code

4 minute read

I love that feeling when a new concept starts to come together in your mind and you can point to all the converging sources of insight. Right now, I can’t tell if I’m fooling myself, hiding some logic, or making my code more readable with this particular concept, but when I put together these three pieces of information, I think I start to see something emerge. I’ve been inspired to do some more digging into these kinds of questions lately thanks to the awesome new Ruby Book Club Podcast.

5 minute read

This is Part 1 in a series on Migrating from Wordpress to Jekyll.

The documentation for getting started with Jekyll is great. I’m not going to rehash everything that’s covered there.

Instead, this post and the others in the series will be more like, “here’s the order I wish I had done things in” or “here’s everything I ended up needing to pull together to get stuff working”. I hope it helps you and saves you time if you ever decide to do a similar migration from a self-hosted Wordpress install to Jekyll.

So here we go….

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?