My take on “The Tragedies of the Remote Worker”

As someone who has worked remotely on and off since the days of NetMeeting, I can closely identify with much of what is raised in Scott Hanselman’s “Tragedies of the Remote Worker“.  In an admitted rant, Scott rattles off a number of suggestions of how onsite workers could be more inclusive of their offsite colleagues by making full use of the tools available to them.  He then goes on to invite commenters to add their pet peeves about remote work, which at the time of this writing have been mostly constructive.

One of the most important suggestions Scott makes is that we have empathy for our teammates.  Make an effort to get to know your coworkers, to understand their situation and work together to be the best team possible.  If it’s not an onsite/offsite issue, it’s parents with children, adult children of aging parents, chronic health issues, transportation issues, or a myriad of other stumbling blocks that life puts in everyone’s way.  Life happens to all of us and good teams work through it together.  This is really a bedrock principal for any successful team that others ignore or discount to their detriment.

Commenter Les Orchard sums it up nicely, “If you think working remote is some kind of special benefit that the remote workers have to compensate for – then you’re failing yourself, your team, and your company. Everyone is remote, at some point.”

Unfortunately [android app] has stopped working

A few years back, I had some time to kill and my AT&T Samsung Captivate smartphone was stuck using Android 2.2 (aka “Froyo”), so I decided to look into installing alternate firmware on my phone.  It was surprisingly easy.  By the end of the night, I was up and running with Android 4.2 (aka “Jelly Bean”).  My old phone had a new lease on life!

Over time, I’ve run into some quirks here and there, leading me to learn a lot more about Android.  One problem that I’ve periodically run into is that after installing a fresh ROM, within a few weeks, I will start receiving message stating “Unfortunately, [app name] had stopped working.”  Often time the app in question wasn’t even one I was using.  Within a few days, they notices would come so frequently that my phone was useless, leading me to reflash the ROM.  I’ve tried several other fixes over time, but nothing has really seemed to fix the root of the problem.

Fast forward to tonight.  I had noticed that my SD Card wasn’t really being used.  In digging around, I realized that my phone listed its internal memory as sdcard0, whereas the removable SD Card was listed as sdcard1.  As I started moving files around and altering programs to use my true SD Card natively, I noticed that my errors had gone away.

Long story, short:  I recommend that you use a storage visualization app such as Disk Usage to get a true picture of what your storage situation is like.  Clear space on your device by deleting unnecessary files or moving pictures, movies, etc. over to your true SD Card.  Finally, tweak your Camera app’s settings to save to the SD Card natively.

Installing a Blackmagic Intensity Pro on 64-bit Windows7

I help out with the webcasting duties at my church.  We recently purchased a new machine to replace on old WinXP Pentium4 box that had been around since the beginning.  The new box was very similar to the other two webcasting rigs we have (both Windows7 on Intel i5 processors), except that it had an Intel i7 processor on board.

When we went to install the Blackmagic Intensity Pro video capture card, we were prompted with something the other two rigs never required:  a firmware update for the card.  I’ve never been fond of firmware updates as I’ve bricked a handful of motherboard over the years.  This firmware update was repeatedly failing despite following the instructions to the letter.

Fortunately, after some hardcore Google-fu, I ran across this forum thread on Blackmagic’s support site.  It turns out there’s something about the power saving features in this OS/Processor/Chipset combination that was the culprit.  Disabling the power saving features by switching to the “High Performance” power profile did the trick.  The firmware update sailed through and we were webcasting in minutes.

Exporting SVG graphics to PNG or JPG

Over the past 6 months, I’ve had the pleasure of working on a project that sought to use d3.js to generate custom graphs on the fly. The learning curve was a bit steep and I still wouldn’t consider myself a d3 expert, but we’ve managed to come up with a tool that allows users to select one or more data sets and graph them over a custom time span with options to tweak line colors and styles. The customer was pleased, but now that they had these impressive graphs, they wanted to be able to export them as images for use in their reports.
Continue reading Exporting SVG graphics to PNG or JPG

How did I get here?

The more I mull over ideas regarding what to blog about, the more I come to conclusion that I can’t get into what’s going on today without talking about how I got here.

My first exposure to programming came in the 6th grade, at Beaumont Middle School, where I took an Introduction to BASIC class.  The next year, I was grasping at ideas for a science project when I realized that the library where the science fair was being held had an Apple IIe computer located front and center.  I figured I could take the easy way out Continue reading How did I get here?

Away we go

Welcome to my professional home.  I’m Josh Piper and I’m a full-stack web developer, located in Portland, Oregon.  I’m a huge fan of Twitter, but sometimes I need more than 140 characters to document the thoughts rattling around in my head.  I hope to use this site to document some of interesting things I learn along the way.