Archive for January, 2015

Does speaking help an “average devs” career?

Friday, January 16th, 2015

I was recently asked this.

I’m going to go with yes. Not in the sense that you’ll make a bunch of money doing it (you won’t), or that you’ll rise to dev stardom and thus tangentially make a bunch of money (you won’t). But in the sense that in order to speak, there are all these things involved:

You’ll need some confidence.
You’ll need to know your material well enough to convey it.
You’ll need to use some tools you probably don’t use very often.
You’ll need to go to the event, involving you in the community.

That list could go on and on. Every one of those things is just good for your life, as well as being part of speaking. So speaking is just good for your life.

To a point, anyway. Nearly every single speaker in this industry I’ve ever known struggles with the correct balance of speaking. Too much, and the return on investment in any regard clearly isn’t there. Too little, and why do it at all?

Hard Question

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Here’s a hard question. It has a little setup.

I get a lot of spam on CSS-Tricks. I employ various evolving technologies to help fight it. One of them, Akismet, has blocked almost 1.5 million spam comments from the site. Despite doing a pretty good job, a lot of spam slips through. Maybe a few dozen a day. I have to clean up of that by hand, which I’m glad to do because it’s part of having a community.

I’ve cleaned up so many spam comments over the years that I have a brain/eye/muscle memory for it. I feel like I can practically smell a spam comment.

Here’s a very obvious example:

I can look at that URL and know it’s spam. But sadly, you know what I notice first? The Arabic writing. I’d say there is a near 100% chance that if a comment has Arabic writing, on my site, it’s spam.

I hate spam. I get pretty intense feelings about it. And now I’ve started to associate Arabic writing with something I hate.

I know that’s not fair. I know that Arabic writing isn’t to blame for this. I should be such a controlled, evolved, intelligent person that this doesn’t affect me in any way. But I don’t know if any of us are really that strong. If a rabbit comes and shits in your bed every day, you’re gonna start to hate rabbits even if you know that’s not fair.

But now that I’ve noticed this, I need to take steps to ensure I don’t build up misplaced associative hate just because of how my brain is wired up.

How do I do that?

I might buy a painting or a print that I find beautiful that has Arabic writing on it and hang it somewhere I see every day. I might try and remove the author name field from the comment notification fields I get, so I can focus on the more important URL field and comment content. But I’d also love to hear if you’ve faced similar challenges and how you dealt with them.