Sunday : 05-15-16
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m really excited about my latest accomplishment. The local chapter of the Google Developer Group ( Hudson Valley) ran a Study Jam based on Udacity’s Android Development for Beginners to introduce people of any background to creating apps on Android back in March-April. I completed it and had been able to showcase my app off at an event at SUNY New Paltz.
I had been pretty nervous about signing up but incredibly excited because the organizers had been so passionate and advised that you didn’t have to have any recent experience in programming. I’ve programmed back when I was going for my Associate’s Degree but I never really pursued it any further. Programming always seems to keep coming back to me and I’ve always wanted to give it a try. This Study Jam gave me the jump start I needed and I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself.
The projects start out pretty easy. The very first one was making a Birthday Card App. I ended up making one for my Mom because at the time it had been pretty close to her birthday. After that we started to do slightly more complex layouts with a Score Counter App for Basketball, where I learned the difficulties of mixing various views and that XML is pretty awesome and can do even more than I had thought it could back in College. After that, we ended up making an app that would help with ordering coffees, calculating the price and even sending a email to the “coffeeshop” with the details of the order. This was the most impressive because of the fact I only had to program something to call on another application not actually worry about how I was going to send the email too.
After the main apps were finished, the final part of the class was making our own Final Project. This part I think was the hardest for me because I had a million ideas and I had wanted to do EVERYTHING. However, editing is one of the most useful skills that I learned, especially just to show a working version of the app for our Showcase event. I ended up making an app to educate on the various steps of Home Brewing your own beer with some tips that I had learned from my own experiences brewing beer this last year. In the future I hope to add more to it like timers and calendar events to be a helpful resource to home brewers but I think for now I’ve learned an awesome new skill and I’m excited to see what else I’ll make.
Some of the other skills that I picked up were using GitHub ( which I have an account and you can see the apps I created here) Here’s the certificate that I earned as well. I also got an awesome tee that the organizer’s made. I also learned how to use Slack which is what we used to communicate in between the two events that we had to get through the entire class. It’s a really powerful tool and I’ll talk about it later in another post.
The group is also going to be doing another Study Jam, this time to learn Firebase. I’m excited and can’t wait. Firebase is a really cool tool for live data requests in place of just using a regular database. There’s a lot built into the Android Studio Libraries with Firebase that makes it super powerful.
If you want to check out your Local Google Developer Group and see what they’re up to, here’s more information:
Monday : 11-10-14
This isn’t going to be a long post but I just wanted to excitedly share that I finally got my hands on a invite for Inbox. So far ( the few hours I’ve had it) it seems interesting and I’m excited to see how it will compare to Mailbox which I’ve previously discussed. The one plus I see so far is being able to access it from the web, which is kind of nice. I look forward to writing something up further about it after I’ve had time to see how it works and integrates into my day to day email usage.
One of my good friends got his hands on invites and was nice enough to give one to me so you rock Jonathan! Thanks so much again!
Thursday : 11-06-14
I’m not sure exactly how far back this goes so bare with me on this tale. I know that I got my first taste of the power I could wield with templates when I took my Microsoft Office User Specialist class in high school. I chose the program as a sophomore in high school because I liked computers a bit and thought I could be a Secretary. I had this weird fascination with watching the inner workings of offices wherever I went and I thought that meant I would make a good secretary. My parents were a little confused with why that was my goal, but were willing to support me any way that they could. Thus, I wound up learning about how businesses use Office 2003 to make their lives easier.
As a gamer, I was always trying to find ways to be more efficient of my time and applied that to homework often. With the knowledge I was picking up about Office, I created templates for the major types of assignments that I would get ( which was pretty limited at that point). Shaving off several minutes getting a template for certain class assignments or for note taking typically added up or made me happy to see what more I could do. I carried this habit through college and to my first Tech Support Jobs.
When I took on the role of Account Coordinator, which was basically a Team Leader, templates became a more central part of what I did. I made many templates because I hated typing things out and it typically ensured responses were accurate and followed procedure. I painstakingly made email templates, call recording templates, report templates, and more. I would spend hours tweaking them and coming up with new templates. There were even times I’d do this off hours staying wayy into Third Shift because I had learned a new technique.
The thrill of sharing them with my co-workers also drove me further in my pursuits. At first, I only shared them with a few people as shortcuts to help them out. After a while my templates became necessities as I found it ensured everyone followed the team procedures which needed to be very strictly adhered to per our customer’s request. I got a sense of joy however, when they were recognized as making someone’s life easier or being exactly what they needed. Even though it’s been a few years since I’ve worked there, I still hear tales of how they use my templates and it brings a sense of pride to me. My legacy will live on in a way.
Now, at my current job, my affair continues even more so. I’ve now branched out from simply just Office Templates and make any kind of form or documentation I can get my hands on. It’s an insatiable quest to perfect and create new templates to increase efficiency. I enjoy learning new software or techniques to improve on my methods. My current goal is to learn some automation software as well to enhance the templates I’ve created.
It’s a weird addiction and I’m still not even sure I get it, but there are certainly worse things. But now it feels good to confess about my weird fascination. Do any of you have any obsessions on par with templates? What drives them and how do you embrace them to be productive or better at your job?