Categories
Books Life

2015 Accomplishments: good eats, books, and JavaScript

My most serious goal in 2015: make homemade pasta.  I waited until today, December 31, but I achieved this goal.

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I made homemade fettuccini noodles with a puttanesca sauce.  Delicious!  If you’re curious, I used a recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s “Pasta” cook book.

I read numerous books in 2015 – about 25 in the past year, but I’m probably forgetting a few, too.

A few of my favorites from the past twelve months:

  • Becoming Steve Jobs – Brent Schlender & Rick Tetzeli
  • All the Light We Cannot Sea – Anthony Doerr
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
  • The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker
  • The Martian – Andy Weir
  • Killer Angels – Michael Shaara
  • The Bully Pulpit – Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – Frederick Douglass
  • Terry Pratchett (a smattering of Discworld novels)

I had several useful career accomplishments in 2015.  I attended conferences like Velocity, organized Amazon’s internal web development conference in Seattle, and presented about web development career paths to international teams. I had a big impact through numerous contributions to our front-end framework (changes which you either have seen or will see).  All-in-all: a good year.

I had a good year in terms of open source development.  While many of my changes were minor documentation improvements, I made a few bug fixes and improvements to tiny libraries, and continue development of my own side projects in the open on GitHub.  The one I’m most excited about is the development of my first iOS app using React Native.  I’m calling it “Well Versed” for now, and I’m hoping to release it early in 2016.  It’s been a great way for me to learn new JavaScript features and skills (ES6 / ES2015, Babel, React Native, flux pattern, codemods), and I’m hoping to have more opportunity to apply these skills in the future.

So what’s my plan for 2016?  More good eats.  More books.  More JavaScript.  Let’s do this.

Categories
Howto Life Music

Re-learning to play the piano

I bought a used Krakauer piano in March from a family who was moving and ready to let it go.

Krakauer Piano

I took lessons for a few years in middle-school beginning around sixth grade. In my first year of high school, I told my mom, “I’m way too busy for this” and ceased playing or practicing — much to the regret of my older and wiser self.

For Easter this year, my mom bought me “Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course” as it’s a book she’s used with adult learners in the past when she taught piano lessons. I’ve been enjoying it and have gotten through about one quarter of the book so far. So far I’ve re-learned things like timing (4/4 and 3/4), notes (quarter, half, three-quarters, full), and right and left hand starting positions (C & G). I’ve learned things I never knew before like several different chords (C, G, F, C Major).

My goal is to play hymns from the Cantus Christi hymnal we use at my church.

I will learn and play fun songs, too. Today, I ordered piano sheet music from Sound of Music, Super Mario Bros, and Star Wars to help me towards this end.

I’ll let you know how this goes.

How To Learn the Piano as an Adult
* Step 1: Stop Waiting
* Step 2: Get a piano (or keyboard)
* Step 3: Get the piano tuned (if it’s real)
* Step 4: Start Playing

Categories
Life

What It’s Like

Paul Graham has an excellent essay entitled “What Startups are Really Like.”  Read it here.

I found myself surprised at how often I agreed with the words of PG or the entrepreneurs he quoted within.  My experience working at Athleon has taught me many of the lessons he mentions within his essay.  Particularly, the lesson that entrepreneurs work on a different time-flow than the rest of the world, and the emotional roller coaster a startup can be.

Over the course of the past year, I have loved working with Brent, Ryan, Jason, and Dan on Athleon and I am incredibly proud of the product and how far it has come in a year.  With this  small team of 5 (now 4), we have launched All Team Apparel, the Game Film beta, an updated version of Playbooks, and rewritten large components of the back-end code (running on Debian Linux, Apache 2, MySQL, and Perl with some features written in Flex/AS3) to prepare the site to scale for future growth.

Nobody says startup life is easy.  The past year has not been, but I wouldn’t do things differently.  The lessons I’ve learned have been valuable, hard-earned, and worth it.