Why Open Source is so Important

This is the transcript I gave for the above talk. View the slides here.

Have you ever been on Spaceship Earth in Disney World? It’s “The Golf Ball” in Epcot Center and it’s one of my favorite rides on the property. If you haven’t, Spaceship Earth is not some crazy thrill ride like a roller coaster you’d find at Dorney Park. It’s a journey through the history of Earth; specifically how we communicate.

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Asking, How Did You Build That?

If you visit Florence, Italy, visiting the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as the Florence Cathedral or  Il Duomo, is a must. From its completion in 1436 until the advent of modern-era architecture, it was the biggest dome in the world. Even better, it’s completely self supported. All without the help of modern technology. How?

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How to Export from Dashlane to 1Password

I’m going to cut to the quick with this one. Last week AgileBits, the company behind popular password manager 1Password, rolled out a new subscription-based service and with it, 6 months of 1Password for free. While I have been a big proponent of Dashlane I’ve noticed that the quality of the service has been steadily decreasing – problems with syncing, crashing, inconsistencies between platforms, and a really, really ugly Windows 10 app. I decided to give 1Password a try, and along with that, export all of my data out of Dashlane. It was an adventure, but with the help of 1Password’s support, I managed. Here’s how.

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When You Freelance, Make Decisions & Stick to Them

I almost called this one, “Trust and be Trusted, but don’t betray your business.” That’s the gist of the next two stories. It’s easy to make concessions when you’re freelancing, especially when business is slow. You need the work and you’re willing to bend your rules a little bit to move the chains, or bump the bottom line, or whatever metaphor you want to use for, “make more money.” But that might not always work out. I wrote this article in a notebook while on vacation, about 1 month before starting the book Start with Why. I’m happy to say this book reinforced the sentiments of what I’m about to share with you: When you make decisions for your business, stick to them.  Continue reading “When You Freelance, Make Decisions & Stick to Them”

Should we Charge Extra for IE Development?

The exact question was worded this way: Has the time come to charge clients extra for getting their site to work in any version of IE? It’s an interesting question to say the least, and one that comes up every so often when a developer is frustrated with something that works fine in Chrome/Firefox/Safari but not IE. There’s not really an easy answer to this because it all depends on why this question gets asked so often. There is a difference between charging more because of a project’s complexity and charging more because you don’t want to deal with something.

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Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, & the United States 240 Years Later

Perhaps at this point, you’ve heard of the bastard, orphan, immigrant presently featured on the $10 Bill (though he’s actually been on all of them). I’m talking about Alexander Hamilton, the founding father who’s seen a resurgence thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s incredible musical, Hamilton. And you know Thomas Jefferson, the founding father whose popularity is rivaled only by George Washington’s. I’ve been thinking a lot about these guys thanks to a book I recently read called Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry that Forged a Nation. But that’s not the only reason; today is the 240th Anniversary of the United States becoming an independent nation. 2015-2016 has been politically tumultuous and things don’t promise to get much better as we enter the primaries. However, I am reminded that there have been worse times, and our republic has survived. It’s almost a quarter of a century old, and that’s incredible.

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What I Learned from 2 Weeks without Data

When I arrived in Italy for what would be an epic 2 week honeymoon, I had a plan in mind to make sure I would not be without a cell phone and data connection. My wife got me a Nexus 5X last Christmas so I decided to sign up for Google’s Project Fi for international cell service. It’s much cheaper than ATT and I’d get to spend some quality time with Android after being away for about a year. However, when we arrived in Venice I noticed I was connecting to cell towers, but I wasn’t able to text or get online. I thought maybe Venice was spotty but as we moved down country, I still had no luck. I was relegated to calls anywhere, but text and data only on WiFi, which was basically at the hotel. Here’s how that went.

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Solve Actual Problems

Imagine you are taking a test. You are presented with several word problems and are instructed to pick one to solve. Instead what you do is write your own problem – one that you think is a good one to solve, and answer that one. You’re so confident that the teacher will be impressed because you thought of it and you love it and you think it’s a great solution. But when you get the test back, it has a big red F on it. How could that be? Your solution is sound and well thought out. You were invested in it! The teacher explains that while the solution seems like a good one, you didn’t solve any of the problems he asked you to solve. You made up your own based on what you believe. This is a bad way to take tests. But this happens all the time with new products or services. I will come up with an idea I think is great, sink time and money into it, and ultimately it will fail. The reason is I’m trying to solve problems people don’t think they have. The key to a successful product or service is solve actual problems.

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