Offline First

Welcome to 2018 where everyone is online, all the time. The more I think about this, the worse I think it is for us in general. For the past few months, I’ve largely bailed on social networks. More recently I’ve been avoiding news as well.

On my phone I’ve removed a many applications, and while I’ve left a few games for when hanging out in the bathroom taking a ūüí©, I try to avoid my phone for things other than phone calls and text (eg. no social media and limited web browsing).

I took a quick peek at twitter over the weekend and immediately saw this tweet from @jjj which made me think of a new old approach to life in the 21st century.

In web development we try to take an approach called mobile first. This is where the content is loaded as minimal as possible and designed considering mobile first, rather than designed with the kitchen sink (everything) for desktop then scaling it back for mobile. The reverse approach tends to be slow and bulky on mobile where you may have an old device or limited bandwidth. It’s not ideal.

This week starts an experiment I’m calling “Offline First.” For years I’ve worked off one or two laptops, work and/or personal, they’ve always been on, they usually travel with me (sometimes even when going to visit family). I get up in the morning, move the mouse to wake the screen, then lose time checking email and surfing the web. 30 minutes later I realize I’m late for something and I’m¬† ignoring my family.

In avoiding my phone I’ve found this thing called the “real world” (scary, I know) and it’s amazing. I’ve felt better about life, spending time with kids and family, and most important of all, NGAF about what is happening in the world at large.

Back to Offline First and @jjj’s tweet. This week, I’m going to take a new approach to work. When I’m done work at the end of the day, I will be powering down my laptop. No longer will it be there, at the ready for me to unlock and start writing emails or surfing the web. It then becomes a conscious decision on whether or not I want to turn it on then sit and wait until I can use it, or defer until the morning. In most cases, hopefully the answer is “no, this can wait until the morning” and I write myself a note. While certainly there may be cases where I actually need to address something that involves more than an email reply on my phone, hopefully those are the exception rather than the rule.

In the morning, I’ll get up and have coffee or breakfast, then do whatever I want to do with this newfound time-slot before I sit down and consciously start work. Once ready I’ll start my day, work on accomplishing what I need to, and then turn it off again at the end of the day. It will be similar to going in and working in an actual office with a desktop computer then leaving for the night.

While work may never be done, it does need to be paused from time to time so that we spend some time enjoying life in the real world.

I’ll keep you posted on how my experiment goes and hopefully it’s something that yields good results, becoming a permanent fixture of my life rather than a one week experiment.

What I Miss About Twitter

Yesterday my calendar notified me that today (April, 27) is my 9 year Twitter anniversary, though I didn’t tweet until just over 3 months later.

It’s also just past the 2 month mark of giving up Twitter. I figured it’d be a good time to follow up on things I miss and don’t miss.

Things I miss

Things I don’t miss

  • Political discourse (or what it’s become recently)
  • Cursing Police

There are some other close friends and acquaintances that I miss, but most of them I interact with offline, in various slack groups,  or at work.

Overall, aside from the obvious holes (some more important than others), I think it’s gone well and haven’t really found a good reason to go back. At least not one that outweighs the cons. Still trying to get into the habit of blogging more regularly. We’ll see how that goes.

Giving up Social [Media]

Since I joined Twitter in 2008, I haven’t written much here. I wrote about eighty¬†posts since then, and about seventy¬†of them were written between 2008-2012. That’s right– I’ve only written ten¬†blog posts in the past four years. Even worse is that out of those ten, I wrote seven in 2013 leaving only three blog posts in the past three years.

Social media had taken over my life. It was easier to write short quips and have conversations on Twitter than it was to share thoughts here.

Twitter was nice for a while. It allowed me to meet new people. It allowed me to find and learn new things. It allowed me to share new things and get more traction. But it’s gone to shit. Granted, there’s always been some shit on Twitter; but now it’s festered into a cesspool I’m tired of wading into on a daily basis.

I’ve muted accounts. I’ve blocked trolls. But the magic is gone. The interaction held in the early days is gone. I’ve lost interest. The bad outweighs the good that’s left.

So with that said, I’ll be leaving my account there for historical reasons. I have a ton of¬†favorites that I had more or less used as bookmarks at one point. People I follow can DM me (sorry not opening up DMs) and I’ll get an email notification. I won’t be tweeting any more from this point forward. My preferred method of contact is email if you have it, or the contact form on this website. To follow me going forward, there’s this thing called RSS

Thanks, and hope to catch you elsewhere in life.

Rights

I have rights, you have rights. My rights don’t negate your rights and your rights don’t negate my rights. It really is that simple.

Often times I see someone say things like “I have a right to breathe clean air” in regards to a smoker whose smoke is blowing into their house. In turn what happens is the offended person complains to the local municipality, or the Home Owners Association (HOA) if they’re in a neighborhood. Regulations end up getting passed, and then the person who smokes can no longer smoke outside their house.

But why does one person’s rights outweigh the other person’s? They don’t. But we’ve started down a slippery slope of who has more rights. And often times this ends up in court litigation. Sadly this is the wrong approach. But in an over-litigious society… I guess that’s what happens.

Why can’t we all just be respectful? Chances are the person wasn’t doing it intentionally. They didn’t know you had a problem. Why not have a conversation with them and see if you can come to some sort of amicable resolution? I understand this isn’t always possible, but it’s where we should start.

Attacking one person’s rights in favor of your own rights may sound like a good idea at first, because after all, it puts you in a higher position. At some point though, someone will come after your rights because they feel their rights are more important. And how will you feel when you suddenly lose your rights?

The key building blocks to a good society is getting along with neighbors, not being passive aggressive or litigating things in court as a first response. If we each tried harder to get along with those around us rather than fighting over little things, we’d be a lot better off than we are right now.

2014 Goals

Better late than never…

I had sketched out some goals I wanted to accomplish this year. I normally don’t bother because follow through on goals never ends up as expected. I figured maybe if I do a recap at the end of the year it’ll highlight points I failed at and how I can do things better. In either case, here’s the short list:

On the personal side I’d like to be more active. I tend to be active in the summer with yard work and tending to the garden. It’s nice to get that movement but it’s never consistent. I’ve gained a few pounds over the past 5 or so years and am nearing the top of the “good” area of the BMI scale for my height. The plan is to do some regular exercise (2-3 days/wk) as well as find ways to change up my diet and hopefully lose 20-30lbs near the end of the year. Current weight is around 165-170lbs and I’d like to get back to something more healthier around 135-145lbs.

I’d like to also book and schedule the honeymoon cruise that we’ve already had to cancel one or two times. Now that the kids are older it’ll be easier to get away for a week without them.

Lastly for personal goals, I’d like to make a habit of eating out with my wife, without the kids, at least one night per month. This shouldn’t be too hard to do, we managed 4-6 times last year. Consistency will make this easily attainable.

On the business side of things I have an internal sales figure I’d like to hit. Will report on that at the end of the year.

I’d like to get to at least 6 WordCamps this year, with 1 of them being international.¬†

I’d like to blog more regularly— I plan to offer some video tips and posts on workflows, etc. This will be implemented once I re-launch a new design of my business site. I’d like to shoot for 1-2 posts per week for the tips feature and as-needed on regular blog posts. Focus will be on content, not frequency.

Lastly, I’d like to find a way to contribute 1 day per week to WordPress core development, plugins, or other non-paying open source work. This will take some time to get worked into my schedule, but as long as I’m consistently doing it on a weekly basis by the end of the year and it’s sustainable (i.e. I don’t feel like it’s a chore always finding a spot for it on my schedule) I’ll consider this goal met.

Updated Theme

In sticking with the busy developer mantra of “I’m too busy to update my own site’s theme” I did what I usually do and update to the the latest WordPress default theme. Now featuring TwentyTwelve instead of TwentyEleven.

And hey, I blogged about it! ūüėČ

Speak of the Devil

I’ve had something bugging me for years. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember specific dates anymore. It all started when I was in high school. I think it was about 10th grade. Fall; so November 2000 perhaps.

It all started at a Hunter’s banquet at the church I went to at the time. A bunch of us were volunteers to help serve and bus tables. ¬†A friend, Ethan Bennicoff, and I were working together most of the night and were having a fairly regular conversation– until it got really weird.

Through the process of conversation various people’s names came up– people we didn’t even know were at the event. Moments after we brought the name up in conversation we’d look up and see the person walking past. The first time it happened we gave each other a funny look and Ethan said “speak of the devil.” From there it only got worse. It happened at least 20 times that night, each time with us looking at each other and saying “speak of the devil.” Each time getting creepier and creepier.

For those that don’t know, or didn’t click the above link– “speak of the devil” is a short form of the idiom “speak of the devil and he shall appear.”

This continued through high school, happening fairly regularly. By the time I had graduated I think it had happened at least 50 times. We didn’t really keep count, but it was enough for it to be a running joke. We could talk about people and they would show up. (If only we could harness this when we needed somebody!)

It happened on and off over the years since even though I’ve had little interaction with Ethan other than my first wedding in 2005, and a friend’s wedding in 2007. Recently it’s begun to happen more frequently. Unfortunately in my old age of late 20’s I haven’t kept track.

Most recently this week it’s happened a few times. I was talking with a friend the other evening about the cost of Air Force One. I noted how it came up to my area and did touch and go practice at MDT on occasion. These practice sessions are always unscheduled so there’s no way I could have known. The next afternoon, guess what plane I saw circling around outside my window?

I laughed to myself and immediately went to tell another mutual friend that was in the know since the other person wasn’t online. No sooner did I tell the mutual friend, the other person signed on. This was all within a matter of two minutes. It was a double “speak of the devil” — and quite creepy at that.

Tonight after dinner I was talking with my wife and continuing a conversation from earlier in the day. A person’s name came up and not 30 seconds later my phone lit up– a twitter notification from that person. The tweet was not a reply, but a random question. The timing was a bit odd to say the least.

Maybe I’m reaching a bit with the whole online scenarios, but it still happens IRL too. Perhaps I should start a blog to log the¬†occurrences.¬†I don’t know. What do you think? 12 years later and it’s still happening and still freaking me out.

Should Really Blog Moar

I haven’t written in a while… so I wrote a haiku to remind me…

These words I don’t write
Maybe tomorrow I will
Should really blog moar

Restored Archives

I set up my first WordPress site back in 2004 when WordPress was a very immature project. It was a great site and there were some good discussions, but due to some circumstances in 2006, it led me to delete my blog and all my content. It wasn’t necessarilly “deleted”, but taken offline.

About 2 years later, near fall of 2008 I set up my site again. Just to get something going I started from scratch and never imported the content. There were some bad memories with some of the old content. I wanted to move on.

Over the past 6 months or so I had toyed with re-importing the content. I had the backup. The last version I had run with the old site was 2.0.4. Today I decided to pull the trigger and import the old content.

I’ve imported 439 posts into this site. Now I have archives back to 2004. In September it will be 8 years I’ve been using WordPress– since version 1.2. It truly is an awesome publishing platform.

Should I Write This on Twitter?

There’s a lot (not alot) that gets said on Twitter and some things really can’t be conveyed in 140 characters. On Twitter, your only real option is multiple tweets or a service like Twitlonger.

It’s something I’ve thought about on and off for a while now. The other week I stumbled across this post from Ian Stewart regarding tweeting vs blogging. It was the inspiration for a code muse last weekend. The result of that was¬†shouldiwritethisontwitter.com as well as some more thinking about the subject in general. (Code from that site inspired by Aaron Jorbin’s Scotch is for Shippers site).

After looking at my personal blog and seeing how few times I’ve written a blog post in the past year and then looking at my business blog and seeing the blog entry dated May 17, 2011 I decided things need to change.

I’m going to try and write here on things more personal where pretty much anything is fair game. I’ll continue to keep my blog over at Fusionized Technology WordPress related and more technical. Hopefully when I think about tweeting something and realize it’s blog material I’ll generate a few posts per week.

The last thing I want is someone setting up a site like this: When did Nacin last blog?