Keeping the old gears grinding

Video games good for building focus create environments that are fast-paced, interactive, adaptive and have complex reward and gaming structures. Like a brain playground. So at my age it’s basically mandatory to keep playing WoW!

Stephen Wolfram's productivity systems

I’m amazed, especially by the amount of things you can do with Wolfram Notebooks.

How to automate posting to Jekyll from iOS

I am so stealing this clever workflow using the Shortcuts and Working Copy apps.


The concept of Test-Driven Development (TDD) isn’t particularly new anymore. But even after quite a few years of accompanying my code (regardless if it’s a Rails app or Chef infra code) with tests, TDD is still far from being second nature to me. I’ve recently watched a talk from RubyHACK 2018 which motivated me to get better at it. In his talk “Some Truths About Some Lies About Testing”, David Brady explains why so many of us find it hard to start with building tests first and implementing the actual business logic second: Most of us learned programming in a way that immediately tackled the implementation.

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I'm coding live again

Earlier this year, I started live coding as an experiment in knowledge transfer for our team at freistil IT. You can read more about my motivation on the freistil Blog. In summer, I took a break to go on family holidays. But for a number of reasons (too many of them unpleasant), I didn’t pick up my regular schedule again until today. I’m happy to announce that Full Stack Live is back with a new concept!

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Star Trek TNG intro, the missing lyrics

Wil Wheaton: When we worked on Next Generation, Brent Spiner and I would sit at our consoles on the bridge, and make up lyrics to our show’s theme song. I vaguely recall coming up with some pretty funny and clever stuff, but nothing that held together as perfectly as this Expect me to sing along from now on.

Live coding on Twitch

After migrating my blog from WordPress to Jekyll (which was long overdue), I’m going to pick up writing again. This first new post is easy, because I’ve already written it for my company blog. It’s about my live coding stream on Twitch that I’ve been doing for a while now. It’s called “Full Stack Live”, a fitting name (I think) for a stream that covers all kinds of DevOps topics from Rails coding to operating Kubernetes (coming soon!

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Assembling the plane on the way down

Managing people is an ability that requires practice and learning, just as any other. As the German proverb goes, "No master ever just fell from the sky." Regardless of how much you've thought about the topic, how much you've read about it or even taken courses, it's a fact that no amount of theory can compensate a lack of management practice. As Jason Fried says in "On being a bad manager"

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Friendly, stretchy, prescient

Ms. Marvel is awesome.

I say we should reach higher

In "Who can blame Melania for resisting her Easter egg role?", the Irish Times suggests using the vacant East Wing of the White House to install a First Shrink. I suggest launching a Center for Megalomaniac Studies. He did promise lots of new jobs, didn't he?

Computer science to be Leaving Cert option

The Irish Times reports that computer science gets an upgrade in secondary education. That's very good news.

Simon Sinek on the game of empathy

I have a man crush on Simon Sinek. I consider his book "Start with Why" essential reading for every entrepreneur and leader. I also did his Why Course and found out amazing things about what drives me. He's even better in person. Go watch his talk "Understanding the Game We're Playing" at Creative Mornings and get some inspiration to practice empathy: Here's the follow-up Q&A, too:

Keyboard One

Marco Arment: “What I hadn’t considered was that even though I had common tasks that could fit within the MacBook’s limited specs — email, writing, chat — all of them required a lot of typing. Oops.” That’s one of the reasons why I decided to go for a Macbook Pro 13" as replacement of my old MacBook Air 11", despite of the weight. All my work has to do with typing, be it in a browser, a terminal or even in Word.

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These podcast thingies seem to be all the rage

In recent weeks, I've seen articles about how podcasting is the new radio popping up everywhere. What has happened? It’s been years since I’ve unsubscribed from Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code after years of listening to it. Over time, I’ve spent my children's college fund on buying every new podcatching app I could get my hands on. Has podcasting really been that obscure that mainstream publications now regard it as a new sensation?

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Mindful breaks

Supported by the little BreakTime app, I’ve been breaking up my work into chunks for a long time now. I’ve started with the common Pomodoro intervals of 25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break. Recently, I’ve switched to a 50/15 rhythm. This gives me longer time to focus on what I’m doing and I get more options for what to do during my breaks. For example, I can now move around the house a bit (sitting kills, as we know), make myself some tea and chat with my family.

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A Simple Place to Live

“I can be at home anywhere because feeling content and safe and loved has nothing to do with the stuff that surrounds me.” What Courtney Carver describes as “A Simple Place to Live” resonates quite a bit with me.

The Ireland of the land and the people

“Having seen quite a bit of the country in the past three years, we agree with those who say you don’t have to leave this island to know Ireland boasts one of the world’s most stunning ensembles of landscapes. And all of it decorated in an eye-soothing colour that is the Irish green.” ”But what really makes you feel you will never leave Ireland is the Irish people. In the course of our three years here we had numerous visitors who took trips throughout the country.

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It's Movember!

Up until this year, I’ve never paid much attention to the Movember movement. People growing facial hair in a way that should have been banned since the 80s, what’s that all about? But this year, it dawned on me that I really should look into the issue the Movember movement tries to shed more light on: Men are getting cancer. And with cancer victims in both our families, that topic is far from irrelevant to me.

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I believe in working remotely, too.

We've now been living at our new house in Bray for almost two months now and we're happily settling in. The move to Ireland has had almost no impact on my work because I've built freistil IT as a virtual company from the get-go. It really doesn't matter where our team members do their work; it only matters that they do a great job. Being able to freely move to another place is only one of the advantages we have as a distributed team.

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It's simpler than I thought.

One thing to help you be a great dad. Appreciate your child’s love for you. Do this every day, whenever you see your child, and even when they’re not around. (via Zen Habits)

Just say "Hi"

For many introverts, it’s incredibly difficult to start a conversation with people they don’t already know. Paul Campbell recently wrote about this inner conflict in his blog post “Hi, I’m Obie”. I can relate very much because I feel the same when I’m at conferences, especially with people who I admire and would really love to get to know better. I remember so many occasions when I tried to join a group conversation, stood there for a while not knowing what to say and finally backed away, slightly embarrassed and disappointed about myself.

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A new home

We've finally moved into our new house in Bray! When we saw the property ad, still back in Germany, we immediately liked the house and didn't expect at all that it would still be available when we'd arrive in Ireland. But after landing in Dublin on August 3rd and patiently waiting until the weekend and following bank holiday had passed, we actually got a viewing appointment. The house was still occupied by a Chinese family and we felt it was a great home for our family, too.

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Ireland, here we come!

How exciting! Later today, we'll board our Air Lingus flight to Dublin. With one-way tickets. Besides our children, we're bringing with us just two big backpacks and a bit of carry-on with the most essential things. Everything else waits packed in boxes at our parents for the day when we have our own Irish address. Until we find a new home, we'll be staying at the Dublin International Hostel. We'll see how long it will take us to find a decent house in Bray.

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Leaving Freiburg

Our days in Freiburg are running out. Over the weekend, we're going to move our remaining belongings to our parents, renovate the flat and hand over the keys. We'll spend the rest of the month at our parents' and prepare for our arrival in Ireland. It's been seven great years here in southwest Germany, with the amenities of a bigger city and the awesome nature of the Black Forest. We've become a family here, growing from two people loving each other to four (without the love spreading thin at all).

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How to unsuck meetings

Nowadays, everyone seems to hate meetings. And, very much like a broken relationship, we keep having them all the same. Obviously, we can't get rid of meetings, so I think it's a good thing to see how we can make them worth the effort. Kate Matsudeira hates meetings, too. As a leader, she spends a lot of time in meetings, and she wants that time to return as much value as possible.

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If you have any questions or would like to discuss a topic, tweet me @geewiz or join the chat on my Discord server!