Hello Again World by Jen Simmons

Jen Simmons:

I worry about Twitter. The company doesn’t care about things I care about. It will do whatever it needs to for the money it wants. It might go away. It might get even worse. By outsourcing our whole means of connecting to each other to a company we seem to agree we hate… we are putting our relationships at risk. So I’m determined to at least start getting away from the monopoly of Twitter by posting to my website. A lot. I’ll setup RSS (or double check that it’s already been setup, or setup multiple options or whatever something better) and I’ll try for the dozen-teenth time to get the CMS that runs this site to connect to Twitter and crosspost in some way. But… all of that is a delay. An excuse to not write until all is perfect. Forget that. I’m posting this. Resetting expectations. Building a habit.

Do we dare to write on our own sites again? Do we dare to not be polished or perfect? Do we dare to ramble for tiny audiences who might not care? I hope that I can dare to do just that. Starting here.

👏🏽 Jen. Twitter is becoming a steaming pile of crap—nay has become. Most days, I wonder what it is that I get out of being on Twitter, and Jen and I are only two of the many who feel this way. At best it’s a way to keep up with people, at worst it’s the breeding ground for harrasment, racism, sexism, and any other vile thing you can think of. And as Jen points out, Twitter doesn’t care. They’ve had plenty of opportunities to say that a line has been crossed, yet that line is nonexistent for them.

Hello, Jekyll by Trent Walton

Trent Walton:

I’ve logged quite a lot of hours battling databases, plugins, and a GUI editor to write (and occasionally design) blog posts. Wordpress has served me well, but to simplify the process I’ve ported my blog to Jekyll. It’s great to be static! Writing already feels more casual and enjoyable.

Welcome to the light side, Mr. Walton. I moved my personal site to Jekyll back in 2013 and have never looked back. Since then, I haven’t built a personal project with WordPress. Back then I asked myself if I was going to be anti-WordPress:

Not at all. I love WordPress. I’ve been working with WordPress for years. However, I work on this site a lot, and I found myself very frustrated with how WordPress handles a simple blog. The honest truth, WordPress is too much for just a blog these days.

Things have changed since then. I do not love WordPress anymore. It’s become cumbersome to me for both personal and client projects. I recently set up a client with a Jekyll site using SiteLeaf, and she loved it. The benefits for a lot of projects just outweigh the cons:

  1. No messing with PHP.
  2. MySQL databases don’t have to be setup locally, aren’t a hassle to sync to production, and don’t randomly become corrupted.
  3. Developing with Liquid and Sass is a breeze, and Jekyll does it out of the box.
  4. A whole site can be checked into Git, making version control easy.
  5. Don’t even get me started on the horrible UI and typography choices that have plagued the WordPress CMS.

Don’t get me wrong though, WordPress can be useful for certain projects, and certainly has a stronghold powering 26.4% of the web.1 But it’s interesting to be seeing an ever-increasing shift away from WordPress for blogs, and at-least for me, it no longer being my no-brainer go-to for new projects.

  1. Statistic from ManageWP. The number is from March of this year, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it had grown. 

A Year of Ruby, Together by André Arko | EuRuKo 2016

This is an important talk to watch. All of us use open-source libraries, and while this talk is ruby-specific, our support and contribution to the communities we belong to is important. Most open-source software is worked on people’s free time, and even if they’re currently being paid by a company to do so, that’s no guarantee it’ll continue forever nor does it absolve our responsibility to help.

Visualizing a Job Search or: How to Find a Job as a Software Engineer by Kelly Sutton

Kelly Sutton:

Today, I start a new job at Gusto. This concludes the most comprehensive search I’ve done for a new job. My job search lasted a total of 35 days from start to signed offer letter.

In total, I communicated with 23 different companies to receive 4 offers to make a single choice. During the process, I was rejected 9 times with the remaining conversations fizzling or being cut off by myself.

This is a fascinating post. We’re all used to seeing the conventional “I’m starting a new job” post, but this one is unique in that I’ve never seen a job visualized like this. One thing becomes very clear after reading this: looking for a job is awful and time-intensive.

Still, I would love to see more posts like this. It’s very educational. The idea of using a spreadsheet to keep track of everything is helpful, although I’d assume you could use something like Highrise too. My big takeaway: organization is key if you want your job search to be successful in less time.

Discontinuing Support for Check the Weather by David Smith

David Smith:

Four years ago today I introduced a weather app called Check the Weather. I was really proud of how it turned out. It was my first app where I was able to do everything ‘right’ from the beginning.

Sadly, however, the time has come to discontinue support for the app.

This news really bums me out. I’m a huge fan of Check the Weather. I purchased it a few years ago, and it’s been my one-and-only weather app (even though it didn’t have an Apple Watch complication). Seems that I’ll be switching to Dark Sky.

Thank you for all of your hard work on this app, David. RIP Check the Weather.

Welcome to Macintosh Season 3 Kickstarter

Mark Bramhill:

Season 3 of Welcome to Macintosh is the most ambitious season to date. The stories I’m working on require traveling across the country, reporting on events, working with designers — and these expenses add up. Advertising helps, but the money only comes in after the episodes have been released. In the past, I’ve paid for expenses out of pocket and just trusted that things would work out. But that’s not sustainable, and it limits what I’m able to do and what stories I can tell.

Welcome to Macintosh is such a great show, that of course this Kickstarter was funded before I even had the chance to write about it! Still, Mark has put in a stretch goal of $16k which would get us all 2 more episodes for Season 3. Knowing what I know about Mark, and some of the fantastic story ideas he has, it’s in our best interest to make that happen.

Go back this project!

We own you by Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson:

Increasingly, companies are demanding cult-like devotion. Do whatever it takes; sacrifice whatever you’ve got. It’s no longer enough to punch in, put in a solid day’s work, and go home. Now, you’re expected to be on Slack 24/7, use your social network to promote the company, recruit friends to the team, go to events in the evening, and use your personal equipment.

All of this would be fine if employees benefited from their sacrifice in the same way their bosses do. But they don’t.

iPhone 7: Computer from the Future | MacStories

As per usual, Viticci’s review of the iPhone 7 is thought-out and thorough:

Beyond anticipated camera improvements, speed bumps, and design tweaks, the iPhone 7 is planting the seeds of future technologies that will ripple through the entire Apple ecosystem. Years from now, every photo we’ll capture and view will be in wide color; Apple’s wireless headphones will have advantages wired models never had; and interfaces without tactile feedback will feel as outdated as non-Retina graphics do today.

These aren’t promises of features to come eventually: the iPhone 7 delivers them now. And while these changes may not be as flashy or attractive as radical new designs and colors, their impact on the iPhone platform will have wide-ranging and long-term ramifications.

As expected, the iPhone 7 is a great iteration on the iconic device and—contrary to what some believe—a huge push forward. The section on the W1 chip is fascinating too, and gets me really excited for the new possibilities of wireless audio:

If you’re familiar with Bluetooth headphones, you know how flaky and opaque pairing them can be. You usually have to press a combination of buttons, watch for special light indicators, go into your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings, and hope for the best while following the instructions. It’s even worse if your Bluetooth headphones are already turned on and paired with one device and you try to connect them to another.

The W1 chip gets rid of all that cruft.

Vittici bought a pair of Beats Solo 3 headphones to test the new chip. I’m not a huge fan of Beats headphones, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t at least interested in picking up a pair after reading. Just like Apple made the pairing experience with the Apple Watch seamless (also using Bluetooth), it would seem they’ve nailed this experience too. It’s fascinating how Apple has been able to mold this terrible protocol to its will. In essence, if they didn’t tell you it was Bluetooth, you’d never know.

Normalize (CSS) No More by Shaun Rashid

Shaun Rashid:

Like many web developers, I have used a reset/normalize style sheet in a variety of projects with the intention of having a common starting point for all browsers when it comes to styling CSS. It’s been useful. It works great for setting a baseline to create web pages that are pixel-perfect reproductions of mockups from designs.

However, as I work with building responsive websites where the widening array of devices has changed the way that we design websites, I have fallen back to the age-old statement that answers the question of whether a website needs to look exactly the same in every browser. With the answer to that question, I have found that the reset/normalize stylesheet has become unnecessary.

Such a short article, but an excellent point. I’ll be removing the reset/normalize from this site and my personal site soon. Although I agree with Chris Coyier, I can’t live without this:

* {
  box-sizing: border-box;

Benefits Are the Bedrock of Great Company Culture | Savvy Inbox

Paul Farnell is on a roll these days:

In the early days of running a startup, it’s hard to focus on things that don’t directly lead to revenue. The environment is plastic, so the little things you do can establish the foundation of a great culture. Great benefits start with the intangibles, so any effort you make to let people know you care about their well-being is appreciated.

Our industry’s misguided focus on being data-driven and seeing a return on investment has lead many companies to be short-sighted in this regard. If it’s numbers you want, interestingly (and not surprisingly) there’s a financial case to be made for great benefits:

Speaking of money, there is a financial case to be made for great benefits. You can measure benefits against employee retention to see if you’re doing it right.

Lazlo Bock, head of People Operations at Google, explained the causal relationship between benefits and employee retention on the Note to Self podcast. A few years ago, Google had a problem where a lot of new mothers weren’t coming back after maternity leave. As you might imagine, it’s really disruptive, time-consuming and expensive to replace great people.

Google extended maternity leave by two more months (still at full pay) and boom — their problem was solved. Retention rates improved by 50%, new mothers had more time at home and the company was saving money.

Sad this has to be said isn’t it? You treat people well, they’ll feel like their life is better by working at your company. They’ll stay. Now you don’t have to use your precious money that you love so much to find other people. It’s so logical, I don’t understand how companies don’t get it. Businesses that don’t treat their employees well prove to be working against their own interests.