Update and review: 100 Pushups Program

I posted a while ago (in February I think) about starting the 100 pushups program to try to get to 100 pushups in a row. I was a bit skeptical at the time of the 100 pushups program but figured it was as good a place as any to start. I quickly became impossible though. I tend to find that this is the case with most programs that claim to be able to do X number of something in X weeks. I’m pretty sure they just do the math to see how many you’d have to increase per week if … Continue reading Update and review: 100 Pushups Program

Happiness and Improvement

As humans, we have a constant desire to improve our lots in life (well most of us do anyways). Improvement makes us happy, or perhaps it’s lack of improvement that makes us unhappy. Either way, it’s a good survival adaptation. It stands to reason that the humans with a stronger instinct to improve themselves and their surroundings would become those with better housing during a blizzard or more food during a period of drought. I think it likely that this sense has been bred into us by natural selection. It manifests itself in strange places though. Now that many of … Continue reading Happiness and Improvement

Rebooting and the 100 Push-up Program

The last few months have been frustrating physically for me. I injured my back a long time ago (December 2009). After doing physical therapy at 3 different places, getting an epidural shot, and working with a few different trainers, I’m still pretty clueless as to what to do. I have an aggravated nerve in my lower back that flares up during a number of activities, most notably while sitting and after working out. Well, I sit all day at work (although I recently acquired a standing desk, which helps). Because of all this sitting, my back stays in pain for … Continue reading Rebooting and the 100 Push-up Program

What’s an API? An explanation for the layman

So working as a web developer, I work with a lot of APIs. I’m also frequently asked things by non-coders about our API and the APIs of other sites. The concept of API seems to be that of some magical coding device that solves problems. However, while this is an amusing concept, it’s not entirely correct. In trying to explain the details of this to a coworker the other day, it occurred to me that I needed a good parable. So here you go: Imagine if you would, a grouping of small islands in the middle of an ocean. Many … Continue reading What’s an API? An explanation for the layman

Mahalo 4.0 Launched

Last Tuesday morning, after 6 months of working on it, the Mahalo team launched our newest version of the site: Mahalo 4.0. I have a lot of thoughts on what went well and what could have been better during the whole process, but I’m going to save those for later. We had a nearly flawless cutover (technology-wise) It total our downtime was only about 3 hours, and for most of that it would have been unnoticeable to most visitors.  Not bad for a complete rewrite of our backend storage layer and our front-end js/css/html. We’re still working on some bugs, but that … Continue reading Mahalo 4.0 Launched

Life-Mod: No Soap

Back in December, a co-worker sent me an article (this one I think), written by a guy who had decided to give up soap and shampoo for a month and seemed none the worse for it. At the time I was looking for some good things to experiment with and this one required no additional time from my schedule and cut some chemicals out of my daily routine, so I quit showering with soap and shampoo on December 6th, 2010 (note: I still showered. I’m not a hippy). The only real caveats I have to applying chemicals to my skin … Continue reading Life-Mod: No Soap

Lessons Learned from a Coding Sprint

We spent the month of October at Mahalo pushing really hard on the tech side of things to try to get some new products built. The plan was to set aggressive goals in the past few weeks of September and then spend October trying to complete those goals for every team. If we met the goals, then each team member would get a reward. It was a great chance for the team to really show what they were capable of and bond through their mutual struggles. (and from a more stoic standpoint, help them appreciate the times when they’re not … Continue reading Lessons Learned from a Coding Sprint

Life-Mod: Waking Up

I spent 2-3 weeks in November making an attempt to wake up without an alarm clock. The hope behind this was that I’d be able to wake up more naturally and feel more refreshed. Turns out this was difficult. My initial plan was to set an alarm for later than usual, and get to sleep early enough that I’d wake up before it went off. Unfortunately, I just ended up waking up and then laying there or falling back to sleep a lot of days. On the days when I actually managed to wake up earlier and get up, I … Continue reading Life-Mod: Waking Up

WTF does “Pasteurized” mean?

So I was looking at a carton of milk in the fridge the other day, (like you do…) and inadvertently reading the word that I’ve seen probably a million times (ok maybe not that many) “Pasteurized.” It occurred to me: what does that even mean? I think we assume that it’s a good and natural part of how we get our milk, but why? I figured I’d try to do some research and figure that out. Pasturization is a process developed by Louis Pasteur which uses heat to destroy human pathogens. According to the International Dairy Food Association, “‘pasteurized’ and similar terms … Continue reading WTF does “Pasteurized” mean?

Focusing Life

I’ve recently discovered Tim Ferriss’ blog and have been making my way through some of his older posts and some videos. I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before. He has an interesting and valuable approach to life. I’m going to steal a few of his ideas and try them out for myself. In his post on the Superstar Effect, Ferriss paraphrases Steven Martin, stating that “the key to diligence isn’t the work applied to your pursuit, but instead the work you don’t apply to other pursuits.” This phrase hit me. I’m constantly trying out new pursuits, often to the … Continue reading Focusing Life