Always Be Writing

I just installed the Medium Android app and I hope that Medium will do for my blogging what Twitter has done for my micro-blogging. If you’re a software developer, you might notice that David Byttow (@davidbyttow)’s excellent post, ABC: Always Be Coding (How to Land an Engineering Job), has inspired the title for this one. I subsequently remembered Jeff Attwood (@codinghorror)’s Always. Be. Shipping (http://blog.codinghorror.com/yes-but-what-have-you-done/) from 2007 and Steve Sinofsky (@stevesi)’s Learning By Shipping blog which started in 2013 (http://blog.learningbyshipping.com/2013/01/03/hello-world/) after leaving Microsoft in 2012.

Yes, Medium is someone else’s sandpit (but it now has an API). Yes, it should be on my own domain (I can now use my own should I wish to). Yes, I should be hosting it myself and have full control over it (I’ve tried Ghost Blog, and I’m not a fan of WordPress). The point is that none of these things matter unless you are writing. I read a lot more than I write and I’ve composed or Retweeted nearly 10,000 tweets since September 2009 and just over 800 people have followed me even though I haven’t done anything special or gone out of my way to get followers. I could write a whole post on why Twitter’s 140 character limit and the fact everything is public by default is so great for increasing the frequency of communication and interaction. I also think it’s great to write where people read. And I’ve found myself reading Twitter, Medium and Quora a great deal.

When do I tweet? Often when I’m constrained. I might be travelling somewhere. I might have a small chunk of time when I’m relaxing. It’s not always when I’m sitting down at my laptop, ready and able to do something else like coding. Have I developed a routine for sitting down to code? Absolutely. How about for blogging? Not so much.

I good friend, Rob Lagesse (@kr8tr), used to blog a great deal. His blog was very active from January 2012 all the way back to August 2006 (http://www.lagesse.org/page/457) back when he was using MSN Live Spaces and Windows Live Writer. Nowadays he tweets. His timeline is the kind I read the last few tweets from when I see him tweet, or when it comes to mind. Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) is someone who really nails the tech blogging (over at http://www.hanselman.com/blog/) and has inspired me to write more in the past. Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)’s blog over at Tech n’ Marketing (http://technmarketing.com/) has some particularly interesting interviews. James Altucher (@jaltucher) uses a handful of platforms these days. But I know him well from when http://www.jamesaltucher.com/ was his primary outlet — it’s still very active, but I’m more likely to see a post there or elsewhere via his twitter account.

Back to the topic… instead of writing another “blog about blogging”. I’m going to treat posts like my last one, My Reading List, as wiki-like posts I’ll re-visit and update. The rest I will treat like “longer tweets”. I will try not to hold myself to the standard of print, or one of Paul Graham’s famous essays (http://paulgraham.com/articles.html). But I’ll try doing more writing on Medium. I write a lot already. I’ve long been a fan of Google Docs and write plenty of things that have audiences of one, a few, or nobody at all. I like Dropbox Paper (where I’m writing this right now), which has edged out Evernote and OneNote as my favorite place to write things down.

Here are a few recent updates.

Reading

If you’ve seen my Twitter timeline recently you’ll see I’ve been posting a bit about about Go (@golang). The Go Programming Language by Alan A. A. Donovan & Brian W. Kernighan (http://gopl.io) is one of my new favorite books. And if you have time to watch one video about how Go is helping to solve some interesting problems, check out Zviad Metreveli’s video about Go at Dropbox (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOx9enktnUM ).

Continuing the Google-related theme I am also reading How Google Works by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle is another very interesting book on My Reading List.

Clouds & Code

If code and the clouds are your thing you’ll probably enjoy Rackspace’s Carina (powered by OpenStack Magnum) which launched in Beta just over a month ago. I’ve done a lot of testing and I have a lot more to write about this. In the meantime check out http://getcarina.com and Adrian Otto (@adrian_otto)’s post (http://blog.rackspace.com/tech-deep-dive-with-carina-magnum-containers/) about it. He also gave a great presentation, The Future of the Cloud (http://solve.rackspace.com/la/10.html ) at Rackspace Solve, Los Angeles last month.

Microsoft recently open sourced their relatively new Visual Studio Code (@code) which is being enjoyed by myself and developers using almost any language (including JavaScript and a couple of my favorites, python and Go) or platform (including Mac and Linux!).

Dropbox (@Dropbox)’s Paper is a great cloud collaboration product. Recently launched and still in Beta, I was given access a little while ago and I am using it more and more. I touched on it above, but it really has to be tried to be appreciated. I don’t see it as a “Google Docs killer”. It’s a lot of things and I’ll be using both for a long time to come. What I do know is that I use Docs for things that require intensive real-time collaboration and things that are actually documents. Paper I use for writing some docs and lots of other things. Would you like to bypass the waitlist and have immediate access to the Beta? Send me a DM and follow me so I can reply with instructions.

Toronto

I visited FreshBook’s offices here in Toronto earlier this week. They are a great platform with some great people. At one point I did ask whether they saw themselves expanding into other areas, catching myself when I realised that’s pretty touchy question. I was surprised when I saw Mike McDerment (@MikeMcDerment) tweet that they are releasing a card reader (http://venturebeat.com/2015/12/02/freshbooks-takes-on-square-with-30-card-reader-that-connects-in-store-payments-with-accountancy-software/ ) that competes with Jack Dorsey (@Jack)’s Square (@Square). Square is one of my favorite companies, but one key difference I notice immediately is that FreshBooks will support EMV (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMV ) (also known as “chip-and-PIN), which Square only offers in the USA right now. Square had a successful IPO last week, in good company with Canadian company Shopify.

I’ve also been in touch with other amazing tech companies and met some wonderful people recently here in Toronto. As far as places & spaces go, I recently visited the MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) which has to be seen to be believed. It is already the home of plenty of awesome tech companies like AirBnB and a laundry list of others, and Facebook is due to join them tomorrow. Personally, I think it’d be a great place for a WeWork (@WeWork).

That’s all for now folks.