Staying positive

I had breakfast with a tech friend of mine a couple of weeks ago…as usual we spent a good amount of the time talking about various technologies and tech. challenges that we’ve been digging into since we last connected.

One of the interesting things he asked me during the course of the breakfast though was “how do you stay so positive?”. He was specifically talking about how draining and painful it can be to hit so many tiny little hiccups in tech…and how long it can take to track down and fix a given bug (often full days lost).

My answer was that, honestly, I don’t.

In fact, I’m often in a really frustrated and bad mood…and not only because of programming challenges (though they do fill a certain amount of my bad mood time). Starting a business, especially in the *very* early days, is probably about 98% frustrating…and though I love it as well, parenting, is also filled with frustrating/angry moments.

However, I try really hard to acknowledge when I’m in a bad mood or frustrated about something…and I do my very best to keep that negativity completely focused on just the specific thing that is bothering me (this is a skill that has taken A LOT of practice over my life).

When something is really eating at me I try to step away for a bit…focus on something else. Find an easy win. Breathe. And then refocus.

The other thing I generally do, as much as possible, is keep the negative mood to myself. I’ve found dwelling on it and sharing it with others tends to only amplify it…and so I can see why the outside world could think I’m always positive.

I’m not…but I really like that people think I am! ;-)

The coder’s rap

"I’m not a baller or a shot caller
I don’t do drugs or hangout with thugs
But I still pay the bills and get my thrills
Cause I dream in code and prototype with Node”
- Falicon

Ben Horowitz has a great post up today about The Legend of The Blind MC and his personal love affair with Hip Hop. At the end of it he even links over to a post on Rap Genius where you can actually listen to four songs from his Blind Def Crew days (of the four, Bedrock actually isn’t half bad; with a little production love I think it might have been a one-hit wonder)

Anyone who has known me for any length of time probably knows that I’m also a pretty big Hip Hop fan and have been since the early 80’s as well — mostly thanks to my childhood friend Steve bringing me back mix tapes from Detroit radio.

Growing up in the rural area of Erie, PA most of the radio stations were of course country, pop, or classic rock and being the 80s the bigger trend with the kids in my area was really Heavy Metal. But I was never really into Metal — that was my sister’s thing.

Like Ben mentioned, there was something really raw and interesting that connected with me in the early Hip Hop days. And it wasn’t just the raw topics they were rapping about, it was the fast thinking, the pacing…the pure energy that went into everything they seemed to do.

And of course the stories — even the worst of songs told some type of story, usually rooted in some type of real-life event.

Honestly, I didn’t understand it all (I probably still don’t)…but I was hooked from the first time I heard RUN DMC, Dana Dane, and the Beastie Boys.

How could you not be?

The little things in programming.

I spent awhile debugging some Coach Wizard calendar features today.  The troubles were related specifically to a javascript library we’re using, some associated CSS, and the Safari browser.

The initial problem was pointed out to me by one of our iPad users and initially I couldn’t find it (I use a different web browser on my iPad than the default Safari one)…but once I took a look using the default browser I could in fact repeat the issue.

This was actually a good thing though as it meant that it was def. something to do with the browser more so than just a general programming error.

But of course the next thing to figure out was, just what specifically was the Safari browser doing different than all the others?

I spent awhile searching around with Google, hitting various Stack Overflow posts that seemed related (but none that were stating my specific error)…and I spent a little while digging back through the javascript library documentation and giving various versions of the library a try (perhaps an upgrade or downgrade would fix the issue? No.)

Though not my specific issue I noticed that a lot of the Stack Overflow issues related to my searches had to do with date formatting…so I thought it couldn’t hurt to play with that in my own code a bit as well…and believe it or not, that *did* fix the issue (I had to replace dashes with slashes in my dates — though I’m still really not sure just why that is).

So now the feature works properly across all the browsers (that I’ve tested)…and overall it was only a couple of hours of digging to get it fixed…but these are just the sort of rabbit holes (with potential land mines scattered throughout) that fill a programmers day (and cut into our overall productivity).

An interesting HTML5 Javascript game engine

I ran across the Quintus project the other day.  From the homepage it claims to be:

"Quintus is an easy-to-learn, fun-to-use JavaScript HTML5 game engine for mobile, desktop and beyond!"

I poked around the docs a little bit and it seemed pretty solid and simple…I don’t have any free bandwidth right now to mess with it, but I’m definitely going to keep it in mind for the next time I’m looking to dabble with building a game.

If you’ve used it - or one of the other javascript game engines to build a game - I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.



Later this morning I am participating in a panel called “Angel Investing in Action” at the 2014 Pipeline Fellowship Conference here in NY. The goal of the Pipeline Fellowship is to have more women angel investors (currently only about 1 in 5 in the US). This is a terrific endeavor as it will…

This is a great list of core ‘rules’ by Albert…and if *you* are someone who is following them and believes in helping kids get more active and more out of their physical activities…then I would love to connect/chat with you as well! ;-)