Interesting Stuff Club
Our first Interesting Stuff Club of the year!
“In my own time I’ve been doing some research into SEO which has resulted in me setting up a few WordPress websites. One of which is on marathon running and has a few writers who I pay: promarathon.com. When I was at university my flatmate started a few websites which became quite popular and he ended up making around £2k per month from them. I decided on marathons as it seemed like there was a gap in the market and this seemed a good opportunity to fill it.”
“As we currently hard code our API keys, passwords etc. used on our server’s environment in a file, we have to reprovision our load balancer every time one of these changes, or we add a new one which is quite tedious. I’ve started creating a key server which our instances would be able to fetch keys from securely using a rake task. I’ve been developing it in a similar way to Sprinter to keep up good practice.”
“Last week was the agile content conf which I’ve been following and all of the talks are available to watch. I particularly liked the idea of writing in pairs as the similarities and benefits are akin to pair programming.
Aside from that, last summer I set up a book club as I love reading, but tend to stick to thriller or history books. I hate that urgent need for a new book when you finish a good one, so thought that this would help and also force me to branch out in terms of genres. We met up a few times last year but it fizzled out a bit due to holidays so I’ve brought it back and we’ve now got more members. We’re meeting early Feb to discuss our first book, The Miniaturist. I also set up a blog to run in parallel.”
Lastly, an interesting tool I’ve discovered is Tenon.io. Tenon provides an API to audit HTML for common accessibility issues. The capabilities to incorporate it into your build tools is exciting and hopefully something we can incorporate in Vote For Policies.”
“Yesterday I was looking through TED talks on minimalism and I found one from Jon Jandai, a Thai farmer that proposes that everything in life is based on 4 foundations that don’t need to cost anything. Home, medicine (herbal), clothes (he was given free clothes from the first world) and food. When he was younger and lived on a farm, lots of people commented that he was poor and would never be able to afford to go to Bangkok and have a ‘proper’ life. So he went to study in Bangkok and spent half of his salary on rent and worked for bowls of rice. Fed up, he moved back to his life on a farm and started his movement for ‘lean life’. He doesn’t earn, but he doesn’t spend. He claims that we’re making the world more difficult for ourselves as we’re constantly spending and wanting more and more expensive things.
Another talk was from a designer at Google, Braden Kowitz, who was the first to design Google chat. He talks about how important it is for a designer to fail in order to learn. For example, piano lessons are called practice, not failing. You’re not born a designer, therefore you need to fail in order to learn how to succeed. Even button placement isn’t simple, we can’t predict where it will be successful. It was interesting to see how even a top designer has to learn and isn’t afraid to fail.”
“I’ve been flat hunting, which has taken nearly all of my spare time, but I did read an interesting article about why Stack Overflow use private offices for their developers and hate open plan. They believe that developers need space to learn, without interruption, and the choice to decide when to be interrupted.“
Alvaro: “I also found a similar article about why you shouldn’t interrupt developers, written from the aspect of a how a designer can minimise interruptions.”
“I’m pretty pleased with myself this week as I’ve just completed my first CIV5 game on King difficulty, which took me about 30 hours.
I’m on the PHP internals mailing list and the RFC on Return Type Declarations has been accepted. Its a step towards PHP being a more statically typed language, which I think is a good thing.”