Are “life hacks” still a thing? Here’s mine: set out the vegetables before dinner is ready. Once dinner is on the table, it’s hard for the veggies to compete with carbs and fat. But before dinner, hunger is sufficient to make even healthy vegetables look enticing. Of course, if you put chips out before dinner as well, all bets are off.
I’ve always been a stickler for coding style. In fact, many (many) years ago, my boss deputized me as the code police and even gave me a sheriff’s badge. I have since mellowed considerably on the finer details, but I still insist on consistency. Like many software developers, I have a knack for noticing inconsistencies, to the point that they distract me when I’m trying to understand or modify code. I’ve still got my personal preferences, but I can cope with a codebase that deviates from them, at least if it does so consistently.
I don’t own many printed books, but one thing I’ve kept around is The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. I don’t know how long it had been since the last time, but I just read through it again and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved reading newspaper comics growing up, and Calvin and Hobbes was easily my favorite. It’s been almost twenty-five years since Bill Watterson retired the strip, but his criticisms of modern society have only gotten more relevant. And, of course, it is hilarious.
When I’m writing code, I give myself plenty of time to think about naming. Good names are one of the best ways to produce code that can be read and understood. In fact, I’ve come to believe that good names make most code comments unnecessary. I try not to be unreasonable about it – not every name is worth pondering for 15 minutes. But I do take my time with names that can’t be easily changed – repository names, the public API of published libraries, web service APIs, etc.
It’s hard to predict what congregational music will resonate with a church, but we sang Behold Our God pretty enthusiastically today, especially at the chorus:
Behold our God seated on His throne
Come, let us adore Him
Behold our King! Nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him!
In a rare intersection of code life and real life, I used my mad programming skills to solve an elementary school problem that my wife told me about (she’s a Kindergarten teacher). They want to rearrange the K–4 classes into 18 one-room schoolhouses where pairs of kids from each classroom leave for another classroom that has kids from every grade. It took me a bit longer than I’d hoped, but I wrote a little program that generates 18 pages with the names of the students that will come and go from each classroom. It was fun!
LINQPad is an indispensable tool for C# developers. It’s great for experimenting and for one-off data munging. I even used it this weekend to write a script for my wife: it reads data from a text file, runs a basic brute-force algorithm, and builds a Word document from the results. The premium version of LINQPad is totally worth it (especially if your employer foots the bill).
I’m not one for horror movies, but I took a chance on A Quiet Place, since I’d heard so many good things about it. I enjoyed it. Interesting, suspenseful, optimistic. A little unbelievable at times, but you get that. Didn’t linger on disturbing ideas or images. Recommended.
Tonight Julie and I will start season 8 of Blue Bloods, a TV show about the close-knit family of a police commissioner of New York City, his cop sons, and his prosecutor daughter. We like to wind down in the evening with one episode of television (we are decidedly not “binge watchers”) but it isn’t always easy to find a show we both enjoy. I’m always impressed at how many story threads get started, how many cast members get screen time, and how neatly everything gets wrapped up within 40 minutes, with the family all together for Sunday dinner at some point.
Workflowy is by far the website that I would miss the most if it was gone, both in my personal and my professional life. It is the perfect note-taking tool for my brain. I have always loved outlines and bullet lists, and Workflowy combines the two into an outstanding user interface for creating, editing, finding, marking as completed, and even sharing with others. Even if I didn’t need the features of Workflowy Pro, I’d pay for it anyway because it is the productivity tool I was always waiting for.
SmartGit has been one of my favorite development tools since we moved from Subversion to Git for source control. You’d think that someone who has been tinkering with computers for 35 years would be comfortable on the command line, but memorizing arcane command-line syntax is just not something that my brain is good at, so I love a good user interface, and SmartGit provides an excellent one for Git, supporting just about every feature of the
git command line tool, in a way that I can understand and remember.
I love hymns. Not primarily for the style of music – I can enjoy almost any style of music – but for the powerful spiritual messages they convey. Words set to music engage my mind and soul like nothing else. Today we sang When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, one of my favorite lenten hymns.
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. … Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
I just added an Atom feed to this blog. Which makes this as good a time as any to mention Feedly, one of my favorite websites. Remember Google Reader and RSS feeds? Feedly filled the gaping hole that Google Reader left behind, and there are still plenty of blogs and websites out there that support RSS/Atom feeds. It’s a great way to keep tabs on a large number of websites without having to visit them all. One of these days, the number of websites with feeds that I want to follow might drop to the point where I don’t need it any more, but for now I find Feedly very useful.
Every blog needs a first post, so here’s mine. My crazy idea is to blog one paragraph a day. Hopefully keeping it to a paragraph will make such a thing actually possible, but we shall see.