Taking stock

Posted on Nov 14, 2016 in Blog, Form Tools, Open Source Projects | 2 comments

Now that birdsearch.org is out the door and looking more solid by the day (maybe a week or two’s worth of bug fixes left, I think), I’ve tentatively pulled back the veil on Form Tools once again. Form Tools is a script I created well over 10 years ago, which grew and grew into something of a monster. But a good monster. Sure it lives under the stairs, drools a lot, and is pretty terrifying when you first meet it, but really it’s pretty great at heart. Honest.

Since departing the project a few years back, I’ve made two or three aborted attempts to return to the script. Question is: how? It’s so massive, each time I do, I get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work required, something life-related comes up and I end up having to back off. But the bottom line is I think it’s a great script and well worth updating.

So anyway, I’m trying to come to terms with exactly how I can return it  - how I can split it up into smaller pieces to tame this creature. Let’s see how this goes.

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New job

Posted on Aug 18, 2016 in Birding, Blog | 2 comments

New job is great, but holy moly… the commute! There was I, thinking I had no time before, but tack on 3-4 hours of commuting time a day and there often isn’t even enough time to fix a decent meal when you get home at night. Yikes. Our cats are NOT pleased.

So yeah, zero updates on anything. I’m pushing for working from home for a day or two a week, but I need to get to a place when I *can* work from home and be as productive as I would be in in the office. And that still may take a few more weeks to get there: plus get the requisite laptop + everything set up.

Anyway, to stave off insanity I created a new twitter account where I could tweet about all things birding. Feels like the only non-work thing I’ve done in weeks.

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Time to move on!

Posted on Jun 20, 2016 in Blog | 1 comment

Today is my last day at IBM Cloudant! Two weeks today I’ll be starting a new position at PNI Media in downtown Vancouver. That’ll give me time to wrap up my trip to Iceland and see a few last birds before leaving (common pochard, I’m coming for you, you little blighter).

It’s been a great role with great people, but I really can’t wait to work with people face-to-face once again. I’ve been working 100% remotely for over a year and a half now, and I came to realize that – for me – a more balanced lifestyle was needed. Considering I’m not the most social of souls, that really says something.

And I’m very excited about the new role! Sounds like there will be a slew of technologies I’ll get exposed to that I haven’t yet worked with (including Angular, finally). Fingers crossed it’ll be a good move.

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Iceland

Posted on Jun 4, 2016 in Birding, Blog | 0 comments

I’m spending the month in Iceland. Working remotely has its advantages. I’ve created an album for the various birds I’m seeing while here. Just click the pink-footed goose picture…

ping-footed-goose1

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birdsearch.org rewrite

Posted on Apr 15, 2016 in birdsearch.org, Blog | 0 comments

In what little spare time I’ve had of late, I’ve been reworking my old website, birdsearch.org. It’s a tool for searching bird sightings around the world which I’ve found staggeringly useful these last 3 years. I was originally just going to add a few new features (search filtering especially), but decided what the heck, let’s catch up on the latest React ecosystem, so it’s all being re-written in redux, react-router, react-i18n and other fun stuff.

No idea about a release date yet, but I’ll post when I get a beta out the door. Oh, and you can see how things are progressing on the github repo here.

Here’s a couple of screenshots of the spiffy new interface (behold: colours!)

birdsearch1

birdsearch2

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Geospatial indexing

Posted on Apr 11, 2016 in Blog, Training / Conferences | 0 comments

Generally I’m not much given to posting day-job-related work here on my personal site, but this was such a fun project I thought I’d draw a little attention to it.
https://cloudant.com/product/cloudant-features/geospatial/

My portion of the project was to add geospatial index support to the IBM Cloudant dashboard where people can query and view geojson data visually via a map (courtesy of Mapbox). It’s a very cool feature. Slogging away trying to interpret raw lat/lngs is a bit of a fool’s errand: but stick it on a map and the data comes instantly to life. A large portion of my time was spent updating the underlying Apache Fauxton code for a consistent handling of index types (search indexes, views, geospatial indexes). Well worth it from a UX point of view.

Blog post here:
https://developer.ibm.com/clouddataservices/2016/04/11/geojson-database-cloudant-mapbox/

Went live today.

I’m going to be heading out to North Carolina in 3 weeks to stand in a booth at the FOSS4G conference. Should give me a change to show off some of this. :)

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Extended hiatus

Posted on Jan 30, 2016 in Blog | 4 comments

Sorry if I haven’t responded to requests for help on my various scripts over the last couple of weeks – I’ve been back in the hospital with the wife again. Looks like we may be in for a longer haul, unfortunately, so it may be a few weeks before life returns to normal again.

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