Sunday, December 15, 2013

What is the best email strategy these days?

In the last post I wrote: having latest version of some software will not make you more productive, use what you have and go ahead

That is absolutely true and I cannot agree more (after all this is me who wrote it) but everything changes. Apparently I just sold my TimeCapsule (priced it sufficiently on eBay) and right now I really have to reorganise my stuff. Why selling?
- I wasn't using it
- experience with my home network was bad
- I keep all files in Dropbox / Google Drive / online anyway
- I realised that for my needs home server will be much better (after all I consider myself a power user)

So yes, here were are. This time I remembered to backup ssh keys and of course private keys to Bitcoin wallet. (sidenote for BTC fanatics - using LocalBitcoins, Electrum wallet and icevault.ch for cold storage)

***

Let me talk about user experience:

Do I want my key to be stored with Apple? Not sure... Anyway - make sure you read everything when comes to encryption. Devil is in details.

Another one, see the icons when installing stuff:

And the last one - what is the best email strategy these days? One year ago I was considering going with Sparrow - but they were acquired by Google and it looks to me like an abandonware with no updates, see their latest tweets:



So I still wonder what is the best to manage email... In my current gmail setup I have 20+ addresses that forward to my main account, 100+ labels, 500+ filters and SaneBox [ref] which is a real lifesaver! (if a messages lands in my inbox I know it is worth reading, email on mobile does actually make sense again)

I guess I know the answer - I am bound with gmail and there is no easy way that in foreseeable future I will get away with it. This question is highly related to that -  What are the steps to ensure that if you die, your hosting & domain will live on? - you can extrapolate "die" to "go to India for 3 months" - I really don't want to let down people counting on me. What I want to do is reduce responsibilities, phase out, find a framework that would allow me to...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

nodejs npm yeoman yo grunt server packages build deployment live reload server

My computer is running slow and I'm thinking about starting fresh. As always - wish money was never a concern and I could buy latest & greatest gear, for now MacBookAir (mid 2011) must suffice:

I used Yeoman in the past for its live reload feature and bundled grunt which is great for packaging apps. As everything is changing quickly I followed instructions on the homepage:

(not willing to rant nor include screenshots - it's just my config that is old, bloated, inconsistent, obsolete - as you see I clearly need reinstall - for now I just pushed my version of yeoman scaffold that happens to work for me)

That reminds me of a Haters Gonna Hate page: I am just wondering why it is not easier? Maybe I should call it gatekeeping: keeping away beginners from coding?

About NPM (node package manager) here are two slides from the presentation, it can be a mess:


The web is what you make of it!





Go go go! indiewebcamp, remotestorage, unhosted, CHTredecentralize...

(there are so many brilliant projects, having latest version of some software will not make you more productive, use what you have and go ahead!)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hackcess in Paris

TL;DR see storify.

First of all many thanks to @chhhcloe for inviting me to Hackcess:

I just came across the project you developed during the Accessibility hackathon and I really like the concept.

So, I'm more than happy to invite you the week-end of November 15th-17th in Paris where we are organizing Hackcess, a hackathon to solve accessibility and mobility challenges, in partnership with SNCF (French Railway company) and OpenStreetMap.

(the LeapMotion accessibility hack - http://bit.ly/a11yhack - just for reference)

I was greatly honoured that's for sure :) Existential digression - I'm still fairly young - at age of 28 I'm happy that someone pays for my travel (it means that I add value) and I'm still happy to explore. I believe that this an exceptional occasion to network and talk with people I wont meet by staying at home. Organizers were really helpful and we agreed that I come along with team of my choice. You won't image how difficult it was!

Very cool of you - bit short notice for me though :-)

Hey thanks for the offer, unfortunately my November is a bit booked up

One person - Bonam - founder of IrisGear.com - was keen to travel with me but as citizen of India it would be difficult to obtain visa (for non-European readers: there is EU, UK and "Schengen" zone). I was really glad @pornelski accepted the offer - he is the expert and I was extremely happy to work with him.


So here we are in Paris. Eurostar was fairly expensive. Normally I couldn't afford it or just choose mid-week departure. On this occasion I believe someone made a very good deal by inviting so many smart people under one roof.

[coding, programming, designing, discussing, little sleep]

And yet again I was there - surrounded by people who are just like me. Who come from different locations and speak different languages but have passion for creation. I love taking part in hackathons - where you work ruthlessly or just hang around with extremely smart people. So yes... After 48hrs the projects were finished and from time perspective I would like to share some final thoughts.

I'm not a codebreaker 

(simple challenge via GCHQ was far beyond my reach)

I'm not a designer

(note the toolset)

Am I a coder? 

I would rather think of me as bit.ly/more-than-just-a-developer - current job pays my bills but longer term I would like to achieve more freedom. Speaking of code see this snippet by @pornelski:
(there is beauty in here)

"autopoi" means point of interest that is autopopulated. It will make more sense if you see the finished app: bit.ly/hackcess - user can select points of interest and then traveling salesman does the rest.
You can also see in code:
- no quotes on attributes
- form / label / role
- aria-live

Clean, semantic code. And several APIs all taking to each other. On my part I did some map interactions and used jQuery mobile desktop development template - a tiny project that makes mobile apps more digestible on the larger screen.

And this my favourite project form the weekend - rarely seen open hardware shoe:


Many thanks!

PS. Initially we wanted to do some fancy stuff with latest and greatest Nexus5 but one of the features is not just there yet - see this question on Android Beam NFC... 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Silicon Milkroundabout | Creativity is Evil

Today is the day when everyone is tweeting about TechCrunch article - 3 beards - nice one!

At the same time I see tweets about another startup event - Silicon Milkroundabout (6th edition).

We are all connected - I still remember first edition of the latter - see my photoset on Flickr. Michael Acton made the best presentation ever (throwing MindCandies all over the place). But being a photographer didn't get me a job. Begging to get a job, didn't get me a job (sell your mistake). Being different didn't get me a job.

(trust me, I was the only guy wearing suit at the startup event)

Differentiate or die?


Creativity is *EVIL*. Shut up. Noone hires you for being "creative". Your job is to do your job, nothing else. There are metrics, checkins, sprints, releases, stakeholders. I want to challenge these (substantially true) statements... 

Would you like to work with me for a week? (all other human species in my flat is travelling mid January)

(you know where to find me)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Work from home

From this day on, when searching for "working from home" please include me and my little daughter:


I do actually want to work from home and I've this link bit.ly/WORK-from-HOME with couple of US based companies. Unfortunately costs of living in the UK are relatively high and as long as I'm here I'm not willing to compete with 10$/hr freelancers on Elance or oDesk.


Jenna just created a blogpost about working remotely. You know all that stuff, specifically this term - content marketing. Being a content producer is never easy. I still remember 2005 and my first proper job in for the largest web portal in Poland. I wrote couple articles about completely unknown topics - welcome to the media.

This blog is hosted on blogger so the photo above is hosted on Picasa. If the unlikely event that the internet goes down there is Yahoo and Flickr.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Money as the only validation


Yet another big strategic mistake. I was so happy to receive an offer I've accepted it straight away. In that way I sent a signal to a buyer - it's not worth it and he hasn't paid.

Wish I knew how the Escrow works, wish I knew that buyer can approach seller without cash in hand. Yet...

24th Oct 2013



7th Nov 2013

Money is the only validation, this is the only factor that counts. BTW - would you like to buy the domain - mobilefirst.co ? :)

(you know where to find me)

[update] 6th Dec 2013

I was keen to accept 200$ offer but I couldn't find big button to do this. Apparently I haven't done so the offer increased!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lady Gaga - Twitter Hacked

There is only one explanation - Lady Gaga's Twitter account is hacked.


I don't know it just doesn't seem right. See the link account - https://twitter.com/ladygaga - or a particular post - https://twitter.com/ladygaga/status/391995947841908736 - this crap definitely doesn't look right:


Some major players - Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Amazon, Github - have introduced two step authentication. Waiting for Apple and Twitter to catch up.

Anyhow - Lady Gaga's Twitter is hacked. I was at #iTunesFestival and it was a mindblowing experience - she is the queen, one cannot deny.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gamification of everything

I love competition and rivalry - that keeps me engaged and motivated.



Couple of years ago I was semi-professional bridge player - in a sense that I was doing this all the time and was paid a little money to do it. I quit and now there is a fully professional movement - Bridge24 - their members are now in Indonesia:


Wish money was never an issue and I could join them. 

***

There are so many competitions these days, to name just a few:

Google X Prize

($30m to go to the moon)

GCHQ - canyoufindit.co.uk:


Facebook - keyword extraction:

(my MSc dissertation topic was "information extraction from short textual messages" so maybe the time has come to put it into practice)

Escape from /dev/null

(last weekend in Krakow was legendary)


Have a look - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification - there is always someone who can do this better. Wish money was never the issue and I could set the rules. It is rewarding. So far I did it a few times, here is an example on bountify - I was in charge, I was giving orders, I was managing people. Valuable experience, well worth time and money.

Mating game



Isn't it a rivalry after all?

Happy are those who don't have to compete anymore: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi


Approach is 360 deg flush mounted tiny cameras + radar (prob not lidar). Lot of software & hardware level image processing.

Yesterday I've ordered camera module to Raspberry Pi... Will see how it goes :) 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

I'm not a codebreaker

Of course I thought about giving it a go: canyoufindit.co.uk


After some fiddling I realized I'm not a codebreaker and resulted in following step-by-step instructions. Attaching full page screenshot as I trust Google more to host the image than some hacker on the web to keep their content alive:



This years challenge wasn't quite that hard (...) almost all steps only required one simple idea and that was it.

Well... One man trash is another man's treasure, something that is presumably easy was beyond reach to me, I'm actually glad that I've used the walkthrough and now I know: I'm not a codebreaker. With so many areas to excel I'm not worried at all :)

Tomorrow: escape /dev/null


See you there!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Business Class

Let the image do the talking:

In a nutshell: it's cheaper to buy return ticket form Cambridge than one-way from London.

Shall I be put under scrutiny for saving money?

See my recent post on medium - do you really think that way?

Any ideas what is the idea behind such unintuitive pricing policy? Whatever... Not willing to pretend to start to think about commencing actions that will initiate the change. I'd rather bend the reality and go sideways so the money is never an issue.  If you take money of the equation you free a lot of resources and allow other priorities come to light. It's a game changer.

(stealth mode)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Don't think!

TLDR: Concept of living simpler life without much thinking that will go to a black hole of ideas.

Why do I have to think that much? Brain is the most energy-consuming organ of a body so in principle - using it must be justified. Working with complex IT systems requires a lot of attention so no wonder why these jobs are paid above the average.

Computers are getting cheaper, software intuitive, education available. There are some buzzwords out there:
- Machine Learning
- Artificial Intelligence
- Computer Vision
- Natural Language Processing
- Neural Networks
- Optical Character Recognition
- Expert Systems
- ...

Why not outsource thinking to the machines? I believe it's already done in the most lucrative areas such as High-Frequency Trading. Algorithms vs algorithms and people with arrays of panoramic displays connected to Bloomberg terminals. Why not democratize decision-support systems? I'm really satisfied iPhone5 but at all times I'm considering switching to Android realm because of Google Now. Wish there was a XenClient-like solution that would allow me to switch seamlessly on a top of the range device such as Ubuntu Edge.

***

This post is about not thinking. You see my rationale, now a few real-life examples... In the past when in doubt I sticked with cheapest option. My time wasn't worth that much money. Now I value more comfort more and quite recently I paid extra for automatic transmission or anytime ticket that didn't force me to return after 7pm. Yet there are still situations when there is no clear winner - no gut feeling, estimated value equal in both cases and convoluted dependencies such as getting ticket on Friday relying on Monday weather. Here comes the explanation - I share a ride with my neighbor depending whether it rains or not. With many possible ticket options and limited bus services on Sunday it actually makes sense to sleepover in London (among 7 million people you find some friends) and go directly to the office in Cambridge rather than sleep at home.

Task: Wife rental

Here is the problem of delivering wife to the airport:

- reserve car, pay when collecting: 29£
- reserve car, pay online: 24£
- probability of wife willing to travel on that plane, that depends on:
  - weather on that day
  - our arguments just before
  - her dentist appointment
  - ... (unknown, undefined factors)

I actually decided to reserve and pay on the day as there were too many factors to consider, gut feeling telling me that probability is less than 80%. After serious deliberation we decided that she'll go and it was right decision. Eventually I paid 29£ rather than 24£ and theoretically I've lost five quid but I in general I made the right decision with the information I had (profitable in the long run).

What I would like to achieve is the system that would ask me some assistive questions (retrieve missing information and discover missing factors) and tell me the answer: you should do this and that.

It's an interesting scenario, and I think of the risk assessment system (especially credit card/loan system) as similar use-case (correct me if I'm wrong). I currently work in the area doing analytic on the mid-range data set with machine learning algorithm and see the opportunity ahead using related AI and analytic modelling system.

There is an app called evr.st - setting goals. So let's assume I'll set a goal of going to Mars and the system should be asking assistive questions and processing graph of dependencies and finally arrive with conclusion - learn physics, become vegetarian, print yourself in 3D.

Back to example of delivering wife to the airport - I should establish priorities - my happiness, her happiness, our time, spendings. I believe that having clear goal is essential in the long run. With some nuisances mental effort is not worth the money. Wish money was never a concern... (and we are working on it)

***

Samadhi - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi - "subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still, one-pointed or concentrated while the person remains conscious"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Post about innovation

One of the largest mistakes I've ever made was to sell an iPhone I won. It was early 2008, they weren't yet available in my country of residence and I just sold it because I didn't have that urgency to have it... That is the point that I've completely missed - consumers don't know what they want. I still have a photo from the eBay auction:


Do you see the SMS icon? Now with iOS7 I feel like the market already overcrowded and I'm lacking the idea of which field I would like to focus. Wish I had this phone back then, my life would look completely different right now, I would choose different courses while at university and I would have much better local knowledge while travelling etc... Little to say I see how my life has changed when I finally get my 4S early 2012 (night and day).

***

Having experienced not being on the cutting edge I decided that I will catch-up so at some point I could create something new. Yes, catching-up for now, so when I finally get to the stage when everything is at my disposal I could finally connect the dots... After all everything is a remix :)

- Used ChromeBook - right after it was announced at a promo booth at SFO airport.
- Won unreleased GoogleTV - rather than sell donated to Cambridge Open Device Lab.
- Developed for unreleased Windows8 - that's the advantage of working for corporate who has partnership with Microsoft.
- Received unreleased LeapMotion - tried really hard to donate, finally built accessibility controller.
- Won Kinnect - unfortunately, as well as my three other laptops, it was stolen.
- Bought MakeyMakey - so many bright guys at MIT, who knows maybe I'll apply as well?
- No wonder why I preordered MYO



(yes, I'm passionate about UX and HCI)


***

Same idea in a few different flavours... Wish I had more dedication to pursue this project. See example below:


The Nifty MiniDrive



The MiniDrive

Official


***

I really regret that iPhone business. now it seems like GoogleGlass might be next revolutionary device and I would really like to have it as soon as it becomes reasonable available... Any ideas how to get it?


(my credit card don't have built-in concierge so I need to be resourceful)





Thursday, June 6, 2013

Choices, choices, choices (hosting)

"What Tools Developers Actually Use" - infographic - here is the extract:


One year ago I've signed up for Dreamhost affiliate programme and created a promo code giving me a huge discout. Now, time has come for renewal and I'm pretty puzzled:


How possibly can I estimate the value over the course of 10 years? I like their service but on the other hand:
  • they offer unlimited service - it is very likely to be abused by others - my performance suffers
  • if I were to deploy some ruby / node / java / C# apps - I'd either choose VPS or dedicated service
  • I know cheap and trusted hosting provider that has some limits but I can serve large content from CDN / Amazon / YouTube / PhotoBucket

(sorry I won't give you the name as they don't have affiliate programme and I don't my QoS to be reduced)

I believe that it'll take me some time to reconfigure nameservers / emails (catch-all) but at the same time this will allow me to have a fresh start with all my domains. Or maybe I should just pay 120$ as my target rate is 100$ per hour and I'll definitely spend more that hour fixing all the sites?

That is why the title of this post is "choices, choices, choices"... :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

EdgeConf - bleeding edge of the web

As usual this is hugely biased writing with no particular reason... You may want to:
- read proper review on Kristina's Auckland blog
Session recordings
Moderator questions
- or just simply visit hub where most of these are aggregated

So the story begins on Friday while I was on the train to London and asked @pornelski about his plans for the weekend... (information overload so I can't be bothered to use Lanyrd) The answer contained one word only: Edge. After seeing lineup I knew I need to get there.
The ticket application process alone required detailing my capabilities in a CV-like manner, plus a small essay on why I should be invited in the hope it would persuade the reader that I should be allocated a ticket.
It wasn't that hard actually as there is always a bunch of people who simply don't show up. Spend my last quid for the pass and here is the trophy. Michal Stefanow and the mighty Paul Irish (on the right).


Why does it matter? Two years ago, when I first arrived to London (here is my CV from back then) he was one of a few people I based my knowledge... It is difficult to find a notable open source web related project without his contribution. If in two years I made such a progress I would really like to maintain that momentum in the years to come, optimistically looking into the future, hell yeah!

BTW: Facebook is hiring, Google is hiring, Financial Times (thank you Andrew) is hiring and Spiral Software is hiring... You can AMA here: mstefanow@spiralsoft.com


Bonus question: Do you know any company that is not hiring?