Life update

Posted on Nov 4, 2018 in Birding, Blog, Form Tools, Open Source Projects, Training / Conferences | 0 comments

Been a while since I posted here! I do rather wish Github would offer some sort of feature where I could mention things like “I’m on vacation for 2 weeks! Will not respond!” or “I’m sodding busy. Check back in a week”. Once that happens, this website will serve even less purpose.

Conferences

Compared to previous years I’d done gone to fewer and fewer events, sigh. Still, a couple of months back I attended the Open Source Summit 2018 here in Vancouver put on by the Linux Foundation. A big thanks to my company, Global Relay, for covering my ticket. It was extremely interesting – and cool to see Linus Torvalds in person – but overall, not too much that was immediately pertinent to my job as a boots-on-the-ground web developer.

Next week I’m heading down to Seattle for CascadiaJS, which I’m pretty excited about. I attended one once back in Vancouver a few years back: it’s a conference very much in the flavour of JSConf – earthy, but full of concrete information. Should be a fun couple of days – especially in light of the new React version that just came down the pipe. Curious to see people’s opinions on Hooks; I haven’t yet had time to play with them – just read the docs and see the flurry of Twitter posts about them.

Work / Life balance

The day job is going fine, I’ve slowly been hammering away at helping upgrade our old Sencha application over to React. I’ve almost finished a rewrite of a translation tool from java to node, which I’m quite pleased about. The code’s not bad and it gave me an excuse to play with esprima. Esprima’s a tool for converting JS code into an AST (abstract syntax tree) where you can manipulate and reconstruct the JS. Tremendous fun.

Sadly, a few months back the chap that runs a bus service from our island (Bowen) to downtown Vancouver ran into technical problems, so I’ve been mostly using BC Transit to get to and from work. Wow, does THAT suck. Commuting is now far more unpleasant and takes far, far longer than before. My spare time on a regular work day has dwindled to about an hour and a half: plus I’ve lost all that time I was able to work each morning/evening on the commute. Anyway, whine whine, I’m just saying I’ve had less time than ever to work on open source. Speaking of which…

Open source projects / Form Tools

Most of my focus has been spent on Form Tools, plodding my way toward 3.1 (rewriting the installation + upgrade code). It’s a little maddening: yes it’s a fair bit of work, but honestly if I had the time I could get it done in a few weeks. Instead it’s drawn out and out and out… sigh. Time, time, time. Today I’m going to try to get 3.0.9 out the door (just bug fixes) but it’ll be back to 3.1 very soon.

I also upgraded react-country-region-selector a couple of months back and if and when I get a little time I think I’ll rewrite it in Typescript. I didn’t particularly LIKE typescript – actually I thought it was an unbelievable pain in the ass & didn’t provide anywhere NEAR enough benefits for the difficulties that it introduces. But I’d like to give it one more shot where I have full control over how anal the linting settings are. The last time I used it it was in a Nazi regime where wasn’t permitted, Generics abounded and everything was cranked up to be as fastidious as possible. I strongly felt the Law of Diminishing Returns applies to Typescript usage and a more permissive configuration may make it worthwhile while cutting down on the “how-the-hell-do-I-satisfy-typescript?” headaches. Anyway, I’d like to give it one more go before writing it off completely, because there’s no question that working in plain JS after using Typescript you find yourself missing the odd thing.

Birds / Trips

A couple of months back, I decided to cut down on my local birding and I think this is the way it’s going to remain until something radical changes (like I become a millionaire). This was for a couple of reasons: not enough time and I was getting more and more into nature as a whole. I’d been using iNaturalist and started cataloguing and learning the various plants and insects in the area. Tremendous fun. But on the birding front, I just got back from a 2 1/2 week trip to Australia where my wife and went from Sydney to Brisbane to Cairns. Pictures here. I’d intended to track the other flora and fauna as I travelled, but there just wasn’t enough time on so short a trip so I just photographed the more outlandish things. Terrific trip though… I picked up some really incredible lifers: southern cassowary, bowerbirds (4 species), birds of paradise (2 different riflebird species), bustards, 4 more albatross species (including wandering!) and above all… rainbow bee-eater. I’ve wanted to see bee-eaters ever since I became a birder and these didn’t disappoint. Beautiful, charismatic birds, incredibly deft flyers that perpetually squabble amongst themselves. Great to watch.

Next year I’ve booked a trip to Costa Rica with my dad for mid-March. For the fall/winter it looks strongly like I’ll be heading to Kenya, and if I can afford it (and can get time off work) I may cram an trip to Singapore and Malaysia in in August. Then again, who knows. Lots of time for plotting…

Alrighty. Caught up. Now I’m off to pull up the potatoes from the garden and the rest of the day is on Form Tools. Seeya.

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Back in Canada

Posted on May 30, 2017 in Birding, Blog, Training / Conferences | 0 comments

Nice to be back in Canada again! My wife and I just got back from a trip to Europe for the React Europe conference, plus a whole lot of birding. No terribly outstanding bird photos from the trip, but here’s a page containing a few. Holy crap European warblers are hard to ID. Only by the very end was I starting to really know the voices.

The React conference was terrific. I now have a stack in mind for my next personal project. But first… Form Tools! Man, so much work to do. I’m starting a new job next week so I have a few more days off. Let’s see if I can make these days count.

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react-europe (and birding, naturally)

Posted on May 11, 2017 in Birding, Training / Conferences | 0 comments

Next week I’m very excited to be heading off to Paris for this year’s react-europe conference. It being Paris and all, my wife decided oh-what-the-hell and will be coming along for the trip. After the conference we’re going to be driving up through France to Belgium, then onto Amsterdam where we fly back.

Really looking forward to the conference. I enjoyed ng-conf a few weeks back, but I definitely consider myself a React guy. I’ve also spent the last 2 months reading my European bird book over and over, so all in all I’m exceedingly excited for this trip. If all goes according to plan, I’ll soon be boring the tears out of family and friends with a new array of bird photographs… ah, joy.

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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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JSConf

Posted on May 31, 2013 in Training / Conferences | 0 comments

I’ve been in Florida the last few days attending JSConf. It was just superb. I now have a long list of technologies and tools I need to investigate… *sigh*, never enough time.

But before I get to all that, I’ll be working on the following:
- setting up PHPUnit and Travis CI for generatedata.com
- working on a new Smarty/HTML/CSS/JS mode for CodeMirror
- relaxing and bird watching in Florida.

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New job: CBC Music!

Posted on May 15, 2013 in Blog, Training / Conferences | 0 comments

I’m extremely excited to say I’ll be starting a new position at CBC Music, here in Vancouver in mid-June. I’ll be in a similar role as web developer, doing what I can do to help out with cbcmusic.ca – mobile, desktop – as well as hanging out with the celebs, naturally.

I’ve been at Central1 Credit Union for a total of 3 years now (with a year break in the middle) and as much as I’ve enjoyed it, it’s definitely time for a change. This last year I’ve worked almost entirely on helping design and develop a large-scale JS framework built on requireJS. I learned a fair amount but it’s time for some new challenges.

So, in a little over a week I’ll be saying goodbye to my co-workers, then flying off to Florida for a couple of weeks to go to JSConf (a javascript conference) and for my honeymoon (did I mention I got married?) then back to Vancouver to start the new position.

Can’t sodding wait. CBC!

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JSConf 2013

Posted on Feb 25, 2013 in Blog, Training / Conferences | 0 comments

Nice! I secured a very-late ticket for this year’s JSConf. This’ll be the first time I’ve attended this conference – always meant to, but somehow it never happened.

Plus it’s being held in Florida, the land of great birds… this by no means influenced my decision to go. Not one bit.

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