Category Archives: Lists of Stuff

The Daily Question Answer Review Routine

UPDATE 7/22/2019: I’ve added a survey to attempt to collect more options. Please fill out this quick survey ~(30 seconds) so that I can build up a larger list of options derived from the community. Thanks! Survey here.

I’ve started trying out a “punch list” to go through on a daily basis. It’s one of the first things I do in the day as a way to get into topics of discussion and also the workflow for the day. There’s also a “checklist” that I go through on a weekly basis, thanks to head honcho Jeff Carpenter @jscarp, that he has brought into our team’s weekly SITREP.

I use the term “punch list” because sometimes it gives me that “I wanna punch something” level of frustration. The “check list” on the contrary is more a list of intended accomplishments and ongoing accomplishments. First of the two, here’s the punch list.

Daily Punch List

Each of these sections I try to time box in 5 to 20 minutes at the most. If there’s more I can answer, or help out with I might go a little longer, but otherwise I try to keep it concise and to the point for each list item.

The first site I check out these days is the DataStax Community site. I go through, answer questions, or just give a good look at anything new or conversations that are going on.

Next up to bat is Stackoverflow. The first 4 topics I’m aiming to cover everyday include these, but I’ll admit so far I’ve trampled off into the weeds on the topics.

I routinely then click through on the “unanswered” too just to see if I can help out and provide some answers.

Dev.to I don’t always visit every single day, but try to every other day or so. I take a look at the main page and then look at any new comments, questions on my own blog entries, or whatever else that might have come up. Then I also give a look at any blog posts or other entries others have written that seem interesting and are a quick read. Finally, if I’ve got any ready, I post a blog entry or two myself. The other sites that I generally tend to do the same process for I’ve included below too.

Some of the other sites I dive into on an almost daily basis, or am trying to on an almost daily basis, include the following.

The last two sites I check into and read, comment, or otherwise on an almost daily basis include DZone and Medium. I try to make semi-frequent posts here too but that doesn’t happen to often these days. However the content tends to be pretty solid on the technical front.

These are the higher value daily punch list items, then there is the high value low value items of pure social media: LinkedIn and Twitter. These two sites can be vast and total wastes of time if not used right. They’re almost as bad as Facebook, which at this point I largely ignore.

  • LinkedIn – For LinkedIn the content needs specific call to actions, appropriate link and images, ideally a good URI to follow through, and of course good content. This way LinkedIn can actually be super useful for rallying coders to open source projects, finding out what others are working on, and any and all other curiosities that can – if used right – provide positive value.
  • Twitter – Twitter, number one priority these days is to avoid the political garbage fire and troll trash since it’s a complete and utter waste of time. However, Twitter can and does still provide an excellent way to follow key figures in the industry, keep up with trends and find out about events for example. Using it for such, and providing a valuable stream of such content makes Twitter a solid investment.

NOTE: When I say I ignore Facebook now because of low value, I’m talking about maybe 5-10 minutes of use PER MONTH! Facebook is an extremely low return site for software development and related technology industry efforts these days. Avoid it like one would avoid the plague!

You might have noticed I didn’t put Twitch on this list, that’s because it isn’t on the punch list but a fundamental element of my day to day coding efforts. For more on it check out my repo and corresponding blog entry from a few weeks back.

Weekly Checklist

The checklist for the week involves a few questions that when answered provide a solid basis for direction for the week and a short list of accomplishments to discuss:

  1. What am I learning?
  2. What development am I working on?
  3. What’s coming out next?
  4. What’s the next event?

What am I learning? – This should be answered with anything from high level “I’m learning physics” down to tactical things like “I’m figuring out how to run concurrent go routines to better handle messaging between node instances I’m running.”.

What development am I working on? – As a developer advocate I aim to make sure a significant bulk of my day to day activities is centered around doing actual software development work. That can be on actual internal repositories of code, open source project, or some other variant coding option. Whatever the case, whatever I’ve found to work on that can help add value in some way is what becomes the answer to this question.

What’s coming out next? – For this answer I tend to look at upcoming blog entries, conference talks, releases of software I’ve been working on, and almost anything else that is getting released by me, or that I’ve been involved in that will be released. This sometimes matches the next events too when I’m the one hosting and organizing the event.

What’s the next event? – This answer can be anything from “no event this week” to a “I’m attending/hosting/crashing a cool meetup on topic X” or “releasing X feature from Y project”. Something along these notions.

That’s that, so what’s your flow for getting started every day? What’s the routine for checking in with your world and network?

Until next time, happy thrashing code! \m/

Coding, WTF Twitter, Twitch FTW, Getting Shit Done, Twitch Hacks, Tips, Tricks, and One Excellent Jazz Influenced Tune

WTF Twitter

I’ve been doing a lot more coding, thanks largely to the discipline that Twitch has brought to my day. It seems almost surprising to me at this point because Twitch started similarly to the way Twitter did for me. You see, I thought at first Twitter was the dumbest thing that had happened in ages. Arguably, it’s come full circle and I kind of feel the same thing about Twitter now, but during the middle decade in between that (yes, Twitter is over 10 years old!) Twitter has brought me connection, opportunities, and so much more. I couldn’t have imagined a lot of what I’ve been able to pull together because of Twitter. It’s still useful in many ways for this, albeit I like all of us are at risk of suffering the idiocy of today’s politics and political cronies, and the dog piling trash pile that follows them onto Twitter.

I’m not leaving Twitter any time soon but I’ve definitely put in on a very short leash, and limited what impact it does or doesn’t have in my day to day flow.

Twitch FTW

Amazingly however a new social and productive tool, not that it intended both, has come into being. Coding on Twitch. Don’t get me wrong I game, I just don’t game socially or on Twitch, what I do is code on Twitch. With a fair dose of hacking, breaking things, and then figuring out how to make them work. All at the same time I along with others have created a pretty excellent developers community there on Twitch. It seems to be growing all the time too. Twitch, at this point has become a focal point that has the benefits without all the annoying garbage that Twitter does these days, while adding the vast and hugely important fact that I can do things, be productive, chit chat, and generally get shit done all while I’m Twitch streaming.

VidStreamHacking

@ https://github.com/Adron/VidStreamHacking

With that, let’s talk about some of the recent notes and information I’ve been working on putting together to make Twitch even more useful. My first motive with this was to keep track of all the things I was doing, hardware I was putting together, and related things, but then another purpose grew out of all this note taking. It became obvious that this repository of information could be useful for other people. Here’s a survey of the things that I’ve added so far, hope they’re helpful to those of you digging into streaming out there!

I added some badges to identify various elements of information about the repo in the README.md.

badges

Is it maintained, yup, contributors, so far just me, zero issues filed but please feel free to add an issue or two, markdown yup, and there is indeed a Trello Board! The Trello Board is a key to insight, inspection, and what I’ve got going on in a number of my repositories. It’s where I’m keeping track of all the projects, what’s next, and what’s up in queue for the blog (this one right here). At least, in the context of the big code heavy or video reviews of sessions with code, extra commentary, and related content. If you want to get involved in any of the repos just let me know and I’m happy to walk through whatever and even get you added to the Trello board so we can work together on code.

Streaming Gear

https://github.com/Adron/VidStreamHacking/blob/master/hardware.md

My main machine is now a Dell XPS 15, which I fought through to get Linux running on it, and now that I have it’s been an absolutely stellar machine. I’ve also added additional monitor & port replicator/docking station gear to get it even more usable. The actual page I’ve got the details listed on are in the repo on the Dell XPS 15 item on the hardware page.

Along with the XPS 15 I wrote up coverage of the unboxing via video and blog entry. After a few weeks I also wrote up the conflict I had getting Linux running and removing Windows 10. In addition to the XPS 15 though I do use a MacBook from 2015 as my primary Mac machine, with an iMac from 2013 available as backup. Both machines are still resoundingly solid and performant enough to get the job done. Rounding out my fleet of machines is a Dell XPS 13 (covered here and here with the re-review).

For screens I have one at my office and one at home. They’re almost the same thing, ultra-widescreen monitors, curved displays, running 3880-1440 resolution from LG. These make keeping an eye on chat, OBS, and all sorts of other monitoring while coding, gaming, or whatever a breeze!

shotone.png

Ex 1: Just viewing a giant OBS view to get everything sorted out before starting a stream.

shottwo

Ex 2: OBS w/ VM running w/ Twitch chat, dashboard etc to the right. This way I can work, see the stream, and see chat and such all at the same time.

The docking stations and/or port replicators, whatever one calls these things these days also bring all of this tech together for me. There’s a couple I have tried and retired already (unfortunately, cuz dammit that cost some money!) and others that I use in some scenarios and others I use in others.

My main docking station contraption, shout out to James & others suggestion the Caldigit TS3. I got to this docking station through the Dell TB16 which for Linux, and kind of for Windows, is an unstable mess. Awesome potential if it worked, but it doesn’t so I tried out this USB-C pluggable option (in the tweet) which had HDMI that was unfortunately limited in resolution. Having a wide screen made this – albeit it being super compatible with Linux – unusable too. So I finally upgraded to the Caldigit TS3 and WOW, the Caldigit is super seriously wickedly bad ass. Extra USB-C ports, USB 2/3 ports, power, and more all rolled into one. It even supplies some power to the laptop, however I keep it plugged in since it’s kind of a power hog when the processor start chomping!

After trying out this USB-C pluggable (the tweet) I got the CalDigit into play. It’s really really good, here’s a shot of that from various angles with the extensive cables that I don’t have to plug into my laptop anymore. Out of this also runs a 28 port USB powered hub too, no picture, but just know I’ve got a crazy number of devices I routinely like to use!

That’s my main configuration when using the ultra widescreens and all. Good setup there, very usable, and the 32GB of memory in the laptop really get put to use in this regard. As for storage, that’s another thing. I’ve got 1 TB in my laptop but another 1 TB in a USB-C Thunderbolt Samsung Drive which is practically as fast for most things. So much so I attach it via the TS3 via USB-C and it’s screaming fast and adds that extra storage. So far, primarily I’ve been using it to store all of my virtual machines or use it as video storage while I do edits.

There’s other gear too, check out the list, like the Rode Podcoster and other things. But that gear I’ll elaborate on some other time.

Meetup Streaming Gear

https://github.com/Adron/VidStreamHacking/blob/master/meetup-streaming-kit-gear.md

Another effort I’ve undertaken is recording meetups. To do this one needs to be able to stream things with several screens combined – i.e. picture in picture and all. To do this, one needs a camera that can focus on the speaker, ideally at least 1080p with at least some ability to work in less than ideal light. Then next to that, a splitter and capture card to get the slides! Once all those pieces come together, with a little OBS finesse one can get a pretty solid single pass recording of a meetup. An example of one of my better attempts was the last meetup “Does the Cloud Kill Open Source” with Richard Seroter. If you take a look at past talks in the Meetups Playlist you can see my iterative progress from one meetup to another!

Here’s the specific gear I’m using to get this done. At least, so far, and if and when it becomes financially reasonable I might upgrade some of the gear. It largely depends on what I can get more use out of beyond just streaming meetups.

Cords and Splitter – I picked up a selection of lengths and types so that I’d have wiring options for the particular environments the meetups would be located in. Generally speaking 25ft seems to be a safe maximum for HDMI. I’ve been meaning to check out the actual specifications on it but for now it’s more than enough regardless.81fhh-w-DeL._SX679_

The splitter wasn’t expensive at all ($16.99), and kind of surprised me considering the costs of the cables. Picture to the right, or above, or somewhere depending on mobile layout.

I needed capture cards for this, one for the line out of the splitter that would capture the slides. The first I had picked up based on suggestions focusing around quality and that was the Avermedia Extreme Cap HDMI to USB 3 Capture Card. It’s really solid for higher resolution and related capabilities. For the USB 3.0 HDMI HD Game Video Capture Card I picked it up based on price (it’s almost a 1/3rd of the price) but not particular focused on quality. However, now that I’ve used both they are capable and seem fine, so I might have been able to just buy two of the cheaper options.

The camera, ideally, I’d have a much higher quality one but the Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder has actually worked excellently. A little less feature rich for audio out and related things, but it zooms in good and can record at the same time I’m getting the cam feed into the stream. So it’s always a nice way to have a backup of the talk.

The last, and one of the most important aspects is getting good audio.

Streaming Meetups

https://github.com/Adron/VidStreamHacking/blob/master/meetup.md

At first thought, I made the mistake that just the gear would be enough but holy smokes there were about a million other things I needed to write. I created meetup.md to get the list going.

Jazz Influence Amidst the Heaviness!

As promised. Some music, not actually jazz, but heavily influenced by some jazz, progressive instrumentation, and esoteric, expansive, exquisite playing skills by the band. As always, be prepared. My music referrals aren’t always gentle! Happy code streaming!

My 2018 Retrospective

Alright, with that 2018 is a wrap. Christmas is a wrap. New Years is a wrap. It’s all done, wrapped up, and time to move on. Well, ok, so maybe a small retrospective! Early in 2018 I wrote a list of resolutions for 2018. How did I do? First I’m going to lead off with the things I have found myself failing miserably at.

Failed Resolution: Write More Code, Build Patterns & Algorithms

Write More Code, Build Patterns & Algorithms: I want to review and go back to some of the coding roots that I haven’t hit upon in a long time. It’s odd, when coding day in and day out one tends to not touch upon a lot of the fundamental basics. I want to start writing about and reviewing this again, keep it fresh in mind so it’s always easy to reach into my mind and explain how things work to who may ask. Goal: Write 0.5 blog entry per week on coding algorithms, patterns, or related core coding concepts and skills.

Oh dear I had a simple goal of writing 0.5 blog entries per week on coding algorithms, patterns, or related core coding concepts and skills. Yeah, I didn’t get anywhere near that, even though I increased my rate of blog posts somewhere around 6x what it was in 2017! Overall, yeah, groovy, I wrote more and that’s great, but I didn’t hit on the topics I really wanted to that I knew would provide more value!

Failed Resolution: Make OSS Workable for Me

Make OSS Workable for Me: Get the OSS projects I’ve started in the last 2–3 years into a more workable state, insure others can take them, build, and get running without issue. It’s been a few years since I’ve worked on and helped with any OSS projects that are actually used, it’s a bummer and I’m going to resolve that this year. Goal: Get two projects into a workable state so others can use them and I can use them for their intended purpose and for teaching and blogging purposes.

I’m so close on this goal. I’ve got the project into a little bit better of a state, but overall they’re still kind of rough. At the rate I’m going among the Twitch streams and such, these projects will be in a nicely usable state soon however! Probably by March or April I’d suspect I’ll have 2 of the projects (Colligere and Twitz) into  a usable state! But from the goal point of view, this is a failed resolution.

Failed Resolution: Get More Active

Get More Active: Take more bike rides, train trips, and spend more time with friends and family in Portland. Goal 1: Spend at least 3–4 days at Pedalpalooza this year, and take at least 4 trips (1 per quarter at minimum) of about ~2 days each in 2018. Goal 2: Participate in at least 1 group rides per quarter in Seattle.

I failed in this resolution miserably. In all honesty, it’s hard to even talk about. It fills me with rage that I failed at this fundamentally important resolution badly. There’s not a lot of things that I enjoy anywhere close to a good group ride, hanging out at Pedalpalooza, and generally being involved in my local community this way and it came all apart on me this year. It even fills me with rage, anger, and frustration with Seattle’s communities and how uninvolved most people are in Seattle itself. After coming from Portland I have tons of frustration with this, but I’m slowly learning to just live with it. Maybe this year, maybe not, I’ve no idea how I’m going to pull this together. I’m going to need to however as my mental and physical health largely rests on being involved in the biking community, with this involvement I generally falter into an angry, apathetic, disenfranchised angry person.

Failed Resolution: Self Health

Self Health: Take more time for myself, allocate appropriate me time to make sure I can keep my sanity. Goal: Write, ponder, introspect, and watch the world turn more often. Blog on the park, lake, boat, train, or place and moment of writing, pondering, introspecting, and watching the world turn by writing about it.

The first part of this year was catastrophically bad for me. However between joining a truly amazing team at DataStax, starting to finally get back to riding around Seattle, exploring, and producing content and learning new tech, languages, and the like I’m doing a lot better. I’ve got a long ways to go still before I’m back to 100%, but I think 2019 might be that year. At least, ending 2018 and going into 2019 I’m not as angry, depressed, and perturbed at society as I was at the beginning of this year. Now I’m just kind of euphorically disconnected and apathetic about the state of the world. It’s a major improvement!

Failed Resolution: Improve Local Communities

Improve Local Communities: Stop getting involved in Internet politics I can’t improve. Get more focused in local politics. Help more people in Seattle, help more people however I can. Help in the fight for better and more housing for all people. Help in the fight for better and more advanced and modern transportation options in Seattle, Portland, and wherever I can. Goal 1: Join Cascade Bicycle Club and the monthly urbanist meets. Goal 2: Keep up with the respective communities ala Bike Portland, The Urbanist, Seattle Transit Blog, Seattle Bike Blog, WA Bikes, and Cascade Bicycle Club.

Alright, I’m angry at myself about this one, but also realize I just couldn’t get to it. Don’t get me wrong, I attended some city council meetings and got involved some. But nowhere near as much as I’d prefer to have done. The simple fact too, is that Seattle political mechanisms are just garbage compared to Portland. It’s hard to know what’s going on let alone how the hell to get something done or improve one’s community, lot in life, or environment here. Seattle is a beast! One day, if we survive that long, it’ll make a great “Manhatten” of the northwest! (Ironically I’ve learned, it once was indeed called “New York City”, which to me seems like the dumbest name since New York was thus dubbed after “York” and before that was called New Amsterdam after Amsterdam, which Seattle has no real relation to in any way whatsoever)

But now, failures aside I digress.

TIME FOR VICTORIES!

Now it’s time for the successes. Some of these I barely passed, some I beautifully knocked out of the park!

Victory Resolution, “Beer”

Beer: Live a little, treat yo’ self, and hit up at least two happy hours or other meets with friends and coder/tech/hacker crews per month. The Ballard Happy Hour has been a good one so far, and of course the exceptional Seattle Scalability Group I help organize is pretty epic unto itself. The latter often having free beer post meet up. Both meets are good conversations, great beer, and a great chance to just unwind with smart folk. Goal: Attend two meets per month.

Ok, this one wasn’t purely about beer itself, but beer tends to play a large part of the activity. The core of it all was insuring that I get more involved in the local “tech” community here in Seattle. In this I have succeeded! Currently I’m leading the return of the Seattle Scalability Group with my meetup cohort plus the addition of the DataStax team having my back. This is of course only one of the activities I’ve gotten myself involve in again. I hope to also help out and get involved in other meetups around Seattle, and have started plotting the return of ML4ALL (v2) with Troy and Alena! I’m looking forward to this being a continuing resolution, and continually succeeding at meeting this resolution throughout 2019!

Victory Resolution: Communications Improvements

Communication Improvements: Find a new and more efficient way to increase the throughput of my follow ups with everybody. Whether by email, phone, or whatever it might be. Goal: Increase rate of follow ups by 15%.

Oh jeez, this one was easier to accomplish than I thought it was going to be. I’ve since gone through and reviewed. I managed to only drop the ball on ~3 of the over 340 important productive conversation threads I initiated! I’m also impressed with my ability to actually keep track of those thanks to my combination of software tools I started using and will be using for the ongoing future. That puts the increase rate somewhere around 99% and not merely 15%! Major victory on this accomplishment!

Victory Resolution: Cell Phone Disruption

Cell Phone Disruption: Decrease my actual cell phone usage making *phone calls* even further. Regain the privacy, personal time, and focus time that one traditionally had before the time of cell phones invading every corner of existence. How I do this I’m not entirely sure, but I’m betting when I figure it out I’ll blog it. Goal: Make it so that I don’t look at or need my cell phone for anything more than 1 phone call per week on average (vid chat, etc, excluded).

I was spectacularly victories in this goal. I think I’ve taken approximately 3 work calls for the entire year via the cell phone. I’ve decreased my screen time by almost 30%! Overall, I use my device dramatically less than I have in the past and it’s helped me in a pretty significant way. Maybe I could knock it down another 5 or 10% this year eh?

Victory Resolution: Re-initiate in Industry

Reinitiate in Industry: Kick back off and give some dedicated presentations at meet ups and conferences. Goal: Give at least 4–6 talks that are dedicated, focused, mid-level or advanced topics following my standards for speaking, follow up, and improving.

Knocked out three talks: Systemic Deployments, DataStax Developer Day: Operations & Security, and Node Systems for Node.js Services on Nodes of Systemic Nodal Systems. Then, to boot, I allocated some of my talks to Twitch streams and am continuing to step through these on a daily basis. Hope y’all will join me on a future stream, they’re fun! Overall though, lot’s of moving parts going on, and I’m going to likely double my speaking schedule this year. I’ve got a lot of cool things to show ya!

Next up, 2019.

Let’s go!

DevRel Data: Presentation & Deductions

Before diving into conclusions, let’s take a look at some answers to questions asked. This is a slice of answers, with totals for the charts and such. After a few months of answers I’ll have another follow up to see how things may or may not change.

Do you like video material?

chart

What specifically do you, or would you like to watch in video? Screencasts, short videos, conversational, or some other type of videos?

  • Screencasts/tutorials
  • I love both screencasts going through big topics and short videos that cover smaller tips and gotchas.
  • Videos with a specific outcome as the goal, whether achieved or not. Showing the process of something.. like hey, here’s how you building out a Postgres cluster using streaming replication and repmgr and pgpool… Kind of thing.
  • Bite sized content, maybe 2 minutes, to teach me one thing.
  • Editing. No jokes, no “hey what’s up guys” with 60 second intros. Discuss the problem, then solve it.
  • Demos, learning a new way of doing something
  • Doesn’t matter short or long, but has to be deeply technical with code examples that I can actually apply
  • I watch videos mostly for fun.
  • Screencast
  • Short videos of say 5-10 minutes each covering different concept of the subject matter
  • (videos work best in a classroom setting where time/attention is precommitted, or as part of a tutorial)
  • conversational
  • Short videos.
  • If it’s too long, it ends up on my todo list forever (not good). So shorter is better. And something that benefits from visuals, rather than something that could just be written.
  • I also watch LinkedIn Learning when just starting a new tech. to get a general overview and pick up a tip or tow, then I read books and the Internet from there.
  • short videos

What kind of written material do you like?

chart2

Do you like other material mixed in that details the reason for the tech, the story, or such?

chart3

Is there anything that comes to mind, that you’d like to have me or the team I’m working with (@ DataStax) put together that you’d find useful, entertaining, or related.

  • Place priorities on designing materials for more depth (i.e., more linked material) as well as less attention-nuisance. That’s no criticism of your work, merely the gestalt of where we work — so less noise is a better way to stand out and make materials useful.
  • Maybe focus more on written material – code & architecture material (books, articles) rather than videos and twitch. It is much easier to consume and is easily googlable. Also I’d suggest making blog posts target a specific common issue or question – sometimes I see posts that I don’t really care about or the problem is so narrow that I don’t want to read about it. I’d read about building resilient and highly available architectures in various configurations.
  • Database reliability, scalability, migrations and such stuff is interesting.
  • Anything to do with machine learning.
  • Data model examples, starting up a Cassandra node, configuring YAML, etc

Deductions

I’m going to go backwards through the questions and discuss what I’ve deducted, and in some ways what has surprised me among the answers!

First there’s the “Is there anything that comes to mind, that you’d like to have me or the team I’m working with (@ DataStax) put together that you’d find useful, entertaining, or related.” request and questions.

The answers here didn’t surprise me much at all. Within DevRel from Microsoft to DataStax to Google to many other organizations we have this ongoing battle between “write a whole book on it” or “make it 2 minutes short”. It’s wildly difficult to determine what format, what timing, and what structure material needs to be in for it to be most useful to people. So when I saw the answer that reads, “Place priorities on designing materials for more depth (i.e., more linked material) as well as less attention-nuisance.” I immediately thought, “yeah, for real, but ugh…” it’s difficult. However, I’m working on more thorough material, some of it will be paywalled via LinkedIn Learning or Pluralsight and other material may be available by book in the coming months. But there will be other material that will indeed be long form how to material on how to really put things together – from scratch and from the basis of “we have X thing and need to hack it so we can add a feature”.

The next answer I got in this section that I completely agree with is increasing the focus on written material. I’m making tons of video, and I’ve got that down to the point where it’s actually easier and faster to do most of it then it is to write things down. However I realized, especially from my own point of view, that written material actually ends up being vastly more useful than video material. That’s also why, even with the video material, when I’m covering specifics I aim to provide a linkable timeline and a blog entry with the code and other changes shown in the video. Thanks for reinforcing these efforts and giving me that indirect encouragement to make this process and the results even better. More written material is on its way!

As for the database reliability, scalability, migrations, machine learning, data modeling, Cassandra node starting, and all that it’s in the queue and I’m getting to it as fast as I possibly can.

Next question I asked is, “Do you like other material mixed in that details the reason for the tech, the story, or such?

It appears, albeit not a huge contingent of people, some people are curious about biking, train coding, and making good grub! Hey, that’s groovy cuz I’ve got a show coming out which is basically the behind the scenes videos about all those topics that make the coding and technology hacking possible!

The one outlier in this set however is clearly the request for “Ways to simplify life to dig through those algorithms faster, easier, better?” which I didn’t suspect would be any different then the other answers for this questions. Which left me surprised and ill-prepared on what to do about fulfilling what is clearly a demand. I’ll have to up level my blog posts around algorithms. I did do a couple a long while ago now in “Algorithms 101: Big Sums” which I completed in Go and another I wrote up “Algorithms 101: Roads & Town Centers” which I have 90% of the answer complete but I’ve never finished the blog entry! I guess it’s time to get the algorithm train coupled up and ready to depart!

Then the question, “What kind of written material do you like?

Two options lead by a healthy margin for this question: Demos w/ Write Up and Blog Articles. With this coupled up to the first question it’s clear that written material via blog and demoes via blog should and ought to be top priority. They are, however they’re a whole helluva lot of work, so I only get them produced but so fast. Got some gems coming on Go, Bash, Cassandra, and a few other demo, tech, and historical information.

Next up was single page cheat sheets and documentation, followed closely by books. I kind of expected documentation and books, but wow that single page cheat sheets option is higher rated than I would have suspected and by proxy I’ve immediately added that to my produce this type of material list! I put it in as a very secondary thought but it’s going to get into that increased focus queue.

The last one with some semblance of demand is pamphlet size short form. This one almost seems like a fluke, but I’ll ponder putting together some of these. I know O’Reilly has their short novelette size books which cover a particular topic. They hand these out for free at conferences and seem pretty solid. Maybe I’ll work one of those into the queue? Maybe.

The other three options scraped by with 1%, so somebody was choosing them. So the vi mug isn’t a priority nor the short explainer videos. Which seems in contention with video content demands around shorter content. I guess, explainer videos just doesn’t sound useful!

The next question I just put together a top three of the results, “What specifically do you, or would you like to watch in video? Screencasts, short videos, conversational, or some other type of videos?

  1. Make screen casts.
  2. Make screen casts generally short.
  3. Make screen cases that are short and on a specific and deep dive into a topic.

This seems kind of in conflict with itself, but I’m going to aim for it and try to hone the skill further. So that I can produce screen casts, screen casts that are generally short, and make sure that these screen casts that are short are on a specific and deep dive into a topic. Whew, got it.

Finally, “do you like video material?

chart

At this time, 53.8% of you have said yes. I had guessed it would be around 50%.

I had guessed no would be about 25%, and at 23.1% I wasn’t to far off.

The other respective mishmash of answers made for interesting depth to the questions that followed this question.

Article Summary & TLDR

Produce more topic specific, detailed material around screen casts and blog entries!

End of story.

For more on this information, why I asked, and what I do check out my article titled “Evangelism, Advocacy, and Activism in The Technology Industry” and for some of the big victories for big corporations check out “The Developer Advocates – Observations on Microsoft’s New Competence“.

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Top 4: “Nobody Reads Blogs… Except Everybody Read Blogs”

I know I know, the marketers say it’s all about the single articles now. Nobody reads blogs. Nobody subscribes to blogs. Ya know, except of course for that small percentage of people that do.

…marketing, it’ll make you insane if you’re not careful.

But seriously, here’s a few blogs that are actually worth reading. They’re worth subscribing to and surprisingly, they’re blogs that businesses organize and write. Yes, I have and might be writing for some of them in the future. But I’m honestly basing this list on a few specific criteria:

  • The blog has to include some technical content that is important to getting kick started with their product and getting kick started with other tooling around their space.
  • The blog has to include articles that have industry information that is relevant to conferences, meetups, and other community related activities.

Here’s my list of reads lately:

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