For Farmers Only

Took a trip to Boulder last summer and had the TV on in the hotel one night and saw a commercial advertising a dating site for farmers. It seems like such a specific niche that I wanted to make jokes about it, but the more I've thought about it the more sense it makes, and it blows me away every time I think about it that such specific niche sites exist and can be viable as a business model. It's amusing to me that the thing I was initially going to make fun of I now find incredibly motivating. Se la vie.

Published on 03 January 2018 at 17h37 by Dave, tags , ,

Does your private messaging have to do so much that you need a separate mobile app?

The Verge ran an article today highlighting that Instagram is separating out their private messaging functionality from their app into a standalone app. This is the same move that facebook made a few years ago (which made me uninstall the facebook app instead of installing their messaging app alongside). It's notable that facebook owns instagram, so the people responsible for facebook's app decision may have an influence on instagram's current app decision. But regardless, why is private messaging so heavy that they feel the need for a separate app?

As a user it's frustrating to me that they would need to install 2 apps on my phone. Facebook is one thing. All the facets of facebook should be wrapped up into one thing on my phone so I can compartmentalize all the things that go along with facebook. Instagram is one thing. I think you see where I'm going here.

This kind of highlights the re-emerging need to have a singular app merge and coalesce all the ways of contacting me into one singular feed and being smart enough to respond to you in the same way you contacted me. This was starting to gain traction in the early naughts but died out by the mid naughts. Digsby was the one that I used but I didn't really like the UI on it. I think we could reapproach this problem using modern programming and modern UI and come up with a more effortless system. Hmm, maybe that's the next thing I should build.

Published on 07 December 2017 at 23h39 by Dave, tags , , ,

Starting to get comfortable with linux

Ran a rake routes | grep 'brand' command at work today. Didn't bother to look it up, just typed it out and it worked. Boom! Finally, one piece of basic linux competency learned, and it only took me 14 years! Woo!

Published on 21 October 2017 at 00h23 by Dave, tags , ,

No data mining allowed on facebook?

A friend of mine started a private facebook group for personal finance discussions, with the caveat that the group isn't to be used for marketing products, "business opportunities" (i.e. MLM), data mining, or recruiting. Heh, no data mining? I'm not sure you understand how facebook works. I know it's not what she meant, but it made me laugh. I joined the group anyway.

Published on 27 August 2017 at 06h20 by Dave, tags ,

Wrote my first Slack Slash Command!

I'm surprised at how easy it was to do. I went into the slack web interface and created an app through there and enabled the slash commands, then added a new slash command that posts to an API end-point. I wrote an API end-point in my application at work to return a JSON with the different AB tests we have on production for each of our web sites recently so I wanted to point to that. I used {"code":"200", "message":"24,145,146"} as the return but Slack uses "text" instead of "message" so I added a new endpoint that called the same function but with a 'slack' flag and if the flag is true it writes the output to "text" instead of "message" and then slack dumps that into the channel when it receives the slash command. I went back into the web interface and installed the app to the team. Super easy to do and now my front-end team that doesn't have access to the application but constantly needs to know which tests are on production have a simple way to get it without asking me! Empowering users, and saving my time. I like it!

Published on 05 May 2017 at 16h53 by Dave, tags , ,

Let's code!

Found a great article about the coding tools to learn/work with in 2017: http://tutorialzine.com/2016/12/the-languages-frameworks-tools-you-should-learn-in-2017/ I'd like to see if I can add a few of these to the resume this year. I've actually already started playing with some of it, which is great! Progressive Web Apps: Haven't touched yet. The Bot Hype: I've been running a hubot instance which integrates into a personal slack team that I set up with my wife. I've made a few small commits to some hubot plugins, and I used one I installed (http-post-say, where you can POST in data and hubot will speak it into a room) as an integration with another side project. Front-end Frameworks: Interested in testing out ember.js and vue.js, but haven't touched either yet. I'm also super interested in figuring out how service-workers can extend my capabilities. The cloud: I already deal a little bit with AWS at work, and I have a side project that I'm hoping to deploy on AWS or Heroku very soon, just trying to get it into MVP state. Machine learning: Haven't touched, and don't really have any plans to right now. JavaScript: In messing with hubot I've had some exposure to CoffeeScript, which is cool, but I haven't yet touched on ES2017 (or ES2016 even!) or TypeScript, but I'm interested in exploring how these technologies will help me. C#, Python, and Java aren't in my wheelhouse right now. I messed with C++, Python, and Java in college, but it's bene years and I haven't maintained those skills. I'm using Ruby at home, though I'm not sure if I'm on Ruby 2.2 or 2.3. We are currently upgrading to PHP7 at work, though I'm not sure any of my work projects are really set up to take advantage of any of the new features. Swift3 from Apple interests me. I've been wanting to start building mobile applications for years but every time I try I end up getting called off to do something else. I have 2 side projects that will benefit from having mobile applications, so this should be the year that I figure this out. I'm probably inclined to start with Android because it's free, then move to Apple once I'm making some money. For back-end I'm playing with a Node.js blog right now, but I'm not sure that's going to help me really understand Node unless I start hacking on it. I've been interested in Node for awhile now so I might try to use it in a side project or two. For databases, PostgreSQL has been coming up on my radar quite a bit lately so I might try to figure out the advantages of using that versus MySQL, which is my go-to. I've been using sqlite3 in some Rails projects, and it's been fine for my needs too. My hubot experiments introduced me to Redis since hubot uses it as a "brain" and I'm intrigued by what else I can do with it. For IDEs I plan on installing Atom to try it out. I already use git extensively but I'm starting to play around with Node more and more so I'll be checking out yarn to check it's advantages over npm. Docker containers are probably the future, or at least along the lines of what the future will look like, so I would really like to play with that a little bit and see if I can make those work for me. Cool stuff coming this year!

Published on 21 March 2017 at 07h48 by Dave, tags ,

Windows 10 ads make me angry

Don't build ads into your operating system. I paid for the Operating System and when I did I wasn't doing it with the intention of spending upwards of $100 for a streamlined way to deliver ads in front of my eyes. I was paying for a utility. If you think I'm not paying enough for the utility then increase the price of the utility (but don't be surprised when your userbase dwindles), but making me pay for a utility and then using that utility to advertise to me? F that. Found a great article on how to turn off some of the Windows 10 advertising, check it out: 7 ways Windows 10 pushes ads at you, and how to stop them

Published on 10 March 2017 at 18h49 by Dave, tags , ,

Speed Up Windows 10 Downloads Folder

I have a really fast laptop (i7, 32Gb RAM, Samsung XP491 SSD) but every time I open the downloads folder I have to wait 15 or 20 seconds for it to... do something. Drives me crazy. Just show my files. I could probably just clean it out and that would help tremendously, but that's a temporary solution and I know future me is lazier than present day me, and present day me is pretty lazy. I just found a post with the answer to what it's doing: trying to generate thumbnails for everything in the folder because the folder is "optimized" for Pictures. The fix? Tell it to optimize for General Items instead of Pictures. Such a simple solution. Essentially go to the properties of the Downloads folder, click the Customize tab, and then Select 'General Items' instead of 'Pictures' in the dropdown, and click okay. Boom! Instant opening of Downloads folder. Future me is appreciative. Source: http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/slow-windows-downloads-folder

Published on 08 February 2017 at 21h36 by Dave, tags , ,

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