If this goes well, I might be able to add some productivity booster features for my team.

First one that comes to mind is some integration to link Azure DevOps work items to our help desk software in a bi-directional fashion.

Writing that kind of glue code integration between two services with APIs always brings me joy. So much to gain for just a little effort.

I'm kind of glad I'm doing this as a side piece because I'd never want anyone to hold money over my head for this project.

There's no good way to test my code, and the documentation is all over the place.

One of the nice parts of doing it as a side project is that I can take a long time to digest things between sessions which helps me internalize all the disparate pieces better.

I've been playing around over the last couple of weeks on a side-project with an Azure DevOps plugin.

OMG, the API feels like it was made by a barrel of monkeys. But it feels like once I get all the horribly-documented bits figured out I might be able to build something cool with this.

Currently, my goal project is a Pomodoro timer Hub page that automatically adjusts the time fields on task item.

It would have been worth the subscription rate if I could use the book on an e-ink display, but I was stuck reading on my laptop or phone. I did read a fair bit, but not enough to justify the cost of the full-price subscription, and yet to read as much as I can in print media will cost me more money. This would seem to be a catch 22 situation.

I decided not to renew my Safari Books subscription because without the initial offer price it was too expensive for what use I got out of it. I didn't read enough books to justify the cost about $500/year.

One week later, I've committed myself to buying a few paper books this year to make up for it. I've almost finished my second book in a week and have spent $50.

I think this indicates the electronic medium was hampering my reading when I had the subscription.

Mission Accomplished: Work/Life balance restored.

Now what was it I used to do with my life? Kids are in bed, wife's doing her own thing, and I'm trying to decide between playing with Azure Pipelines or trying out PyGame to make something for the kids to play on the Raspberry Pi.

Another amazing thing about having a dedicate work machine now: I open my personal computer after mostly not using it all week and all the stuff from last weekend's project is still open. I can just jump in and pick up where I left off.

Of course... this only works because we keep a back channels open for emergencies. I carry a pager and we use an alternate messaging service as an escalation step before pagers.

We got new hardware at work so that we’re not using personal devices and the company can manage the work devices (big step for a startup).

One super bonus side-effect... I just signed out of Slack on my personal laptop. I now have a laptop I can do stuff on and not be constantly notified about work chatter during evenings and weekends.

Disabling notifications was never enough for me. I’d open the app out of habit, so this is a big win for work/life balance.

Good episode of the OWASP DevSlop show today, covering a pragmatic approach to Threat Modeling in an Agile project lifecycle.

I particularly liked the practical approach to identifying the aspects of STRIDE that will be most important in a given context. Any tool to help filter down to what’s most important helps.

You can watch the recording here for a while until the episode is edited and finds it’s permanent home on YouTube.

twitch.tv/videos/397012744

Taking a vacation this week while my daughters are off school for March Break.

We're building a robot powered by a Micro:Bit. We've got the chassis assembled already and managed to assemble a simple test program to make sure the motors work.

I continue to be shocked at just how reliable these little computers are. We wired it up, dropped in the extension for the motor controller we bought, and it just worked.

Niche skills and tools are a gift to your future self.

I learned Regular Expressions, not because it was the only solution to a problem, but because it kept showing up as a potential solution to many problems.

So I infested the time in myself to read a book on Regular Expressions and it has paid off ten-fold.

Not every investment in skill development is going to pay off that well... but sometimes the payoff will come at a critical moment and you'll be glad you took the time to learn.

I picked up one of the Carnegie books this afternoon just sort of at random. It's been on my bookshelf for years and I'm not sure I ever really intended to read it.

It's a lot better reading than I expected.

It takes an author who died before my parents were born to explain why I feel some of my writing and public speaking feels flat to me.

Too much abstract language. Technical details are great, but the human element of story telling is about more than relaying fact.

I know this of course, but Dale Carnegie's works are a stark contrast to my own writing and speaking. Carnegie's books are anecdote after anecdote and somehow that's not boring, even more half a century after they were written.

"The Lean Startup" and "The Phoenix Project" share much in common in terms of message, being both inspired by Lean Manufacturing methodology.

I recommend "The Phoenix Project" for anyone in IT or Development... but for developers working on projects with a lot of uncertainty involved, "The Lean Startup" still has good insights, despite being targeted more to the management/leadership level.

I finally got around to reading "The Lean Startup" front-to-back. I started a couple years ago but only got about 2/3 of the way through and set it aside because I was too busy.

It's quite a good book. Much of the message has been incorporated into "common knowledge" for our industry. I picked up much of it already by vague references, often removed from context.

I don't usually toot for work, but I think this is worth celebrating!

We're finally able to announce the closing of our seed round for funding. Along with this, our team is also continuing to grow!

medstack.co/blog/medstack-rais

Serves me right for having a lengthy exchange about battery backups on here this month.

My neighbourhood was out of power for about 8 hours this afternoon. We're very happy to have the power back on.

Also... I'm going to invest in a good battery lantern, again. My last one broke in a very not-repairable way. Sitting in the dark is a lot harder with children...

Yay! I released an article!

I'm not super proud of this one... but my goal was just to break a long writing slump. Can only go up from not posting at all.

This one took entirely too long to publish... I'll work on that for the next post.

nicholasbering.ca/linux/2019/0

Between those two time periods... at some point I had to convert all my posts from Textile to Markdown because GitHub Pages deprecated Textile support, and the rest of the time was spent on design tweaks and adding RevealJS slideshow support to host the slides for my meetup talks.

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