# Opinions

Following The Tomato Timer

I've always had terrible luck focusing when not in the office, I believe the cause rooting from the environment itself implying that "work gets done" here vs at home. With that being said, it's easy to imagine the past eight weeks that I've been "attempting" to work from home have been quite difficult. After acknowledging that we may be in this for the long haul, I knew that I'd have to find a better coping / focus strategy; one more rigid-yet-balanced, one which screams "productivity" and forces such. Essentially, I wanted a focus system which prioritized focused work in a single domain vs micro managing various domains between my work and personal tasks. It dawned on me that every phone I've ever used always had the same set of applications installed, including one which I used to leverage often in High School: a Pomodoro App.

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Being Apart of the Telescope Open Source Project

David Humphrey's (and Seneca's) open source project, titled Telescope (for those who've been living under a rock) has reached the end of semester milestone goal of 1.0! Along with that, the 1000th issue and pull request was created, marking the classes internal milestone from what I understand. Watching this from an external perspective is quite the thrill. I remember telling Dave recently just how life changing telescope could be for some of the graduates; it truly is a project that unearths and shapes interests, teaches real software development and the combined rush / peril one can feel at any given second, version control when working in a team, and being proud of your work. In my opinion, I believe every single individual who frequents that Slack channel will see the dedication and pride that each contributor exerts into telescope.

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A January 2020 Retrospective

2020 has been off to quite the unsettling start, between the wildfires that burn through Australia, the recent passing of Neil Peart and Kobe Bryant, World War III concerns being raised in much louder voices than a fearful whisper, etc. Yet, I wanted to touch upon some of the items that I was working with in attempts to better myself in the first month of 2020.

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Approaching Minimalism

If you were to ask anyone who knew me well, they’d claim that I have not exhibited values or mindsets which dance around the same way that a minimalists does. I am so far from such a genre (according to some), that I made the joke of calling myself the ‘failed minimalist’ to which, a chorus agreed. Yet, I don’t think it’s impossible for anyone to swing that direction if their interests focus that way. I’ve been conducting research through both YouTube and also forums on how individuals gradually converted over to minimalism -taking on lifestyles inspired by minimalism, and the common thread is that the once the mindset changes, the rest will follow. There are plenty of YouTubers explaining the concept, some of which I’ve included below (starting to see how big a fan I am of Matt D’Avella?) for anyone interested in learning more.

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Starting 2019 with a Retrospective

This past year has been full of lessons, just as every year before; an expected constant which I think is important to reflect upon just around the end to identify growth, ambitions and also sway between where life is taking you, and which steps you want to take. Instead of mentioning the negative lessons, inner turmoil and emotional demons, I wanted to touch upon some career and personal growth discoveries that I learned this past year - some even being common sense!

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Testing out a Flat File CMS: GRAV

As a developer, I find a lot of the ‘magical’ moments occurring from discovering new technology, platforms and applications which challenge the norm, or go beyond the tried and true to carve a path both familiar and unfamiliar to the user. While reading either Reddit or HackerNew (cannot remember origin sorry!), I saw a comment comparing popular CMS platforms to a modern abstract interpretation: Flat-File based CMS; namely, GRAV. I decided that I’d take a look. I wanted this look to be brief, similar to how one may compare this look to a spike in a sprint, where some time is spent identifying the viability of investing further efforts and time into the task.

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What I’ve Done Differently This Summer

So, this blog post has been long overdue. There is both so many experiences and thoughts I want to share, and yet so few which I personally feel would be of any use to you. Regardless, without any order, here are some of the activities that I’ve enjoyed and also learned from this summer. For the technical, programming centric, let me follow that up with a smaller post since I didn’t commit anything major this summer outside of my work at ManuLife (which has its own lessons including Docker, Kubernetes, Concourse, Chef, … let’s write an article on that soon, okay?).

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Trying New Things, at the Cost of Old

A few weeks ago, I went with my friend Svitlana to view [Frame by Frame](https://national.ballet.ca/Productions/2017-18-Season/Frame-by-Frame), a ballet which paid homage to filmmaker and animator Norman McLaren. It was the first time either of us had gone to see a show based around the expression of dance. Instead of citing her opinions, I thought I'd focus on mine and opt for anyone curious of hers to ask or encourage her to post an article on it. But, that's not the point of this writing either. Put brief, the show is a fantastical mix of the digital modern aesthetic, classic analog grime, and contemporary fluidity used to depths which I never thought possible. Absolutely amazing. But, what is the point of this article?

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How I'm Getting Ready for New Things

If you hadn't followed my Twitter account (which you should, this shameless plug advocates for not any thought provoking posts or new insights, but more-less the mediocrity of the everyday developer such as yours truly @GervaisRay), then you wouldn't have seen my ongoing battle for the past year with my move from Toronto to Mississauga. Mississauga is a beautiful, growing city; so why the battle? Well simply put, because I could not put down or give away my habits, friends, and favorite activities which spawned out of Downtown Toronto. I was the kid who didn't want to say goodbye to his friends as he went home from summer camp.

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Closing Two Weeks Completed of the 100 Days of Code Challenge

Wow, how quickly two weeks are passing by while you're busy enjoying every hour you can with code, technology, people, and for once, the weather. I'm even more surprised to see that I was able to maintain a small git commit streak (10 days, which was cut yesterday, more on that below) which is damn incredible considering that I spent 90% of my time outside of work away from a keyboard. I told myself that I would try my hardest to still learn and implement what I could while travelling, opting to go deep into the documentation (which I will include from what I can put from the various Git commits and search history below) and learning what it means to write `Pythonic` code.

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An Introduction to The 100 Days of Code

The day has finally come, the start of the much discussed 100 days of code! The official website can be found here: 100daysofcode.com, which explains the methodologies and why(s) of the challenge. I decided that it would be the best way to start learning new languages and concepts that I've always wanted to have experience in, such as `Python`, `Swift`, `Rust`, and `GoLang`. The first and primary scope is to learn Python, and have a comfort with the language similar to how I do with C and C++.

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A Second Semester of Open Source Contributions Completed

It's hard to believe how quickly this semester has come to a close. Some of us including me even had countdown calendars, and yet the days escaped even quicker than we could count. It feels like just last week I started my second dedicated foray into Open Source technologies, and yet in the next two weeks it'll be the end of such adventure (for now, that is). Similar to what I did when I completed OSD600, I thought I'd recap and share my thoughts as I complete OSD700, and perhaps also allude to the progression and experiences between the two which is only possible through fantastic instructors such as David.

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Understanding U11YN Concerns Relating to Modern Flat Design and Screen Readers

Accessibility is one topic which not many take into account when designing and developing an application, website, or printed media even. The concept of visual and interactive accessibility relates to any medium which the user uses to discover and consume content from, and how different impairments hinder the common forms and designs useless and nonconsumable.

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Initial Reactions to working with Programmatically Generated UIs in Visual Studio Code

When I first started contributing what I could to Visual Studio Code, I was under the impression that it was written using React. Even while working with the custom drop down component, I was still under the impression there were React Front-end technologies which enabled for the dynamic rendering of various components and functionalities. Only in recent, while debugging and looking for high-level understanding of different scopes, did I realize that Visual Studio Code developed without the front-end JavaScript frameworks such as Angular, Vue, React or even MeteorJS. Without sounding like I just discovered Pluto being once called a planet, this was very left field.

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The Intimacy Through Ink

I'm still a fan of the pen and ink; the older communicative and storage mediums which fueled yesterday's greatest histories and paved the way to 99% of the populace flocking to word processors. Gone are the years spent cursive writing, practicing how to do proper curvature between letters and earning what would be known as the 'pen privilege' which in grade 5, was all the rage. I hadn't touched a pencil for years, and it felt great.

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When Tweaking Doesn't Fit Anymore

When I was in Highschool, I remember spending every moment I could on XDA, Reddit, and various other Android tweak-centric mediums; emulating such tweaks and 'optimizations' on my device during breaks.

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How Amazing Individuals can Change Your Perspective

This little article has the minimal amount of relevance relating back to software development, but instead a recounting of how I've had the an opportunity to become friends with two individuals who are utterly changing my world from a musical perspective. This article describes simply my own amazement to hidden talents, and learning an interesting technique while producing & recording a cover with these talented individuals.

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A Conclusion to My First Semester Dedicated to Open Source Technologies

This semester, I dragged mind, body and code through five courses which strengthened, degraded, and tested the absolute limits of how little sleep one can get. Of the courses, two had a central focus on understanding, contributing and leveraging Open Source technologies on a multitude of platforms.

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