500 Words. Day 30!

I did it!

Day 30 of my 500 Words experiment is here, and I managed not to screw it up. (See Day #1 here). I’m absolutely amazed at what I’ve been able to do in just 30 days, inspired by such a seemingly small change in my morning routine.

I went from feeling like the usual “I don’t have enough time in the day” to checking off a couple major goals in my life, and coming to a major realization about how my psyche works: not making progress on any personal goals in my life actually creates a significant stress, but subconsciously. It wasn’t until I started making great progress that I noticed the relief I was feeling. Off the top of my head, here are some bullets on what I was able to accomplish: Continue reading

500 Words. Day 29.

In an awesome turn of events, Ashley asked me to be a guest writer on her fashion and tech blog. She really enjoyed my post on the broken state of men’s online clothes shopping, and I’ve been talking to her about my experiences with TrunkClub. It looks like I’ll be doing a guest article on TrunkClub – my experience, what’s worked, and what’s not – in the next week or two. Out of curiosity, I asked her what the norms are when two writers are arranging how a guest post will work. I was interested, since I don’t consider myself “a writer” and I’m not super familiar with the norms there, whereas she’s been interviewing people for years.

According to her, you’re usually either asked to post on a certain topic, or more likely you pitch article ideas to the editor/owner of the blog. Typical terms would be that you get a link back to your site (for readers to know where to find you, but also negotiate the link text for SEO); that you link to your guest post the day it’s published; and that you Continue reading

Plunging back to Earth from the ISS

In response to my question on his reddit IAMA, astronaut Ron Garan linked to this post he wrote on how it feels to plunge back to Earth from the ISS after more than 5 months in space. I found it incredibly interesting.

View from the International Space Station of Astronaut Ron Garan, with 2 others, just before their capsule door shut and it descended back to earth.

http://fragileoasis.org/blog/2011/9/plunging-over-niagara-falls-in-a-burning-barrel-and-more/

Some quotes that stood out especially, to me: Continue reading

500 Words. Day 28.

As Maverick, two-time Minted.com intern, pointed out yesterday night, it’s tough to get stuff done on an MLG weekend. I didn’t even watch Saturday’s matches, or most of Sunday’s, I probably caught the last 4 hours of play, starting when Huk played his best of three match up to get into the round of 8. I even did some work during it, but I know I wasn’t as productive as I could’ve been for those 4 hours or so.

I did pretty well though: I got 15 different abs & back exercises in while the games were going on, and stretched a lot, which I needed. Then I went through my photo collection (or what was readily available anyway) and picked out images that would work well in my 1000x150px space in the header of the site. Then after it was over, I got them all into Photoshop, cropped them into the right aspect ratio, and updated the WordPress theme code to use them instead of the defaults. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and it was one of the last major tasks to finish before this Sunday when March (and Q4) ends. It’s going to be down to the wire, but as of now, I can still make it.

Continue reading

500 Words. Week 3 & 4 Recap

Last week, I wrote these bullet points down. I had planned to do it Monday, but on Monday about 100 of 114 people at my last company were laid off, which changed most of the week’s plans. Some of these still make sense and none of them ever became a proper post for last week:

  1. Feel like while I did the words every morning, I felt like I don’t accomplish as much as week 1.
  2. Didn’t put my thoughts from last Sunday (week 2) to practice.
  3. Didn’t go back and read them, maybe that would’ve helped.
  4. Think I also front loaded a lot of productivity by putting off other life things (returning my kindle, turning art, and trunk club packages; haircut; social stuff).
  5. Also did steak night which took up all morning and most of evening productivity after Tues so maybe that’s really what I’m feeling.

I think for the most part those points still stand. I’ve let myself slip on some of the details of the experiment, due to one part Continue reading

500 Words. Day 27.

I’m curious if there’s a ranking of WordPress themes (maybe even plugins) by the quality of their code and how clean the markup they create is. From my experience hand-editing the “twenty eleven” theme (the default that ships with WordPress) even that one has terribly formatted PHP code, and the markup it generates isn’t much better. Even if they just fixed the indentation I’d be much happier. I wonder if they would appreciate an offer to fix that for them. That’d be a pretty cool project with a reasonably big impact, and as someone I interviewed this week said: “I felt the pain, so why not build the pain-killer?”

Continue reading

500 Words. Day 26.

Uunggghh this experiment does not mix well with having a social life. I went to the Causes Happy Hour last night and met up with Ashley and a few ex-Lolapps people, some of whom I hadn’t met before, and some of whom I hadn’t seen in almost a year. In an awesomely improbable turn of events, I also saw a guy who I new from University of Maryland, who I did not know would be in San Francisco, let alone that party. We hadn’t seen each other since probably 2005 at the latest, and did a double take when we saw each other there. Toward the end of the night, Ashley, most of the Lolapps crew, and I ended up grabbing a late-night dinner at Chaat Café and heading back to the old Lolapps office (The Lolffice) for a few drinks, ping pong, and hanging out. (There were even more people I hadn’t seen in forever already there doing the same thing!) After we all left there Continue reading

500 Words. Day 25.

I feel distracted this morning. I wanted to reference something I found from the Internet, so I cheated a bit to find the quote, then got sucked in to a few other things I’d been curious about (How many views on recruitingfail so far? How’s the SEO for my personal site? What was that StumbleUpon site I wanted to send to Ashley?)

One of those distractions was totally worth it: I’m rank 3 and 4 on the Google search results for the “Jonathan Howard”!

Ranking for Jonathan Howard and "Like Python" over time

SEO has been an unofficial goal of mine for quite a while now, and one of the lesser reasons I wanted a good personal site in the first place. (Unofficial because I haven’t acted on it but it would obviously be nice to rank #1.) And since jonathanhoward.com was taken by a guy in the Midwest, with one page about his kids and no Continue reading

500 Words. Day 24.

Crap, I slept through my alarm (or forgot to set it) so I’m going to have to do this fast and stream-of-consciousness style.

In general, I feel like I’ve let the structure of this experiment get away from me in the last few days. On Sunday, I forgot to do the weekly re-cap and planned to do it Monday. On Monday, my last company Lolapps ceased to exist, so I dropped my plans to go see them, and planned to do it Tuesday. On Tuesday, my 500 words made it onto the front page of Hacker News and I had to deal with scaling issues and planned to do it Wednesday. I’m not sure what happened Wednesday, but between LinkedIn references, messaging Lolumni, and a really persistent server problem at work, Continue reading