Posts

  • Living Intentionally

    “Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others' choices make us.” ― Richie Norton

    I've recently been given an opportunity to take some time and think about the next steps in my career and life, which has lead to some deeper thinking about my purpose and how I want to focus the (roughly) second half of my time on this planet.

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  • Saffron Roasted Potato Salad

    This roasted potato salad is equally delicious served hot or cold depending on what works best with your meal.

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  • Portal Adventure: Implementing Commands

    This is the second post in an ongoing series in which I talk about the development of “Portal Adventure”, a text-based adventure game that my 10-year-old son and I are writing in order to help him learn about programming. See other posts in this series: 1

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  • Saffron and Bourbon Chicken Soup

    This relatively easy to make chicken soup with a delightfully complex flavor will probably become my go-to comfort food for treating winter colds. Serve it with homemade, buttermilk biscuits, of course.

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  • Portal Adventure: Session One

    This is the first post in an ongoing series in which I talk about the development of “Portal Adventure”, a text-based adventure game that my 10-year-old son and I are writing in order to help him learn about programming. See other posts in this series: 2

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  • Best Chili Recipe Ever

    I’ve had a few requests to share this chili recipe from time to time; most likely because everyone who has ever had it subsequently decides it is the best chili they have ever had. Giving credit where it’s due, this is based on Alton Brown’s chili recipe from his book, I’m Just Here for the Food, but modified to my own tastes. The sauce is rich and spicy, although it’s a nice, even keel that doesn’t get hotter and hotter with each bite.

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  • Kookaburra 0.24.0 Released - Exorcised ActiveSupport

    I just released version 0.24.0 of Kookaburra to Rubygems.org. While there were no changes to Kookaburra’s API with this release, it is a minor release rather than a patch release, because I removed ActiveSupport from Kookaburra’s dependencies. Previously, Kookaburra depended on ActiveSupport >= 3.0, and this prevented it from working smoothly with Rails 2.x applications (at least in the same Bundler bundle.) Since Kookaburra only used a small fraction of ActiveSupport, it seemed easiest just to break the dependency, so that your application can use whatever version of ActiveSupport it needs.

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  • tmux and the OSX Clipboard

    I started using tmux recently after a) I was informed that GNU screen is basically an outdated POS, and b) an excellent book on the subject was published. I’m glad to have made the switch, as tmux is a wonderful improvement over screen. However, on OSX, I found that the pbcopy and pbpaste commands (among other things) would no longer work from within a tmux session.

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  • Kookaburra Rewrite for 0.15.1

    After getting some good feedback on Kookaburra since the original release announcement as well as using it in a few more projects, Sam and I decided to treat all of the versions prior to 0.15.0 as a spike and rewrite the framework from the ground up. Although we certainly learned a lot about the approach with the pre-0.15 versions, the problems with continuing to grow Kookaburra from that seed became apparent as we tried to use it in more applications.

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  • Using Jeweler for Private Gems

    I really like using Jeweler to create and manage gems, but its default behavior is to publish your gem to rubygems.org whenever you run rake release. This is great for generally useful libraries that you want to open-source, but not as great when you want to use gems as shared libraries for internal use only (whether because the code contains business secrets or just because it’s not something that would be useful to the community at large.)

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  • Acceptance and Integration Testing with Kookaburra

    UPDATE (2012-01-22): I realized this morning that the credit I gave to Sam Livingston-Gray below may not have adequately shown how instrumental he was in getting this project off the ground; especially since much of his work was done in the private repository from which this was extracted. So, thanks, Sam. This might not have gone anywhere if you hadn’t worked to put the idea in practice in our application and helped everyone on our team learn how to use the approach. I made a few minor changes below to reflect this a bit better.

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  • RPG Character Tokens

    I recently started playing Dungeons & Dragons again (after not playing since I was in high school). I’m DM-ing a game for my son, Jacob, and a few other folks. We’re playing 4th Edition, which relies heavily on a battle grid and character tokens to represent combat encounters. In order to save money and hassle, I wanted an alternative to searching for and buying the correct miniatures for each encounter.

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  • Capybara, Selenium and Firefox 3.5

    I banged my head against this one while setting up our CI build for a new project at work and just now figured it out. I added an example integration spec that just visits the default Rails homepage, clicks the “About your application’s environment” link, and verifies the Rails version. This link uses an AJAX action to load the environment details, so I marked it as a JavaScript test, which would cause it to use Capybara’s Selenium driver.

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  • Apprenticeship Program at Renewable Funding - Thoughts?

    The Renewable Funding technology team is moving into some new office space in a few months, and now that we’ll have our own space, I’d like to start up a variation on an apprenticeship program at work. I’m still in the early stages of designing this, and I want to gather some input from the community before deciding how we might run the program.

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  • Production Release Workflow with Git

    After growing the ProjectDX team from three to eight software developers, our release process was a complete pain, and it typically took two to three hours to get a good build on the production branch (and even then some insidious issues would sneak through). By making a few changes to our development and acceptance process, we were able to turn it into a five-minute, low-stress job.

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  • What it Really Means to be "Agile"

    Yesterday, Elizabeth Hendrickson posted her Agile Acid Test in which she asks three questions to determine whether or not a team is truly “agile”. There is also the Agile Manifesto which describes the values that an agile team should adhere to. While there is nothing that I disagree with in either Elizabeth’s post or the Agile Manifesto, there are two simpler questions you can ask that get to the heart of whether or not your team is agile: Can you react immediately and without panic when external constraints on your project are changed, and does your team regularly and frequently review its processes to ensure the answer to the previous question is always “yes”?

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  • New Job (Sort Of)

    The big news in my life right now is that the company I work for just went through a merger, so TSSI is no more, and ProjectDX is now part of Renewable Funding. I decided to accept the offer presented by the new owners–and it came with a bit of a promotion–so I am now Software Development Manager and responsible for guiding and growing the Portland development team.

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  • Retrospective Facilitation

    I facilitated my second release retrospective with the ProjectDX team yesterday. The first, back in October, went well enough given that I was asked to facilitate at the start of the retrospective and had no time to prepare; but yesterday’s retrospective went great since I knew ahead of time that I would be facilitating.

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