Childlike Faith

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4, ESV)

I was on a walk with Finnian (my 21 month old) and as we were on the sidewalk he wanted to walk on the curb that separates the sidewalk from the road. You might have heard that kids his age don’t have the greatest of balance and I can confirm those reports. So he would reach up to grab my hand to keep steady as he walked on the curb.

But the thing is, he didn’t even look at me. He just stuck his hand up in the air and went along the curb. He was confident that I would help him stay balanced by taking his hand.

It struck me the third or fourth time he did this that he had immense faith that I would help him to not fall. And then God reminded me that this is how I’m supposed to be with him. Jesus says that I need to become like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven. What does that mean?

I should stick out my hand and ask for help more often. But I don’t. During everyday life I try to go it on my own. It doesn’t even occur to me to pray while I’m figuring out some way to make something animate just right or parse a feed. But why not? Honestly, I don’t know. But I want to.

How do I do this? I come before God and ask him to help me remember him throughout the day.

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, ESV)

Amen!

At a previous job I used to keep a post-it note on my monitor that just said “Pray”. Maybe I should bring that back and put it on the monitors I use on a day-to-day basis. That constant reminder that God is close and I’m beckoned to draw near to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) could be the kickstart I need.

Reconsidering My Blogging Setup

I have a very on-again, off-again habit of writing. Sometimes I’ll have a lot to write about, and often I’ll go long stretches without writing much. I backed Micro.blog on its Kicskatarter the day it came out (happy birthday to me!), and it’s gotten me thinking about what blogging even is. Whoa.

I’ve usually considered blogging to be posts like this one. Longer things that I host on my website. But now I’ve got my microblog. I usually think of these posts as “Tweets that I own”. We all know that when you post content to a place you don’t control –  like Twitter, Facebook, or Medium – that you don’t own the post. Not the URL, the appearance, none of it. You gave them the things. But when you own the domain, you can control it all.

So my mental model of replacing tweeting on Twitter with Micro.blog was a good start. But now I see that microblogging is still blogging. Whoa.

Now I’ve got the itch for my website to feature both longer posts and microblog posts. I’ll have feeds for long content, micro content, and a mix of both. Posts should get to micro.blog through one of those feeds. And I’ll own the links to all of my content.

Now for the real question: how can I get this done?

I’m currently using Ghost to power my blog. But Ghost doesn’t seem interested in supporting microblogging (which is fine) so I’m going to look elsewhere. I don’t really want to use micro.blog itself because I don’t get enough control over things there.

What about Wordpress? I don’t like PHP, nor have I had good experience with them in the past. So that’s out.

I’ve been looking at Jekyll. That may end up being the winner but it will take some experimenting. I need to make sure existing links to ghost content will continue working and Jekyll ends entries in .html, but Ghost doesn’t. I’ll have to learn some level of nginx rules to get this done, is my guess.

But I think what I really want is something like Brent Simmons’s Wildcat system. I just wish it was written in Swift so I could understand how it’s put together. I’ve never worked in Ruby before, and while that’s not a dealbreaker it’s definitely additional friction.

I also would love to find something that can work with my text editor (Ulysses), can support image uploading automatically, and has Mac & iOS variants for me to write and publish posts easily.

This is going to take some time, and hopefully I’ll get it right.

Hawaii Trip

We spent the last week on the Oahu island of Hawaii, getting home late last night. It was an amazing trip and couldn’t have gone any better. We rented an AirBnB house in Kaneohe (which is the windward side of the island). The weather was quite good most of the time; even when it was raining, the rain was warm. Quite the change from Seattle.

View from Diamond Head

Waikiki Beach

Going into the trip I was most nervous about how the boys would do. We took them on a plane last year to Phoenix but Finnian is 20 months now and can’t be still for more than 3 seconds. We didn’t buy him a seat on the plane so he was going as a lap baby. Atticus is 4 now and we figured we could distract him with shows & movies on “his” iPad. They both did wonderfully well. A couple of screaming fits by Finnian but that was manageable by getting him to sleep.

Dole Pineapple

Tree on the Dole Train

Of course, I took along my camera. I’ve got the Sony A7II body and while I normally have a 50mm f1.8 prime on there, I wanted something that could capture the landscapes we’d be seeing and get good portrait shots of us on the trip. So I rented the Sony 24-105mm f4 zoom lens from Hawaii Camera. In short, the lens is amazing and now I want one.

Emily had done tons of research and put together a packed itinerary that got us all around the island. We hit up the Dole plantation, the North Shore, hiked Diamond Head and hung out on Waikiki beach, visited Sea Life, and went to a luau at Disney’s Aulani resort. We had a lot of fun and came home really tired.

Finnian before the Luau

Atticus on the trip home

Xcoders Talk: Practical Coordinators

Last November I gave a talk at the Seattle Xcoders meetup about the coordinator pattern. There’s been a lot of virtual ink spilled on the topic of design patterns and the coordinator pattern specifically. I’ve been using it in a refactor of a side project app as well as using it pretty heavily at zulily in some of the new projects I had been doing.

I got inspired to give the talk after last year’s Swift by Northwest conference, where Dave DeLong gave a really great talk about improving MVC. He has a different take on coordinators than I do and his solution is really interesting. But I like where I’ve landed with coordinators for the time being personally.

I decided to put a little different spin on this talk than I’ve seen in other coordinator talks, and prepped a sample app that I would refactor. We go from storyboard segues to a coordinator handling the transition between two screens. There was a lot of live coding and it worked out pretty well. I hope it’s entertaining if not useful for you and I’d love to hear your thoughts on how it all turned out.

Video: https://vimeo.com/258453512
Slides: https://d.pr/NfRMIt

Making Proper Apps From Websites

While at zulily, I used to have JIRA and GitLab inside of wrappers provided by Fluid instances. Now that I’m at Lyft I’ve done the same thing with JIRA, but we use GitHub instead. For the longest time I would take links sent to me for those pages and paste them into the apps by hand since clicking on the links would open my browser instead of the app silos that I hand-crafted for these sites.

Well today @jackbrewster taught me about something great that takes this to another level. The app Choosy will let me route URL clicks to whatever app I want. I set up rules in Choosy to look at the web address that I clicked and now have it routing my JIRA and GitHub links to their proper Fluid apps. It’s wonderful!

My default browser is Safari, I keep Chrome around as my Flash ghetto (and now only it can be used for Meet as well). I can use Choosy to send the Hangouts/Meet links straight to Chrome as well. This makes everything feel completely seamless.

One other tip I got from Jack was about 1Password. Fluid instances don’t support it directly but you can invoke the global 1Password mini, find the site you need, and press ⌘⇧C to copy to the clipboard. Focus will then switch back to your Fluid app and you can paste the value in there. I was using the mouse to do this previously. This way sure seems a lot better.