my life, part 593

At work, we have a keyfob system in the elevator. To get to our floor, you have to press the keyfob against the reader and press the “11” button, and then press it 2-3 more times because it generally is a piece of shit that doesn’t work. What I’m getting at is that you have to focus and expect failure when pressing “11” after tagging you keyfob in this elevator – focus, and expect failure.

Today we went and picked up tacos from District Taco, which is probably worth its own post but I’ll leave that detail sit for now. I was holding a big bag of tacos and we’re getting into the elevator and someone asks me if I have my keys so, giant bag of tacos in one hand, I’m rooting around my pocket with the other and pull out the keys with the keyfob on it.

I’m focused, and I’m bracing myself for failure.

I tag the keyfob, and as the green light comes on and the pleasant “here is the beginning of your unknowable counter until you lose access” beep happens, the “11” button lights up immediately. It just lights up. I think for a second if my hands had done something absently, but no, no, I did nothing. I look back to my friends with a face of what must have been confusion and shock.

Tyson simply says “I got you” and points out that he pressed the “11” button on the other side of the elevator, behind me when I was not looking. I told Mike and Tyson, quite absentmindedly and loudly, “who needs drugs?” in response to how this trick completely blew my mind

while the girl who was getting off on the 3rd floor made her exit.

dreamhost is a turd

it is hard to move forward, especially for me, without occasionally looking backwards.

i had lost track of my previous blog, i guess i just assumed everything was fine with it. of course, nothing was fine with it. yesterday i began the process of moving all my hosting off of dreamhost, and i realized elscorcho’s database connection was messed up. now, this is some pretty shitty old school insecure php, so i figured i just had to update some connections and everything would be good to go.

no such luck.

my ‘news’ database was missing. well, not missing so much as replaced by someone else’s ‘news’ database. dreamhost does a lot of transitioning accounts from server to server and at some point my blog’s database was transitioned on to someone else’s server and someone else’s database was put on my account.

now a lot of this falls on me – i haven’t checked elscorcho in a long time, and this change might have occurred as long as a year ago. if i had been more vigilant i might have caught this.

but also, this is a serious, serious security risk. i can just get another user’s database? mine can just be lost during one of the dozen or so server moves my account has gone through since i started at dh?

regardless, i’m pretty sad that i might have lost elscorcho, and i’m more steadfast than ever in my decision to quit dreamhost. what a turd.

regretting technology choices

i just read this post by grant ammons about refactoring some code in discourse, a really neat new piece of forum software. the post is very smart and thoughtful in a way that i am not often enough about code, but it also underlines to me a big challenge of php: rails code looks more beautiful.

now i want to scrap some code i’m working on and go down a rails path, even though i know that is a mistake for a number of reasons. i need to remember to just plow through and get this shit together and running as soon as possible. i got 2 months, i can do this. i can’t spend time, even for a second, thinking about starting over.

teaser (for the no one reading this):


things are getting close. the day job project is almost code-complete. the pep-talk about football worked, kind of.

the hardest commit of every day is the first one. once you do that, then you have to fix all the mistakes you made it in, and once you do that, then you are in the groove. just make that first commit.

knowing too much (a pep talk)

since last year, i’ve been kicking around extending ottoneu into the realm of football. football, where fantasy companies not only survive but thrive. football, where the audience is 10x more and the schedule is structured in a way that participants don’t get bored of the season. football, where ottoneu’s format would be a game-changer.

however, it is becoming apparent that i know too much, from a development perspective. just enough to be completely paralyzed by development design decisions, technology choices, etc. i still haven’t solidly decided on PHP as my language (Ruby is having some appeal), and i definitely haven’t decided if i want a framework or to roll my own. what orm to use is another annoying problem, and how to use the orm properly on top of that.

why am i so debilitated when i can still rip off things like this in a weekend and maintain ottoneu reasonably well? the problem is that i think too much and i don’t just start building. once you start building stuff, you have to build more things to make sure that first bit works, and eventually momentum takes you to the finish line, or somewhere near there. that is how i built ottoneu baseball. it is a structureless, orm-less mess, the worst kind of PHP code soup people refer to when talking about the ills of the language, but two things: 1) it works and 2) see 1.

so, i don’t know how to proceed. i’ve given myself time to just start building, but i end up screwing around and playing video games or doing some other manner of procrastination. i’ve taken up more responsibility at work now, so that means less hours for my own projects. and whenever i just take the tact i mentioned above, i end up getting stuck on “does this function belong here or here? is this the most elegant solution?” because i want to not make the same mistakes i made when building ottoneu baseball.

but maybe the end point is this: ottoneu baseball might be a huge piece of shit application, but oh man does it work and do people play the crap out of it right now every single day. oh man do people tweet about it and email me questions and tell me how much they love it. so who cares if the underlying code isn’t great. i’ve learned enough to make somewhat cleaner code this time. i just need to get that momentum.

life is fun, chicago edition

i just got to chicago to visit chad for a day. haven’t seen him since… i’m going to guess 2007. way, way too long for one of my best friends.

anyway, it is really fucking cold here.

SCENE: starbucks on w division st. niv with his macbook pro, checking emails, decides to take a break to tweet about the weather (HOW THRILLING):

me (tweet) : dear winter in the midwest, i will not miss you when i am back in california. you suck. yours, niv

@yodaism responds: @nivshah A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.


dusty rhodes’s road trip

our hero
this debonair motherfucker is dusty rhodes. last tuesday i worked from san francisco for the beginning of 21st amendment‘s and magnolia‘s strong beer month. i worked all day at a coffee shop, stayed out at 21A with some friends until pretty late, and didn’t leave the house again until friday, 3 days later. when i opened my bag friday morning to put my laptop in it, i saw his shit-eating grin staring back at me. everyone i was with and even some people i wasn’t with all denied having any knowledge of how i came into possession of (what we discovered to be) an $11 limited-edition action figure. it is truly one of my life’s mysteries, but i have chosen to embrace this particular mystery and turn dusty rhodes into a ridiculous, fat, polka-dotted mascot, of sorts.

so monday morning, the same people who talked me into drinking the tuesday prior talked me into taking the day off and going up to russian river brewery in downtown santa rosa to experience pliny the younger, one of the more celebrated california ipas (and beers) in existence. pliny the younger is a limited edition release that is only around for a couple of weeks, so we only had a small window to pounce.

an aside: yes, my last post was about how i quit my job and started my own start up. 3 months later, it might seem like i have given up on life and started drinking heavily, but i can assure that is not the case. ottoneu-related writing will commence shortly, and i will only give up on life and start drinking heavily if the next month and a half are a complete disaster.

so anyway, russian river, pliny the younger, and a wrestler mascot. like any good bay area burgeoning wanna-be hipster with a dslr, i decided to make a photo essay of our road trip from the perspective of our (my?) mascot. with that in mind, i present to you dusty rhodes’s road trip, a flickr set.

10 days in

i’m 10 days in to the great experiment i announced 19 days ago. i’m no longer an AT&Ti employee, but instead founder and ceo of ottoneu, inc. i have a shared office and a laptop – that’s it. as i was telling people i saw over the weekend, i’m up here on this tightrope way above everything without any net and apparently all i’ve ever wanted to do with my life is walk a tightrope.

it’s exciting and terrifying and somewhat convoluted.

so i’m probably going to write about my development/start-up stuff over at about90feet for the near term, which again leaves me a gap in what i should write about over here. right now, i’m spending about 90% of my time coding and 10% of my time screwing around, and that 90% fully belongs at a90f according to its mission statement. keep an eye out over there for now, and i’ll be back shortly.