If you can't fix the user..
November 13, 2022 Linux Hack

If you can’t fix the user, try fixing the computer!

Just a little hack I threw into my system to keep my sanity and fix my sloppy touch typing. I have a habit of typing gti instead of git when executing git commands, it’s really a matter of my left hand being faster than my right at typing the G” and T” keys before hitting the I” key.

No matter how I try I only achieve frustration with fixing this problem so I finally just gave up fixing me instead I decided to fix my computer. I’m clearly a lost cause. Thankfully Linux bash has handy alias options yo can add to the .bashrc or .bash_profile files! My simple fix was to alias my typo like such:

#added to my ~/.bashrc file, (it's in your *nix home dir)
alias gti='git'

And that’s all it takes! No more getting annoyed with myself for sloppy typing!

Side note, I resisted this for about 2 weeks trying to get my fingers to just do the right thing, how silly!

I got super busy...
April 2, 2022 Life TinyHouse Maker

My Tiny house at night in the snowMy Tiny house at night in the snow

A year has passed since my last post, and wow has life changed!

Looking back on my last post, it was the start of an 18-month journey to follow my dreams of living in the mountains and building my cabin in the woods. Today I’m reflecting on that moment and realizing that I did it! Holy crap, I did it!

I was surprised. How often do you envision a radical change in your life and make it happen? Not very often!

What happened? While I was working remotely in the country, I realized that there just was no reason I needed to spend another moment sitting in traffic and despising this suburban prison. My wife and I went looking for land while we were out enjoying the country and we found the most unlikely thing… rural mountain property with gigabit internet! This is the only requirement I had for the property, being a software engineer and avid gamer and to our surprise, there is an entire county with a co-op internet provider that provides high-speed internet. I don’t know I you’ve ever tried to escape the city only to discover that the rural internet service is a pathetic flashback to the early 90s, but it’s not pretty out there!

The basics were covered. Time to design a house, so I learned Sketch-up and built a tiny house in sketch up, got it approved by the building department here in the county, and pulled a building permit! The plan was to come here, build the house, then return to the city. Continue as usual for a couple of years, but in the first 6 months of last year, things changed again.

We gave up our rental house in the city and planned to rent again when we returned, but in the 6 months we were gone, rent prices went up 40-50%! It’s freaking nuts and I feel bad for all the people getting soaked by the rent prices but we called it quits when after 3 months of looking we couldn’t even find a place to rent because they were rented the day of listing… like I said.. freaking nuts!

Fate seemed to push us to stay where we wanted to live. Good thing we stayed because that house we started back in April last year… took us until Nov to finish! The building was late for meany reasons. Our windows were months late being delivered and getting fit into the electricians’ busy schedule was difficult. I built everything in this house with one helper except for the plumbing and electricity… I am a terrible plumber and I can’t wire a fuse box!

It was fun, exhausting, and I would do it again! I’m going to build an addition to the house later this year! I’m looking forward to building it and having it done lol.

I’m a maker and I think building a house is the feather in my cap, so to speak. I have made a lot of things over the years and I’ll make more, but nothing quite feels like the ultimate maker’s achievement unlock, like building a house. Every maker that feels they are up for the challenge, I recommend taking this on. Do it! Do the outrageous.

Digital Nomad
October 2, 2020 Life

Pastorial view out the office windowPastorial view out the office window

I’ve been quarantined for over 6 months and I kinda snapped one day and booked a months stay in the mountains far from everything including broadband.

OK sounds a little crazy when I put it that way but I have had Digital Nomad envy for years… probably before it was even a thing. I just always wanted to pick up and go. So this time I did and it’s wonderful.

I’m still working just as I have been for the past 7 months, at home. Software development is exactly the kind of work for remote work. Despite what managers say it isn’t any different from home as it is in a dirty old beige box in a big building. I write code, I discuss with my team solutions to our problems and I go to meetings when I can’t avoid it (now on Zoom). I am much more productive, I get code written at a much faster pace with better testing and more time devoted to design. Yeah everything our employers wanted! Strange that they are still having issue with the whole thing!

Even better then my work life, my home life is awesome! I have time to contribute to Open Source projects, chase my hobbies and even blog. I spend more time with my family and my dog! Yup I love it.

Now I’ve changed my home office view to the rolling hills of the Appalachia with mountains in the distance and horse paddocks outside my window. Don’t tell my employer… I’m not going back to the beige prison cell. Pass. I feel like I’m on vacation and I even worked a couple of long days this week to hit my deadlines.

We are spending our time hunting for land out here in the mountains because we will be returning after life gets sorted out! The only real challenge is broadband, there isn’t any. I’m using 4G which works great but is a finite resource, fortunately it does the job and Elon Musk’s Starlink is moving into beta, good by cities and crowds! Now I can hike up a mountain after work every day, the dog approves.

If nothing else this pandemic has given me the chance to live life how I wish and it’s even more satisfying then the momentary daydreams experienced while looking out an office window.

Why Learning Other Languages Is a Must
September 18, 2020 Programming

Expanding your language toolbox is a topic promoted all over the coder channels. I believe it’s common knowledge that it’s beneficial, but in my experience, many don’t bother. I encounter resistance frequently in the JVM world, so much so that I should say the Java world because I have encountered steadfast resistance to new languages first hand. Even such a small step of moving to Groovy, a JVM language that will tolerate java syntax without complaint.

Seriously, can you imagine joining a team and starting the development of a new micro-service and you write it in Groovy? It goes live and works perfectly. I leave the team later to start a different project, only to hear a couple months later that they rewrote the service in Java simply because the other developers didn’t want to figure out the differences from Groovy. I heard the new service had serious issue in production… probably because they rushed to rewrite something that was already fully tested. That is a lesson for you, I guess!

Why being a Polyglot dev is important

What good does knowing another language do me if I proficiently code in X language? Aside from the more esoteric explanations of how it makes you a well-rounded developer with different perspectives on how to accomplish things various tasks, how about a practical example?I am writing a service that will call another service. Nothing to see here but wait, the other service doesn’t exist yet. Well, I have to finish my code now! So since I already helped define our messaging, I know what the response will be when I make the request. I just need a server to test out integration as mocking can only do so much for me.

The Solution Example

I solved this problem far faster than it took me to write this blog post. I am learning Node these days so I have NPM installed. I built a sample server in less than 5 minutes and that included me looking at a tutorial on how to use express. It went like this:

  • mkdir apitest

  • npx express-generator

  • Edit the index.js to add a new route that returns a nice test data set.

  • DEBUG=* npm start

  • Use Postman to test the End Point

Done, I’m back to work on the project. Next time it will take me 30 seconds to set up another end point. What’s helpful is Node allowed me to do this ad-hock. And faster than if I were trying to do this in Java or even Groovy, as all the things said about the difficulty in getting started in Java, apply to every new project.

Of course, there are 10 different ways to do this just as quickly in Rust, Go, Python, but I know those very well yet. It doesn’t matter, if another language helps em get work done quicker.. report me to the code purity police if you must. I’ll be done with my work and back to hacking on my own projects. (Yes, likely in a language other than my primary language.)

Hello World
September 17, 2020 Meta

Hi, well no better way to start a blog then following along with the time worn tradition of a Hello world.

I haven’t written in ages but, I find that my mind is nagging at me to pursue the effort again; for better and worse.

I’m a hacker first and foremost so much of what I’ll be writing about is my playing with technology, but also you’ll likely encounter some thoughts on technology, privacy and society. Hopefully I’ll share a few things that someone will find interesting but I make no warranty. My thoughts are my own as much as they can be and represent the opinions of the author, I speak for no one else.

~m


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