Definitely was one of the best things I read this week.

Four Short Things is a series where I post a small collection of links to art, news, articles, videos and other things that are interesteing me. Follow my RSS feed to see Four Short Things whenver it comes out.

Four Short Things – 2 February 2019

Inspired by O’reilly’s Four Short Links, here are some of the things I’ve seen, read, or watched recently.

Design Patterns for Managing Up

The first time I was introduced to the phrase “Managing Up” I hated it. Why should I be responsible for my boss? They are supposed to be responsible for me. As I’ve grown I have recognized that as with all relationships, the manager-managee relation requires all parties to invest in its success. This article covers four challenges and offers patterns of behavior to help build and improve the relationship. These four situations are:

  1. Someone asks you something you don’t know
  2. There is a problem that is your fault or responsibility
  3. There is a decision that you don’t agree with
  4. Your manager gives you negative feedback

Metropolis II

LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United Stats. On my first visit, Chris Burden’s kinetic sculpture stood out to me. I like art that reminds me of the building and imagination you do when you are young. Metropolis II is a massive sculpture that features cars and trains traveling around a city.

Picasso’s Drawings of Bulls Inspired Apple’s Famously Simple Designs

“Pasadena, Norton Simon Museum, Picasso P. The Bull, 1946” flickr photo by Vahe Martirosyan https://flickr.com/photos/vahemart/31475770070 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Picasso’s lithographic drawings of The Bull start as a full picture of a bull and over the course of the drawings, become more abstract and minimized to only a few lines. But it is still clearly a bull. Apple incorporated this into its design education. The continued minimization and removal of elements is evident. A phone is still a phone without a headphone jack, and a bull is still a bull when it is made with simple lines.

How We Made The Force Report Database

This “how we built this” article explores all the work that went into the Force Report Database from NJ Advanced Media. Awesome to see data reporters sharing not just the outcome (in this case a tool to help the residents of New Jersey understand police use of force) but all the steps and missteps it took to get there. The lessons learned at the bottom could also make it easy for other places to replicate this reporting.

Four Short Things is a series where I post a small collection of links to art, news, articles, videos and other things that are interesteing me. Follow my RSS feed to see Four Short Things whenver it comes out.

Four Short Things – 25 January 2019

Inspired by O’reilly’s Four Short Links, here are some of the things I’ve seen, read, or watched recently.

The Greatest Olympian You’ve Never Heard of: Eddie Eagan and an Unlikely Double

Eddie Eagan is a unique individual who did something no one else has done: he won gold medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympics in different sports. When we think about “The Greatest Athletes”, we often talk about people who dominated in one sport. Eagan’s medals came in the radically different fields of Boxing and Bobsleighed. And that is only the start of his story.

Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts

This comprehensive overview of Nauman’s work takes place at both MoMA and PS1, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Nauman’s art isn’t easily categorized, he moves across mediums, themes, and styles with the appearance of ease. One of the parts that stuck with me was Nauman’s opinion that by deciding to create, anything he made could be art.


I’m an artist. I want to be in the studio. I want to be doing something, and you just get desperate, and so you just do whatever’s at hand, and you don’t even worry about whether it’s going to be interesting or not interesting to anybody else or even yourself. You just have to make something.

Bruce Nauman: Make-Work | Art21 “Extended Play”

Do You Know Your Users?

I’m a big believer that personas are a tool that make software development better. They help fight the false perception bias that we all suffer from and give us makers an idea of who we are making software for. I’ve gone so far as to use personas for event planning. This overview doesn’t just cover why personas are important, it also explores how to go about making them.

Signal Problems

My friend K.Adam White recommended this to me and I’m happy he did. It’s a great overview of how the NYC subway is doing and what is wrong with it now. It describes it self as:

Signal Problems, a weekly newsletter helping you figure out what is going on with the subway, made every week by Aaron Gordon, freelance transportation reporter. Read on the web or view the archives at signalproblems.nyc.

Four Short Things is a series where I post a small collection of links to art, news, articles, videos and other things that are interesteing me. Follow my RSS feed to see Four Short Things whenver it comes out.

Four Short Things – 18 January 2019

Inspired by O’reilly’s Four Short Links, here are some of the things I’ve seen, read, or watched recently.

100+ Lessons Learned for Project Managers

I am a firm believer that software and web development can learn a lot from other disciplines. Much as Akin’s Laws of. Spacecraft Design can be easily modified for the web, I think these lessons from Jerry Madden, the former Associate Director of Flight Projects at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, can also be valuable. One that stood out to me, since it seems so incredible accurate, is lesson #14.

The first sign of trouble comes from the schedule or the cost curve. Engineers are the last to know they are in trouble. Engineers are born optimists.

Lesson #14

Untitled by Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko is often thought of for his large “multiform” colorful paintings, but The Met’s Epic Abstraction show also includes a few of his watercolors. It’s a nice reminder to not be siloed into what we are most known for. Overall, this show lives up to its name and features many epic pieces of abstract art. It has no end date currently scheduled, but I have a feeling that it will depend on the construction of a new modern wing.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

When this first came out, I watched the first two episodes but never really fell into it. Then over the last month my entire family seems to have all watched this separately. It’s funny, sad, and displays the same level of intellectual dialague that Amy Sherman-Palladino displayed with Gilmore Girls.

Anatomy of a Dress Shoe

Over the last four years, I’ve gone from regularly using one pair of shoes to having a number in regular rotation. I’ve mostly bought them second hand, but I’ve also taken the time to learn about Goodyear Welts, and even got one pair resoled. Shoes are one of the most important articles of clothing that we ware and this overview will help you undersyand the varius parts of the shoe.

An Ode to my Mom

This is based on remarks I delivered at the celebration of my Mom’s life held on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Memorials may be made in Debi Jorbin’s memory to American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org.

Last year, I went to the National Gallery of Art and saw a painting there from Pablo Picasso. It’s a painting called The Lovers and it’s one that my parents have had a print of in their living room for at least as long as I can remember.

I brought up this painting to my mom and was hoping for some incredible story, something maybe about seeing this painting with my dad and him holder in a similar embrace, but all she can remember is that her and my dad had liked it and she had framed it herself. Framing things was something my mom always enjoyed doing. While I was Growing up, she worked at The Great Frame Up. One of my mom’s favorite gifts to give people for a bar/bat mitzvah or wedding was a framed copy of the invitation. She was able to use her creativity.

Her other favorite gift to give was hand made baby blankets. She would design these blankets for the births of friends and family and sewing them brought her an incredible amount of joy.

Her creativity wasn’t the only thing my mom brought to this world. She also brought a smile, laughter and a sense of humor.

An example of her sense of humor came just a short time ago when I had asked her if I could throw a snow ball at her. She wasn’t impressed. It hadn’t been an easy day. So, of course, she said no, But she told me that I could throw one at my brother and later after I had thrown a snowball at him, My mom gave me a smile and a thumbs up. So Cory, I hope you know that means I have mom’s permission to throw snow balls at you in perpetuity.

It’s not just throwing snowballs that My mom supported me with. My mom was always supportive of everything I did. From cheering me on as I played sports as a kid, to getting older and hearing about me participate in Model UN, my mom supported me in everything I did. Unless it involved a gun or playing sports in the living room, my mom never said no to me wanting to try something new. She encouraged me to open my eyes and experience as much of the world as I could.

My mom also was willing to open her eyes. Despite not being born a Sox fan, my mom opened her eyes to see that there is a quality baseball team in Chicago. She was a little more accepting of the other team in Chicago than my brother and I, but that’s in part becouse she was a supportive person to everyone.

As I got older and began to appreciate art more, I could always count on my mom to want to hear about an exhibit I saw or a gallery I visited. She was happy becouse I was happy.

But Lovers by Picasso pails in comparison to Lovers that we’re my parents. In my mom’s final hours, she didn’t ask for medicine. She didn’t ask food or drink. She asked for my Father to hold her. Lovers until the end.

While Picasso’s Lovers will always make me think of my parents, there is one picture of my mom that I took that sums her up well. It was my brother’s wedding day. She was wearing her new dress, incredibly happy for Brother and to welcome Gretchen into the family, though also stressed from the big day. I handed her my flask, and she took a swig as I took her picture.

View this post on Instagram

Mother of the groom

A post shared by Aaron Jorbin (@aaronjorbin) on

So if you have a flask with you, I would like to invite you to take it out and join me as I raise this to my mom. To the woman who raised me, the woman who supported me.

lchaim

One final thing has stuck with me over the last week. Until she could no longer work, my mom spent about 20 years as a receptionist at a pediatricians office. While I always knew how much her coworkers valued her (they shut down the office for an afternoon when my grandmother passed away so that everyone could be there to support my mom), at the celebration of life, a woman who no one in my family knew walked up to us to offer her condolences and explained that her kids were patients at the pediatrician, and my mom had always helped her and been kind to her and her family. Imagine providing such incredible customer service that someone wants to attend your funeral. That was my mom.

WordCamp US: FAQ

We are just a few days away from WordCamp US! This will be the fourth WordCamp US, and I’m excited to be attending my fourth WordCamp US. To help you know what to expect, here are a few questions and my opinions to go along with them.  

Last year I was a rockstar Wapuu. 
How many people will be there?

A look at the attendees’ page show 1389 people registered as of today. While not everyone will show up or stay the entire time, there will likely be over 1000 people interested in WordPress at the Music City Center this weekend. 

I’ve been to a WordCamp in my city before, should I expect the same thing? 

I’ve attended over 30 WordCamps, and WordCamp US is a different class of events than the local camps. In addition to the size (it’s bigger), WordCamp US features a closing “State of the Word” presentation and sponsor booths that are much more than 2 people behind a table with a backdrop. It’s much more like a $1,000 ticket tech conferences than a celebration of the local WordPress community.

What should I do if I see a big name person?

Say Howdy! The WordPress community is an incredibly welcoming place. So if you see a name you recognize, say Howdy. This includes internationally aclaimed developers such as Daniel BachhuberDaniel Bachhuber

What Talks are you most excited about? 

All of them? 
But since I can’t see them all in person, the three I am most looking forward to are: 
Bridging the Design and Development Gap with CSS Algorithms by Lara Schenck
Metaboxes Considered Harmful by Helen Hou-Sandí
The evolution and future of publishing by Alexis Lloyd

Will anyone want to talk about Gutenberg?

Not this year. Maybe in 2019. 

Should I attend Contributor Dy?

Absolutely! It’s a chance to get behind the scenes and not ust see how the sausage is made, but grind some yourself. 

Will the food be any good?

Most conferences you are happy if one thing is edible, but last year the Music City Center shined when it came to food. This year’s menu is looking delicous as well.

I hope this helps you get as. excited for WordCamp US as. I am. This year I’ll also have copies of. my first zine “Art and Commit Messages” available, so come find me if you want one. 

If you have any questions, ask them and I’ll try my best to answer them. 

Public Discussion in Open Source

As slow and cumbersome as public discussion can be, it’s almost always preferable in the long run. Making important decisions in private is like spraying contributor repellant on your project. No serious contributor would stick around for long in an environment where a secret council makes all the big decisions. Furthermore, public discussion has beneficial side effects that will last beyond whatever ephemeral technical question was at issue:

Karl Fogel “Producing Open Source Software”

The important part after this is that you need to “Nip Rudeness in the Bud”. Every contributor deserves respect as a person. Always. 

PHP7.3 and WordPress

I just upgraded this site to use PHP7.3.  So far, I’m not noticing any changes (which I would say is a good thing), but I’ll keep my eyes on my error log.  I know that there is one open issue with WordPress that will flood my error logs.

Something that makes me proud of WordPress is that for PHP 7.0, 7.1, and 7.2, WordPress Core has made it a priority to run without issue right away. Sometimes this happens during the PHP release candidates, and other times it’s when the release is final, but it’s always quick.

Changeset 43653 of WordPress Core which fixed a new E_WARNING being through in PHP7.3
Preparing WordPress for PHP7.3

In 2015, I started looking at how WordPress would run on php7.0 over 6 months before it was released. Now WordPress has gotten to a maturity level that it doesn’t take 6 months to be ready for a new version of PHP.

Does WordPress continue to run fine on old versions of PHP?  Yes, because it’s important to not abandon users.  But efforts are underway by many in the WordPress community to educate users and help them upgrade. In my history, many users of WordPress don’t know what PHP is, yet alone why it’s important for them to upgrade. 

What’s coming in PHP7.3?

PHP7.3 is not a groundbreaking release, but is a continued refinement of the language. is_countable makes it easier to not have errors with count (and is already backported to WordPress, so start using it now). array_key_first and array_key_last add helpers for some common code. There are also a handful of deprecations and new warnings that aim to make it easier to work with PHP. Overall, I’m excited to start using it more and more.

If you want to understand my opinions more on PHP and WordPress, these opinions still hold true. PHP7.3 is expected to be released on 12 December 2018 and a changelog highlighting new features and breaking changes is available.

Are you running PHP7.3 now?  What’s your experience and thoughts? 

Four Feeds I’m Reading Right Now

I’ve some a semi-annual pruning and searching on my RSS feed.  Here are some of the feeds I find valuable as a developer, engineering manager, and person. 

  • Daniel Bachhuber – I’ve known Daniel for years, and his feed focuses on things that are important to him. It’s not a single topic site by any means, but his writing on open source often influences my thinking. 
  • Rands in Repose – A manager of mine turned me on to Rands about 8 years ago, and I’ve been reading it regularly ever since. It’s a must read if you are interested in engineering leadership. 
  • Four Short Links – An eclectic collection of links five days a week. 
  • Jeff Wong – I sat near Jeff while we worked together years ago and he became one of my biggest influences on how I think about design. Years later and I still enjoy his writing. 

Who are you reading these days?