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Hello iPhone 6

On a winter night in late 2011 I picked up a zipcar and drove to Best Buy to take the Android plunge, picking up the Galaxy Nexus. It was the first time I had a top of the line smartphone.  For the previous few weeks, I was using an old iPhone 3g a coworker had given me.  And for the last almost three years I’ve loved my Galaxy Nexus.  But my phone was showing it’s age.  For the last few weeks it’s been held together by duct tape (pink zebra stripe) and had started to random power cycle.  It was time for an upgrade.

Two things really sealed the decision to switch to the iPhone 6 for me.

  1. Size. All of the top of the line Androids are way too big. The iPhone 6 is virtually the same size as the Galaxy Nexus.
  2. TouchID.  After seeing multiple people use this (and rave about it), I really felt that it would make my use of a phone simpler.

The hardest part was porting over all my two factor authentication accounts.  The second hardest is now needing to find new apps for just about everything.  If you are a current iPhone user, what’s the one app you recommend I check out?

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Challenge Accepted

At WordCamp Lancaster 2014, I set out to challenge myself with a crazy idea. Overall, I think it went pretty well. At least the tweets seemed to be positive


I’ve opened up the source on both the slides and voting front end along with the voting backend. Neither are especially good code, but they worked.

Over the coming weeks I’m going to refine some of the talks into blog posts. Stay tuned!

For those of you wondering, I used a bit of browser fingerprinting so votes only were counted once per browser (or ideally only once per browser).

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Accessability Camp Bay Area 2014

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be a part of the inaugural Accessibility Camp Bay Area 2014.  I’ll be leading a session entitled “Web Accessibility on a Time Budget”.  We will be discussing how to prioritize and implement accessibility improvements in the real world where time is a common concern.

If you are in the Bay Area, you should absolutely come on down. Registration is Free!. The event is coming up on March 15. I hope to see you there!

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A Crazy Idea…

I just submitted a proposal to a WordCamp for a talk I’m calling “Aaron Struck by Lightning”. It is an experiment in challenging myself and in giving real time choice to the audience as to what they learn next. Here is the basic summary I submitted:

6 talks, all five minutes long. The first one is chosen by me ahead of time, but the next five are picked by the audience voting from a list. The topic options will include build tools, design philosophy, Accessibility, WordPress APIs, Open Source, International Politics, and more!

Will it get accepted? Time will tell. Will it work? I have no idea.

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Aaron’s Rules for Better Meetings

Meetings are Toxic.

One of the most shared links among tech teams. In general, developers realize that meetings are not the place to get work done. In order to make meeting suck less, I’ve come up with a few simple rules. I generally define a meeting as something on my schedule for me and at least two others. I don’t include one on ones or impromptu discussions in my meeting rules.

  1. Meetings have agendas. There should be a specific list of things that need to be talked about and that should be sent out ahead of time. People should have the opportunity to gather information before the meeting so they can be productive participants.
  2. Does this meeting even need to take place. This questions isn’t asked often enough. Is the meeting only serving one person and not bettering the team/organization? Maybe it needs to be retooled. Maybe you should be sending out email updates or posting more in a chat room
  3. Meeting start on time, no matter if everyone is there. I’ve started meetings where I am the only one in attendance. When people came in late, they jump in where the room is at, no matter if the item they most wanted to discuss has passed.
  4. Anyone can all the Tangent Police. Sometimes you get off topic. When that happens, someone in the room needs to recognize it and just say something. It’s better for everyone.
  5. GRIPI Check. If conflict is arising, I try to work through and find the root of the conflict. Is there a goal that everyone agrees upon already? Does everyone understand there role? Does everyone have all the information they need? Is there other information that could help solve the problem? Are we doing the right process? Is there a way we could be going for an answer that would be better than what we are doing? Is the problem actually Interpersonal (hint: it probably isn’t)?

Those are my go to rules for meetings. How do you run effective meetings?

EDIT: I’ve since added a sixth rule

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Empire State of Mind

My life was incredibly different in July of 2010 when I moved to Washington DC. At that time, I had been a freelance web developer for a few years and had just begun contributing to WordPress (and open source in general). Three and half years later and I’ve contributed close to sixty patches to WordPress, worked on publisher tools that comScore ranked as #1 in distributed content, lead front-end design and development for a healthcare startup, ran a user group, and created an annual event that brings together hundreds of Open Source fans. It’s been a great journey, but now is time for my next adventure.

Early next month I’ll be moving up to New York City and taking on the role of Technical Architect at Conde Nast. I’m excited to be working with an incredibly talented team and also to be making the move into media and publishing. If you’re ever in NYC, make sure to look me up.

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Bowtie and Blackhawks

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Tweet Punchcards

I might have a small obsession with punchcard graphs lately. I built them for my bash history and posts on this site.. I recently downloaded my twitter archive, so I decided to build some punch card graphs with that.

All Tweets

I figured that this would be a good way to see if there was a difference between when I retweet vs when I tweet my own content.

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Punch Card of posts on this site

After building punch card of my bash history earlier today, I thought it would be interesting to build one of my posting history on this blog.   I had no idea I posted on Monday so much.  The times are all Pacific (since that is where I started my site), so I have a feeling most of these times are actually about three hours later than they seem to be.

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Updated Bash History Punchcard

A few months ago, I discovered Bash History Punch card graphs.  It’s an interesting way to visualize when you do the most work. Here are two updated cards for me showing my personal laptop and my work laptop.