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Got the Golden Owl for Italian in Duolingo!

As I’ve mentioned in my 2017 Annual Review, I was very close to finishing the Italian course on Duolingo. I finally did it last Sunday!

I got there after a 158-day streak. In the first month I was reviewing the Spanish lessons, while going back to the first lessons of Italian, which I had started on a few years ago, but had dropped in favor of finishing off Spanish (the two had too many similarities that were throwing me off). After that, I was solely dedicated to Italian, so it took me about 4 months go finish the lest lesson and earn the Golden Owl. 🙂

So, can I speak Italian now? Well, not really.

My initial focus has been learning words and building vocabulary. Now I can recognize way more words than I could five months ago. I can also understand some simple sentences, and write a couple of simple sentences. I also understand some basic grammar. I can listen to some spoken Italian and pick out words and context of the conversation. Not nearly enough to have a conversation on my own.

On one hand, Italian shares a lot of similarities with Portuguese and Spanish. On the other hand, it has some nuances that keep throwing me off. For example, there are words that sound and mean exactly the same things across the three languages. Then, there are words that sound and look the same in all three languages, yet, they mean things completely different.

The singular and plurals also throw me off. For example, in Portuguese, Spanish and English, we can easily recognize plural words when we see an “s” at the end (“boy, boys”, “menino, meninos”, “nino, ninos”). In Italian, that’s not the case (“ragazzo, ragazzi”, for “boy, boys”, and “ragazza, ragazze” for “girl, girs”, respectively). That, and verb tenses, are the main things I’m currently struggling with.

My plans moving forward:

  • Continue practicing it on Duolingo for a while (maybe a month or two);
  • Read articles and at least a book in Italian. Since I’m enjoying sportbike riding at the track, I’ll be reading about and following news on Valentino Rossi.
  • Watch videos in Italian. Again, I’ll probably watch videos related to sportbike riding (such as this one), as that’s a topic a really enjoy.
  • Watch an Italian movie I’ve seen before: Cinema Paradiso. I’ve watched this movie several years ago and enjoyed it, so now I’ll watch it again, with the original audio and subtitles in Italian.

Once I’m done with those things, I may venture into practicing some conversation, but we’ll see when I get there.

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Creating a TODO template in Resharper

It’s been a while since I created a template in Resharper. I wanted to create one yesterday, and it took me longer than I thought it would, so I figured I should write a post I can refer back to. I probably got spoiled by how awesome CodeRush is when it comes to creating templates and was expecting similar experience in R#. Anyway…

The template I want to create is one where I type todo to expand the template, and then I can type whatever comment I want to attach to my todo:

Here’s how we do that. Go to Resharper -> Tools -> Template Explorer…

Select C# and new on the New Template button:

Type in the template:

For shortcut, I typed todo.

Notice I’ve included $date$. Anything within $ indicates we want to create a parameter. On the righthand side we can select from a list of macros that get evaluated for the parameter:

I’ve picked “Current date…” and set the specific format I want (yyyy-MM-dd):

Now when I type todo in the code editor…

I get the result I want and can type in whatever else…

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Improving is Improving

The company I work with is doing what it does best: Improving is improving!

We have recently finalized a partnership with ProSource Solutions, a management and information technology consulting firm headquartered in Ohio. This merger will continue growing the value we can bring to our clients, our services, and adds great expert Improvers. Those new Improvers significantly strengthen the breadth and depth of our technical consulting services, and training offerings.
 
Furthermore, it will expedite efforts for Improving to pursue its strategy to grow vertical technology specializations, through the delivery of Microsoft and cloud computing based solutions. ProSource is a preferred Microsoft Partner and has been awarded 5 consecutive “Top U.S. Partner of the Year” awards from Microsoft.
 
With similar company values and a focus on culture, we see significant alignment in business strategy and overall approach. It remains our top priority to establish and maintain trust not only with each other but with our clients, partners, communities, and others.
 
We welcome ProSource Solutions to the Improving brand and look forward to our future collective growth together!
 
To read more about this acquisition, please visit http://improving.com/thoughts/improving-acquires-prosource-solutions

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What opinions are worth sharing?

In the last 40 days or so, I’ve published 20 posts (including this one). That’s my biggest number of posts ever! A personal goal I’ve had in the last two or three years has been to make this blog more active, and that’s what I’m doing.

The high number of posts has been motivated by my realization that I’m often asked about my opinion on a number of things, so I might as well share my opinions through this channel, as it may be of interest to a wider audience. Also, I can always point people to a blog post in case I ever get asked the same thing again.

Now, what opinions are worth sharing? I’m sure the answer to that question varies from person to person. In my case, I’ve been sharing both requested and unrequested opinions on things I care enough (at least at the time) about.

Of course, opinions can change. If I change my opinion on something, I’ll probably blog about it.

My bottom line is: since I started writing down my thoughts on a number of things people ask me, I haven’t run out of ideas on what to post about. People can always ignore/delete a post. I can always go back to my posts to think about my progress on certain aspects of things I do. Some of my posts may get my readers to think about things they weren’t thinking of before. If one post is ignored by 1000 people, but helpful to a single person (which could even be myself!), then post was already worthy.

And the next time I’m thinking whether something is worth a blog post or not, I’ll think of this piece of Internet Wisdom:

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My Morning Ritual

I’ve introduced morning rituals in my life a long time ago. These rituals change over time, based on whatever’s going on in my life, as well as what constraints I have, what resources, etc.

Currently, here’s what my morning ritual looks like (starting after hitting the snooze button a few times – a bad habbit I need to break! – and going to the bathroom):

  1. Stretch: I stretch my body, mostly using a foam roller like this one, to roll my legs and back and get things back into place;
  2. Water: After so many hours without drinking or eating anything, I like drinking about a glass of water so that my body can flush its system; 🙂
  3. Protein shake: I don’t feel like having a large breakfast in the morning, so I at least try to get some protein, which will help me not feel hungry way before lunch time;
  4. Meditate: I’ve blogged about how meditation is paying off. I’ve been meditating for 15 minutes for several months. I’m thinking about going up to 20 minutes soon. 
  5. Journaling: For many years I’ve been writing down things I’m grateful for. For the last several months I’ve been using the 5-Minute Journal, which just adds a little more structure to it;
  6. Watch to short inspirational video or listen to song that gets me going:  I may either watch a video off the QuickTalk YouTube playlist Short, or listen to a song off my Morning Songs playlist;
  7. Organize my day: I first review things that I know are going on that day and then set up my Daily Execution note, which drives my day;
    8. Quick email scan: this happens real quick! I barely skim over email subjects, specifically looking for anything that could somehow mess up with my plans for the day (set in #7). For instance, maybe a meeting got cancelled last minute, or something urgent has come up and I must include in my agenda for the day. 
  8. Go to work!

Seriously, I do NOT read emails in the morning. I ONLY go through subjects and see if there’s anything that could change my agenda for the day. I’ll only spend more time checking email once my main activies have been put in motion at work.

Also, I do NOT check any social network in the morning.

Important: I set my cellphone to “flight mode” when I go to bed, and I only set it back when doing step #8 above; that way, I don’t hear and dings for new messages in the middle of the night, and I don’t take the risk of seeing updates on my cell phone when I pick it up to run my meditation app, so I don’t get any interruption.

I’d like to add workout to my morning ritual, but I haven’t found a way to make that work with my current constraints. Anyway, as it is now, my morning ritual is helping me get ready for the day and get a sense of being productive since early in the morning.

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Come checkout the new Improving Houston office

We are celebrating the opening of our newly designed office space. We would love for you to join us On Thursday, June 15th from 4pm to 7pm. We will have the Houston West Chamber of Commerce in attendance for the ribbon cutting. Come out and see what Improving is all about. Please register here

 https://improvinghoustonribboncutting.eventbrite.com

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Fun with C#: ForEach for everyone!

Whenever possible, I like using a ForEach method, instead of a for-each block. Take the code below for example:

The iteration part could be rewritten like so:

Or, even better, since the AddToPizza method takes in one parameter with the same type of the items we’re iterating over…

The iteration could simply look like this:

However, not every thing we iterate has the ForEach method. For example, regular arrays don’t. So, if our items source looked like the one below, we wouldn’t have a ForEach method:

So how do we get a ForEach method that works on Lists, Collections, Arrays, etc? Just create the extension method on IEnumerable<T>, like so:

Make sure to import the namespace for your extension methods (using statement) wherever you’re trying to use them!

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