Now

This is page about what I’m working on right and generally what I’m up to right now. It’s inspired by Derek Sivers and the idea of the /Now page.

March 2023

Getting back to updating my /Now page after it seems I took the winter off from making any updates. In that last couple of months I’ve launche a few side projects to the public, took a nice vacation to Mexico and started to focus in on trying to get more clients for my software consulting company, msoftware.

Life

The Minnesota winters are long and it helps to get out of the cold for a week or two during these cold months. This year we took a trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Isla is a pretty neat little island about 30 minutes by boat off the coast of Cancun. You get around the island by cab, bike or golf cart. We rented a golf cart for the week and drove to the beaches and around the island every day. It’s a beautiful place and getting to spend some time in the sun really helps break up the winters here.

Side Projects

  • Armchair Expert Media Explorer – My wife is a big Armchair Expert podcast fan, I think they’re called arm cherries, as she listens to the podcast the hosts, Dax and Monica, talk to their guests about books, podcast, music and other kinds of media they’re into. This project is our attempt at documenting all the different media that’s talked about during the podcast. Right now it’s all manually captured but in the future I’d like to implement some Natural language processing to find the media from the podcast transcripts.
  • Today’s Record High App – I’ve been working on different iterations of this app for about a year now. This winter I put my head down to bust out a stable app for both Apple and Android operating systems. The interface was actually designed via ChatGTP. I needed a professional / minimal design for the screens so I asked ChatGTP to "Create me a React Native interface to display the record high, record low, normal high and normal low for a given date. Display the date and location at the top". Surprisingly this worked out really well. The JSX syntax that was returned turned out to work perfectly. Now that this project is public, I’m going to step away for a little while, even though I have a million ideas of what type of weather data I’d like to see in the app.
  • Migrated both msoftwaredev.com and clintmcmahon.com from WordPress on WP Engine over to the Ghost platform. The migration was pretty easy, I should write a blog post about migrating clintmcmahon.com over as there was some magic that I had to perform to get the images migrated over successfully.


November 2022

Side Projects

  • I’ve been working on a website to display all the various weather records in a single and easy to use place. But I’m getting very overwhelmed by all the options out there. There’s so much data but I’m not able to put my finger on what the most important data is for all the different use cases out there. I finally decided to put the big Climate Dashboard on hold and to develop a React Native mobile app for iOS and Android that only displays the record high, normal high, record low and normal low temperature for a given day for each of the different cities available. Users have the ability to navigate from day to day as well as change the city they want to view. Currently the app is only available for iOS but I am working on putting together the Android build now.
  • I started building the Armchair Expert Media Explorer as .Net 6 Razor Pages app. The website hooks into the publicly available Spotify API to gather a list of the Armchair Expert episodes to use as the source list. In addition to the episode list in the Spotify API response I am also grabbing the episode description and image to display. At the time of this writing I am in the middle of migrating from my local machine to a dedicated web server that I manage. Hopefully by December we’ll have a live site up and running.

Work

  • In an effort to regain balance in my work and life I’ve eased back the amount of work that I’m taking on for the next couple of months. For the rest of the year I’m only working on one or two client’s as I take some time to develop my side projects more.
  • In the last couple of months have really gotten the hang of OData in .Net 5 and 6 through a couple of projects that I’m working on. It feels like a predecessor to GraphQL. At first OData was difficult to get into without any prior experience with the technology but after watching Kevin Dockx’s awesome Plural Sight course I was able to dive in and understand how things are happening under the hood. I’m 90% sure my next REST API will be built with OData.

Books

  • Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
  • This Is Your Mind On Plants by Michael Pollan
  • Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port

August 2022

Life

  • Starting a /now page. I’ve known about the now movement for a while but have never sat down to write the page. This is my first entry into the /now page world. I plan on sitting down at the beginning of each month to write a new update.
  • We’re all living in Minneapolis at the moment. We’ve been here for the past 10 years but lately have been thinking about moving west or back to Chicago. Housing prices are at an all time high in both of those places, so for now we’re staying put in Minneapolis.
  • Taking advantage of summer and the warm evenings by going to a lot of splash pads with Theo.
  • Planning to take Theo to his first county fair this month and the state fair at the end of the month.
  • Trying to check off all our boxes for from our summer bucket list. It’s going to be getting colder before I know it.
  • Blogging more as a way to get ideas and thoughts onto the page and out of my head. Blogging has helped me become a better writer as well.

Work

  • Keeping focus on website development and system design for my existing clients. I’m taking on two more clients this month which I’m very excited about.
  • Attending new Meetups in Minneapolis – Hackers and Founders and Tech Beers. I’m getting into the local software development/tech scene here as a way to meet people as well as find new clients.
  • Looking for another consultant to come on and help pick up the work load on a large client of mine. The current developer is leaving for a pretty exciting opportunity so I need to find someone who is as self motivated and as good of a coder as the person leaving.

Side Projects

  • Published the first real iteration of WX Records or Daily Climate Dashboard. Need to think of a good name for the website. I plan on releasing a couple more charts this month.
  • Katie has a great idea to document all the media – books, websites, albums, etc – mentioned within each episode of Armchair Expert. We’d then create a searchable media library of all the data. The idea has gotten good reception on the /r/armchairexpert Reddit page.

Books

  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D
  • Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott
  • Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port