Season 3 is ready to be in our rearview mirror, and with it, a pretty weird 2020. To play out the season 3 finale, we take some time to reflect on remote working, successes we’ve had, and challenges we’ve faced. We also take a moment to take a quick peek at what’s to come during season 4.

Followup Resources


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Ladies and gentlemen, this is the season three finale of the drunken UX podcast to 78 episodes in I am your host, Michael Fienen on your other other finale host. Aaron. How you doing, Michael? I need a future, Michael. Remember, while we’re doing all this, throw in some applause, sound effects or something underneath us make it sound impressive.

And with some fireworks and air horns and, uh, dogs working, Uh, the vuvuzela, this is Ah, job for future Michael, not current, Aaron, because you it’s no fun. Yeah, I know, But, man, you know what? Give me

the cool jobs.

I know, I know, but you agreed, so I don’t know about it. It’s like it’s like doing work except less

paycheck. Yeah, I can’t believe we done three seasons, man. Well, it’s pretty amazing,

does it? It feels like it doesn’t it? I’ve got about three seasons more. Beard?

Yeah, Every season you get another beard.

I do feel like, Yeah, I have to take the old one off and get hung up, and then a new one comes in. Yeah, I

could see them on your wall back there.

Shed them, like, amazing. Do you

like, Do you mix them with some kind of resin or something to keep them in a beard? Shapes. It’ll just fall apart because it’s just a bunch of hairs, right?

No, no, it Z kind of like, honey, it never goes bad. Uh, they just they just sort of stay there. They mold occasionally, but that’s interesting. Put some with some bleach. I see. Do you

have the one it looks like on the looks like the 2013 swat and it zits missing. What’s that? Why is that one missing?

Funny story about you Remember the story about Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial, right? Yes. Yeah, Well, mine was a Coke commercial. I’d snuck on set, and, uh, it was the whole thing. It’s not my fault. Harry Styles was in the commercial. I really wanted to meet him. What can I say?

Cool. Well, it’s very nice for you to give up your beard configuration like that?

Yeah, e. I still have scars. So that’s why it’s why this is

why you’re growing here now. Uh huh. If you’re new and you haven’t heard us before, this is the finale. So the rial contents gonna be earlier in the year. But you should come check us out on Twitter and facebook dot com slash drunken you x and instagrams dot com slash junkanoo x podcasts. And you can come chat with us drinking two x dot com slash discord d i s c o r d but yes.

Do go check out previous episodes where we have to talk about content because this one we’re gonna we’re doing kind of year end. This is gonna be different episode tonight.

This will be content. Don’t undersell us. I’m not saying

it’s not content, but it’s different kinds of strength tonight.

Being playing to our strengths. I’m back to my staple scotch tonight. Ah, I talked about previously on instagram. I kind of got a special bottle. I say that it’s down more 12, which is not in and of itself, a unique bottle or anything like that. But I don’t frequently have down more um, it’s a little bit more expensive than a lot of other stuff and eso I tend to only get it around special times into the year. I loved Elmore.

It’s It’s such a rich. Its’s aged for about nine years in bourbon casks, and then they split it up between bourbon casks and sherry casks, and then they re blend it back together. You end up with this. It’s a highland, but it’s a little sweeter. It’s got some really strong like like blood orange, kind of citrusy flavors underlying it. It gets a little richer than, say, an open would, UM, or some of those.

It’s not quite to the level of some of the space sides, though it definitely like a down more 12 compared to something like Glenlivet. 12 is night and day from a flavor standpoint, Down more just has so much more flavor to it. So this is my treat to myself tonight. If you follow us on Instagram, I’ve also posted some pictures of some Let’s let’s call it a if you follow whiskey Tribe I. I posted it on rare whiskey Friday.

I It’s Christmas time and I’ve got a buddy. He and I tend to go in on a couple bottles for Christmas when bonus time comes around and things like that, and we kind of went nuts this year and about Cem extravagant bottles. But those are going to be making an appearance on future episodes as well. And so if you go check us out, tell me which one you want me to drink first. And that will be what will debut in Season four.

Cool. I’ve got ah, same things last time, Tiger and Tonic. It’s my kind of go to holiday drink, I think. Comfort to drink, Yeah, got a big bottle of Tanger I picked up recently.

E have to drink it or I’ll go bad.

I have, I have. So they have the little like red fake wax seals on each bottle. And a long time ago, a friend of mine had given me a holiday bottle with had, like a tin like a green commemorative like, um, tannery green 10. And I’ve been collecting the little fake wax seals in that tin ever since. Um, it’s a very tall tin. I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to fill it up.

I do I do buy tannery quite frequently, but it’s it’s very tall, and the wax seals are very small. I’ve been

I for a long time with Scotch. I think everybody who drinks a lot of Scotch goes through this phase where you keep the bottle or the not just the corks, but like the bottles and the boxes and stuff. Okay, One day I looked at it and I’m like, Why am I keeping trash? And so I I broke myself of that habit. But yes to your point. E do now keep the corks.

And I’ve got one tube from an old model that I’ve been throwing all my corks in, and I’m going to do something with them. I’m not sure what yet, but it’s I’m gonna think about it and come up with something. And I have, however, for some of my like, higher end bottle. So, like my Christmas time bottle that I usually get.

I’ll usually keep at least the box because, ah, lot of the times when you if you spend like $200 on a bottle of scotch, it’s coming in a nice box like not just a little cardboard throw away thinking, Yeah, you know those. And I’ve kept that my one of my all time favorite bottles I mentioned Elmore is like my my special time Scotch. The doll More King Alexander The 3rd 12 63. It’s a mouthful, but it is a gorgeous, beautiful flavored scotch.

It is expensive as all hell. I’ve only ever owned one bottle of it. I kept that bottle because I will probably never buy another bottle of it. And it’s in down. More bottles have, like this stag head that wraps around it on like normal bottles. That’s just a little piece of silver plastic on this bottle. It’s like pewter eso.

Um, okay, this is season finale. We’ve been now doing the brand new X podcast for three years. We launched in January of 2017 were finishing in December of 2020 S. O. R. Seasons are nice and perfectly yearlong, which is very convenient,

but it’s really convenient.

And let’s face it, 2020 has been a year. So we were talking a few weeks ago. What did we want to talk about for the season finale? And we’ve done a number of things in the past all of which I’ve enjoyed reviewing our most popular episodes from the season doing in season one. We did a year in review where we just talked about how the show is doing and what you know we had planned for and all that.

I think those great ideas. And this year we just sort of came to the conclusion that you know what? Let’s do nothing. So we have a show about nothing. We have to show about nothing because about nothing. I tell you what, that sounds like a good idea. We have show notes up in front of us. They’re literally talking. It was empty. We’re going to be taking notes as we talk, but I have nothing prepared.

E think that this year is just This year has been such a year that it feels like it. It eclipses anything else we could possibly talk about. That would be about us like it would be just navel gazing. And we want to talk about just the show

Well, and so, yeah, I think at the end we kind of said, You know what? Let’s let’s save ourselves the work. You know, we’ve We’ve both had stress in our lives this year. And, you know, we’ve had the same, I think bugaboos hiding under our beds that a lot of people have. And so it made, I think a lot of sense for us to just say, you know what we’re gonna

We’re gonna talk about the things we want to talk about, what comes to mind, um, thinking about this a lot. Like a few episodes back. I had some of the folks from high end Web. Come on. And we did sort of a very similar structure. We just talked. We just talked about what has gone well for the Manhattan and things like that. So that’s what we’re gonna do. Yeah. I’m going to start this off by kicking off Throwback to Episode 62.

We did this back in May. This was right when co vid was kicking off and and all of that and things were getting weird for people. And we did an episode on remote working. Now, remote working is not new to me. It’s not new to Aaron. Um, but I think what has changed a lot is you know, the people, we or at least people I interface with I’m not gonna speak for Aaron on this, but hey, can speak for himself, I but the people I work with,

one of them was also full remote, But none of the rest of my team waas And so they have all had to adapt to that and the struggles with that. And, um, I want to say I think we’ve done very well at it and try to be very supportive of each other and and very conscious of the stress it has because one of the things we talked about in that episode was remote. Working is not for everybody.

And so people getting thrown into that without choice in the matter that has really impacts on, you know, your psychological well being. If it’s something that you’re prepared for or good at in some cases I’m not saying that about anybody I work with. I’m just saying in general that that is very stressful thing. Even if you’re good at it, it could be stressful.

I’ve been remote working for consistently for, I think, three years now, and this is by far by far in the most challenging and the most isolating of all of them because in the past, if I was feeling like I needed some social interaction, I could take my work computer down to cafe or something and worked there for the day.

Or I could go, you know, visit family or friends and work from their living rooms or wherever. And I literally I went to North Carolina last year, um, or about two years ago, and worked from my aunt uncles house. Um, and so I got to have, like, a vacation, but also still working. Um, that was cool. Um,

yeah, that free time, So to speak. Like, when? Because, yeah, I think that you do have to be a little bit of an introvert. At least Thio really enjoy working remotely, but it helps even the worst introverts out there do Have either of you know, they didn’t have a small social circle or they have little things they do. And when you take that away, it’s it. It’s not high volume, but it’s like high density, you know, it’s high value,

Um, and so that And that was very hard for me. That was one thing that I know hit that, um I have ah, little neighborhood bar that I like going to. I’ve got several friends there that we would just sit and like once a week, we would just sit down and it was fun. The bullshit and park football on Do whatever, bond. I go there once a week, maybe. And when I couldn’t do that anymore, it really felt like it put me out on an island.

And that’s like that. That was tough. Um, because because I before that I’d also never really thought about how much value those moments had for me on DSO.

Yeah, that’s really true. You don’t realize it until it’s kind of gone.

Yeah, and so I’ve I’ve tried to make some adjustments, you know, Um, but like at work, for instance, that was one area where, um, our work said, You know what? We want to make sure that people are still getting interactions literally every day on on our calendar, we’ve got a 4 p.m. meeting where people can just jump in. And it’s just like a little after work session, because I mean, for them, it’s five o’clock for most of them.

So there’s that we do. Fabio. Friday afternoon, beer in office I think is what that stands for. Um, and normally, they would do that. Like that was Fabio in the office. Now we do it like, once a month or something, where it’s just everybody like our everybody in the office jumps on a hang a giant, hang out and have a beer and sit there and just talk. I showed everybody my chain mail. Uh, not bikini. Mind you.

Um, that’s special times, but those moments have helped me kind of supplant some of that. I think because I never used to do any of that like that was something Fabio was for the folks who were in our office, you know, on the East Coast. And I wasn’t there, so I couldn’t take part in that, um and so we’ve changed, You know, you just you change some of those habits.

It’s been I’ve basically been in my house almost the entire year. I’ve taken trips to the grocery store to the hardware store friend’s house. That’s it. I mean, like, there have been maybe a handful of exceptions to that throughout the year, But I mean, that’s basically going. Places have been and predominantly have been here Yeah, man. Oh, if anybody

out there is is still feeling stressed about this are frustrated or whatever. Okay. And feel free to reach out Thio, Aaron and I. That’s why we have the discord set up. You know, if you just want to jump in somewhere and and talk to somebody and hear a voice or, you know, read a voice, read words that would be

never if you’ve never worked remotely prior to this on. Do you hate it? We hate it too. And this isn’t normally what it’s like. That’s Yeah, that’s a good

point too. Yeah, this is this is not what it is normally like. This is

an exceptional experience,

but just know that, Yeah, if you’re having struggles with it or whatever, that’s okay, So and And don’t be afraid, Thio, you know, reach out and we’re here, And I have no doubt that folks, you know, you all have people in your lives or whatever, and I hope you’re all having good luck. So I know I know more people than I would care to who have had to deal with covert in their lives somehow.

And that sucks. So, you know, I get it, And I wanted I think I just wanted to start that not as a downer or anything like that, but because I think it’s something way. I think we’ve all shared in an extent with that. So

here’s something that we don’t always talk about. Um, I lost my job and March it was in March. It was It was Corbett related. There was just there was like a bunch of layoffs. Um, and I was I I was very grateful that the community of people that I had connected with over the years helped me find interviews and things, and I actually had job offer within a week. That was incredibly lucky. I was not expecting that.

I was really worried, Um, but that there is some like I couldn’t start for a couple months. It was just some stuff that had to happen first, um, to start work there could start for a couple months. So, um, this was at the time when there was that extra $600 a week and unemployment benefits. And let me tell you like that saved my life. Like I it is, I feel so incredibly lucky to have if I was ever gonna lose my job, that was the time to lose it.

And so, basically all of April and may, um, I was fully unemployed. I was having really bad burn out, and that was some much needed rest. I got to do a lot of gardening, and I I didn’t I didn’t have to worry about paying my bills for two months, and I I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am for that for having that break and having that peace of mind so mhm. I know that that’s since ended. It ended in August, and that’s really shitty. Um,

that we don’t advise you as a stress mechanism to lose your job. That that actually is really bad for stress in most cases.

Yes, definitely. Um, I think it really shined a light for me personally. I mean, I kind of already had this feeling anyways, but I think a lot of people who were in a similar situation to me we’re realizing, like, what the fuck are we doing? Like we’re all, like, working paycheck to paycheck and, you know, the luxury of being able to take even a month off between jobs, I I never could have done it before. I certainly would have been able to, um you know what I

think it speaks to. And we’ve I think we’ve hit on this a little bit here and there. But maybe not like, in a very cogent way is the importance of networking, too, you know, because I I know there are a lot of people out there, especially in other industries that certainly are lucky enough to be able to just bounce from one place to another. You know, we’re very lucky in our industry.

Web developers, Web designers are in demand still on. And you know, if you ever need Thio, know that or find something, you know, plug for our company. If you go to a quick dot com or vitamin talent dot com, we have job boards there, and we have jobs across the board from you X to design toe project management everywhere. Um, like this industry, I think, is really resilient in that way, especially because hey, let’s make everything remote.

Well, that means everything has to be digital. How are we going to do everything digital? Hire people that can do it right, so it made us valuable. But I think it also speaks volumes to how important is to talk to people and get to know other people doing what you’re doing.

And Aaron and I have, you know, endlessly professed our love for, like, the higher ed environment, partly because of the community that is there of people in web in that industry and how intrinsically helpful and linked they are to each other and how much they care about helping each other along, even when it means, you know, some of us jump, you know, to the private sector after a while.

And like to this day, I still remain connected to tons of those people and still talk to them regularly and have them on this very show is a consequence. Like like that

I had some job suggestions from a few of them, actually, when I when I got laid off. So yeah, real

those those connections and I know it can be hard, especially starting out Well, where do I make those connections? That anywhere. Read it. Go on, read it and start talking to people in right and start commenting on stuff and and start having conversations. Twitter. As much as you know, we make fun of Twitter and and it could be a huge problem. There is a huge community, a very helpful Web.

People that are still there tune out the rest don’t follow the people who talk about crap that you don’t care about or anything like that. Follow the people you do care about. Look for a few hashtags relevant to your industry or your job and follow those and see who’s talking about stuff in that space and start, you know, interacting with them. Um, the number of digital conferences, of course, has exploded.

Not all of them are free arguably, but several are at least toe watch. Start going to some of those. This is advice for anybody, by the way, Like whatever job you do, you make yourself not necessarily just more valuable but mawr. I don’t know what’s reflexive ble, I guess, more nimble when you know people when you have connections or not, just when you need help. Not just when Hey, guys, I need some leads on something, you know.

Bad things happen. My company got shut down. Whatever. Yes, those things happen. Sometimes it’s also, man, I don’t know how to do this thing that I know. Other people have figured out E surely, Aiken, there’s somebody out there I could ask about this and and get some advice for or gets, um, you know, a lead on a tutorial or something like that.

It’s always good to have a friend who can help you, like, clean up your resume a little bit. Um, you know, bouncing ideas off of, um, help you. I mean, just having networking in general. Is this really important?

Yeah, and I know that can be daunting. I know that. I say that, like, go get, go meet people. That’s easy to do in the age of Kobe. Just put

some people off the people tree.

Yeah, E I I get that. You know, that takes time. It takes time to build network. It takes time to build a community around yourself. Um, but it starts with one person and look locally. You know, if you’re in a big city, there are tons of like WordPress groups and designer groups and folks who meet again. They meeting may have buried terms depending on where you are, but I think that’s really important.

And it’s a safety net more than anything at that point, like it’s it’s good for help in all of this, but it also gives you that sort of man. Things are getting bad. So I know somebody who can help me. Um, and sometimes, actually, my favorite is Do I have somebody I could go bitch to Who will understand the complaint that I have about, you know, somebody I’ve had to work with, our piece of software I’ve tried to figure out, and I just wanna go complain about how awful it is.

Yeah, I feel that

that’s yeah, that that’s a big one. Um, okay, I wanna I wanna ask a question of you air and what is it like? And like, as you mentioned, So you’ve switched jobs, So you’ve got a couple different pools to sort of pick from here, and I don’t care where you go for it. But what’s something that you’ve kind of that you’ve done or accomplished so far this year from a web standpoint that, like, made you feel really good for any reason, whether that’s the complexity of it or the satisfaction of doing it or or own.

Okay, I have, ah, couple small things. I published my first Ruby Jim that actually does something. It’s called emoji sub emoji underscore sub. It’s a playoff of G sub, which is Ah, I substitute a string replaced thing we used the Red X and ruby um, emoji sub does. It scans a string of text, and it looks for short codes like you would use on slack, like colon grimacing colon, and it replaces them with the Unicode for that emoji.

And it has support for doing zero with join Emojis like when you do a couple different ones, you combine like a color and a person to make a person of a different color, and it supports all of the slack short codes and all of the short codes altogether. The part of particularly proud of, though, is that I I used the mechanized library for Ruby, and I wrote a scraper that scraped down the entire emoji scheme for version 14.0.

And it’s generalized enough that I could just point it to a different version, and then it will pull down all of the definitions. It pulls them down into a serialized file with short codes. Three Unicode for the emoji and the name of it. Um, it’s up on git hub youtube dot com slash army hilo slash emoji sub. We’re just goto army hope go to get up dot com slash army Hello? And you’ll see it on my my top repose there. Um, so that was pretty cool.

I also launched my personal, um, tech blawg armadillo dot Dev. I bought the domain last year, but I didn’t do anything with it because I wasn’t sure what I had to put on it, So I I, um I started out with Bridgetown. Um, we had Jared White on here as a guest before and, um, that this is actually what prompted me to break the emoji subject because I wanted to use short codes in it.

I like Bridgetown a lot, but I didn’t want to deploy to the environments that Bridgetown is best suited for. So I ended up going just back to Jekyll. I play the chuckle a little bit before, but not not in depth. And I had never deployed something with it. So that was a lot of learning that went into that. But I really like it. I found a theme that I like. I’m modified it a whole bunch.

I started writing articles with just general information stuff and other development related things. It’s It’s a work in progress thistle stuff up there, though that’s pretty decent. I think those are the two, like, biggest things that I’ve done. I’m trying to remember what what this year was, because this year feels like several years and it’s bleeding together with last year. I think that was the bulk of it. I know I did a bunch of exorcism stuff earlier in the year to that.

When I was going to call out was like we had Jeremy Walker on earlier this year talking about exercises, Um, which is a learning platform for all kinds of coding languages, and I went through the JavaScript course on that, and I I feel like I really stepped up my Java script game this year, and I’ve written some code.

One of the things I think that I’m really proud of is, um, we aren’t done and we are in fact, a long way from being done, but the process is started at work. We are slowly getting Jake weary out of all of our code. And so everything will be vanilla Js moving forward. And so we’ve been doing an integration with a new marketing automation platform bond.

So we’ve got all of these lead forms that have to submit, you know, lead data toe, uh, to the marketing system for scoring and lead generation and all that. So we’ve got to hook this up to their A p I. So we’ve done some stuff in AWS using Lambda and a P I gateway to build our own rest ful a p i to interface with their rest fill a p I, which was very cool. I only had a hand in that not I didn’t do the whole thing. B

ut one thing that that let me do well, let me come back to that. The thing about that was we had to change a bunch of our form code in the process. And while I was doing that, I’m like, why are we using this? Like s so a good example? Um are forms have a name field, and it’s designed to be, like, full name. So one field and you just type your whole name in there. The problem was, the automation system requires first name, last name.

Don’t yell at me. I didn’t build the automation system. I only have to build to the technical requirements. Thio handle that. We used a J query plug in that was designed to split a name field in tow to other hidden fields. And it works. It works fine, but it was J query based and required J query. And then it was a J query plug in. And the plug in was like 100 some lines along something like that.

Wow. I pour that out, rewrote it vanilla Js 12 lines. And I have no doubt that somebody better than me could probably do it. And even less than that. And I think that I think that was 12 lines with some extra line breaks mixed in there. But I made

crisford and idea would approve it. Really?

Yeah, because that’s the thing, right? It simplified the code. And now on top of that, I have a little function that Aiken that’s Arra module. Now that is abstracted that I can import anywhere. We need any form, even if it’s not a lead form. If We need to do a name split on on a field like that. I could just import that function and it’s ready to go. It doesn’t need selectors. It doesn’t need anything. You just tell what the field is, and it’s good to go.

Um, that felt again. And that’s I think, a good example, really. Small thing felt really good, though it felt good to bright code in a way that felt right. I’m using the word right there a lot. That’s not the fault of the Elmore. That’s just the way Haman is work. Three other thing that I shelved the other thing that I’m I’m really happy we’re starting to get more serious about when we were writing this.

A p I Gateway stuff. Andi, I’ve mentioned this on the show before, though I don’t think we’ve actually gone into depth on this. May be a little bit, um, but we got pretty riel about writing Cyprus tests. Okay, so when somebody updates that code, they can run the Cyprus test and it will. It will submit data to the gateway. It’ll check it. It’ll read the response. It checks the whole bunch of different conditions and We’ll tell you if that’s right or wrong.

Um, that felt really good to because we’ve It’s something we’ve talked about a lot. From a workflow standpoint, that’s like we need to write more tests. We should be writing tests for all of this stuff so that we don’t break things. Obviously, that’s the way modern development works. And it’s one of those things where sometimes prioritization of work and deadlines forces you to cut corners on things.

And testing was usually the thing that always like we have a Q A person. So at the end of the day, it’s like, Why write a test when the Q A person has to go do it? Well, that’s a silly mentality toe have. But the fact of the matter was, it gave us a safety net, and it was an excuse to cut that corner, even though obviously we know that’s bad. Everybody, you you’re gonna have to make sacrifices like that.

And in the real world, no matter how much we argue otherwise and tell you that that you need to do all this stuff, people get paid more than us to make some of those decisions. Um, so with this. We wrote real Cyprus tests and their there and they’re ready to go. And the last time we made a tweak, one of the first things that came out was make sure update that Cyprus test.

And it was like because now it’s they’re now working on that code means working on the test you have can’t do one without the other. And so it’s part of the process. It’s baked in, um, and it will make that code better. I’m really excited about the prospects of that becoming mawr of our style. Um, just because of that, the other things the the reason I like tests, I think is it really makes you think about your code little more sideways.

Uh huh. Ah, lot of places will tell you, toe right, the test first, even. Sure. A lot of

my co workers do that. I am not. I am a big fan of of writing tests, and I always try to have test coverage whenever I I just feel I feel safer when I have a test covAarong something because I know that, like I can get adventurous, try to break things, and it’s not gonna like I’ll know if it breaks it. Um, I’m not I’m not so pedantic about about doing that. The TDD approach I tend to do.

I call it the universe of that I called DDT or development driven tests. Um, I just try to make sure that before I do anything, any kind of big change or anything that wherever I met, whether I write the test first or last, that I have tests before I commit. Before I push up to the repo, I have to have test coverage before I do a re factor of covAarong. I’ve got coverage for whatever it is every factoring e like the security of having the tests available. Um, they’ll they’ll save your bacon

and it like, say, I think it. I think it just makes people better, whether it’s integration test or a unit test, whatever writing that test forces you like. In our case, I had to really stop and think about Okay, well, one of the a p I responses and one of the first things that happened was I wrote my test and it had a huge blind spot because of the way the a P I returned data and you could completely fail the submission.

But because of the way I was checking the response and the information that came in the response, it would the test would pass a complete failure because I just I hadn’t written it specific enough. And so I had to go through and tweak all that. Then we had to do it a second time because we wrote a second a p i in point, but it was working a little differently, But it had the same output, like on on the return response.

And so we had to sit down and figure out Okay, So how do we do this without rewriting or, you know, copy pasting. You know, violating what we call dry. Don’t repeat yourself. We’re gonna just copy and paste this entire chunk of tests that felt silly. So we figured out how toe extract that in Cyprus so that we could just reuse that same chunk of test over again.

You know, the opposite of dry west. Write everything twice. Oh, and

you said TV. The earlier test driven development who don’t know

the t d d the the essence, the very, very short or bridge statement of TDD, is that you? You always write a failing test first, um, and then once you have a failing test, then you write the code that makes a test pass before you like it’s always in that order. Um, I will say the writing tests helps you with your software design.

Because if you’re finding something hard to write a test for, there’s probably a problem with how you’re writing your code like either you’re not. You’re not making you’re not following solid principles. You’re not doing like the single single responsibility principle form of your methods, or you are not like like maybe you need dependency injection because you’re like you can’t like.

You have to tinker with the method too much in order to make it testable. There’s a bunch of different things that, like, if you could write a test for it, then it’s more likely that your code will be more resilient to change in the future.

And I think you know, especially like in particular unit testing, um, is really good to get you start thinking like object oriented a lot of ways because it comes down to things like when you start with the test. You care about the output, not how you get to the output. And so it helps you get away from thinking about Thio throwback to another good word from the season, the idioms of languages and those things that will get you there.

And it makes you think about, well, I need I need blue paint, so my results should be. Actually have a blue wall? Sure, that’s my test. My wall should be blue. Well, I could go by blue paint. I could also go by green paint and yellow paint and mix them. There’s a lot of solutions to that problem and the way you approach that will change and the other buzzword I’ll throw in.

This is agile, agile tends to get you into this because agile is about constantly iterating on things so well. The simple solution, obviously, is to just go by blue paint. Eso that’s that’s the function, so to speak of how you get a blue wall. But down the road, you may discover well, we also need a red wall and a green wall and an orange wall.

And so you think, Well, we could buy individual cans of each of those, or we could start thinking about primary colors and how to mix them. And so maybe then what happens is you change that function to take two colors and mix them and output of color. And so then you get to where you’re You can give it red and yellow and get orange.

So but the output, then you can also say, Here’s green and yellow and I still get blue. I still have a blue wall. As a consequence of that, even though the internal semantics of that function have changed, the output is still blue. As a consequence,

there is some advice I heard originally. I first read it in Sandy Mets, her book Practical Object or Into Design and Ruby and I heard it. I was reminded of it again by a coworker and fellow developer Adam Bachmann. Um, it’s, too. It’s don’t re factor or dry up your code until the third time. You have to do something.

So we call that 12 In is the way we refer to the work, but it’s the exact same principle.

So you write the thing right. The thing that does the thing and then the second time you write the thing that does the other thing, and you just, you know, you suck it up and grimace and complain and maybe make a note the docks somewhere like we should probably re factor this, but that’s it. The third time, though, that’s when you actually do the re factoring her.

Her advice is decorated. Yeah, well, she says, You never know less about your requirements than you do today. I love that I love that framing because that’s E mean, it’s true. But also, it’s like kind of profound, never know less about it than you do today.

What about like, I don’t use the word failure, that flat word failure in my world. Something is a failure only if you didn’t learn from it and didn’t fix something as a consequence. But was there anything that didn’t go well for you, or maybe even rephrase eyes? There, anything you threw away was there. Were there any tools that you gave up on for something else?

I think one thing that kind of fits within the I think, the neighborhood of what you’re asking. In August, I formally stepped down as project lead for diaper base after about 4.5 years. I think something like that. I just I I was feeling burnt out and I was the single. I was the single person or a single point of not failure, but

like a Bottleneck,

Yeah, I kind of like I was the I was the executive of the of the of app development for the app, and it just it got to be It got to be too much like I just I needed other people to be able to make decisions on it and to do things. And I had been in it with it since the beginning, and I was just finding that, but what?

What kind of clued me in was about a month prior to that I was trying Thio trying to close out a ticket in the repo, and I I went into it with one set of assumptions that, you know, it worked a particular way. And it turns out that this particular thing had been changed very radically from how it functioned originally. And I had no idea because that was not communicated.

And also, I hadn’t worked on the project much in a couple months And that was sort of when I realized, like, I’m not I’m not doing the project to service by staying on is the lead, and it was time to turn it over to someone else. I feel very proud of the work that I’ve done with it. We we brought it to market, not market.

It’s not being sold, but we brought it to common use, and the national network has, you know, we’re partnAarong with them and they’ve been promoting it to diaper banks and all the feedback we get from all the diaper bank people have been that they love it and that it solves so many problems for them. And it’s been a delight toe work on the project. I’m still I was actually going to take it the other day.

I still work on it on, but I’m still would like to be involved. I’m just not the team lead anymore. Let me tell you, man, it’s hard, really hard to let that go and everyone else is on the project now, and no one has more than six or so, I guess. I guess one person is eight months experience on it now because he started in April.

He is the most experienced person with the project on the project right now, everyone else has three or four months experience on it. And so I’m like, I’m sticking around partly because, like some of the PR’s, I saw coming in where, like they were, they were solving a problem that had already been solved or they were adding complication to a problem to the program.

That was, like, unnecessary because it there was this whole thing with doing CSC exports. And there was all this complexity. What? There was like a CSC exports like controller which, you know, handle the request coming in and then spitting response back. And then we had, like, a separate class for generating the C S V data from the things and all this abstraction on.

I’m like, Why are we doing it this way? Because rails gives you the ability to do C S V format output by default, like you get it for free. All you have to do is just put a little indicator on the controller action, and then you got it. And so I It was a big commit, but I gutted all of the redundancy and complexity. I modified the code, made it, used it more simple method and then fixed it and then straighten it all out.

And it was a lot cleaner afterwards, if I say so myself. No disrespect to anybody who did it the other way. It was a while ago that we started in that direction, and it was because the requirements changed. It became we needed CSU exports everywhere, and not just on this one spot. So that was a nice, like that was the last big commit I did. But it is really hard to say goodbye, man. Like it was that you know that song in Hamilton one last time? Yeah, that’s that’s a lot. What? I felt like

e have a gaming website, man. And now I think about God. I’ve actually started this thing about eight years ago, I think, Um, and for the the game in question, it was pretty much the leading website out there for that game for a while. And ah, I over time had less and less time to commit to it, and it needed the way I had it set up like intentionally.

It needed a hand to guide it because it took user submissions, but not just like random community generated content. Like anything that was submitted got curated through an editing process and things like that, and the site went down. Actually, last year towards the end of last year, because I just straight up forgot to renew the domain name. I thought I had it on auto Renew. I’d switched.

I’d switched registrars and thought I had everything on Auto Renew and I didn’t. And so I lost the domain. And like when I say I lost it, I mean, I completely I couldn’t get it back at all. Um, and there’s a site there now that’s like a weird It’s not a squatter site, but it’s definitely a weird sight anyway. Not important. But that forced me to sit down and think about what the future of the site waas.

There were a lot of folks on Reddit that popped up and said, Hey, what happened to the site? And so clearly people are still using it, still referencing it, even though I hadn’t been paying hardly any attention to it. So I got a different domain. I relaunched it. I said, Hey, here’s where it is. I shut down the contribution part of it. Um, and I just left it basically in a read only state.

And I started the process of trying to put together like a team Toby like, let’s you know, this code hasn’t been touched in three years, its way out of date. It doesn’t work very well in some areas. Let’s rewrite this stuff. Let’s fix these problems. Let’s update, you know, the look and feel of it. And let’s even get together some writers for it and things like this. And I got I was hitting that really hard in about January of this year earlier this year.

And, man, I’m not even gonna be ashamed of it. I lost steam on it and t to say, you know, failure is just something you don’t learn from. I didn’t learn from that mistake because I nothing has changed on it, and I haven’t moved forward on. I feel really bad about it, um, from that standpoint, But I also had to admit it was too much. I had too many things on my plate, and that particular project just simply took too much time.

And there there was no like payout on it, you know, so to speak there. It wasn’t making money for me. It wasn’t anything like that. All it did was cost me time. And unfortunately, I just have other stuff in my life that took priority. And I feel that sucks. And I would like to revisit it and figure out how to make it whole. I guess so to speak and or at least get into somebody else’s hands.

But I have. I’ve tried and have not been successful in that area because it’s hard, man. It find me a Web developer who doesn’t have side projects already, you know? Yeah. So I felt that

even just like keeping something going, Yeah, it takes a lot,

Um, for the podcast. Let’s let’s talk podcast, though. Just a little bit, you know? Obviously not a whole show for a recap, but I think there’s some stuff to talk about here. Hey, i e I’ve never heard that phrase until you said it just a little bit ago. I understood it contextually, but that was a new one for me. Uh huh. So we’re finishing out season 3. 78 episodes were putting out 26 of them a year. We have not missed an episode.

I do not intend to miss an episode. Season four is coming. Season four is already under production. Um, I intend the Season five and season six. Uh, if time allows. I’m really looking forward to that. I feel very bad in a similar fashion our website is in need of, I think a lot of TLC. I think anybody who has used it, we’ll note that I was looking at our archives earlier and apparently a we we use a parent theme that is a just a paid premium theme that then has a child theme On top of it.

There was some update, I guess, to the parent theme that for some reason, our archives show two players. Oh, I’ve noticed that E I need to go through and look at that and clean that up. Obviously, um, but the site needs just some generalized work all the way around, and I need to find some time to commit to that. So I do plan on doing that.

The one thing that has come up in various capacities and is is moving forward is we will have a merch store of some kind coming up. We’ve started some graphic design errands, taking the reins on a little bit of that. I’ve got another graphic designer that’s working on some stuff that I think, I think that

proud, very proud of my idea.

E think you will enjoy what we have coming. It’s largely like T shirt based and whatnot, but it’s not. It’s not like kitschy drunken UX stuff like it’s just if you’re a Web developer or a Web designer, I think you’re just going to enjoy the ideas that we’ve got and the designs were putting together on day are surprisingly original. I think in most cases, so I hope so.

I think there’s a couple that I have seen variations to some extent on, but, um, there’s one in particular. I’m really excited about showing off. I we haven’t got the design on it started yet. The concept of it’s all worked up, though, but let’s just say I’m really excited to get that in front of some folks and see what you all think. But that is coming. That will be a thing, and that will be something.

They will be affordable azi much as we could make him and try to make a dollar or something off of them just so we can throw that towards hosting costs and whatnot, but also talking about the money side of this. And we We haven’t done it to this point for a number of reasons, but I’ve been strategizing and plotting and scheming, and I do plan probably early in 2021 if not at the start of 2021. I’m planning to launch a patryan for the show.

Alright, so talking about that,

Yeah. So if anybody wants to share dollar with us, you know everything that the the support levels are marginal, like literally one through $5. I’m not out there throwing a $20 a month thing out there. Nothing like that. These air cheap again just to help us offset hosting costs for the show. Basically, I mean, we could

we could do higher tier things for, like, basically, like a promo spot on each episode or something.

Yeah, well, have options, certainly, but nobody will be locked into being like, Well, I can donate a dollar. I donate $10. That’s not very good. I’m trying to keep it very reasonable in that way. Because, you know, it’s just a modest amount that covers hosting and strings, Um, and helps us do things like higher designer. Um, you know, do some of these merchandise ideas.

Um, the big threshold, I think for me is having enough coming in a month to hire a legitimate transcription person. Yes. Oh, gosh, that would be huge. Right now, we’re using automated transcripts. They’re not amazing at this point, but they’re better than nothing. Um, but I would love to be able to afford to pay an actual human being transcript person. So,

like, $50 an episode or something. It’s

something in the in that area. I’ve done the math on that one point. I mean it z not cheap, to say the least. Human transcription generally runs at it’s cheapest, about a dollar a minute. So, like, it sounds cheap until you think about yeah, Doing one into our episodes

were more than one of

the big things, though, and I’ve I’d steered away from the idea of doing, like, any kind of, like, real premium like benefits, I guess, uh, mainly because it’s hard to commit to I think that much extra work. But one thing I do think we will be offAarong, and I’m gonna probably go back and redo some episodes.

Thio help with this is well, is, um usually when we do interviews, you know, they come in at our normal hour length, but we record an hour and a half, sometimes even Mawr. And so I think I’m going to make the full length interviews available. Uh, Thio anybody at probably any tear.

I think if you’re a patryan backer, then you will get full access to the full length interviews if you want to hear more from the folks that we have on, so that’s one that’s kind of right at the forefront of my mind and will very likely be coming. And we’ll probably do some of the other very common stuff like, Hey, you know, help us vote on topics for future episodes and little, you know, little things like that. Yeah, Otherwise, I’m real proud of what we’ve got.

So far, our numbers have been good throughout co vid. Actually a lot of shows saw a pretty mean hit on their listener numbers, with people not driving and not taking transit and listening to shows on their way to work being preoccupied with, Yeah, I’m proud to say, you know, we we saw a little dip as a result, but I think we weathered that and grown on top of it.

So without getting into specific numbers on on that But as always, I say you know anybody who would enjoy the show, be sure to share it, you know, leave us like a review. If you listen to us on, you know, Apple podcast school podcasts ditch your Spotify wherever, um, you know, hit the like button, the rating button. Any of that helps us because it helps reach, and it takes a second. I shared some stuff on instagram stuff.

It’s like That’s that would be the perfect Christmas present. I’m not gonna take too hard on it, But if you have a second and want to do that, it certainly is very appreciated. Yeah, Aaron, what else am I missing? What if we What else has happened this year? Has there been in a big Web news this year that the Gmail or Google stuff was kind of interesting, right? The the icon redesign of all the Google properties that got people of arms pretty big. All right,

look. So a long time ago, I had I was reviewing phones for Verizon, and one time I had the Samsung Droid charge, and it was like the first four g phone or lt phone, um, that I’ve gotten to use in my area recently. Got lt towers. The phone itself was great, but one thing they did that made it really hard to use was every icon. Every app was given a rounded quarter square backgrounds of a randomized color.

It was so hard to use because you can’t look for the outline of the app. I can’t look for the envelope for Gmail. You can’t look for the alien head for Reddit. Whatever the little bird for Twitter, you have to look and actually read like look at the icons themselves. You can’t scan them so frustrating. And so I had the same experience with all the Google changes because now all the icons use the same color scheme to actually have to look at and interpret the individual icons. And it’s really fucking annoying

little things. The little thing

they have, they have so much money and they hire some. I’m certain, very talented people. I don’t know why they thought this was a good idea. I get brand consistency. They could have just as easily had made each of the icons a different color and a different shape. And that probably would have been fine. Or they could have just left it all the same and stop being idiots about it. I don’t know. It was just really annoying

one of the other big things from this year, and it’s certainly not done at all. But, um, you know, the last, uh, big release for word pressing this 55 still a ways to go. But they have in fact, been making a lot of progress on accessibility in the platform. Um, you know, as much criticism as Aziz we levied at them and certainly, you know more than a few other people about the accessibility of Gutenberg.

Uh, and despite the failings that does still have, they have made a lot of strides, and they’ve been true. Their word that, you know, that was something they were going to keep working on, so that’s been good to see. It’s encouraging to say the least, um, people still complain about it. That’s one thing that has not changed this year was boy. People have not gotten used to Gutenberg quickly, that’s for sure. It’s good to see.

It’s good to see that’s making progress. And I think it well, hopefully be good for the platform. I think in the long run, I do like using it for the show. I I find a lot of nice things about it, to say the least, you know about the way it works and the way it integrates with content. I have enjoyed building stuff for it. So Well, how about this? For the last time in 2020 I’m gonna say kickback. Have yourself a simple whatever. Drink your heaven and we’ll be right back with you after this break.

Well, that rounds it out for us. Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for sitting with us for three years. I hope we’ve entertained you. I hope that in all of the strife that has been 2021 we’ve given you some humor, some learning some sense of enjoyment. Certainly I assume you’re not tuning in because you’re a masochist and hate us, but they teach their own. You know, I’m not gonna No, no, no judgment. If you want to join us, we’re on Twitter.

We’re on Facebook. You can find a slash drunken you x because up on instagram that slash drunken UX podcast. If you want to chat with us at any point, you can come find us. Drunken. You x dot com slash discord. I hope everybody has a merry Christmas. I hope you enjoyed your stocking stuffers from our last episode. Um, if not, go back and check that out. We talked about CSS math functions.

We talked about some data flags we talked about among us, among other things. And those are waiting for you. We’ll do a little bit more of that in 2021. I think I like the little quick kid or topic episodes. Those air fun. They From what I can tell, you guys enjoy them as well. Um, all I can do is in the year is I begin the year and tell you Keep your personas close your users closer. Merry Christmas. Happy new years. We’ll see you in season four. Bye bye.

Happy New Year and Christmas, bye.

This episode of The Drunken UX Podcast brought to you by nuCloud.