Friday, April 06, 2012

Interviewed on The Code Project's Coder Series

I was recently asked to participate in The Code Project's A Coder Interview series by Terrence Dorsey (@tpdorsey)

You can view the A Coder Interview With Elijah Manor from The Code Project website.

The questions that I answer in the interview are…

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What is your development environment?
  • What new tools, languages or frameworks interest you?
  • What is your coding pet peeve?
  • How did you get started programming?
  • How has the developer community influenced your coding?
  • What advice would you offer to an up-and-coming programmer?

The following are some other notable interviews they have done recently...

Thank you Code Project and Terrence Dorsey for the honor of being included in your coder interview series.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

How a Programmer Lost 46 Pounds and Survived

So I started this journey 46 pounds ago on July 6th, 2011 weighing in at 196 pounds. That may not sound too bad, but keep in mind that I'm only 5' 6" tall!

It seems every year I've been gaining more and more weight. A combination of stress, overeating, late night snacking, and eating a bunch of unhealthy foods brought me to where I was. I used to hold back and resist getting larger pants, but it soon became ridiculous trying to fit into clothes that I really shouldn't be wearing. So, I eventually got up to a 36` waist so I could fit comfortably.

Near my heaviest weight an uncle of mine passed away from a heart attack. At the funeral I was approached by my sister and my aunt. They both showed concern for my condition. Deep down I knew I was at high risk for multiple health related problems, but having a relative die because of health issues opened my eyes.

So, what did I do to loose weight? Well, it mostly began when I started a special MetaGenics Ultraclear Detox diet in another attempt to reduce or eliminate chronic headaches. The passing of my uncle and other health problems (pain in my legs) were additional encouragement for me to continue with this detox, to start exercising, and to continue eating well.

The detox was a one month strict combination of reducing sugars, dairy, meat, carbs, and pretty much everything but vegetables, fruit, nuts, and brown rice. In addition I took a series of shakes and pills to attach and flush out any toxins that were in my body. After the month of this detox program my headaches were not any better, but physically I felt a lot better and I was loosing quite a bit of weight in the process.

I could not have stuck to this program without my wife. Having her support was vital for me completing this detox successfully. Our grocery list changed quite a bit and she helped prepare meals that we can both eat that are healthy and delicious.

The detox was not the only reason for my weight lose. I also was exercising quite regularly. I used to run outside, but that was too hard on my body. My shins would hurt, I'd get hot, and after about 15 minutes or so my arms would go numb! So, I was inspired by my 6yo daughter's swim lessons and decided to start swimming. As it turns out, swimming it is easy on my body and I stay pretty cool during the workout. About 4 times a week I go to our local YMCA and swim in the indoor lap pool. When I started swimming I could hardly swim a length of the pool without stoping to rest, but over time I worked up to swimming several laps at a time without resting. As of recent, I typically swim 1/2 mile during a workout.

Now that the detox program is over I am still being very restrictive of what foods I eat. I do eat some meat, but I try to limit it to organic beef, chicken, or turkey and wild fish. I still try not to eat sugars, dairy, or carbs. So, what do I eat and drink then? Here are some items that I enjoy...

  • Humus with vegetables
  • Guacamole with vegetables
  • Raw cashews and cranberries or raisins
  • Rice Cake with turkey and avocado
  • Rice Cake with almond Butter
  • Brown rice sushi
  • Black been salad and Shish Kabobs
  • Blueberries, almond Butter, and stevia
  • Lime water with stevia
  • Water with blueberries at the bottom
  • Dandy Blend with stevia in place of coffee
  • LĂ„RABAR for a snack
  • Apple and almond butter
  • Etc...

In addition to the above items a lot of what we eat these days comes from the MaximizedLiving Nutrition Plans cookbook.

As a developer who speaks regularly, I am finding it difficult to find things I can eat while I'm away from home. It seems everything is fried, has carbohydrates, or added sugar. I typically bring with me several snack baggies of nuts, dried fruit, and lara bars. I keep my pockets full of stevia packets just in case I need it while away from home.

If you know you are overweight and have been looking for a reason to change your life, I encourage you to start now. Maybe you can start by cutting out sugar drinks, cut out that late night snack, or start exercing in your home or at the gym. Whatever you do, please do something to take care of your body. Your family is counting on you to be alive.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Orlando Code Camp JavaScript Sessions

I was honored to be asked by Esteban Garcia (@EstebanFGarcia) to speak at the Orlando Code Camp on March 31, 2012.

I was impressed that there were 13 simultaneous tracks that were running all day long! One of the tracks was JavaScript and that is where I stayed pretty much stayed.
I presented 2 sessions Extending Your jQuery Application with AmplifyJS and Find Common jQuery Bugs. You can find the slides for these presentations online:

  • Extending Your jQuery Application with AmplifyJS - This session takes an existing web application and slow enhances it with with the 3 components of AmplifyJS. I introduce the observer pattern using amplify.publish/amplify.subscribe, I show how to use the to support HTML5 persistant storage that is cross-browser, and I show amplify.request which is a high level abstraction to $.ajax that provides ease of configuration, mocking, prototyping, and hooks to protect against future changes.
  • Find Common jQuery Bugs - jQuery is so easy to use and thankfully abstracts many of the cross-browser concerns we used to labor over years ago. However, as with any library there are a common set of bugs that tend to crop up the more you use it. This session aims to help equip developers with the appropriate knowledge and tools to exterminate many common bugs seen in jQuery code. For each topic that is covered we will start with a piece of code that has a jQuery bug, then identify what the bug is, explain why it is happening, and then proceed to explore various techniques to exterminate the bug.

Kevin Griffin (@1kevgriff) started the day with a beginner "Zero to Hero in jQuery" talk. Even though jQuery has been around for years, it still can pack a room! Kevin had a lot of question from the audience and engaged them well.

John Papa (@john_papa) was the keynote speaker and gave an overview on the state of the web. He gave a good high level view of the technologies that are used today in modern front-end applications. John also gave the following 2 JavaScript presentations that were standing room only:

In addition John has done an in-depth Pluralsight series on Knockout and he is currently working on a series for JsRender that should be available May 2012.

There was a large crown of attendees at the conference. I heard that over 750 people signed-up to attend. That is extremely impressive and the conference was FREE too! It takes a lot of hard work, determination, and donations from generous sponsors to have something like that succeed. I want to thank Esteban Garcia and his team for the great job that they did.