6 minute read

I hate checking my voicemail. I hate the nagging voicemail icon on my phone that won’t be dismissed unless I actually check my voicemail. I hate how listening to a voicemail, capturing relevant information from it, and calling someone back breaks up the normal flow of how I communicate with people all day long: asynchronously, via written communication like email or text.

These days, when I want to talk to someone, we plan a time to talk and that’s fine. But some people still call and leave me a black-box-of-a-voicemail that I have to wade into.

I needed some way to cut voicemail out of my life…so I hooked up a Twilio app to handle it for me.

5 minute read

This week at work, we ran into a slight hiccup with one of our larger third-party data syncs. Without going into too much detail, to fix the issue, we had to carefully reproduce data in various states and test fixes that would transform that data back to the correct state – or for the purpose of this post, I spent a lot of time this week setting things up and waiting for them to run.

Outside of work I’ve been continuing to play with Twilio and this morning, with hours of data prep still in front of me, I stumbled across this article on Sending a Twilio SMS from the Shell.

7 minute read

The other day, I had the pleasure of talking to someone who builds mobile apps with people in developing countries so that community health workers can deliver medical information and collect data.

As were talking about the technical challenges and logistical challenges (provisioning hundreds of mobile phones and numbers in one go in a country where you have no presence, e.g.), I have a pretty clear mental model of a basic CRUD app distilled down to Android…and then he said something that changed how I thought about the entire problem:

Some of their programs are limited to SMS-only communication. No smartphones, no apps, just text.

5 minute read

We have hundreds of models in our codebase at TrialNetworks.

As a new developer, the first 12 features I was asked to work on didn’t touch the same parts of the code. In terms of learning our product, I think that was good, but without some serious “orienteering” practice, it was also confusing and frustrating.

I felt like I was being pushed out of a plane in the middle of the night, with a backpack full of gear, a tiny map, and some night vision goggles, and I was told to rendezvous in 6 hours in a place I’d never heard of before.

In fact, I still get this feeling, every time I’m asked to work on a new module in our platform.

So when you jump out of the plane, how do you land, get your bearings, and complete the mission?

6 minute read

It’s been 3 weeks since I graduated from Launch Academy and I start work at a new job on Wednesday as a software developer.

Obviously, I’m thrilled with this whirlwind process, and coming off almost ten years in my last job, the pace of all this change is a little hard to grasp.

In this post, I want to tell you why Launch was such a great investment for me. If you’re considering doing something similar, I hope you find this helpful.

4 minute read

It’s 6:23 on Sunday morning, day 2 at Burlington Ruby, so I thought I’d take a few minutes and recap some of what I saw and learned yesterday. Everyone keeps talking about what an amazing community we have in the Ruby world and I guess I’m spoiled since I don’t have any other software communities to compare it to, but I can tell you that every talk has been thoughtful, curious, and in different ways caring: caring about the future of the language, caring about other people’s growth and development, and caring even about novel, smarter, and more refined approaches to getting things done.