We need understandable technology.

Your customer looking up at tall skyscrapers you and your competitor have built, when all they wanted was a house
Your customer looking up at tall skyscrapers you and your competitor have built, when all they wanted was a house

When we first started our technology company many years ago to help companies make documents automatically from their data, we had a lot of assumptions about our clients.

We thought they had a structured set of data already. We thought we could just connect to whatever system they were using, or at least allow them to import data from a CSV file into our product, and we would be off to the races.

Boy were we wrong.

To our surprise, most clients didn’t even have a system of record. They had no cohesive database or even…


Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

We don’t know how long this is going to last, or what the long term implications will be. What we do know is that we have a business on the line, and we have to do everything we can to survive.

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones whose business does very well during this crisis, many other businesses are struggling and being forced to adapt. Here are some of the lessons our company is learning during COVID-19.

Prepare for a long recovery

When we talk about a time when “this is over,” no one knows exactly when that will be. And even if that…


As a tech guy, I almost feel like I get to see a preview of what’s to come in the material world by what’s happening in the world of technology.

Over the last several years, how programmers program has drastically changed. We’ve moved from a world of procedure to declaration. What I mean by that is programmers, less and less, need to tell computers how to do everything, and instead they just tell them what they want the end result to be. It’s then the computer’s job to figure out how to get things from point A to B.

But…


I’ve worked in the data and technology space for the last 14 years. In that time, do you know what has changed about the way companies manage their data? Almost nothing.

The problem is that companies are still using disparate spreadsheets to keep track of their sensitive business information, but it doesn’t scale, it’s difficult to keep track of the latest version, it can’t hold all the things you need it to (like files), and it doesn’t offer finely-grained-enough permissions to keep your data safe and resistant to human error. …


I use a graphics program that was released 12 years ago. It does everything I need. I very rarely need to use any other graphics software. But it’s old enough that the credits of the builders scrolls through its “About” screen like a Star Wars intro.

We don’t tend to think about software development in terms of being “done.” We tend to think of it as a continuous never-ending effort, where improvements must be made indefinitely. Otherwise, it is of no value.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And I think it’s a time-specific phenomenon we are only…


I came up the elevator from the room downstairs. It was a large freight elevator that went clear to the top floor. I was at least 30 stories high now.

The bottom of the elevator was black. The buttons inside gray. Drab on the inside. But when the doors slid open, there was a spectacular view. Windows all along the side of the building, spanning from edge to edge, floor to ceiling.

There was a small hallway to my right. A small crowd of no more than ten was gathered in the main entryway. All impeccably dressed with drinks in…


Somtimes I would get so sick, I would lose grip of reality.

Dreams blur into real life and real life would blur into my dreams. I’d frequently have dreams where I’m drowning. Or where I would get into a car crash. I would almost die, and I would have to decide if I want to live or not as I fade in and out of consciousness. Living wasn’t always my first choice.

To the normal person, it might be disturbing how comfortable I’ve gotten with the idea of dying. But I think it’s made me less afraid. Few fears are…


I very quickly made this app to showcase the power of Meteor and its capabilities.

http://chat.pitchly.net/

Code here: https://github.com/Pitchlyapp/meteor-live-chat

Live Demo: http://chat.pitchly.net/

This app was largely made in just two hours, styling aside, and shows the power of Meteor and its real-time capabilities. This sample app covers a few key principles:

  • How to use Blaze Templates
  • How to publish/subscribe to data from the server
  • How to call methods on the server
  • How to insert data into MongoDB
  • How to deal with data reactively
  • How to use Meteor helpers
  • How to use Meteor events
  • How to import Meteor and NPM third-party packages


A comeback to the similarly named (but opposing) article by Quartz.

Net neutrality is up for debate again as Congress is planning to vote on legislation that will allow internet service providers to charge content providers for faster connection to their content. The vote will take place on Dec. 14, 2017.

I recently read an article on Quartz titled, “The economic case that net neutrality was always fundamentally bad for the internet”

While the article presents arguments from both sides, and in actuality seems to promote net neutrality, I would like to rebuke the arguments listed for eliminating net neutrality.

The main reason Katz is against net neutrality, is that he sees likely benefits from paid prioritization, the ability of internet…


(with a bias towards Meteor)

Update (Nov. 28, 2017): The ‘Cache’ keyword from the ‘apollo-cache-inmemory’ NPM package has been replaced with ‘InMemoryCache’. The new code reflects the most current working code. If you have any more issues, please report them as we try to keep up with Apollo’s latest changes.

There’s a lot of turmoil right now as developers are learning that Apollo 2.0 has brought breaking changes to previous 1.0 implementations, and the official docs and most online examples are now outdated. I recently got 2.0 working (with subscriptions!) and I thought I would spare many from the hassle of forum hunting. …

Michael C. Brook

Chief Technology Officer @ pitchly.com. Former hockey player, licensed NHRA racecar driver, and Californian now living in the Midwest.

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