A Listening Experiment

Let me share a short story.

When I was 8, I was living in a small neighborhood in Ohio.

Let’s stop there.

What do you imagine?  It is impossible that you have the same picture as I do.  Let’s do another:

When I was 12, I was bullied.  There was this older guy that used to throw rocks at me in the hallway at my school.

What do you imagine?  Has anybody ever shared something like this with you before?

Did you imagine that second story took place in Ohio?  Was the guy a jock?

When I was 11, my step-father put me outside our house and told me never to come back.

I’d have to say you’re wrong on all accounts.

These are all true of me and these things shaped me in growing up.  You have a picture in your head, but it impossible for you to determine the reality of the situation.

You have no idea that all these circumstances were positive for me.

Is listening to somebody’s story merely shutting your mouth and nodding your head?  No.  You need to ask questions.  How do you learn how to love a person?  Try listening!

Try doing this today and let me know how it goes.

B-boy for life

B-Boys at Quills – flash break dance from Jonathan Malko on Vimeo.

Yeah, that just happened.  It made my day to be able to see these guys in person.

They are Guatemalan young adults who ran away from the gang culture that is prevalent in their town, into the art of break dancing.  They practically help kids out of being absorbed into gang culture in their town by giving them a community and an outlet to express themselves.

Check out the movie.  Well worth the time.  http://bboyforlifemovie.com/

Brings some major perspective to me and how I spend my time.  You can look at this as play, however I’m confident these guys work harder than I ever have at their ‘play’.  And what they do is more valuable than any money a person can accumulate.

Is your theme inward or outward?  Who’s kingdom do you belong to today?

5 ways to get web work done with fun and style

I have 5 tools that I’ve discovered or discovered over the past week that help me get my work done in a fun, productive way.

Pencil and paper first

I can focus on things much easier without having to type.  If I want to draw instead of write an idea, there are no basic skills to learn, I can just express myself instead.  This works well even when coming up with web layout ideas.  My hands can better translate what is in my head and my mouse can better duplicated what is already drawn.

Local Development

There are numerous advantages to local development.  Primary one being speed of page loads, etc.  No/little reliance on internet (hey, stackoverflow is a MUST!).  And the fact that your setup is bound to be simpler than everybody else’s idea of a server.

I use MAMP for my environment.

Subversion control using Git

I’ve only discovered this over the past few days.  It’s never been important to me because of really only working with myself or one other person on coding.

Even by myself, however, it has increased the organization of my workflow.  I make notes on changes I make, which is bound to be helpful in the future.  It makes every change I make that more important and syncs between my computers.

Neat.  It was hard to learn.  I’ll post a video when I’m satisfied with speaking about it.

Design in-browser without a CMS

I’ve been glued to WordPress over the last couple years.  It’s hard to rapidly design for from scratch.  Too many variables like content through database, syncing development databases, plugin update garbage, etc.

It’s far easier to use a HTML5 boilerplate, write some page content and begin chipping away at my LESS stylesheet.  It’s easier to git, dropbox, deploy, whatever.  When it comes to non-blog or non-client sites, I’m through with CMS’es.

Spend time everyday working on personal projects

I find it addictive to finish things.  Launching a new project everyday, no matter what the size, keeps me excited about firing up my text editors every day.  It’s fun to create cool stuff.  And in turn, it is making my pro projects much better.

And that’s it.

Using these methods I’ve found a refreshment in my day to day web development work.  What has helped out lately?

Addendum: I started using Firefox again today and it is wonderful for development.  I’ll write about it soon.

Getting ahead of myself

Did I mention yesterday I was going to pummel you with these?  Yep, here it is.

chemex

 

A quick doodle.  I’m spending about 5min on these.  It’s hard to regain perspective.  Perhaps I will not draw lines in tomorrow and spend more energy on making sure I’m not distorting my object so bad.  This box is not as deep as I drew.

Can you tell where I spend my mornings?  I’ll move to more interesting places when I’m able to accurately render a box in under 5min.  Till then, this is what you get, sorry.

Shall I move these posts off the home page while I’m thrashing?

Programmers in Kentucky?

I went to an Open Source meet up last night, my second try using meetup.com.

Met many talented and nice programmers ranging from web developers to software developers for things like the servers, switches and routers that you use to connect to the internet.

The rabbit hole is much deeper than I expected.  And yet, it’s thrilling to imagine building things using the collective knowledge in that room.

Want to be a world-class programmer?  There are solid resources in this very town.

Thanks to @EricLanthrop for teaching me the basics of Git last night.  He’s a talented guy.

Skillsets are overrated

Ideas are among the hardest talents to attain.

James Altucher points out on his blog and book “Choose Yourself” that you need to become and idea machine in order to make it in 2014.

I tend to agree.  It is merely one muscle, however it is an important one.  And as he mentions also, along with promoting other healthy disciplines, it is something that requires daily practice.

My living is built on the foundation of my abilities and partly who I am.  I think we all have a desire to create something that will help people live better lives, but I cannot make enough websites or videos, that within themselves can do that.

morning_coffee

My morning coffee.  Sketching is a skill I was once disciplined with.  I can focus on regaining my former discipline, however perfect renditions of my cup of coffee isn’t going to help anybody.  However I’m starting again, because I have big ideas that I can’t execute without having great visual art.  But without those big ideas, this exercise is utterly pointless.  I’d be better off spending my 10 minutes with my wife and kids.

As I challenge myself in discipline and exercise, I challenge you: imagine you were the master of all skills and had all the money you needed to live in comfort.  What would you do?  What would you make?  If the person to benefit from this was you, what would you build to make your life happier?

Then write it down.

It’s part of my morning routine after reading the Bible and then other books.  It causes me to gain perspective and to reach higher, though I have nobody but Him directing my every day.

Apps coming this summer

My idea lists are bursting with projects that beg to be made.  The problem is that I can’t make them at all in the environment they belong.

I share them freely with friends and despite them having the ability to make it, I’m never too worried.  Everybody’s too busy to execute these new ideas.

I tried making a game early this year but failed ultimately.  I couldn’t pull my imagination into actionscript 3.  No use spending the time to learn a language that is heading into retirement.

Instead, I’m heading straight down to a low level language called C.  From there I’ll continue to branch into a language I can actually use to create ‘apps’ for phone and the desktop.

c-book

(This is the book I’m reading)

My goals are to consume this book but the end of June and move onto another C language book in July.

I’ve already been able to make a tool for myself over the first Chapter of this book, so things are looking up : ).