There are two recurring patterns we’ve noticed this year. First one is shitty internet. I’ve worked at a place where the only way to get wifi on my laptop was to turn off wifi on my phone…. Second shit show happening around us is the weather. It’s cold and rains wherever we go.

Source: Micro.blog

I feel so limited

I’m learning Spanish and I feel dumb. I’m limited in everything I do. Buying groceries, going to a bank, ordering coffee at a coffee shop, food at a restaurant or saying hi to people while walking the dog. Imaging that everything you do is 10 times harder and that’s how I feel now.

I’m on my second week of going to Spanish classes and no, I can’t say I see a difference between now and two weeks ago. Hopefully next time I write, I will be able to report some progress. For now I can say that I’m trying to immerse myself as much as I can. Spanish podcasts, classes, articles, sticky notes and iOS apps.

Learning Spanish inspired me to work on my own language learning tool. I’m almost done with a small in-browser tool to practice vocabulary. The first step was to think of how I use my laptop and utilize the part of the screen I stare at the most. I made my learning almost involuntary yet very accessible and easy. I’m planning on releasing it sometime this week once I make sure there aren’t any major problems with it.

Oh and did I mention that I finally touched angular.js?

Here is a preview.

Where’s the ketchup at?

Before you start reading this post, please take a few minutes to listen to the Reply All’s episode I’ve embedded. Its about diversity and it stuck with me as a reminder of why I travel and why being in a new, challenging situations is so beneficial.

If you’re in a hurry and don’t feel like listening to the full episode, start at 24:17 and stop whenever you get the point.

The ketchup story speaks to me in a very clear and positive way and it is a reminder why I put myself through all the changes and turn my life upside down every few years.

A week ago me and my wife Katie arrived to Spain. We moved from Chicago where we’ve spent the last four years and were very happy. We had lots of great friends and coworkers, loved the neighborhoods we lived in and felt like we’re in the middle of something huge. Chicago was amazing and we are lucky the city was a part of our lives. The move the Spain wasn’t easy. We’re in Tarragona surrounded by a new culture, language, cuisine, and everything else you might consider a part of your everyday life. And on top of that we don’t really speak Spanish. We’re both fucked. Two outsiders trying to fit in.

One of my coworkers once told me that she can’t imagine being so far from her family and I can understand that. Living in a new place without your closest people isn’t easy. Also, some people are fine keeping ketchup in one place all their lives or can learn from the immediate surroundings. I respect that too. No need to travel to a different time zone and start from scratch.

The move might seem crazy for most but well… listen to the Reply All episode once again and maybe it won’t be that crazy after all?! What we’re trying to do in Spain is to find our where locals keep their ketchup at and what to replace it with when we run out. It can only make us better…

Hello, again!

Being a contractor is challenging. You try to compromise paid work with your interests, free time and the necessary stuff that ultimately, makes you a better professional and allows your client to get to know you better.

I abandoned this website a few times already. It went without updates for months. Silence always happens when I’m the most productive and don’t have the time to write. It shouldn’t happen. Most often, business spanns new ideas, side projects and cool collaborations. I should keep writing about it instead of shutting it down due to a lack of writing time.]

Hopefully, this time I will be more strict about posting. There is so much stuff I’ve learned over the last few months and I hope it’s gonna be an interesting read for the people who visit this site.

Ubuntu Touch on my old Nexus 7

I have an old Nexus 7 that has been collecting dust. It was a great device, but the last few months were a bit frustrating. Android was acting slow and apps took forever to open. It had to be charged every other day. So I started using it less and less. Now, it has become an experiment.

I love tinkering. There is something fun about installing new software and exploring it. Back in the days when I had an old HTC Desire S, I bricked it several times. As long as the device is covered by the warranty, you’re good. It saved me some money on repairs and as a result I got a new phone each time.

Today, I decided to try out Ubuntu Touch on my Nexus 7. I’m curious to see how it will work on my tablet. I don’t see myself using it every day, but I want to try it out. I think the biggest problem will be the lack of quality apps.

Here is a tutorial on how to install Ubuntu on a Nexus 7. It isn’t too hard to follow but requires Ubuntu installed on an old PC or something. Fortunately, I had one installed … on my 2007 Mac Mini 🙂

Update: I wouldn’t recommend using Ubuntu Touch on anything that you find valuable. It it interesting but not a full-featured system yet. If you do, let me know how it goes.

The Power of Open Source Software

Parse is going away

Parse- a backend software owned by Facebook is going away at the end of 2016. In less than a year, thousands of apps will have to migrate to their own servers or look for another hosting company to store user’s photos, game scores, documents or notes. Fortunately, the founders of Parse decided to make the project open-sourced which means that developers are welcome to work on it, improve it and use it for many years to come.

We had to migrate too

Lots has been said and written about the whole Parse situation. Our own project was affected as well. Once we reach a safe point and complete the migration, we will write about it. For now, I just want to comment on the power of Open Source software based on Parse’s example.

I was working on password reset functionality for our users. It’s that small feature you use when you don’t remember your password. The app communicates with the server, you get an email to your inbox and then you can reset the password.

While I was writing the code, there was a conversation happening about the progress of that exact feature on GitHub- the repository where the open source parse project lives now. That would never happen if the project was still proprietary.

The community of developers was able to shape the missing feature based on their needs and propose a solution that was optimal. Of course, Parse shutting down their service did caused a huge headache to me and thousands of other programmers around the world but I also think that it might result in something good. There is a much larger community of smart people working on Parse Server right now and they’re trying to make it even better than it was before.

The power of Open Source

It is April 2016, two months afterParse announced that they will be shutting their service. Since then, a huge part of the project is available online. More than 7,000 developers follow their GitHub account in order to track the progress and almost 2,000 people decided to fork it and possibly contribute to it. This is just one example of a project that’s growing faster now that the open-source community got a hold of it.

Another popular project that was open-sourced just a few months ago is Swift made by Apple. The company from Mountain View is trying to involve the community to shape one of their biggest assets– the new language to write iOS and OSX apps.

Why is it so important to keep code Open source?

In a perfectly closed world without shared code, your app would be only as smart as the developer who worked on it. The power of shared code allows your developers to look at the work of their peers, colleagues and sometimes even their competitors. No matter what we do, we all stand on the shoulders of our predecessors. We learn, copy, adopt and improve. Especially when it comes to code.