The Roof is Here

I knew when I bought my house that I’d have to replace the roof, and soon.  I figured that I’d be able to survive the winter though, because it was patched just a couple years ago. The technical term is “beyond serviceable life.”  In layman’s terms, that means old.  We had a storm about a month ago that disabused me of the idea that I had time.  So my old roof is #1 on my priority list. In case it isn’t abundantly clear from my other posts, Castle Danchester is a big house.  The roof is correspondingly large, so I shouldn’t have been surprised at the price tag on the new roof.  But the good news is I got a guy I trust, who is thoroughly professional, and likeable.  That last one is a luxury I wasn’t expecting to get. Anyway, the weather has been lousy, but Lowe’s was prompt with their delivery: Monday morning saw 53 squares worth of roofing material loaded into my garage.  Both stalls of my garage. While we have the lid off the back, I’ll blow in some insulation as well.  Then I won’t see my breath whenever I make breakfast.  The new roof will keep the rain out so I don’t have to step around buckets when I make breakfast.  And when it’s all finished, I’ll make breakfast. Also, there will be a housewarming party.  Y’all are invited.  Details to...

Going Native

This is the third in a series of articles about writing mobile apps; the first and second using WinJS, and this time iOS using Xamarin.  In this article I’m going to talk about where I came from as a developer making some of these decisions, the philosophy of being a programmer in the weird-weird world of mobile devices, and what I want. First things first I grew up on the web.  I’m a little old to say that, but the truth is that I wasn’t really interested in programming until the web came around.  In 1995 JavaScript sucked, and couldn’t do very much.  But that was ok because the web didn’t really do much either.  So as the platform got bigger and stronger, so did my programming skills.  My heart has stayed there. And frankly, that’s a pretty good place to be.  There’s a lot of invention, learning, energy, community, and opportunity as a web programmer.  There are more “traditional” programming roles (desktop, ERP, network), with older more staid languages and platforms, but I’ve never clicked with those.  I was on a big project writing a medical records system in WPF a couple years ago: it was interesting stuff, some great tools, and then when the project was over I was thrilled to be back on the web for the next project.  And I don’t think I’m alone: look at github and bitbucket and you’ll see a lot of web-oriented stuff. So with that information, I’m going to talk about phones, tablets, and the war of the mobile platforms. Today there are three major contenders (arguably two, but I’ll get...

Me Hulk Me Hulk Me Hulk

I’ve put on about 25 pounds in the last year or so- most of it muscle, and most of it related to owning a home.  Some of it was intentional, like “I need to start working out again if I plan on lifting sheet rock above my head” and part was DAN SMASH DAN SMASH DAN SMASH.  This is a story about the latter. Most of my adult life my career has revolved around two poles: writing software and writing a dissertation.  Yeah, the  degree was in music, and yes I spent a lot of time in a practice room.  But the overall theme is that I have been sitting.  A lot. Recent science tells us that sitting is bad for us.  Not just in the sense that you’re inert, but in the sense that your body and brain are actually damaged by long term sitting.  So of course I’ve lost muscle mass.  So of course my stubborn love handles are stubborn. Last year when I started looking for a house in earnest I realized I was going to end up with a fixer-upper.  A lot of the houses that I was interested in needed major repairs.  They had character, charm, were in good neighborhoods with amenities, etc.  But in one case, the ceiling was missing in one room.  In another, the “3rd bedroom” was the attic, and in order to be usable as a real room would need a complete renovation.  I’m the guy for the job, but my chair-bound body isn’t. So I started in with weight training.  I started using a standing desk.  I knew what...