Dan, a co-worker from Automattic wrote this in a p2 post today:
Measure, then act. Almost every major decision we made was in response to real-world data. Often we would be surprised and have our expectations challenged, both in terms of what was NOT possible, but also what WAS possible.
It reminds me of the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once”, and in software development, the more we measure, the more we discover.
WordCamp Maine blasted off today, and it has been quite fun. MECA has been a wonderful host and has provided a backdrop of weird and wonderful art. Otto provided some yummy pizza. And Mendal taught me about the Periscope app. Before I head off to the after party, here is a list of some of my favorite tweets:
On my recent trip to San Diego, my co-workers and I participated in something called a Code Retreat. It reminded me of my days in art school, when my professor would instruct me to hold my pencil in odd ways while drawing, which broke my reliance on muscle memory, and forced me to focus more on the process of mark making and see my task in a new light.
Today, I’m taking a break from battling software bugs so that my immune system can battle a fierce flu bug. I haven’t eaten anything all day because food makes my stomach burn. I’m overly hot one moment, and overly cold the next. Every muscle aches. I’m hoping a good night sleep cures it.
In my weakened condition, I started thinking about 80’s movie chararcter Ferris Bueller, and how he got his fabled day off by hacking into his highschool’s database from a home computer. The movie was released in 1986, and I wasn’t really using computers at the time. I was just six years old.
I don’t know about you, but I call bullshit! There’s no way Bueller’s highschool was storing records in a database that was accessible via the internet. Gopher servers first made their appearance in schools in 1992. I’d appreciate it if someone with a strong knowledge of computer history could weigh in.
There are a lot of nice things to say about this presentation. It taught me what “grok” means, and it is a fine word. You can use it even if you are not a programmer. Look it up. The nicest thing I can say, though, is that is a helpful piece of advice for any intermediate programmer who is looking to get to the next level. Some key bullet points:
Ask “Why?” obsessively
Teach others, and speak a lot about the work you do
It is okay to be reckless when experimenting
Have opinions & principles
Think like a programmer when AFK
I’m thankful that this video fell into my laptop at this precise time. It is very inspirational and just what I needed. Let me know if you watch it.
My pal Chris is artist always experimenting with new mediums. He was excited to find that if instead of a traditional canvas, you were to use a web browser, and instead of paints and paintbrushes, you were to use HTML span tags, you’d get an interactive image resembling 8-bit artwork. What the heck is that? Here’s the Mono Lisa, for example:
Note how the appearance changes dramatically if you resize the browser. Span tag paintings are responsive.
In trying to create a photorealistic span painting of President Barrack Obama, Chris found that it was a rather tedious process. Thanks, Obama! I told Chris that using PHP I could teach a computer to make these paintings faster than he could. He was thrilled when my script produced the following image before he could finish his painting.
I then extended my script into this neat Backbone.js app, allowing Chris to upload any image which would automatically be changed into an HTML painting. I even built a color picker so you could limit the colors in your painting to a pallet of your choosing. Here is an image of acclaimed painter Bob Ross which was produced by script.
I’m glad that Chris made these paintings. You can see some of his favorites here. I like how you can make different patterns by resizing the window, and then BOOM! the image jumps out at you as soon as you find the right size. We also discovered that image will repeat itself at regular intervals.
Pretty good. Pretty neat. Please reply with your own painting.
At this month’s meetup, we tried something different. Our intention was too lead a Node School style gathering, where we work on a project and learn to use the WP REST API. Host Gary Thayer called it ‘Hands-on with JSON’. Though I got some good feedback after the meetup, the workshop didn’t go quite as planned.