How to Refocus: Getting Back in the Groove

Identifying when you need to refocus It happens to everyone at some point to varying degrees, for various reasons, and at different times in our lives--but it'll happen! You hit a period or a rut where you can't keep your focus on continuing to be successful (and I'm over-generalizing that for a good reason). Maybe this means you can't focus at work to perform at an optimal level. Maybe you're falling off the diet you've been working hard on. Maybe your training in the gym or for your sport is taking a hit because your head isn't in the game. Maybe you find yourself unable to hit the books studying or completing your projects in school. It can look different for everyone. There are a bunch of different little warning signs that things aren't quite on track and you need…

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What Makes Good Code? – Should Every Class Have An Interface? Pt 1

What's An Interface? I mentioned in the first post of this series that I'll likely be referring to C# in most of these posts. I think the concept of an interface in C# extends to other languages--sometimes by a different name--so the discussion here may still be applicable. Some examples in C++, Java, and Python to get you going for comparisons. From MSDN: An interface contains definitions for a group of related functionalities that a class or a struct can implement. By using interfaces, you can, for example, include behavior from multiple sources in a class. That capability is important in C# because the language doesn't support multiple inheritance of classes. In addition, you must use an interface if you want to simulate inheritance for structs, because they can't actually inherit from another struct or class. It's also important to note…

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Staying Productive

Background I wrote a post a long while back about how I started to use Google Keep to get myself organized. Google Keep has been a go-to app for me on my phone for a long time now. I love using it to make lists of things, and I find it much more convenient than a paper notebook. Don't get me wrong--I think a paper notebook still has plenty of uses! I love my notebook for long running meetings with open-ended discussions or brain storming sessions. It's great to be able to take a pen/pencil and doodle down any idea that comes to mind. When I'm having a free-form conversation, I need a free-form way to take notes. However, my phone is something I almost always have with me--and my paper notebook isn't. My phone allows me to take my Google…

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Burn Out

Disclaimer I wanted to write this post to share my honest and personal experiences with burn out in the software and startup scene. I'm hoping that my experiences with getting to a stage of burn out can help someone identify if they're going through the same thing. Hopefully someone will be able to take preventative actions before things get too serious, like I've been able to do. I'd also like to point out that I absolutely love my job (you'll be reminded of that in my post) so my experience might be biased in some ways because of that. If I didn't love what I do, I'd be finding another job where I did. What is Burn Out? In my earlier days at the company I work for, I remember my HR manager talking to me about burning out. It's…

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One on One Evolution

Background I'm a "middle manager" where I work, but that means a whole bunch of things. My everyday tasks primarily consist of programming, but I do a bunch of work to interface with other departments and teams, and I play a role in managing people on... well, the "people" side of things. For the latter part, I refer to that as people leadership. I think it's pretty easy to look at some of the aspects of people leadership and dismiss them as "fluffy" or needless... I consider myself a logical/technical thinker, so I have that frame of mind sometimes. However, I do see the value in actually being able to support my team so that they can operate at the best of their abilities. I try to find ways to do that without it seeming to them like I'm doing "fluffy leadership things",…

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Should My Method Do This? Should My Class?

Whose Job Is It? I wanted to share my experience that I had working on a recent project. If you've been programming for a while, you've definitely heard of the single responsibility principle. If you're new to programming, maybe this is news. The principle states: That every class should have responsibility over a single part of the functionality provided by the software, and that responsibility should be entirely encapsulated by the class You could extend this concept to apply to not only classes, but methods as well. Should you have that one method that is entirely responsible for creating a database connection, connecting to a web service, downloading data, updating the database, uploading some data, and then doing some user interface rendering? What would you even call that?! The idea is really this: break down your code into separate pieces of functionality.…

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There’s Nothing Wrong With Failing

Failure to Communicate So this post will be pretty short, but I wanted to quickly touch on a workplace experience that happened the other day. I was approached by a colleague (who's perspective I really value) about the way some of us on the team were discussing a series of events. This individual was really concerned that we kept calling it a failure, and in this person's mind, we hadn't truly failed at anything. We had done an experiment in terms of tackling a development problem and the team had reached a critical mass where we declared "enough is enough, this is a failure". I became concerned because I wanted to make sure this person and I were on the same page. I couldn't totally wrap my ahead around why this person was so concerned about calling it a failure.…

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First C# Dev Connect is Coming Up

  C# Dev Connect Meetup! About a year ago I had thrown around the idea of creating a C#-specific group that would meet at a regular interval with some of my colleagues. I saw that there was interest, but between all of the things we had going on in our personal lives and work lives, we just hadn't been able to co-ordinate something. I'm excited to announce that with some more solid planning over the last couple of months, C# Dev Connect will be able to host their first meetup! The company I work for, Magnet Forensics, has graciously offered our new office to host the event which will help tremendously. We'll have a group of people from Magnet Forensics their to help out, but the only thing "Magnet" about the event is really just that it's hosted at the office. What's…

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MyoSharp – Update On The Horizon

MyoSharp If you haven't checked it out already, my friend Tayfun and I created an open source C# wrapper for Thalmic's Myo. It's hosted on GitHub over here, so you can browse and pull down code whenever you want. We've had some great feedback from users of our API, so we continue to welcome it (both positive and negative!) in order to improve the usability. Thalmic has plans to release a firmware update to allow more data to be accessible through their API. Right now, MyoSharp is a bit out of date, but once this big firmware update lands we'll take some more time to get it up to date again. Remember, it's open source so you can feel free to contribute! Troubleshooting The most common question I receive is "I keep getting an exception about not being able to connect…

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Hack Your TODO List With Google Keep

Trying To Keep It Alllll Together... I'm a big fan of TODO lists. I find that they're a great way for me to set up a bunch of tasks and feel really productive as I work through them. I'll make TODO lists for almost anything. What do I need to get done tomorrow morning at work? What groceries do I need to get? What topics am I thinking of blogging about? I'll get some sort of TODO list going for anything. The one thing that I need in my TODO list to stay effective is to constantly have it around me to remind me. I was running the Evernote app on my Android phone and recently made the observation that things that I put in there had a much higher likelihood of getting done versus things I put in my…

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