Retrospective Jan 14 – 20/ Planning: Jan 21 – 27

This week was fairly productive despite a few setbacks. An overall workflow is becoming clearer for me and I’m confident that I’ll still be able to meet my delivery date of end of February.

Learning Cocoa (iOS/macOS):

Work load didn’t allow me to move forward with CloudKit and In-App Purchase (which will get pushed back into early February). I took a deeper dive into sharing code by way of the DTSEssentials framework.

Last Week This Week
  • Generics in Swift
  • Sharing Code and Building Frameworks
  • CloudKit
  • Concurrency
  • NSURLSession

DTSEssentials Framework: Shared Code for iOS/macOS apps

Ran into some hiccups with the Generic List Table View Controller but I’m pleased with the progress that I’ve made. Testing in conjunction with an existing project has really helped.

Last Week This Week
  • Create Xcode project
  • Int Extensions
  • Date Extensions
  • String Extensions
  • UIColor Extensions
  • ViewCell Extensions
  • Storyboard Extensions
  • DesignableButton (IBDesignable)
  • DesignableView (IBDesignable)
  • DTSStyle (UIAppearance)
  • Test use of Framework with Gobo
  • Test use of framework with Puffin
  • Generic List Table View Controller
  • PopoverDataPicker
  • PopoverItemPicker
  • App Coordinator

  • Generic List Table View Controller

  • UIAlertController Extensions

  • Support for closures in UIButton target actions

  • LoadingViewController

  • ErrorViewController

  • ValidationViewController

Puffin (iOS): Daily Standup App

The biggest disappointment was that no progress was made on Puffin last week. I’ll be able to resume work on it this week.

Last Week This Week
 
  • App Icon Update (version 2.0)
  • Subtasks Feature
  • Standup Entry
  • Change Task Status
  • Quick Add for Projects
  • Quick Add for Tasks
  • Support Previous/Next swipe in Daily Standup View

Gobo (iOS): Nomad Travel Log

I’ve been moving along with Gobo and it has been the primary project for building out the DTSEssentials framework. Pretty excited and confident that I’ll be able to demo something by week’s end.

Last Week This Week
  • Create Xcode project
  • Add DTSEssentials Framework
  • Add Category icons
  • Create Models
  • Trip List
  • Expense List
  • App Icon (version 1.0)
  • CloudKit Support

Voice Over Work:

A pleasant surprise here as I picked up 3 gigs this week. I’m getting better at the the workflow, including setting up/tearing down my mobile studio.

Last Week This Week
  • 3 VO gigs
  • Create Fiverr Profile
  • Create Voice Bunny Profile
  • VO gigs as they come in

Health:

I’m in a good routine with the walking/cardio and will probably add a boxing workout back into the mix this week

Last Week This Week
  • Cardio: 215 minutes total (avg. 30.75 min/day)
  • Walking: 83,518 steps (11,931/day)
  • Cardio: (30 min/day)
  • Walking (10000 steps /day)
  • Boxing workout 2 times

Reading List:

Reading has been a total bust. I’ve just not made any time to do it. I’m constantly reading web articles and technical documentation but haven’t set aside any time for long form reading. I’m going to actually schedule reading time this week instead of waiting of it to appear.

Last Week This Week
  • Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano (Part 1)
  • The Walking Dead (En Español) (Vol. 1: Dias Pasados)

Retrospective Jan 7 – 13/ Planning: Jan 14 – 20

IMG_5210I’m currently working on 3 software projects (2 apps/1 framework).  The goal is to get Gobo and Puffin submitted to the App Store by end of February with each using the DTSEssentials framework.

Learning Cocoa (iOS/macOS):

Ongoing learning to improve my knowledge in Cocoa/Swift:

Last Week This Week
  • Generics in Swift
  • Sharing Code and Building Frameworks
  • In-App Purchase
  • CloudKit
  • CloudKit
  • In-App Purchase
  • Concurrency
  • NSURLSession

DTSEssentials Framework: Shared Code for iOS/macOS apps

I’ve isolated some code that I find myself reusing and decided to create a library to shared code amongst my projects.

Last Week This Week
  • Create Xcode project
  • Int Extensions
  • Date Extensions
  • String Extensions
  • Generic List Table View Controller
  • App Coordinator (Router)
  • DTSStyle (UIAppearance)
  • Test use of Framework with Gobo
  • Test use of framework with Puffin

Puffin (iOS): Daily Standup App

I updated the design of Puffin and reworked a few screens. I removed a lot of view controller code, instead opting to use a generic table view controller. I look to be ready for alpha testing by week’s end.

Last Week This Week
  • Backlog Grooming
  • Project List View
  • Task List View
  • Standup History View
  • Daily Standup View
  • Update App Style
  • App Navigation Coordinator
  • Fixed crash when accessing Daily Standup
  • CloudKit Support
  • Subtasks Feature
  • Standup Entry Edit
  • Change Task Status
  • Quick Add for Projects
  • Quick Add for Tasks
  • App Icon Update (version 2.0)
  • Support Previous/Next swipe in Daily Standup View

Gobo (iOS): Nomad Travel Log

Last week, I got an idea for a new app, because of course I did. I started brainstorming and doing some initial basic sketches. It seems like a good candidate for testing the framework.

Last Week This Week
  • Create Trello project
  • Paper sketch for App Icon
  • Select app colors
  • Paper sketch for quick entry
  • Competitive Analysis with existing apps
  • Locate API for currency exchange
  • Define entry categories
  • Source category icons
  • Create Xcode project
  • Add DTSEssentials Framework
  • App Icon (version 1.0)
  • Add Category icons
  • Current Day View
  • Entry View
  • Create Models
  • CloudKit Support

Voice Over Work:

I’m working with an experienced voice over talent to get started but I’m going to create my own profiles on various platforms in the next few weeks to increase my chances of getting work. The beginning of the year seems to be a slow period. Hopefully things will pick up in the next few weeks.

Last Week This Week

No work

  • Create Fiverr Profile
  • Create Voice Bunny Profile

Health:

I’ve reset my workout plan and for the first few weeks am focused on a simple routine of cardio and walking.

Last Week This Week
  • Cardio: 238 minutes total (avg. 34 min/day)
  • Walking: 95,003 steps (13,571/day)
  • Cardio: (45 min/day)
  • Walking (10000 steps /day).

Reading List:

My book challenge attempt last year didn’t go well so I’m rebooting with just two books. I’ll try to read at least one of the books in the rotation in Spanish.

Last Week This Week
  • Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano (Part 1)
  • The Walking Dead (En Español) (Vol. 1: Dias Pasados)

2018: A Year in Interview

So you want to talk about your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions?

I’d rather skip the stereotypical screeds about resolutions and jump right into the goals that I’ve set for 2018 and why.

But what about the goals from 2017?

2017 was a reset year for me. I only shipped a few small things (a prototype app for a friend and a few t-shirt designs that weren’t well marketed. I did some contract work for a few months and tried to launch a few other projects without success.

Why do you think that happened?

I lacked clarity of purpose. You should boil an endeavor down its essence. What is the most important thing? For most of the year, I was lacking that in the products that I was building. It’s primarily what stopped me from shipping. By focusing on the essential thing that a product does, I’m less likely to get distracted by feature creep or gold plating. Does it do the essential thing? If so, ship it! It’s never going to be finished anyway.

So how will you tackle this in 2018?

For me, it starts with transparency. I was apprehensive in talking about what I was building because I’d bought into the idea that talking about things impeded me from actually doing them. But there is also a benefit to doing it as well that I was ignoring. By being transparent, I can induce others to hold me accountable. For example, when I announced my plan to read 6 books in one month, someone unexpectedly followed up with me and asked how it was going.

A virtual “Accountabili-Buddy”?

Exactly. And by publicizing it, the onus isn’t on any one person and it’s completely voluntary.

Great! What’s on tap for 2018?

  • Ship 10 Apps/Frameworks
  • Complete at least 1 month of voice over work with trainer
  • 52 Blog Posts
  • Fluent in Spanish
  • Conversational in Portuguese

Depending on one’s perspective, that’s either very ambitious or very easy

True, yet it encompasses what’s essential for me. Weekly blogging about building the apps/frameworks fulfills my need to be transparent and underlying all of these goals is skill building in areas that I’d like to improve: speaking, writing, design and marketing.

What about those monthly income and expense reports. What happened to those?

I stopped doing them because there wasn’t much revenue to speak of from apps, tees and Amazon. I never felt comfortable including consulting income because the referee in me felt like that was “cheating” and those “points” shouldn’t count. However, I am working on an alternative outlet for the disclosure of expenses, as I still think there is value in sharing the cost of living in the places I visit.

C’Mon Man. It takes money to live and travel. You can’t act like it doesn’t count.

It does count but is it a good metric of success for these goals? Let’s take a look at my first goal: ship 10 apps/frameworks. If each one hits its target: doing the essential thing and existing in the world, I’ve already succeeded in regards to the goal. Sure there’s an ancillary benefit, the aforementioned skills I’ve built in doing so have increased my market value and I’ll be able to make a living from that. But regardless of whether I set goals or not, I’d still have to make a living. That’s table stakes.

So are you saying that you don’t care about the money?

I’m saying that if I’m successful in achieving these goals, I’ll be quite pleased looking back at 2018. Using income from these endeavors as a metric can muddy those waters, especially since it’s something that I can’t control. And why waste a year worrying about things I can’t control?

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It is time for my fandom to end.

My love affair began at age 9 with The Empire Strikes Back, as it was my first memorable theatre experience. I had seen Star Wars but the feeling of seeing Luke and Vader battle in Cloud City, Yoda dispense wisdom while training young Skywalker and the beautiful set pieces of Cloud City & Hoth was a hallmark of my youth. It was evident in my toy collection: the Hoth base, Luke and Han in their winter gear, the snow speeder & Boba Fett’s ship.

After reaching the acceptance stage of grief that were the prequels, I held out hope for the new trilogy. So much so, that I gave the Force Awakens a pass for its insistence on nostalgia over story. It felt like it needed to pay back the long time fans for previous disappointments. I was wrong.

Each generation of Star Wars movies is speaking to a different audience. It’s message and tone are a byproduct of how stories are told in its respective time.

I’ve been eating at McDonald’s since I was a kid but the menu has changed immensely in the last 30 years. I still return on occasion (like yesterday) and I get the same thing that I’ve always loved (the Big Mac). But as much as I connect with McDonald’s and despite the number of years that I’ve supported it, it doesn’t belong to me. It never did.

Likewise, The Last Jedi story illustrates why this is so important. If we don’t move past the rigidity of the old ways, we become confined by it in ways that prevent us from moving forward. It would’ve been great if J.J. Abrams *The Force Awakens* was bold enough to make those choices as we’d now be well on our way to fully exploring this new chapter of the amazing universe that Lucas created 40 years ago. Thankfully, Rian Johnson was given leeway to do so.

Star Wars movies shouldn’t be about rehashing and reliving your favorite moments in the original trilogy. That’s what DVDs and Netflix are for. New stories should introduce new characters and take existing ones (including the Force) into new directions, boldly if possible. In this regard, The Last Jedi succeeds.

I’ve been bored of the Skywalker saga for a while. While I fell in love with the story as a child, it was the promise of the universe that kept me. It’s why I loved the Kevin J. Anderson novels. It’s why I watched the Clone Wars. It’s why I wrote a term paper on *Tales of the Bounty Hunters* for a science fiction literature course in college

My old Star Wars fandom is dead. All hail my new Star Wars fandom.

Why They Won’t Pursue Your Idea

You’ve experienced this: you’ve been working at the company long enough to know how things work and you’re confident in your skills and contributions. It’s been long enough that you see more than just where the chinks in the armor are or opportunities than the company should be pursuing. At some point, you have the ear of one of the higher ups in your company. Maybe it’s at a company retreat or possibly a sidebar at the end of a meeting. You excitedly explain your idea and expect to have it rewarded with an enthusiastic response and possibly even an offer to lead the new project.

Instead you are greeted with a compliment sandwich of denial. “That’s a good idea but it’s not something that we can pursue right now.  Keep thinking outside the box, though. It’s appreciated.” Such a letdown, right?

It’s happened to me on more than one occasion. After a recent discussion with a colleague who had a similar experience, I started thinking about why we’re surprised at these outcomes and how to be better prepared going into these situations by considering what we’re really asking.

Business is all about relationships. Not simply the internal and external ones with our coworkers and customers/suppliers, but the ones we have with our products and processes as well. When you advocate for a new process or product, you’re asking the organization to enter into a new relationship. And relationships take work. So you asking the organization to do more work.

But your idea is special in that it will make things better, right? Who doesn’t want better relationships?

suspicious_frye
Hmmm…

Existing tools and procedures are established relationships, complete with a history of joys and disappointments.  But most importantly, established relationships have trust. They are a known entity. They may be low tech and even inefficient but there aren’t any surprises. Your new solution has potential and could well be better than any/every existing one but it’s still an unknown.

If you’re just at the idea stage, you have the added disadvantage that it’s an idealized relationship in your head, complete with a wonderful future that may excite you and make your heart flutter. Yet, in the eyes of an outsider, which at this stages is everybody but you, it’s still a fantasy .

How can you move from this place and improve your chances of others being more receptive to you?

more_than_words.gif
More than words

Provide something tangible. Give them something they can get excited about. A thing they can engage with physically and emotionally. It could be as simple as a paper design, a video demo or a prototype. Don’t think only in terms of completed products or processes. Many of the products and processes we used today started with the initial positive feedback we got from a sample.

 

Just remember, asking someone to enter a new relationship is a huge request. To paraphrase Aretha Franklin, give them something they can feel and you’ll have a better chance of winning them over.

What if you’ve done this, you think it has huge potential and they still don’t want to do it?

Consider how truly important the solution is to you. If you still think the idea has merit and pursuing it won’t conflict with the relationship you have with the company…

go_your_own_way
You can go your own way

Healthy October

This month, while in Morocco, I decided to try a few new things health wise. I haven’t trained Muay Thai or boxing since January. I’ve been toting gloves and focus mitts around but I’m not getting any benefit other that the extra weight lifting on travel days. My fitness routine has primarily consisted of doing HIIT training in my apartment and walking. My overall goal continues to be a sustainable routine that I can do anywhere in the world.

Pushing the Limits 30-Day Challenge

I spent the month with a Remote Year group (Veritas) in Marrakech. They have a monthly Pushing the Limits 30-Day Challenge and I was invited to participate. I settled on reaching 2000 reps (pushups and crunches) in addition to the steps challenge. It was a blast watching everyone get involved and pushing each other to succeed. I also made it a point to walk to the workspace when possible to increase my daily step count.

Results:

  • 2015 Pushups
  • 2165 Crunches
  • 277,147 Steps

Intermittent Fasting

During the 30-Day Challenge, I started thinking about my diet and simple ways that I could improve it to achieve additional health benefits. I started reading and watching videos about intermittent fasting and decided to give it a shot. I didn’t start until the 2nd week with no dietary changes like excluding sugar, carbs & alcohol. However, they were all restricted as a byproduct of simply reducing my feeding window. I used the Zero app  (iOS) to track my fasting.

October Results (Oct 8 – Oct 31):

  • Fasting Days: 19/24 (79%)
  • Monthly Averages
    • Fast Time: 17hr, 53 min
    • Start: 7:04 PM
    • End: 2:35 PM

Takeaways

  • I like Intermittent Fasting enough to continue doing it. It fits with my lifestyle as I was already eating only twice a day. I’ve simply shrunk the eating window. The good thing is that I haven’t sacrificed enjoying local food and drink in any country I’ve visited. I’ve restricted my indulgence of comfort foods.  I still love breakfast so I’ll probably mix in occasional 3 meal expanded eating days with corresponding  24 – 36 hour fasts.
  • Though I’m much lighter (approx. 180 lbs/ 82kg) than when I started my travels (203 lbs/92kg), my target is focused on how I look and feel rather than a specific weight.
  • I need to include more resistance training on the road and will pick up resistance bands and remove the focus mitts.
  • The Pushing the Limits 30-Day challenge was fun and I’d like to repeat it for November. I think one of the great things about it is doing something new and pushing myself out of my comfort zone but with a target for measuring progress/success.

What should I do for the November Challenge?

Nomadic Transition and Challenges

I recently participated in a survey asking about my transition to a nomadic lifestyle:

What were the challenges for you to transition into a digital nomadic life?

Before I started my journey, I owned a home and had a routine with family/friends, career and local community. Making the change from a stationary life to one of constant international travel required an adjustment in those relationships. In addition, I had the ongoing challenge of sustaining myself physically, financially and mentally in an ever changing environment.

 

How did you tackle those challenges and  make money while traveling?

When I started, I was employed full-time by a great company that fully supported remote work. While traveling, I was exposed to other people who were able to travel and make money in other ways (freelance, contract, product sales, etc.) and I began to rethink my approach. I’ve learned many methods to make money using my existing skillset. I’m still exploring which ones work best for me and the nomadic lifestyle.

What is advice that you’d share with other nomads?

Have a general plan for your nomadic journey but be flexible. Your most deeply held notions are subject to change based on new experiences. I started with the goal of traveling for one year while working full-time, returning home and opening a co-working space. That was two years ago and I’m already planning for a third year.

Also, don’t underestimate the impact of timezones when working with people around the world. Finding and protecting your most productive hours is important, especially when working on distributed teams.

And always keep a quick drying towel handy.

Answering these questions prompted my thinking on what is necessary to create a sustainable nomadic lifestyle that works, which I will discuss in an upcoming post.

Modern Work Podcast

Listen to my interview on the Modern Work podcast with host: writer, consultant and fellow nomad, Katherine Conaway. We talk about how I got into software development, my experience with Remote Year and how I work from the road.

Modern Work is a podcast about the work we do today & how we got there – featuring interviews with digital nomads, remote workers, and professionals across industries around the world, recorded from the road.

Farewell to Chiang Mai

IMG_3031

After almost four months in Chiang Mai, it’s time to move on. When I arrived, I thought I would just keep my head down, get some apps developed and then head on to the next place. I only had a modicum of success as I made a few missteps along the way.

  • I isolated myself too much. I assumed that if I sequestered myself, I’d be more productive and for the first few weeks I was right. In hindsight, I simply needed a break from the whirlwind of travel brought on by the previous 14 months. The cure was a brief respite to detox and decompress, not locking myself away from the world. That said, I do appreciate that this city was accommodating to that end if I desired. While it’s easy to jump into the touristy bar scene, it felt good knowing that it wasn’t expected.
  • I miss training. Getting hurt and not being able to train was probably the biggest blow to my plans. While I wasn’t planning on spending my nights doing extensive bar hopping, I did plan to spend my days training Muay Thai. Only problem was that my shoulder wasn’t getting any better. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that it dawned on me that the culprit had been my sleeping habits (sleeping on my side is murder on my shoulders).
  • I wasted an opportunity to learn Thai. My original plan was to stay in Vietnam for the remainder of 2017. I started learning Vietnamese via DuoLingo, but when my living plans changed, my language plans didn’t. Since I was a hermit anyway, I wasn’t focused on finding opportunities to learn the language beyond basic encounters. Living in the touristy part of town (Nimman) didn’t help either, as most people spoke enough English that I wasn’t forced out of my comfort zone.
  • I’m more of a social tourist. I don’t really have any bucket list places, so I often find myself just walking around and skipping the popular attractions. It doesn’t take much prodding to coax me out to a local landmark it usually takes an interested companion. I’ve just reached a point where I’m more interested in the daily life of a place. And one thing is for certain: I am all templed/churched out. I really don’t care if I never see another one anywhere on Earth, regardless of architecture.
  • I didn’t eat enough mango with sticky rice.

I will miss the simple life, the street food (especially at night), the freedom of anonymity and most of all the smiling people.

Khob khan krap

Working in Krabi, Thailand

This is a guest blog post by Super Villain and fellow Travel Squad member Elliott Killian. Follow more of his musings and how he uses his super villain powers for good at Elliott Killian  

Whether you are staying in Krabi for a while or just passing through and need to get some work done. Here are the best places for Digital Nomads in Krabi.

Sorry, no Co-working, but there are some great cafes.

A few days before I left, I of course looked for co-working spaces. According to Co-Worker, there are no co-working spaces in Krabi. I then asked Reddit and my friends for recommendations. No-one had a good answer. So I went on a mission to find the best cafe in Krabi for Digital Nomads.

All wifi was tested June 1st, 2017

#1. Zoo Cafe

 

Address:  Maharaj 2 Alley, Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000

Hours:  Open from 7:30am-6pm, Closed Wednesday

Wifi:

  • Speed – 
  • Password – Ask the staff.

Menu:

  • The food is reasonably priced most of the dishes are 100 baht or less.
  • Drinks are around 60 Baht.
  • Meal for two might be 350 baht.
  • I am a tea drinker and Zoo Cafe has 11 different teas. This is the largest collection of teas in Krabi that I have seen. Most places only serve black tea or Lipton tea.

About the Space:

  • Air-conditioning works and is at the right temperature. 3 tables inside and 5 tables outside.
  • Drawings of cartoon animals line the wall. I am actually writing this article at Zoo Cafe right now.
  • The only con about Zoo is that it only has three tables inside. Peak season this might be full of people.

Zoo Cafe closes on Wednesday so if you go there and forget that it’s Wednesday. Which I may or may not have done. Pirate House is next door which is #3 on this list.

#2 Easy Cafe

Address: 30 Khongkha Rd, Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000

Hours: Opens 7:30am-6:00pm, Kitchen closes at 5:00 pm, Closed Monday

Wifi: 

  • Speed –
  • Password – Ask the staff. It might be mythology/ fantasy related.

Menu:

  • Food prices range from 65 baht to 200 baht. Larger and more western the food was more.
  • An estimate for a meal for two (two entrees, appetizer, two drinks) would be roughly 350.
  • They serve both Thai food and a large selection of Italian food. They also have a page for vegetarian food. 7 different types of tea and a whole page for different choices of iced coffee.

About the Space:

  • There are 7 Tables inside and 5 tables outside.
  • The restaurant is across the street from the river and the night market, which is a great place to have dinner or dessert after dark.

#3 Pirate House Cafe

IMG_3668

Address: Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000

Hours: Open everyday 9am-10pm

Wifi: 

  • Speed –
  • Password – Look on the napkin holders

Menu:

  • A meal for two would be around 450 baht
  • Food ranges from 100 baht to 200 baht. They serve Indian, Thai, and western food.
  • It is a small franchise with other locations in Koh Phi Phi and around Krabi

About the Space:

The drinks and food are pricier than the first two. If few people are there they open the windows and doors and turn off the Air conditioning.

#4 Koko Nest Coffee

IMG_3681

Address: Pak Nam, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81000

Hours: Open Everyday from 7am-10pm.

Wifi: 

  • Speed –
  • Password – Look on the wall next to the door

Menu:

  • Most expensive place meals range from 100 baht to 250 baht.
  • Price for two people might be 500 baht
  • A good breakfast place.

 

This list should help you find your spot to get work done. Hopefully one of these places becomes your favorite and go-to place.