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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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Time for me to improve

From time to time I like to embrace new challenges in my professional life and it’s happening again now, as I start a new full-time job at Improving!

I’ve known several folks at the company for many years now from speaking at conferences and user groups. In the last two years I’ve done some gigs with them as a contractor at clients in Brazil and Argentina. I’ve had a lot of fun and was very fortunate as they offered me a full-time job as I move back to the US.

I’m looking forward to working with several like-minded guys I’ve known for years, taking on new challenges, and as it is bound to happen, Improving myself as a professional and a person (yes, pun intended!).

Full-time <-> Independent cycles

I started my first full-time job 26 years ago. Since then, I’ve alternated between full-time and independent jobs, but always staying at least a couple of years on each. Doing so has helped me both working on my own as well as working with others. As a hobbyist musician, I can relate this with making music in a band or as a solo artist (but I’ll save this to another post…).

Five years ago I’ve blogged about the fact I was going to work on my own, after solid 9 years on a full-time job. At the time I really needed that change both from professional and personal points-of-view. Now, five years later, I feel I’ve succeeded on that change and am ready to do it again. Working on my own during this time was great as I managed to be involved in some great projects, and it has also allowed me to go on with some big changes in my personal life.

Back to speaking…

I’m also going back to doing presentations at user groups and conferences. I’ve been missing those things, so I did a presentation last month in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and will be doing two presentation at the Houston Tech Fest 2016. I’m looking forward to hanging out with a bunch of my old buddies out there.

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2015: Annual Review

Inspired by James Clear’s “Annual Review”, I decided I should to mine, too. Heck, I do that on the projects I work on, I might as well do it to my own life as well.

So, the famous 3 questions that get the ball rolling:

  1. What went well in 2015?
  2. What didn’t go so well?
  3. What am I working toward?

I will be brief on this post, and later write up posts to detail more of each item. There are things that worked well in 2015 that I won’t list here, but will write up dedicate posts later this year.

1. What went well in 2015?

Defining goals, writing them down, and tracking them: at the beginning of the year I had defined goals, outlined them with key motivations, and kept reviewing them (at least once a week) in order to make sure I was tackling them as time went by. This has not prevented me from NOT accomplishing some of the goals, but it DID help me accomplish most of them, as well as it helped me reflecting on my failures.

Workout habit, results, and side-effects: I wanted to get in better shape. I don’t want to run a marathon or look like a bodybuilder. I just want to feel better about myself. Working out is boring for me. Tracking workouts and building the habit has made me find out how I can make this fun and harvest some benefits as side-effects.

Filing my taxes on time: Over the last several years I was always filing for an extension because I just couldn’t file my taxes by Apr 15. Well, in 2015 I’ve filed exactly on Apr 15. Huge improvement from previous years!

2. What didn’t go so well?

Make my professional blog more active: this post you’re reading is published to what I consider my professional blog. This is where I post things related to how I make a living (mainly, software development). I ended up only writing two posts last year, despite the fact there are many things I’d like to write about.

Personal project related to my experiences living in the US: this is something I want to do because I always have people asking me about this, so I figure I should share this with a wider audience somehow. I have some very specific ideas on what I want to do, I’ve picked a name for it, created the channels, the logo, but just didn’t start delivering the content. 

Personal/Professional secret project: this is a somewhat secret project just because I want to keep it low before it is all confirmed. What bums me on this one is because I did everything I could do on my end, but there are things that are just outside of my control. But, in order to cope with that, a Plan B is on the works.

3. What am I working toward?

Less ideas, more action: I think I’ve been very good at keeping track of ideas. And there are quite many ideas that keep popping in my head. I think I’ve finally started to take action on a few hand-picked ideas. I’m turning those into projects, putting effort into them, tracking it, and at this moment I’m feeling good about them. 

Take one day at a time: Having ideas flowing and figuring out some sort of a plan is good, but I need to learn to focus on taking one day at a time, live in the moment, make the best off of it. There’s only so much one can do.

Get better: I feel like at one point I was better than I am today. I also feel like I can get better than I was before. Working on that!

Conclusion

There are a couple more things I could add to each one of those bullet points, but I’m still thinking through it, figuring out the good things I want more of, the bad things that need to be addressed, and the things I just need to let go.

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Notes from January-2015

When I was running the Virtual Brown Bag (VBB) a few years ago, I used to share weekly links to things I thought interesting or useful. I don’t currently have time to go back at hosting weekly VBBs, but I’ll start posting my links monthly, mostly for my own reference, but it may also turn out to be helpful to my readers.

Technical

10 tips for better Pull Requests
A brief history of web design for designers
Better Specs  rspec guidelines with ruby
TastyCupcakes.org
How We (and You) Use Alfred Remote Every Day

Lifestyle/Productivity

Find Work You Love by Identifying Your Unique Angle
27 Simple Things to Start Doing for Your Happiness
How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the Two Minute Rule
How to Trick Yourself Into Drinking More Water Every Day
The Secrets Of Highly Efficient Napping
How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals
Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year
Tim Ferriss: How to feel like the Incredible Hulk

Evernote

A couple of years ago I posted about how I use Evernote. I’m still using it a LOT, and am always looking for ways to improve the way I use it…

How To Use Evernote To Achieve Your Goals
How To Get More Done Using Evernote and Have Peace of Mind Every Single Day Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 Dictate Notes Into Evernote for iOS
Scannable: A New Mobile Scanning App from Evernote
Command + J Will Save Your Day
Plug Sunrise Into Your Daily Routine
How I organise Evernote
How Susan Orlean Writes With Evernote
Bring Creativity to Life With Evernote Post-it® Note Camera & Scannable

Etsy

I mentioned over a year ago that I help my wife organize and run her online store on Etsy. I read several articles about improving Etsy sales…

How to Boost Sales One Step at a Time
Wholesale Guide for Etsy Sellers
8 Pinterest Marketing Tips for the Holiday Season
3 Keys to Enticing International Shoppers
Top Tips for Managing Custom Orders

Misc

Essay · The future of the book
How Facebook and Candy Crush Got You Hooked

Funny

Intelligent Elevator

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Hello? Is this thing on?!

It seems like my blogging fever comes in waves. Ever since I started this blog (almost 10 years ago), I spend some months blogging somewhat frequently, then I go on a hiatus, and then I come back to writing, and the cycle goes on like that. The last wave came when I switched over from .NET to Ruby on Rails development. With so many things new I had to learn, there was certainly no shortage of things to write about. My posts related to Rails can be found here.

In the last three years, I’ve had just way too much going on in my personal life and blogging just gradually dropped in priority. Another thing that has made me slow down is that I really liked using Windows Live Writer

(WLW) as my blogging editor, and I could never find a similar tool, or a tool that I liked, on the Mac. Since I’ve been using more and more the Mac as my main machine, and less and less the PC, it just didn’t make sense for me to keep a PC around just for blogging.

As I’m currently having to work on some things that require a PC, I’ve set up one as a virtual machine (using Parallels on the Mac), and also set up WLW on it, so I should be able to be back into blogging here more often.

Even though I haven’t been writing, I do have been keeping track of ideas of things I’d like to write about, so that should give me a head start.

I know some of my readers have also enjoyed posts related to my musical endeavors. I decided to create a separate blog just for that! Go check it out: it’s called Sanctuary of Nevermore. A technical note about that new blog: I’m publishing it to Postach.io, straight from Evernote!

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Speaking at TDC and Northwest Arkansas CodeCamp this week

Last year I couldn’t make it to Tyson Developers Conference (I was speaking at TechEd Europe in Berlin that same week), but this time it worked out, so not only will I be speaking at the TDC, but I’ll also staying over an extra day to speak at the Nortwest Arkansas CodeCamp. I have made some good buddies in that area, so I’m looking forward to going there.

Here are the topics I’ll be presenting on at TDC:

And here at the topics for the Northwest Arkansas CodeCamp:

See some of you there!

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