Live Coding

Today I live-coded for 15 minutes in front of a 30-person audience of fellow Android engineers from Airbnb. The subject was a couple of frameworks that we use to build UI that have been rapidly evolving over the past few months, so much so that few people have kept up with all the latest developments. (One of those frameworks is open-source and deserves your attention: Epoxy.)

We’ve had extensive documentation available (of course), and conventional talks had been given to the same audience before, but everybody learns differently and finds the headspace to do so at different times. So, with that in mind I thought, why not experiment with a different medium?

Live coding means that my computer screen was projected on a giant screen while I refactored and converted one of our classes to follow our most recent guidelines. The code I was working on was outdated and from our actual codebase. As I worked through it—live—a friend held a microphone to my face and I narrated.

Me during a live coding session at Airbnb

The anecdotal feedback I received immediately after is that it worked. People who had previously been disoriented by changes similar to those I showcased now felt they understood them. And they found the live coding aspect to be particularly engaging.

This creates new questions for me: Can I scale this? Maybe by creating some videos or by organizing live streaming sessions while I work on pertinent projects. Can I teach more things at no extra-cost, by having people observe my workflow and certain shortcuts I use for example? Will others teach me things based on the way they see me working?

Whole World Writing

There’s something stopping me from writing with the intention of publishing on the web. It’s silly because, well, nobody really reads what I’m writing anyway. But anybody could, and that’s always in the back of my mind.

The voice in my head says “since anybody can read it, it has to be as good as something that everybody would want to read.” Which is nonsense. I don’t believe that intellectually. If I can write something that affects a single other person positively, that’s great. That’s a win. Even if it doesn’t, or nobody reads it, or everybody hates it, that’s still a win because it helps me shape and articulate an idea.

But no matter what I think or believe, I feel as if I can’t survive a single person judging what I write negatively. Because shyness isn’t rational. Because really that’s what it is: I’m shy. I worry about what other people think of me much more than is useful.

As self-conscious as I feel in groups, or when I’m writing to the entire world [sic], I generally feel very comfortable talking to just 1 or 2 people at a time. So my writing hack today has been to write like I would a good friend.

You Just Need Space

Today I discovered a Chrome plugin: You just need Space. Its tagline? “You don’t really want to dump Facebook: You just need Space.” Space here comes in the form of a 3 second breathing exercise before accessing whichever website or app you find addictive.

I appreciate their effort. Truly, I do. But I can’t help and laugh. If these are really addictions, what are a few deep breaths going to accomplish? “You don’t really want to dump heroin… You just need to breathe first!” Fuck no! I need to quit heroin!

Dropping Bombs

My blog was named “Dropping Bombs” for a long time. I meant dropping knowledge bombs, but eventually discovered that some people use that expression to mean taking a huge shit. So yeah, I changed the name.