TABLE OF CONTENTS
- books this year so far
- notable shows and movies
- keeping up with the Battaglias (and Dorans)
- projects! projects! projects!
Lots of updates to be had so bear with me here!
I'm nearing 2 years in NYC and what a roller coaster of an experience! A few highlights of the year so far include:
- New Years in Colorado
- Bergdorf modeling gig
- Patrick and Meg's wedding
- a *cough* hiatus *cough* from Amplify
- a brief stint at Ambulnz
- Evan and Kim's wedding
- Hamptons vineyard tour
- July 4th in the Adirondacks
- weekend getaway in the Hamptons for Emily's bday
- Labor Day rooftop concert with Shawn Spencer
- Beer Olympics
- Down the Whole launch
And many many more that I'm forgetting right now because I write these far too infrequently >.<
On top of all the play on the weekends, I've been deep into work. I've been at Amplify since January 2018 which means roughly 1 year and 9 months working on a product I truly believe in. Deep in the weeds on science curriculum for Kindergarten through 8th grade. News broke a few days ago that we've reached a "Tier 1" rating in Louisiana which is insane news for us. All added up we're now at:
- New York City Department of Education
- Chicago Public Schools
- Denver Public Schools
- San Francisco Unified School District
- Seattle Public Schools
- the KIPP charter network
- with hundreds of other districts across the country
Meanwhile here at work I'm a part of a team that is putting together our curriculum (partnership with Lawrence Hall of Science) and Google Slides to make authored decks for teachers in an effort to reduce the time it takes a teacher to prepare for a lesson and give feedback to students at districts that are fortunate enough to have in-class devices! 1 device per student is obviously not realistic right now and for those younger k-5 classrooms we're making huge strides to reduce the friction for a teacher organizing her class and all the handouts and all the activities! Yay for progress and hopefully yay for making another chip at the trickle down teaching mentality (hopefully another post on this coming soon on this).
I ran into a group of 3 women at the Village Underground for comedy and one of them being a literature professor was very interested when I told her I worked for an education company. Hard to talk about the ELA/CKLA side of things but listening to Natalie Wexler the other day talk about the loss of fiction and the rise of core knowledge has piqued my interest. The fact that my mother is a special education reading teacher also makes me wanna jump into that world but I think science is definitely the gateway to the rest of k-12 because it's the most enhanced by technology by far. Simulations, activities, pre-made slide decks, videos, ebooks, etc! Amplify is all that and more! I whole-heartedly believe that "I am doing a good work and I cannot come down" right now (the only bible reference that has really stuck for me).
books this year so far
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- Developer Hegemony by Erik Dietrich
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Einstein by Walter Isaacson
- Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
- When Einstein Walked with Godel by Jim Holt
- The Most Human Human by Brian Christian
- Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward
- The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm: Eragon by Christopher Paolini
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- Lord Brocktree: A Tale from Redwall by Brian Jacques
As I get older I feel as though reading is one of the biggest things that keeps me sane in NYC. Reading, podcasts, workouts, etc. Self improvement in general but with reading I find it extra therapeutic because I jump into another world. Brocktree was my adolescence convulsing back into my soul and East of Eden I felt as though I read through my Grandfather's generation, my father's generation, my generation and my potential children's. Timshel is a hell of a concept.
Dorian Gray was a hell of a beast. All I can say about this one is maybe hold off if you're ever in a depressive spot in life. Definitely a testament to never using the wonderful youth you're given.
Fear: Trump in the White House was quite a good read and I even found out a decent friend from college is now his personal secretary so that's interesting.
notable shows and movies
- Book of Mormon
- Downton Abbey (whole series)
- Peaky Blinders (season 5)
- Stranger Things (season 3)
- The Crown (seasons 1 and 2)
keeping up with the Battaglias (and Dorans)
As most reading this would know, my family is quite a big deal to me. We've had a few losses so far that have really put things into perspective losing my grandfather Charles Battag;ia early in the year and few months later my grandmother Mary Jane Doran. That generation really came across as super "sturdy" to me and for better of for worse we're heading into the attentionless, hyperactive age.
My pops, David is now basically in full retirement mode and is coasting through working part time for a company called FEA that does forestry data forecasting and prediction so your big building materials company can hedge their bet with forecasting the market into the next few years. I mean trees do take x amount of years to grow so this business is pretty genius IMO. Meanwhile, Momma B is deep in her last year of middle school teaching. As much as she says she can't wait for retirement I'm gonna guess she'll miss it a little bit. I can't even fathom what it's been like to teach ~12 years of special education reading to adolescent, prepubescent children...
Emma and Andrew and Forester and superb and my little nephew is already over 1 year old which is insane and I feel bad being so far away from the little guy. A couple weeks back got to meet my cousin and my uncle for a drink out in Midtown which is such a wonderful thing in this city. All 20 or so of the Doran clan is quite an insane beast when we're together. Speaking of, I can't wait to fry up some turkeys for Thanksgiving in North Carolina with Uncle Duck Doran and fam.
projects! projects! projects!
This lovely package I took over in 2018/2019 from https://github.com/SkyLothar that uses your favorite linux OS's packaged openssl binaries to make doing crypto calculations in NGINX super duper fast (lightspeed). The concept here is basically that you have a full async/threaded runtime inside your NGINX gateway that you can be making use of as long as it is non-blocking. Many people are moving away from this concept in favor of edge lambdas in cloud providers like AWS but I would argue that raw boxes are alive and well! I currently have NGINX on all servers I manage and having the capability to do programmatic non-blocking computation inside of a path resolution is superb!
dtw-grand-central (coming soon!)
Grand Central began as a product requirement for work at Amplify. We have what we call the "Curriculum" application that is about 3-4 years worth of Angular 1.x code that is the main interface for how Amplify users consume our curriculum content in English and science classes. We set off to re-use these Angular components hand in hand with some React code and stumbled into arcadeJHS/AngularVueIntegration which outlined exactly what we wanted to do: 1 DOM instance shell of each framework we want to use together (Vue, React, Angular 1x or Angular 2+). The beauty of this is that we're able to reuse initialized services in Angular world as well through constants! In total DTW Grand Central is:
- dependency injection service registry (lifecycle maintenance of all services in one place)
Beauty of this is that you can
combineReducers for additions to the Redux store on the fly which also means you can extend your routes with future loading js bundles without having to destroy your current heap and virtual DOM! I don't know if people are doing this sort of thing yet for micro-frontends!
Many a friend pass through NYC and it's my duty to make sure I show everyone how much fun this beautiful, bright city is. That said, this city is 100% based on word of mouth. Timeout NYC can only go so far with the recommendations and nobody wants their favorite local spot blowing up! Each and every time a friend passes along a recommendation I store it on my phone and now suddenly I'm approaching 1000 locations in all of the world that I can "recommend". Great and all but I want to take it one step further and beat Google at the "my maps" game by doing group collaborative, low maintenance recommendations in your favorite city! For now I'll have a secret url on that website to get to a "friends-only" spot to add a recommendation. Again, the goal is to let you keep all your spots but let you share them quick and easy! Yelp, Google, Apple, whatever! Copyright on location data is a hard thing and might get a little quirky to figure out but for now it's great to share with my friends that are only in town for the weekend and don't need hand holding through the city!
dtw-osm-tile-server (coming soon!)
An open source project that powers https://downthewhole.com/ by using Open Street Map, Open Map Tiles, Docker and redis to render maps of the whole world! Two main databases: 1 for OSM and 1 for custom locations and then a redis cache for hot-searched geo positions!
GEORADIUS command is amazing!
dtw-ax (coming soon!)
An iOS app for personal knowledge:
- note taking
- ebook highlights
- music discovery
- music making
- link saving
- identification storage
- personal finance
- ssh client
- entertainment/art reviews
- aggregate travel tips (what plug do I need, etc)
For a while now I've been dipping my toes into React Native as a platform and I fully expect to open source my tooling along the way! All of the above are things I've thought of as I've gone about my life navigating the subway to and from everywhere in NYC when I have a hot minute in the tunnel without internet and a thought that springs into my head. We need to start making use of your phones computational power for something other than just games. Think of it like Spotify offline downloads but with all of the easy to reach data that you need throughout your day to day life. When you get back on the network you can sync back up and even exchange notes from your ebook/Kindle with friends!
dtw-notes (coming soon!)
The intelligence engine driving my note taking. Every time I write a link in my text editor (VSCode) it detects that I just typed a url and silently makes a request to a server that then looks up meta tags, open graph data and even article text using tools like codelucas/newspaper. Markdown is a beautiful "language" and I've been using it since I graduated from high school for all my notes collecting links, thoughts, life events, etc and I want to enable Gmail predictive style typeahead and other things to further my AI knowledge. A while back there was this small Mac app (the name evades me) that allows you to create a decision network graph and other zoom-in-able data structures using bulleted lists and other weird markup that I want to enable. Think of it like an always growing automatic table of contents for everything you write. A corpus but more Wikipedia-esque!
- intelligent typing
- automatic linking references
- decision trees
- pro/con lists
- syntax highlights for code
dtw-audio (coming soon!)
Listen to Spotify daily? A little too much? Did you know you can follow other peoples' discover weekly playlists? What if you could dig in further to your music preferences with a little bit of Spotify API secret sauce and an acquired company called The Echo Nest. A special API from Spotify allows you to get data for each and every song you play. What BPMs do I like in the morning? What key of songs do I like in the evenings in the winter time? Combine your daily Last.FM scrobbles with Spotify api and boom you have a full music analysis tool. This one I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with it. Houndify should be releasing their Soundhound api soon and we'll all have full Shazam powers and the copyright industry's crazy metrics for detecting if a certain piece of sound already exists. Crazy stuff but I think there's a lot to do creatively here.
rust std::future + tokio (practice makes perfect)
There's a fancy new feature coming up in Rust called
.await that is going to change the game IMO for digital signal processing, web development and any I/O heavy project. The ability to use a pluggable runtime like tokio in the Rust ecosystem means that we're not far off from having a lower level zero cost abstraction for just about every protocol like eBPF. I've been following actix closely as they transition to using the new
std::future along with a massive tokio rewrite landing soon!