Let me be clear right up front, this post is primarily for me. If you continue reading this post then please feel free to give me encouragement or ask how I am doing on my goals throughout the year, I'd be grateful. I'm primarily posting this to make these goals more real for me. You know what they say, if you publish your goals you become more accountable for them.

I came up with these goals and wrote them down on my last trip to San Francisco last year.

Let's explore my personal goals. First up is the traditional weight loss goal.

1. Lose 60 pounds

I'd like to break 200 pounds by the end of the year and that equates to 60 pounds. I'll spare you all now but I took before photos to compare against later this year.

How am I going to achieve this goal?

Now that I have a steady paycheck coming in again, I'm going back to Crossfit Fairport. I've got to find how to get that into my daily routine again. Working from home makes this a lot easier.

Secondly, and this is probably going to be the harder part, change my eating habits. Give up on soda (easier said then done) and go back to the healthy eating habits that allowed me to lose 30 pounds last summer (to which I put all back on when I lost my job and had to buy the cheaper foods to make it stretch). I'm going to first look into intermediate fasting and the change in diet.

2. Create an emergency fund of at least $10,000

Events of this past year make this goal a priority. When I got laid off in October I had $500 in a bank account, two weeks severance and five mouths to feed and shelter. I was able to make everything work out in the end but it was a tough two months. If I were to have an emergency fund of $10,000 things would have been a lot less stressful.

The goal then is by the end of the year I'd like to have an emergency fund of $10,000 in an account that just sits there hopefully never to be used.

How am I going to achieve this goal?

Well, I've already implemented it. With my new job came a better salary and I am going to make this work for me to reach this goal. We have two accounts, one that we use to pay our bills and one that was set up to pay our car payments (which we paid off last year). I gave myself a little raise and split my paycheck so that our bill pay account gets the similar amount I was getting paid all of last year and the rest will go into the car payment account. The car payment account is harder to access the money, there is no debit card or ATM card, I have to physically walk into the bank to withdraw the money. This actually has a great benefit to making it harder to spend that money.

Other things we'll use that account for is saving for family vacations and traveling that I eventually want to do with my wife. Which brings me to my next two goals.

3. Create better work/life balance

This one is really going to be hard for me. In essence I need a hobby outside of using a computer. Meeting new coworkers at Atlassian, I am envious at some of their hobbies they do. Things like surfing, scuba diving and sailing. Of course it's easier for them to have those hobbies when the Pacific ocean is in their backyard but if you know me these are my kind of hobbies.

Other reasons for better work/life balance? I want to spend more time with my wife and kids. It's great that I get to work from home as I have a better relationship with them, I think, then if I didn't. I can do much better though. Part of the issue is there was never any extra money to do anything with them. I'm hoping by working on goal #2 will allow some financial freedom to budget in some money for family fun activities.

In the end, just scheduling some time during the day to play XBOX with the kids or help with homework or take a walk (when it's warm out, I still live in the Hoth System, otherwise known as Rochester, NY remember).

How am I going to achieve this goal?

First thing first, I need to get a handle on my schedule and make it work for me. Time management is the key here, get a schedule that works for me and stick to it. While I was laid off I got into a really bad habit of going to bed late and getting up late. Being that it's winter time now I don't see much of the sun. I also need to work on getting up earlier. This will help in being able to do things for myself like going to Crossfit and spending some quiet time with my wife in the morning after the kids leave for work and school.

Working on my time management will be trial and error to see what works and what doesn't. I've got too much work in my life and need more life. Hoping my wife can help me achieve this goal.

4. Plan a family trip

Traveling for me has become something I do by my self because I am always traveling for work. Through work though I got addicted to traveling and would love to be able to take my family to new places. I try to take my wife when I can and on the very rare occasion am able to take my entire family on a trip (usually with help like our Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii last July).

My new favorite site I like to peruse when I'm bored is looking at the vacation rental homes that are available on http://vbro.com. We used to book leadership retreats through VBRO at my last company and was really impressed at what is available. I've found houses I'd like to rent in places like Florida and Hawaii.

How am I going to achieve this goal?

My idea of traveling is to be on the go all the time. I have friends that travel to Southeast Asia and Europe on a regular basis, I am truly envious of them. I know I can't achieve that in one year but I can at least plan one trip for this year with the entire family which is more then I can usually do. This year I want to plan a week away with the whole family in a location near a beach that is relaxing and warm. I don't care where it is but the end goal is to go.

Again goal #2 is going to help achieve this goal for me. My goal is to have a trip booked for the end of August.

5. Figure out what is causing my allergies

I've got what we call seasonal allergies, but lately it seems like it's every season. They are really bad sometimes. I'm starting to think maybe I am allergic to something that is very common like dairy as I seem to always have allergies. But what weird is I can wake up one morning with itchy watery eyes, sneezing my brains out, a stuffy sniffling nose and jump on a plane and be fine by time I get to my next airport (like Detroit). I sometimes think that it's Rochester that I'm allergic too.

How am I going to achieve this goal?

I'm going to commit to going to my doctor and hoping to see if I can get in to see an allergist about it. It's as easy as that, I guess.

Back on October 17, 2014, I received some bad news for my family and I. appendTo, the company I was currently working with as the Vice President of Training, laid everyone off and decided to shut it's doors. While it was a surprise of the timing of it all it wasn't so much a surprise in terms that it happened. As part of the leadership team for appendTo the boat started to take on water in early July and we put on life jackets in late August, so when the end finally came it really wasn't out of left field.

It was a tough couple of months since that day, with only two weeks of severance, little savings, and the only income in a family of five, the shit hit the fan. I am very thankful to Larry Roth and Hampton Bridwell at Tenet Partners for letting me freelance with them for a number of weeks. Without that work things would have been much more desperate for us.

I started the job search being pretty picky about what I was looking for. I wanted a company that would allow me to pursue being a fulltime Developer Advocate/Evanglist, allowed me to be able to travel, and finally I wanted to be able to still attend/speak/sponsor community conferences.

I was able to interview with some great companies LinkedIn, Twilio, Telerik, Github, and Apple. But I ultimately choose to go with Atlassian as the Developer Evangelist for their Atlassian Connect Marketplace where I will help developers build Add-ons for products like Confluence, JIRA, and HipChat. Most importantly I am thrilled that Atlassian will allow me to travel and attend conferences as requirement of the job.

Atlassian

Atlassian is an Australian based company and was ranked the #1 company to work for last year in Australia. Atlassian has seven offices around the world: San Francisco, Austin, Sydney, Saigon, Manila, Japan, and Amsterdam. I'll be working remotely from Rochester, NY with my team out of the SF office. I really am excited and looking forward to this next chapter and new challenges in my career.

I just finished my first week. I flew out to San Francisco and went through orientation, received my laptop, and met so many new faces. One of my challenges I am looking forward to is navigating a company as large as Atlassian (~1100 employees), the largest company I worked for never maxed out higher then 30 people.

Here I updated the Apple Web Site in Web Inspector to advertise what gifts I would like.

Chalk this tip up to something you probably didn't know you could do. You can inspect a web site running on iOS using desktop Safari's Web Inspector.

Here's how you can set up your iOS device to inspect pages remotely:

Enable Web Inspector for Mobile Safari in Settings

Enable Web Inspector


On the iOS device, go to the Settings.app and go to the settings for Safari.

Click on Advanced and make sure the toggle for Web Inspector is turned on.


Enable the Develop Menu in Safari

Safari - Preferences - Advanced


In Safari, open up Preferences...

Next click on the Advanced tab.

Make sure the Show Develop menu in menu bar is checked


Connect your iOS device to your Macintosh

Use your charging/transfer cable to connect your device


Connect your iOS device to your computer with your charging/data transfer cable and connect it to the USB port on your computer.


In the Develop menu choose the iOS device and see a list of Pages open.

You'll need to have Mobile Safari open on your iOS device before you can open the web inspector.

Once you're ready open up Safari on your Macintosh and click on the Develop menu. You'll see a list of devices including the iOS device that's connected. If you choose that device you'll then get a list of web pages that are open and once you choose a page the web inspector will open.

Now you'll be able to inspect and directly manipulate elements on the page just like you would if you were inspecting right in Safari.

Internet Explorer on a Mac Internet Explorer running on a Mac through Remote IE

Today, Microsoft announced a new tool that allows us to test in Internet Explorer almost natively on platforms outside of Windows.

Introducing Remote IE, a new remote application from Modern.IE suite of tools. Remote IE is a Remote Application running on Azure in the cloud. You can access it through the Remote Desktop Application on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

IE in Remote Desktop

Sign up for Remote IE

You can sign up to get access to Remote IE by going to http://remote.modern.ie and enter your email of your Microsoft account. You'll get an email telling you that your invited to the service.

You'll need Remote Desktop, if you're on a Mac you can find it in the App Store. Once you're invited to Remote IE. You can click on the Microsoft RemoteApp Icon in the toolbar. You will log you in to your Microsoft Account and make sure you have access to Remote IE.

Rey Bango has a great blog post walking you through the entire setup process.

Once you're invited you should see IE Technical Preview listed in Remote Desktop like in the screenshot above.

Double-clicking on it will spawn a new remote machine to spin up on Azure.

Remote Machine Spinning up

Once it fully loads you'll have access to IE that's on the Window 10 Technical Preview.

You can open the F12 Developer Tools and work with your site just like you would on Windows.

Remote IE - F12 Developer Tools

Accessing your Local Web Server from Remote IE

Now remember that Remote IE is running in the cloud so by default it has no idea how to access your localhost. ngrok is a tunneling application that will allow us to access our local development site externally.

ngrok is a command line tool that sets up a tunnel and an external url you can navigate to your web server on your local development environment. You can then navigate Remote IE to this external URL to debug a site you're developing locally.

Feedback

As part of the IE User Agents program I can send any feedback about the application back to the engineers. If you'd like to message them directly you can find them on Twitter @IEDevChat.

Love to hear what you think of this. I found it to be really awesome as I've been testing it over the last month.

in Book, Review

How to Win Friends and Influence People

I recently finished reading a classic book called "How to Win Friends and Infludence People" by Dale Carnegie. The book was written in 1936 and is still very relevant today. Dealing with people just doesn't go out of style.

Dale Carnegie outlines a few different principles to follow and provides examples on how these principles might be worked into daily life. It's a great read that'll make you start re-evaluating how you interact with others.

I'd consider it recommended reading for anyone in a management position or someone that has to interact with others regularly as a requirement for their job. On the other hand, it's also a great read for those that just want to get along with others more easily.

Here are the main priciples to follow:

Fundamental techniques in handling people

  1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six ways to make people like you

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other persons interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be A Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Have you read this book? How have you integrated these principles into your life?