Pho advice

It was a rainy Saturday. Perfect weather to check out Chicago’s Little Saigon neighborhood for some Phở.

The food was delicious and the people were friendly. The waiter even offered up some free advice, which I thought was rather poetic. He said,

Take time. Go slow. Live long life.


Mumble Meetings

Sometimes working from home can be quiet. Too quiet. And some days I don’t want to leave and go to a coffee shop, meet up with a friend, or go somewhere. I like being home.

So I’ll put something on. I’ll listen to music, usually something with few to no words when coding, planning, and discussing. I put on a podcast while designing because there’s something comforting about a human voice when you are home alone.

And then there’s Mumble Meetings.

I have two very close friends who also work from home. We are all in different states, working for different companies, and every so often our schedules sync up and we have a Mumble Meeting. Basically we all jump on a video chat and just work. I guess you could call it virtual co-working. (We say mumble because we mutter to ourselves under our breath when we work.) We click away at our keyboards and trackpads, we vent, we catch up, we help each other out. Its a great way to break up the day and it has the added side effect of staying in touch with long distance friends.

Kids love drones

The box said it was for ages 14 and up. I decided to show my 4-year-old nephew how to fly my little drone anyways. And by fly I mean just to use the up and down throttle. He eventually figured out if he moved the same control a bit to either side he could spin it as well.

Hours of entertainment. Well, until a few propellers broke. Related: We are both now eagerly awaiting new propellers.

“Did the flying things come yet? Does the mailman know?”

So I bought a drone


A fun little mini Hubsan X4. Its about 4×4 inches and weighs next to nothing. It has the battery life of about fifteen minutes, which makes for the perfect work break. I got it after hearing about it from my coworker Michael. He also has this great blog.

This isn’t something I thought I’d ever be into but I’ve had it for about 24 hours now and I’ve had a ton of fun learning to fly it. I crash it all the time and it’s held up surprisingly great so far. I’ve lost a propellor and broke one. Good thing it comes with four extra.


Some lessons I’ve learned so far:

There are two propellor types – clockwise and counter-clockwise. You can’t just put them on in any old place. The drone arms and the propellors are marked with either A or B. Just make sure you match them up. Otherwise, you won’t get off the ground.

If it looks like the arms are falling apart or have broken underneath, fear not. That is supposed to happen. They unhinge on bigger crashes. Just pop them back into place. You kind of have to force it.

My propellors started to fly off really easily towards the end of the first day. They can be hard to find especially if you don’t have a ton of lights on. To fix this, I took them all off and lightly scuffed up the motor tips with a nail file. This gave it a bit more grip and they’ve been staying on better.

Once you get the hang of steering, its fun to walk behind it and drive it around and outside the house. Keep the red lights facing you and the blue lights in front.

And you’re never too old to buy a toy. Or learn new things. Or be one with your inner nerd.

Lessons in tabs

sad tabs

Or: One Weird Trick to Staying Productive at Work

Only have the tabs open of things you are currently working on. Not what you are about to work on, are meaning to respond to, or would like to get to soon.

Keep them open until you have completed the task. Then, close them, open the next thing, and repeat until happy hour. 🍻

Bringing the van home.

Problems, not solutions

My dad is an auto mechanic. Growing up I spent many days in his shop, learning how to change oil, use a grease gun, clean parts, and pay the bills.

I liked listening to the interaction between customers and the mechanics. There was one lesson I learned that has stayed with me.

Tell me the problem, not how you think I should fix it.

Meaning: the mechanics don’t want to hear your solution to your car’s problem. They want to hear what is wrong. They are the experts. Let them figure it out.

As I got into art and design, I’ve learned this is true in my line of work as well. It really applies to any type of feedback. The receiver benefits far more from hearing the what rather than the how. At the same time, the giver stands to learn something new.

Phone rule

My girlfriend and I have one rule.

No phones in the bedroom. 

It started out as an experiment, but we’ve managed to stick with it for several months.

I go to sleep sooner at night and don’t stay in bed all morning feeling the need to check everything. Oh, and we have more time to talk and stuff.


Trail maintenance

I needed a little break from work so I went mountain biking on a familiar trail. I noticed that someone had sawed away the part of a fallen tree that was blocking the trail. I thought,

“Oh, nice! Now I don’t have to get off my bike to climb over; I can keep riding.”

Then I had another thought:

“Is this how people feel when I fix a bug?”

I’d like to think so.