November

Dec 17 2014

I'm going to try something new on the blog here: as a new month arrives I'll recap the highlights of the previous month for me. Mining my data trails on Foursquare, Goodreads and Trello, I'll share some things in that month that were not big enough for a whole post but noteworthy just the same. Oh, and next time I won't wait until half of the next month is over!

Saw

  • Caught the great comedian Todd Glass on Thanksgiving weekend. He's always been very particular about the ideal environment of a comedy club and its gotten to the point that it's the main theme of his act. He makes sure the lighting is controlled just the way he wants and he commands (and lambasts) the three-piece that he has on stage with him. That's right, he has a band - he's the only stand-up comedian I've seen that has production value.
  • Really enjoyed Birdman. Interstellar was good but wasn't something that stuck with me. But then again I would watch Matthew McConaughey play the character of Matthew McConaughey in anything at this point.

  • Phoenix Suns vs. Philadelphia 76ers: When the Sixers aren't a good team I still go to games to see the opposing team in-person. The Suns were a lot of fun to watch last year, but unfortunately they don't quite have the same spark this season. And the Sixers were so bad that it just wasn't a challenge for them. The game was over by the second quarter and somehow we stayed until the middle of the fourth.

Heard

  • Like everyone else I'm listening to the podcast hit Serial although hesitantly and with a lot of skepticism. It'll be interesting to see how it ends this week, if for anything to witness the audience reaction. I'm predicting that it's a little anticlimatic since there really haven't been any new legal developments in the case yet.

Did

  • My friend Jen invited me to talk to her SUNY Farmingdale (Long Island) undergraduate design class about working for a startup. I had fun talking to the students about why I wanted to work at a startup, what it's like, and (very unscientific) reasons why I think certain startups succeed. The students are working on their senior project in which they are going to launch a company/product so after my presentation each student pitched their idea one-on-one to me Shark Tank-style. It was challenging for me to hear so many ideas in a short period of time and try to give tips to help them execute. It was interesting to notice that the projects that I felt the most favorably to were from the students in which the idea was part of their identity. I could see that they had a better chance of succeeding because they really believed in it. Overall it was a rewarding experience and great to see a teacher like Jen mentoring her students to become better at their craft. Teaching is something that I can see myself doing some day.

  • I finally got the chance to attend a Barcamp after a few years of not being able to make it due to other plans. I was really blown away by the people that I met there and learning about what they were passionate about. Barcamp is an unconference where the attendees submit their presentations the morning of. It skews towards tech topics but I made it a point to stay away from anything too programmy besides one session on Mr. Job (MapReduce in Python). Instead I learned about why a woman (and co-worker of mine at Indy Hall) shaved her head, how to lead an Agile life, and more. The after-party was equally epic and I even met a few new awesome people.

Read

  • Mark Twain's Autobiography, 1910-2010: Everyone knows that Mark Twain's first autobiography was released one hundred years after his death. But did you know that he never actually died and has gotten into a bunch of adventures over the last one hundred years? Kupperman's stories here are absurd: encounters with Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, The Wolfman and The Mummy ("I pledged the monsters not to release their album until the nineteen-sixties..."), hijinks with Einstein and multiple Hollywood careers.

  • 7 Rules For Creating Gorgeous UI Part 1 and 2: I'm constantly trying to become a better designer, but since I don't have a solid art background, talk of golden ratios and color theory don't always sink in. These tips immediately make sense and will help me in the future.

  • Batman, Vol. 4: Zero Year - Secret City: I read a lot of Batman and while the Dark Knight's dedication to his city of Gotham is well documented, it's sometimes hard for me to trace back why. Gotham seemingly has only two good people living in the entire city (Comm. Gordon and Barbara) that are worth saving. Bruce Wayne doesn't even live in the city and his corporate headquarters are probably located there only because he got a sweet tax break (Wayne Enterprises is to Gotham what Comcast is to Philadelphia). This new series attempts to correct this misconception by grounding Wayne to Gotham on more than just it was the place where something happened in Crime Alley one night.

  • Functional Programming: I don't think I've quite grasped everything included in this presentation yet, but functional programming is intriguing and is something that can definitely help my JavaScript. Will come back to this soon and will dig into Ramda more soon.

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Dave Walk is a software developer, basketball nerd and wannabe runner living in Philadelphia. He enjoys constantly learning and creating solutions with Go, JavaScript and Python. This is his website.