Programming insights to Storytelling, it's all here.
I've been awfully quiet on this blog for a little while, and it's about time I say hello. So, Hello! I'm hoping to spend more time blogging this year since I've just taken a decision that gave me more time. On December 30th 2020, I left my job. I was the first engineer hired in a start up called Abot (later renamed Thankful). We used AI and automation to improve customer service for a plethora of online shopping websites.
In web development, connecting the application to a database is rarely an issue. Most programming languages come with a database driver that does all the work. You call the connect function with credentials and host as arguments, and you are in. When working on a phone app, we expect to do the same thing. But there is a key difference here.
The advantages of working in tech is that our work can easily transition into consulting. It's all code after all. But at work we use tools like Jira or Trello. The manager drops tickets in your queue and that's what you work on. We rarely think about what to do next. When consulting, you are on your own to figure what to do right now. Most developers will give up on consulting after their first stint. (Turns out you hate working on your cousin's app)
I once worked in a small security booth in downtown LA. The capacity was exactly for one person sitting down. But each shift had two security guards. To fit in the booth, both guards had to stand up. One of the guards who often interrupted my sitting and forced me to stand up was Lance. After so many years at the job, Lance was tired of working as a security guard. The pay was low, the hours were inconvenient and there were no opportunities for growth. One of the janitors told him that he would make more money if he worked with them instead. Depending on seniority, he could eventually become team lead. Plus he would be part of a union, so no one could ever fire him.
CSS has a feature called !important. What it does is force a property to be used, regardless of other properties that are more specific. It can be very handy.
I grew up learning about America in a chapter or two in our school's history book. It said that Christopher Columbus sailed across the seas. Through shear luck, he discovered the new world. When he reached the land, he greeted the inhabitants as Indians. The book went on to describe him as a heroic navigator and trader. That's the image I had ingrained in my mind.
It's easy to decide if a writing is bad. The author uses big words, writes long complicated sentences, and forgets the point he is trying to make. Other common things in bad writing is lack of structure and lack of knowledge in the subject. In a nutshell, when you read it, you don't understand it.
I was looking for a way to count the number of words in a blog post using MySQL. Most solutions I found online required I create a function. I wanted something simpler instead, something as close to a native function as possible. And the answer that occurred to me was to use the Length() and Replace() function with a catch.
After I completed my first programming class, I went straight to Craigslist. I advertised my programming services. I called myself an experienced programmer who could code anything. I posted a link to a website, the one and only I had built for a friend. I described the challenges regular people face when building their own website, then I said a few bad things about WordPress. I ended the post with these words: "I charge a fair price."
One weekend morning, I got up at 7 am. I wore a white t-shirt and black shorts, I tightened my shoes and went down to gym in our apartment building. I had one machine in mind. The treadmill. This wasn't a very active year for me. The only exercise I was familiar with was walking to the bus stop to get to work, and walking to the bus stop to get to school. But that day, I was determined to do cardio.
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