At SimpleReach we have a very large number of internal API endpoints and each one can bring back dozens of fields of data into our Ember.js application. In order to make integration tests we started with static fixtures, but very soon the sheer number of fields and endpoints become overwhelming.

I really wanted something like VCR for Rails, but alas, there is nothing in the front-end world that does that yet.

Chrome provided a great hack to use though. In the network developer tools you can right click and select “save as HAR with content”. This will save a recording of all network requests that have happened since you opened the tool. …


At this year’s EmberConf on the 25th of March I gave a presentation with Heyjin highlighting some examples of times where using Ember has made our jobs seem infinitely easier.

EmberConf was an amazing experience, the Ember community is full of genuine and welcoming people and I am so excited to see the great things that this community will build together.

Slides and video below.


Last month I gave a lightning talk at the Ember.js NYC meetup. The talk was about designing your API based on what it was going to be used for by the users instead of designing it based on what is in the database. I think that this tactic can be really effective as it reduces the complexity of the front end code, which is where your users are and where you really want everything to revolve around their experience, not the intricacies of your data layer. With more and more complexity living in the front end through frameworks like Ember.js our design decisions need to be giving more weight to the front end than they used to.

Video and slides below:

http://slid.es/andremalan/your-front-end-is-not-your-back-end/

http://slid.es/andremalan/your-front-end-is-not-your-back-end/embed


This is a presentation that I gave at the New York Quantified Self Meetup. I talk about how I started to sleep polyphasically and also how I used self-tracking to make sure that I wasn’t killing myself.


A very well laid out book by Kelly McGonigal.

This is a quick summary of the principles that each chapter addresses as well as some of the tactics that she lays out for when tempted and the strategies that can be used to reduce your risk of failure.

20130511-151037.jpg
20130511-151037.jpg

Most of the habit gurus agree, when it comes to habits, the only way to succeed is to do one at a time. We have limited willpower and need all of it to invoke a habit change. I think they all got it wrong.

Ever since I started reflecting daily I’ve been experimenting with the idea of “slow habits” and I think it’s a far more natural way to form habits than the current paradigm. I’ve been an order of magnitude more successful with it that I have been with the normal methods.

So what’s the different?

Current wisdom:

Pick a habit then invest between 28–60 days concentrating on making sure you apply that habit. …


One of the reasons that polyphasic sleep is less well know is that many of the people who try it fail to adapt. It’s supposed to take around a month to fully adapt (get to the point where you have consistent energy and alertness levels) and can have 1–2 weeks of zombie-like hell where you need ridiculous amounts of willpower to keep going.

Because that sounds like it sucks a lot, I decided to try a hack called a “naptation”, or “exaptation”.

The basic idea:

  • Don’t sleep the night before the adaptation
  • When you need to go to bed (after the not sleeping the day before thing) only sleep for 20 minutes ever 2 hours for the next 48 hours. …


This week I started sleeping polyphasically.

Seeing as I’ve had explained this to a few people lately, here’s a quick FAQ to explain my craziness.

What is polyphasic sleep?

A polyphasic sleep pattern is one where your regular sleep pattern is broken into three or more sessions per day. This is opposed to monophasic (normal, 8 hours straight through the night) sleep.

Why would you do such a thing?

One reason to have a polyphasic sleep pattern is that it can radically reduce the amount of sleep that you need. …


I’ve always really thought that habits were important and have spent much of the past few years reading about and working on changing habits.

I’ve even given a few presentations where the central theme was that if you create good learning habits, then you will learn well. The only issue is that despite all of this, I’ve been terrible at actually following through and creating good habits.

Sure, I’ve had some success. For instance, one of the key learning habits that I’ve used over the past 6 months has been reading technical books on the subway to and from work. No fiction, or fun books, just books that help me be a better programmer. …


Reading

Technology books
Technology books

Reading books about the technologies that you are using is really important. It gives you something that just looking at existing code doesn’t. Over time a code base tends to train developers into doing things “it’s way” and it takes an external influence to help pull the team into better ways of doing things. My Kindle has been an amazing resource, as I can have all of my technical books with me whenever I am on the train or find myself waiting in line. Then, when I’m working at my computer, I can use the Kindle app to pull up relevant sections that I remember. …

About

Andre Malan

Hacking, learning and technology. Spend a lot of time building @simplereach

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