Posts

The kindest things anyone has ever done for me

Recently, I’ve gotten into a podcast called Invest Like The Best. The host ends every episode by asking his guest “what’s the kindest thing anyone’s ever done for you?” To be honest, this didn’t stick out to me until I heard a couple guests answer with some pretty trivial shit. I won’t say which guests, but imagine it’s something like “someone lent me $100 the other day”. And, I must admit, I felt pretty judgy. Like, how privileged must your life be to have something so trivial be the kindest thing anyone’s ever done for you?

To be fair, maybe they were just put on the spot and didn’t have time to think deeply about it. And really, I don’t really know their life, so whatever it was they actually said really made a difference.

Anyway, it got me thinking: what would I say? I’ve got two answers.

Trigger warning: severe depression is discussed.

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Screening developers should be easy

I’ve been thinking about programmer hiring for several years now, and I have a new theory for how to do it:

Make it clear what it is your software team does, and hire people who can make an enthusiastic case for why they want to join your team.

That’s pretty much it. Class dismissed.

I guess I should justify this theory. The remainder of this piece describes my journey to this radical realization.

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An epic Webpack mystery

Webpack logo

For reasons I’ll explain elsewhere, I’m building a desktop app, which stores its data locally. It’s built using Electron, a toolkit for writing desktop apps using web technologies. and it uses a pure-JavaScript database called NeDB for persistence. Pretty quickly, I ran into a headscratcher of a problem. My data wasn’t actually being saved to a file but I wasn’t getting any errors or warnings.

As it turned out, it wasn’t a bug, but a complex situation involving Webpack defaults. Understanding and solving this issue took me waaaaaaay down a rabbit hole, and I thought it would be informative to share the story.

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Mission accomplished (Our financial planning voyage — Part 3)

As has happened before in this process, after making a bunch of progress, I dropped the ball for a couple months. I don’t recommend doing that. It’s tough getting the momentum back. But if you’re like me and you’re allergic to just finishing things, all you can do is pick yourself up and gin up the motivation to get things moving forward again.

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Property taxes, who knew?

Going into buying a home, I had to wrap my head around a lot of things. There was finding the home itself, then the whole process of negotiating the offer, the mortgage, and then all the thoughts of what you want to do when you actually move in. A big part of the financial aspect of the purchase and mortgage is projecting your monthly payments. Property taxes are a significant part of this.

The thing is, even once you pay your mortgage down, you’ll still be paying those property taxes in perpetuity. In a state with high property taxes like New Jersey, it’s a sizable percentage of what you might pay in rent some other places. I was aware of property taxes. I assumed they’d be predictable and logical. Boy was I wrong.

Disclaimer: Per usual, I have to make clear that I am (obviously) not an expert on this topic. This piece reflects my growth from zero understanding, and hopefully underscores that you should get professional advice as you make your own financial decisions. Comments and corrections are very welcome!

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Hot Take From A New OCaml Developer

I recently started a new job at Arena.io. One of many things that attracted me to the role was that they proudly use OCaml. Even if you’re a professional developer, you might not know of it. It’s not a widely used programming language, but it has been highly influential on many of the most cutting edge programming languages. If you’re not an OCaml, suffice it to say, this post probably won’t be that interesting to you.

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