Nobody cares where you went to school

Dave graduates from DukeExcept that if I went to Duke University, I had better mention it, even if I didn’t love my time there and don’t bleed Duke blue now. I had better mention that I’ve worked for Duke and for Cisco…and done work for start-ups and government agencies, even if I wasn’t loving what I was doing most of the time. I had better mention that I designed, developed, deployed, supported, maintained, and upgraded help desk and other service management applications for a decade-and-a-half, even if I would have rather been doing something else and struggle to adequately explain why I didn’t.

None of this matters to me, in the sense that I’d like to put it all behind me. I just want to be a damn good front end engineer.

But I did do all that stuff. I was a smart guy and maybe I still am (even if I cannot extemporaneously describe my career body of work more gracefully than by referring to it as “all that stuff”.) I was often told that I was doing a great job, even if I didn’t think so myself. Imagine what I could do if I really enjoyed my work.

All of this matters. Somebody will care. Many will not, and that’s fine. But if no one knows because I don’t bother to mention it, no one has the opportunity to determine if they care. (I just reread this paragraph. Yes, it’s horrible writing. I shall leave it in as a monument to horrible writing).

And perhaps somebody will care that this guy Dave is a bit too self-deprecating and too honest for his own good. That’s fine.

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Bad metaphor for coding

Working on a challenging project for class this weekend. Thinking that the same dopamine surges that accompany addictions are occurring with intense coding sessions. (I’m no expert on this, even though I want to feel well-read on the topic. I don’t have the time to do research.) The similarity in coding is that, when things are going badly, as they often are, I am less likely to step away and more likely to “double-down” and work more furiously, often digging myself deeper. It’s horrible, and yet, it’s absolutely worth it when that “big win” finally comes in terms of an “aha” moment. Like with gambling, I feel like the aha moment cancels out the preceding lengthy drain, even if the losses (in time, in the coding case) are too massive to recover from. The rush of the aha moment is sufficient to keep me going. 

The difference between coding and gambling (yes, “the” difference in the oh-so-elaborate metaphor I have constructed) is that you’ll never come out ahead in gambling, over the long haul. In coding, the more experience you have, the quicker the aha moments come, and you do come out ahead. And, there are occasionally people who can help you keep in the odds in your favor. (The problem I figured out ten minutes ago, I did so all on my own…thanks for nothing, Stack Overflow…but I know I’d have some support if I needed it.)

Back to work…

(As for that photo, all I can say is that I took it in Vegas years ago. It has little to do with the metaphor, but I was amused to have rediscovered it.)

WordPress, it is

WordPress, it is

Since I failed to gain mastery of PHP in the decade or so I was dabbling in it–first, with my grand plans for the defunct Toastie Radio site (I miss that), and then with my seven years of WordPress blogging–I thought it might be time to switch to a platform that’s Javascript-heavy. After all, Javascript is at the heart of what I’m working on in front end engineering boot camp this summer, and what I’ll be working on going forward in my career.

Aside…I do myself a disservice to imply I’m learning Javascript for the first time right now. I’ve known enough to get by when it’s been needed for web tweaks in my jobs over the years, and I’ve stuck it on my resume. But there’s a dramatic difference in scale between using Javascript to dynamically update a web page element here and there or pop up some dialog boxes and actually building websites. This is a good example of the very vague statement I made about a month ago in which I declared that I did not want to be a generalist. I did not mean that there is anything wrong with being a “jack of all trades, master of none.” I just never saw myself of much of a jack of anything. How much expertise I have in a skill I claim to possess has always been difficult exercise…

You know, I’m going to table this line of thought for another time. I wasn’t planning a mammoth post, and I’m not going to make one, but I’m also not going to censor myself and delete what I’ve started.

My point in posting this link is that WordPress is becoming more of a Javascript-based platform, and that means any inkling I had to abandon WordPress is probably gone. I obviously don’t follow WordPress closely enough to have known this until now. I’ve basically been on auto-pilot for the past couple of years as far as learning anything more about developing for WordPress. But I hate to abandon this platform I’m so used to, despite my mini-rant about some annoyances I have with the .com site. I’ll probably move this to a self-hosted site at some point, but I have absolutely no time for that right now.

I’m really psyched about this.

Ideally, I’d make some time to get to work on customizing this blog some more. (This theme doesn’t put a YEAR on the post? WAT?) But I already have a custom theme to play with on Top 379. (I need to explain that someday, or look for an old post that explains why I have a countdown of songs by the like of Air Supply and Barry Manilow. Or do I have to explain it? So many tangents, Dave…) And, more importantly, I’ve got a quite complex web page to build over the next three days for class. Any activity that diverges from that should fall under categories such as physical activity, basic chores, and Orange Is The New Black.

Late Sunday night

2014-06-16 00.48.25 Moksha sleepsI’ve been advised to spent 15 minutes a day writing. I think that’s great advice. But there’s too much to write about, and I know my proclivity for lengthy blog posts.

Week 3 of Iron Yard begins today. I have legitimately been uncharacteristically  positive and confidence theses past couple of weeks. I can objectively say that I’ve been doing well in the program. But this weekend, some self-doubt has creeped it. It’s like I had misplaced it in the wrong drawer and couldn’t find it. I am afraid that do have some of legitimate cognitive impairment that makes learning-by-reading so very difficult. I read 10% of a manual but then get stuck, realizing that I just don’t get it. Learning-by-doing is what I need.

Ok, I’m just staring..must sleep…

Puncturing internet joy

App/plugin challenge: write an algorithm that removes comments that would otherwise puncture the swell of joy that web post brings. If I ever posted something like that when viral, I wouldn’t have a thick enough skin to not be sickened by the comments. I suppose I’d make sure that a blog post about dogs in photo booths would mark as trash (not spam nor for-revew) that semantically had any text related to Obama, socialists, marxists, or “destroying our country”. Perhaps this would just be an optional setting per-post.

Perhaps such settings already exist in commenting systems, since there need to be anti-profanity and anti-vulgarity filters. I think I want my own browser extension just to make I don’t have peaceful mornings interrupted by internet troll vitriol.  There, I’ll write a browser extension called “AntiPuncture”.  How do I write a browser extension?

So, so, so much work to tackle…always…enforce.

UPDATE: It exists and it’s called, simply enough, CommentBlocker.

Identity management part 3

For better or worse, I’ve imported every post from Toastiest to Bull City Dave. This current state of internet presence may not survive the weekend, but I wanted to sit with it for a little while. Before-and-after BDC is easy to discern. Everything posted prior to June 7 was written by Toastie.

Another wordpress.com rant. I don’t want ads to ever appear on here. Another reason to get back to a wordpress.org blog or get away from WP. And I can’t stand the return message after I publish something, “You published your 6th post on this blog.” What is the point? I don’t want a badge. I presume I can turn that off somewhere, but any service with too many default behaviors I need to turn off is not a service I want to use regularly.

Identity management part 2

I’ve got a dilemma I need to solve quickly. What is my personal brand going to be? A few weeks ago, I cornered the market on bullcitydave. Well, at least as far as a .com, a Gmail account, a Twitter account, and a GitHub account are concerned. The fact is that, due to my branding via anonymous pseudonym for the past 16 years, I never bothered to try to get daveseidman.com or davidseidman.com. These are owned by a talented web developer and talented artist, respectively. I don’t have any interest in trying to compete with them. And, yet, I realize that I must. But I don’t want to use my middle initial ‘H’. That’s always been too much of a mouthful when I’ve given out my full-name Gmail address, I don’t want to feel like “that other David Seidman, the ‘H’ one” (and there are plenty), and I’m pretty much done with being called David. It’s mainly an issue of phonetics. I’ve never been able to clearly pronounce David Seidman, with the ard ‘d’ followed by the ‘s’. That may sound odd, but Dave Seidman rolls off the tongue with less effort.

Today, I grabbed daveseidman.me, daveseidman.net, and daveseidman.us, on the advice of a trusted mentor. (I’d name you, trusted mentor, but I may not fully embrace your advice.) I also attended a compelled talk today by a guy who knows quite a lot of social branding. John Saddington (john.do) is a successful developer, entrepreneur, and  a partner in The Iron Yard. Contrary to my assumptions about what an expert might advise, he firmly believes in being yourself in your public online persona, of allowing your personality to be available to the public, even though, and even because, the public includes potential employers, clients, and customers. My immediate thought upon hearing this was, “Oh, what I have I done? Why am I abandoning The Old Site? Why did I feel the need to adopt a brand new presence?”

So today I’ve received the advice to use my name in my URL, but I don’t want to abandon my long-time identity and have been encouraged to keep my history, warts and all, and I got feedback that Bull City Dave is a pretty cool name. So, what to do?

I even created a new bullcitydave Instagram account the other day, mostly because I feel I’m missing out on being able to quickly share images like this: