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I delivered a TEDx talk

Last Saturday afternoon, I did a talk for TEDxUWA:Masterpiece the inaugural micro-conference of a new TEDx organisation in WA, TEDxUWA who are in their first year of operation.  This was a fantastic experience if a bit boundary pushing for me.

This was the first time I had planned, written, rehearsed and delivered a full talk, with some help from my lovely best friend (and wife), Annmarie. It was also the first time I had ever really talked about myself personally in front of a crowd of people, laying myself bare so to speak.  This was quite liberating.  Opening up and showing parts of me that are normally hidden from casual observation.

We had seen the call for talks on Facebook and had submitted a suggestion with the expectation that we would probably not hear back about it.  Our initial elevator pitch description was “Creative expression starts with connection and the support to express yourself. Connection and support starts with the family.”

We were a bit surprised to hear back that they wanted an interview and after that went well I was offered a speaking slot. So then we had to write a talk.  Annmarie wrote out an initial idea which I took some of from.  We worked out a goal and after a lot of nervous uncertainty, I finally wrote a finished talk a few days before the event.  Then feverish rehearsing and finally a good talk.

In the end, the talk was mostly about my personal transformation from a goth/punk in the mid-90s, not really sure about who I was and what that meant, to now where I feel more like I am me and dress and act more like me.  The talk also touches on the influence my opening up to myself has had on my kids growing up and their development of confidence in themselves.  I hope it’s a talk that lots of people can find something in.

The volunteer crew that organised the event were great and very helpful and supportive.  The other speakers were also lovely people and the rest of the talks were interesting.  Although it is not something I thought I’d be good at, I really enjoyed it and in the end, felt I accomplished something, and would definitely do it again, if given the chance.

I’ve put up the full original text of my talk here.

HTML safe and escaped text in a rails view

In my skilling up in Rails application I was wanting to add in the feature to allow a user’s comment/post, if it contained a URL, to make that URL clickable. A fairly simple change but one with a bit of a trick on Rails as it turns out. (more…)

VIM and my configuration

As with most vim users above beginner I used to have my customised vimrc file.  Since being off vim for a while and changing machines a couple of times, I now can’t find where I had stored my previously developed vimrc file so I’m building a new one.  Also in common with many other developers I’ve made a github repo to store it so next time I need to find it I’ll know exactly where it is.  So if you are interested to see what’s in it and how it develops,  you can find it there.

My standing workspaces

I’ve been a fan of the standing workspace for some time now having started trying out standing arrangements in late 2012.  After reading about the idea off and on for a couple of years before I was finally convinced to give it a try myself when I read this article. I’ve found a lot of benefits from working at a standing desk and find it now my preferred set-up.  I’ve even read that standing for an extra three hours every weekday for a year can expend the same energy as running 10 marathons. So here is a round-up of my standing desk efforts to date. (more…)

Going live with my test application

I’ve been building a sample web site/application in Ruby on Rails.  I’ve been following the, what I think is, rather excellent tutorial by Micheal Hartl.  I’ve finished the base tutorial and am now looking to expand the site with some improvements and fixes I think it needs and then use it as a base to fork into other projects.

I’ve deployed a test version on the Heroku cloud platform here: https://polar-bayou-3372.herokuapp.com/

I’ve also got a project repository with project tracking on bit-bucket here: https://bitbucket.org/damienjbyrne/sample_app

Anyone who wants to have a look, give it a try, and send back some feedback is welcome to.

Psychos and code

I was researching a programming issue today and came across this fantastic quote from a usenet post in 1991, still good advice today:

“Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.  Code for readability.”
– John F Woods

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If people were programming languages … again

Well that’s weird. I took a quiz back in 2009 and was personality matched to the programming language COBOL (old and stodgy but reliable).  I came across the link and had another go and this time I got:

You are PHP. You enjoy the World Wide Web. You are constantly changing the way you do things, and this tends to confuse people who work with you.
Which Programming Language are You?

And what’s wierd is that I’m currently working in PHP. Ain’t that funny?

Source: If people were programming languages