July 26, 2010

Rework from 37signals

Rework is the recent page turner by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-founders of 37signals. The book is 288 pages, but every other page is either a drawing (not a diagram, a drawing) or a blank page. This made the book read exceptionally fast. Check out the excerpts or the trailers.

My initial reaction to the book was positive. I am a fan of their other book, Getting Real, a series of essays on software development. Rework had a much more broad appeal than Getting Real. It is 37signals’ fresh take on business and their unique philosophy on starting, running and growing businesses.

I respect the fact that the authors take an opinion in the book. I did not agree with everything in the book, but having an opinion and offering evidence to why that opinion is right is something to be applauded. Initially, I was taken aback by their approach, but have grown to like their upfront style of writing.

One of passages from the book that I enjoyed was their explanation of the real world. People immediately assume that new ideas will never succeed in the real world. Things like scalability and user adoption are common arguments to why the real world will crush your dream. Rework makes the counter argument that you don’t have to live in the real world. The real world problems are just that, problems. Waiting for solutions.

The book is full of interesting observations. Like the prison weapon approach, where prisoners are able to craft weapons out of virtually nothing. Just like taking an idea and turning it into a business out of thin air. Another idea in the book is Hero Mode, where an employee grinds on a task for hours until they reach hero mode and solve the problem. Everyone is guilty of overdoing a task. Most of the time, that 4 hour task can be solved in 20 minutes with outside input or taking a different approach.

Definitley read the book. It will only take a few hours, and they will be very thought provoking. I read the book as a result of a book sharing idea from this blog’s really cool post. Check them out.

June 23, 2010

Disable Current Line Highlighting in Visual Studio 2010

After installing the Visual Studio 2010 Pro Power Tools, Current Line Highlighting is enabled. This is alright for some, but it causes frustration when trying to view parenthesis, bracket and brace boundaries. Below is a screenshot of a program with the current line highlighting turned on.

To disable current line highlighting, Navigate to Tools -> Options. In the options dialog box, expand the environment section and click on the Fonts and Colors subsection. The screen contains a list of different types of text in Visual Studio and their associated formatting. Find the Current Line (Extension) Item and change the Item Background from Default to White. This will make the background of the Current Line White.

May 18, 2010

Food Roundup, Spring 2010

Because of IgniteLincoln, Spring was a very busy season for cooking. My lightning talk for the event described my passion for cooking, and the observations that I made over the month leading up to the talk. Video from the event will be posted soon.

I included a lot of food pictures in the slideshow for the event and had even more to share on Flickr. Most of the food in the pictures is Italian (the best food to cook), but there are a few different dishes, like Fish Tacos and Turkey Skewers.
Here is the link to the Spring Food Roundup - http://www.flickr.com/photos/njebert/sets/72157624084916842/

30/30 Recap - Congratulations Nate

Big props out to Nate(@natelowry) for completing the 30/30 April challenge. He has covered a wealth of different (and entertaining) topics like: What he has been reading, his work, and his music. This is the second year that Nate has dominated the 30/30 April challenge. Great work!

I failed the challenge yet again this year. It was a rough second half of the month, but I am glad I attempted the 30/30 April this year.

April 28, 2010

Weekly Meal Planning

Meal planning takes making a grocery list one step further. Planning out every meal of the week saves a bunch of time at the grocery store. It also keeps food costs down, and motivates one to think about what is going on the rest of the week.

Brett (@belahm) invested in some meal planning stationary (its from Lobotome). I was skeptical at first, but I now think it is very beneficial to plan out each meal and buy only what is needed from the store. The meal sheet for this week is shown below:

I have the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch, so there is no need to plan those. Each night, write what is for dinner on the left and the required ingredients on the right. It only takes a few minutes each week, and saves a bunch of frustration when trying to figure out what to cook.

Check out all of Lobotome's stationary, it's pretty cool - http://www.lobotome.com/pages/notepads.html