Scott Hanselman

Exploring Impostor Syndrome in Technology - SXSW '15

August 13, '14 Comments [20] Posted in Musings
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I've written before about the idea of Imposter Syndrome or being a "Phony." It's the idea that on the surface you're an accomplished technologist but inside you're always questioning if you're really good enough. It turns out that this is SUPER common. You're not alone.

That little voice or feeling that "I can do better." Or, "I'm not 100% qualified but I think I can push through this" can sometimes be a motivator.

This is Indexed

This wonderful index card is by Jessica Hagy of This Is Indexed. Explore her blog and book! 

Remember that while you may feel like a phony, those around you who think they are awesome may not be!

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to recognize their mistakes.

But the most important part is:

...people with true ability tended to underestimate their relative competence.

My excellent friend and very accomplished phony Chanelle Henry will be exploring these concepts on stage at SXSW 2015...if our panel is accepted!

You may have heard Chanelle on Hanselminutes Podcast episode #401 on "An Internet of Inclusion" or read her viral essay "Is it too late to be awesome?"

You can help us by quickly making a SXSW account and casting your Thumbs Up Vote (and leaving a comment) for our session proposal! Even better, tweet or blog your thoughts and encourage others to vote if you'd like to see content like this at the South By Southwest Interactive Conference.

Go read my blog post called "I'm a phony" and if it helped you, help me by voting for our session at SXSW! Thanks!


Sponsor: And a big thanks to Raygun for sponsoring the feed this week! I love Raygun and use it on all my apps. Get notified of your software’s bugs as they happen! Raygun.io has error tracking solutions for every major programming language and platform - Start a free trial in under a minute!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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This URL shortener situation is officially out of control

June 2, '14 Comments [54] Posted in Musings
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I saw a URL today on Twitter to an article on Slate.com. It was a custom short URL - http://slate.me/1h0svt8 but since I was visiting it via Twitter, it was wrapped with Twitter's t.co URL, so I really started at http://t.co/sxSvcJnT2L.

When I visited it for the FIRST time, I got this lovely HTTP interaction. That's SEVEN HTTP 301s, count them, 7, before I get to the destination page.

image

It would have been 8 redirects if I'd counted t.co as well. Note also that after it bounced around three of Slate's URL shorteners, it also goes through goog.gl as well.

  • t.co is twitter's URL shortener that acts as a "safety gate" that allows Twitter to shut down a bad URL at the Twitter level. This means Twitter can stop malware faster, they say.
  • trib.al is a URL shortener that provides marketing analytics. They are bouncing me around in order to set marketing cookies because it's the first time they've seen me.
  • goo.gl is what you'd think it is, it's Google's URL shortener.

That's a lot of back and forth just to get me a a web page. And getting me a web page is kind of the most important thing the web does. Redirects are being abused and I don't see any work happening in HTTP 2.0 to change it.

The second request to the same URL is better, but still frustratingly indirect.

image

Every redirect is a one more point of failure, one more domain that can rot, one more server that can go down, one more layer between me and the content.

Oh, and just to be obnoxious, I've created http://hnsl.mn/thisurlisverysmall to make the point. Tweet it!

If you prefer long URLs, you can also get to this post from

http://uniformresourcelocatorelongator.com/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5oYW5zZWxtYW4uY29tL2Jsb2cvVGhpc1VSTFNob3J0ZW5lclNpdHVhdGlvbklzT2ZmaWNpYWxseU91dE9mQ29udHJvbC5hc3B4%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

What do you think?


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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We are abstracting on the shoulders of giants

May 28, '14 Comments [42] Posted in Musings
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middleMy new startup has data centers on three continents, utilizes global load-balancing, traverses networks with ease, has both an iPhone and Windows application, was written in a simple high level language, and enables an amazing scenario to help people get more done, faster.

But the real story - the real mindblower for me - was not the hours and hours of software that my partner and I wrote, it's the years and years of software that we didn't write.

We globally load balanced web sites and services across multiple servers in Europe, Asia, and the US. Windows Azure Traffic Manager handled that.

We sat our communication protocol on top of SignalR, an open source library using ASP.NET that hides the complexities of the real-time Web, handles NAT traversal for us, and basically removed the network for us as an issue. SignalR sits on stop of HTTP and Web Sockets, which sits on top of TCP/IP.

We used RayGun.io for our error management, and get complete stack dumps when a failure occurs in our application, this enables us to upgrade fast and often and give a good experience to our users

We used InnoSetup to install our application, it's truly one of the most amazing applications I've ever used. Give him money.

We used the ZXing QRCode Open source library for creation of QR codes. We didn't worry about the graphics details.

We used MahApps.Metro UI to make our Windows application look great. Added some controls, and it's lovely.

And it all comes together using C# and the Xamarin set of tools. The iPhone app, the Windows app, and the cloud service, are all C#.

I've been in the software industry for over 20 years now and I remember when writing C was considered a rather high-level language. I generally understand the full stack from assembler all the way up to managed code and beyond to the cloud. It's fantastic that today we think about managing VM clusters as much as we think about managing bytes.

Think about the giant shoulders that our application is standing on. Think about the shoulders that your application is standing on. Software abstraction has enabled us to do so much.

We can marvel at the abstraction layer that is Google. For many, that IS the internet. You type a question into a text box and push a button and the entire world opens up to you and a just a fraction of the planet truly appreciates the orchestration and history that makes it all happen.

Do I have a point here? Probably not. It just struck me today. Go listen to my chat with computer science legend Len Bass on this week's podcast to get a feeling for the history and power that we exploit every day.

There is value in taking a moment to think about the deep and broad stack that your application sits on. Go thank and support the projects, both open source and not, that your application uses. Revel in the layers of abstraction that others have created and appreciate the ones that you have created. They make all the LEGO pieces you're using just the correct size, and they make snapping them together a lot of fun.

It's a great time to be a programmer. This blog post was dictated with the myEcho application.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Bloggers: Know when to use a JPG and when to use a PNG and always Squish them both

May 21, '14 Comments [24] Posted in Musings
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The best rule of thumb for bloggers using images in their posts is:

Use JPGs for photographs, landscapes, and faces. Use PNGs for charts, graphs, screenshots and cartoons. Use GIFs only for animations, and sparingly.

As with all rules of thumbs, you should use your best judgment. You should aim to understand how these two image formats work so you can make the right decision.

JPEGs

imageJPGs (JPEGs) are "lossy." That means they lose data. They literally throw image data away that they figure your eyes won't see. A good example would be a landscape with a large blue sky. The image format could hold all the detail of the blue sky, literally millions of pixels saying blue, blue, dark blue, darkish blue, sky blue...or it could say "this is a whole area of mostly blueish." Sure, some detail is lost, but for the most part, it's a big blue sky, right? When you save a JPG in your paint program (like Paint.NET) and there's a quality slider for the JPG, the lower the number the more data you'll throw away.

File from Wikimedia Commons

PNGs

PNGs are "lossless." That means that they don't lose data when they are saved. They are more like ZIP files than like JPGs. PNGs also are known for their ability to have transparent regions. With a JPG you might have a white background, but a similar PNG could have a transparent background and be overlaid on other graphics.

File from Wikimedia Commons

Regardless of which one you choose, chances are that the paint app you use (even Photoshop) haven't removed all the unneeded data from your graphics files. Applications like PNGGauntlet or PNGOut can squeeze 10, 20, even 30% from a already-saved file without any loss in quality. This is especially important given the number of folks browsing on mobile devices. Bandwidth matters, and you do everyone a disservice with every one megabyte graphics file you upload to your blog.

pnggauntlet-screen-a0eadac6[1]

I'm a huge fan of PNGGauntlet. There's also Trimage that optimizes JPGs and PNGs on Linux, and ImageOptim for Mac.

PNGGaultlet works HARD. It will turn your PCs fan on, I'm sure, as it works very hard. But PNGGauntlet tries all of PNGOUT, OptiPNG, and DeflOpt and picks the best result to create the smallest PNGs.

After you've got that blog post perfect, I recommend you add a "squish the graphics" step to your workflow. You'll only gain speed and happier readers.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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FREE Pluralsight video: "Get Involved" in community!

May 7, '14 Comments [17] Posted in Musings | Open Source
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imageI'm absolutely thrilled to announce that my feature-length collaboration with Rob Conery called "Get Involved" is now available FREE from Pluralsight!

You can watch the whole movie RIGHT now for FREE. No sign up or subscription needed! Please tweet and tell your friends!

http://getinvolved.hanselman.com

We really poured our hearts into this production and we really hope you enjoy it.

In this feature-length production, Scott Hanselman and Rob Conery offer suggestions and advice on how you can get out there, and get involved. Blogging, Twitter, Github, StackOverflow, User Groups and Conferences: all of this can make you a happier, more productive developer and inspire you to take your career to the next level.

You certainly don't have to be social to be better at writing code - but sharpening your skills this way helps you when it comes time for a job interview, a yearly review where a promotion is on the line, or when you want to start running an Open Source project.

If you're a fan of This Developer's Life you know how tightly Rob and I like to produce things - this video is no exception.

Filmed on the streets of Portland and at a Portland user group, we talk about Blogging, Twitter, Github, StackOverflow, Open Source, Speaking, User Groups and Conferences - all of this hoping to make you a happier, more productive, more connected developer. We want to inspire you and perhaps to take your career to the next level.

Additionally, we stretched far beyond Portland to seek out the other people who active in the social technology space!

  • Jon Skeet joins us to talk about what a Good Question is on StackOverflow - and also how you can gain reputation by providing Good Answers - and edits to Good Questions!
  • We venture out to the Portland Area DotNet Users Group (PADNUG) and meet a few developers who have just started going - as well as people who have been there for years.
  • While we were there, I gave a 10-minute lightning talk on Azure - a great way to get started speaking if you're not a fan of public speaking. Rob filmed the whole thing.

By the way, if you do have a Pluralsight Subscription, you've got access to thousands of hours of technical video training, like my other video on technical presenting!

image

The Art of Speaking - Become a better technical public speaker

Have you thought about speaking on technology publically? Maybe you want start talking a local user groups and then work your way up to larger regional code camps? "The Art of Speaking" is an 80 min Pluralsight course that Rob and I created to help you do just that!

You'll learn all about:

  • The Speaker Mindset
    • Not Wasting Time
    • What to do, What Not to Do
    • Defining a Perfect Talk
  • Preparation
    • Choosing Your Demo
    • Choosing Your Delivery Style
    • Handling Pressure
    • Engaging the Audience
    • Code vs. Slides
    • Creating an Outline
    • Creating the Story
    • Building a DemoYou have not watched this Clip.
    • Building a More Complex DemoYou have not watched this Clip.
    • Creating Your Slides
  • ExecutionYou have not watched this Module.
    • The Unexpected
    • The Tech Check
    • The Delivery

Keep an eye out for my next video with Rob, coming very soon exclusively to Pluralsight Subscribers!

Rob has a lot of great videos as well like these and many more!

Rob and I also have a one hour video where we move the This Developer's Life podcast website to Microsoft Azure LIVE, so check that out.

Many, many, thanks to Pluralsight for giving this video to the community for free! If you're on Twitter, go thank them now @pluralsight.


Sponsor: Big thanks to Aspose for sponsoring the blog feed this week. Aspose.Total for .NET has all the APIs you need to create, manipulate and convert Microsoft Office documents and a host of other file formats in your applications. Curious? Start a free trial today.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.