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.

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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? 

WordPress at 15

I came into WordPress like a lot of people: I wanted a blog. I tried blogspot and it was lacking, so I googled around and discovered WordPress.  This was 2007, WordPress 2.2 had just been released. Widgets were the hot new thing. Tags were still a few months away from being added to core. It was an entirely different WordPress than we have today.

WordPress has had a giant impact on my every facet of my life since then. In just the last week, I organized a last minute Happy Hour for a friend I made because of WordPress. I sat at the house of a friend enjoying the company of him and his family because I got involved with WordPress. I started a job I got because I got involved in WordPress. I took a friend out for a drink who I met because of WordPress. I wore a bow tie that was given to me with a WordPress logo because I got involved in WordPress. I stayed up entirely too late making Art to celebrate WordPress because I got involved in WordPress.

Above you’ll find 15 mono prints I made in celebration of WordPress’s 15th anniversary. Inspired by the WordPress logo, I based the text on Dalliance, Jason Santa Maria’s inspiration for the original W, before cutting the linoleum and making each print. For the Blue, Black, Orange, and Grey, I used printmaking ink. The green is acrylic paint. I then splatter painted till I was happy with the effect. Each print is hand numbered and signed on both the mat and the back of the print.

Over the coming weeks, I’m hoping to send a few of these off to some of the people who have influenced me the most in the WordPress community. I also think I’ll throw one or two on ebay to raise some money for charity. Comment below if you want me to update you when I do so.

I continue to remain optimistic about the long term success of WordPress. I’m writing this in Gutenberg, where I’ve written almost all my posts over the last year. Five years ago I went to JSConf and the reaction of many people towards hearing I worked on WordPress was that it was amateur. This last week I went to a CSS meetup and the reaction to people hearing I worked on WordPress was respect. Always bet long on WordPress. 

I previously blogged WordPress’s 10th anniversary and hope to blog it’s 20th as well. 

A quick review of Local by Flywheel

I recently decided to check out Local by Flywheel for local development, and my initial thoughts are that it’s strong for many things, but is far from perfect.

In the past, I’ve used MAMP, XAMPP, VVV, and custom docker environments for local development. Each of these has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. Local’s strength is that it is by the far the most user-friendly route to having a local development environment. It’s all GUI driven, you don’t need to mess with hosts files, and having an SSL cert for your local site couldn’t be easier. If your goal is to have a local site with little fuss, Local By Flywheel does it.

Where Local falls short is developer friendliness.  Installing XDebug, for example, isn’t easy. Customizing the environment to include anything beyond the standard config options also isn’t easy. If you are developer that needs XDebug or wants a PHP Extention that isn’t included out of the box, you are going to need to do some work for it.

Installing the development checkout of WordPress also isn’t straightforward. I would love for it to out of the box support using either the regular or development versions of WordPress. I could see a GUI tool like Local being very valuable for onboarding new WordPress Core Contributors who aren’t as familiar with git, svn, or the command line if it did this. 

Would I recommend Local by Flywheel?

For the right person, yes.  If you wouldn’t call yourself a developer and have no interest in contributing to core, then Local is definitely worth checking out. If you want XDebug, are comfortable on the command line, want to run PHPUnit, or need a nondefault PHP setup, then you likely should look elsewhere.

Have you tried Local by Flywheel?  What are your thoughts on it? 

A timeline of thought when someone blows off your meeting

Yesterday: “That’s an interesting idea. Let’s discuss it during a meeting tomorrow”. Send out an email with one paragraph on the idea so they are prepared to discuss it. Meeting scheduled for noon.

11am:  I have a meeting in an hour. That’s enough time for me to make some good progress on this ticket.

11:45am: This is a a good stopping point. I’ll get some water and then check my email and hacker news.

11:58am: I have 5 more browser tabs than I had 10 minutes ago, but I should go online for this meeting. 

12:01pm:  I guess they are running a little late.  I’ll look at Twitter since there is no point in starting back on real work. My meeting is starting soon.

12:15pm:  Hmm, I wonder if this meeting is going to happen. I’ll look at Reddit.

12:30pm:  WTF.

12:35pm:  Seriously, WTF.

12:45pm: Great, now I’m going to be pissed off the rest of the afternoon and when I finally share my idea, I’m going to come off as an asshole.

1:00pm: Fuck everything.

1:15pm: Apology email from the higher up that blew you off. They suggest rescheduling the meeting for Friday. 

7pm: I could have left an hour ago if people had respected my time.

Thirty Five

This is my fifth tetrahedral number birthday and me second consecutive semi-prime birthday. As a multiple of five, it’s also a “round number”.

Thirty Four was a year that I continued my growth as an artist. I regularly painted, sketched, and played with colors and shapes. I’ve started experimenting with block printing, and set up aaron.jorb.in to be the home of my art. I have art hanging in my friend’s homes. As a thirty five year old, it would be cool to have someone I don’t know own my art. Seems like a good goal.

From a professional perspective, Thirty Four was mostly a stable year. I spent time launching a new brand and relaunching another. My contributions to WordPress continued, but at a much slower pace. I helped organize the flagship WordPress conference and a new event focused on the intersection of WordPress and Publishing.  The next one is accepting speaker submissions for the next few days. Most importantly, I’ve set Thirty Five up to be an incredible year on the professional front.

One of my biggest personal accomplishments was being elected to the board for a non-profit I’ve volunteered with since I graduated college. Additionally, I got to see a childhood best friend get married at an amazing camping wedding, become an uncle for the first time (I can’t express how happy I am for my brother and sister-in-law) and had my first Christmas Morning celebration with two amazing kids and some of my best friends.

I’m excited for Thirty Five on so many fronts. I’m excited to see more amazing art as I work on my 2018 goal of seeing everything at The Met, while continuing to enjoy MoMA and making it to some of the other museums in town as well. I’m excited for the art that I’m going to make. And I’m excited for everything I have lined up from a professional perspective. Cheers to 35 years with me. I’m going nowhere but up!

I’ve previously blogged 34, 32, 2928.