May 2008

21 Ruby Tricks You Should be Using in Your Code

by Joey deVilla on May 26, 2008

Over at Ruby Inside, there’s an article titled 21 Ruby Tricks You Should be Using in Your Code will all sorts of useful code snippets. Even if you code in Ruby every day, there just might be a trick or two you haven’t seen before!


Darren Rowse in Texas, March 2008.
I took this shot of Darren Rowse at the b5 Ranch outside Austin, Texas in March 2008.
The photo is from this entry in my personal blog, The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

My fellow b5er Darren Rowse, of ProBlogger and Digital Photography School fame, was featured in a Chicago Tribune article titled Blogging Paying off for a Few, which takes a look at how some people have been making a living through blogging.

Here’s the part of the article featuring Darren:

In Melbourne, Australia, Darren Rowse has been generating a six-figure income since 2005 from and several photography blogs. His blogging career started as a hobby four years ago, when, as a minister, he blogged about starting a new church, he said. That blog led to another; soon Rowse had 20 different blogs, but most didn’t generate enough interest so he shut them down.

When Rowse launched to offer advice to other bloggers in 2004, he hit on a need in the marketplace, he said. ProBlogger’s revenue comes from advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsorships and job boards, he said.

“In the early days, I had to be quite proactive,” he said. “As it grew, I found advertising agencies would come to me.”

His experience spurred him to co-found b5media, a Toronto-based network of more than 350 blogs in 15 areas of interest that draws more than 10 million visitors a month. The collective power of b5media attracts advertisers, and the company pays writers to produce blogs for the network, Rowse said.

To be successful, the blogger must be knowledgeable about the topic. It also helps if you’re passionate about it, he said. “Can you see yourself blogging about this topic every day? Quite often, people do it only for the money and can’t sustain it,” Rowse said.


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Local tech evangelist David Crow points to The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. Unlike What Color is Your Parachute? or Who Moved My Cheese?, Johnny Bunko is in manga form — that’s right, it’s a Japanese-style comic book.

An unusual book needs an unusual promo, and Johnny Bunko is no exception — it’s got a trailer!

In a review at Amazon, Donald Mitchell provides a quick summary of the book:

Most career writers when they want to simplify a message use a fable, with a few illustrations that show the key perspectives. The fable is clearly secondary to the details.

In The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, the story is more interesting than the advice. Having read a lot of Mr. Pink’s writing, I thought I knew what he would probably advise. But I didn’t realize that he would make the story so interesting, and that the manga format would add so much power to the story telling. Nice work!

What’s the advice? Let me rephrase to make it clearer to you:

  1. Don’t be rigid about planning out each step well in advance . . . it’s not possible to do.
  2. Build on what you’re good at (Peter Drucker originated that one) and avoid relying on what you aren’t good at.
  3. Focus on what you can do for others (start with the boss) rather than what’s in it for you (you can read more about this in How to Be a Star at Work).
  4. Keep at it. Practice makes perfect.
  5. Take on big challenges and learn from them.
  6. Make a difference.

I think I’ll pick up this book — it’s pretty cheap, and I’d like to see how Daniel Pink uses the manga format to advantage.

More Advice from Daniel Pink

Here are some video clips featuring Daniel Pink some pretty interesting giving career advice…

Abundance, Asia and Automation

Pink says that the really useful skills are those that are hard to outsource, hard to automate and that serves a need that goes beyond functional. And those skills are the right-brain ones — the ones often derided as “soft skills”.

Help! My Resume Has Too Many Jobs!

Don’t worry if your resume looks like it has too many jobs on it — the world of work today doesn’t give out prizes for lifetime service. These days, it’s about whether you can solve their problems.

Exercise Creativity at Your Job

The old adage applies: “It’s often better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” And from my own experience, I can tell you that he’s right.

Choosing a Major

Follow your interests — don’t choose a major based on what kind of job you think you’ll get after you graduate. The job market is likely to change! Follow your passion instead. You should also work on your “high concept” and “high touch” skills.

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The Very First Thing You Should Do When Laid Off

by Joey deVilla on May 8, 2008

In his article, Laid off? The one thing you absolutely need to do on the first day, Jason Kester suggests that “the single most important thing to do as soon as you make it back to your house with that box full of stuff is to book a flight. Read the article for his reasons why.

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Grand Theft Auto IV…for the NES?

by Joey deVilla on May 8, 2008

What if Grand Theft Auto IV had come out in 1990, for the NES? The ad would probably look like this:


“In the past, Grand Theft Auto has been severely criticized for being too violent,” says Conan O’Brien. “Well, the new version — I got it yesterday and was playing with it — it’s been toned down a lot. I’m not sure it’s better…”


Sleep Deprivation is not a Badge of Honor

by Joey deVilla on May 1, 2008

Sleep Deprivation is not a Badge of Honor: I’ve written about this topic on the Accordion Guy blog (see “Crunch Mode” and Sleep), but it’s nice to hear other developers talks about it. Sleep is not the enemy, people!