palingenesia

the blog of Brandon Gandy

Month: November 2018

How to Learn SQL on the Internet for Free

Learning SQL can be one of the greatest career decisions you can make. It’s a highly sought-after skill that will open doors for you. But more importantly, when you learn SQL you also change how you think about information. You learn how to separate data into its constituent parts and how to think about the relationships between these parts.

Doing this is one of the things that helped me boost myself into working as a software developer. I didn’t go to night class or spend any money on books or a Lynda subscription or any of that.1 There are countless highly intelligent people on the internet willing to share their knowledge and experience for free! So why not take advantage of some of these resources?

Below are the first steps to installing the tools you need to start learning, and links to free resources from best-in-the-biz websites and experts. Time to start learning.

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#NaNoWriMo2018 – Day 19

The month has flown by. There is no Idea Series post this week, unfortunately, because a) I have been too into writing and my own head to remember to do anything else and b) I bought Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and spent the entire weekend playing it without break.

But there is still progress to report!

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10 Ideas for a Better Life

Not to be mistaken for “how to live a good life.” I am not equipped to define what a Good Life even is, let alone dispense any type of advice for getting there. Simply put, these are personal rules for improving life incrementally.

Progress is made by accumulation, not random bursts.

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The Idea Series – Week 7

#NaNoWriMo is wreaking havoc on my life. For three days in a row I wrote nearly four thousands words every day. When I close my eyes I see my keyboard and an empty page. All I smell anymore is Starbucks.

So doing these lists has now turned, perversely, into some kind of respite from the madness. A daily meditation. A thought exercise that is somehow less work than everything else I’ve been doing.

Let’s see what that looks like.

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How To Be Super Effective Using Daily Personal Notes

The majority of my time spent in Support, I was one of two people on a team. The software we supported had a fairly large suite of tools, covering a wide range of business cases, each with unique and specific logic behind them. If something wasn’t working correctly, it often wasn’t a clear-cut problem. Was it broken completely, or just off a little bit? Were we missing data? Was the design wrong?

Chances were, if we couldn’t resolve the issue right then and there on the phone, then it would turn into a research project. It involved collaborating with the customer’s business team (and, often, the IT team), our own developers, and each other.

Being a small team, we often had a great many open tickets at once that required us to spend time researching, following up, and writing documentation. Even so, I was able to always deliver on time. Partially, this was done by managing expectations (something I will be writing a couple of posts on, most likely). But what helped me the most in succeeding was my notes.

Taking an extensive and detailed set of notes every day helped me keep on top of my tasks more than any other software tool I could use. It helped me stay on time. I was able to keep anything from ever falling through the cracks. I always made sure my tickets — both bug reports and enhancement requests — were thoroughly detailed. Even today, having been away from Support for years, I still do this.

The best part of all was it required almost zero effort to maintain. How? I’ll show you.

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#NaNoWriMo18 – Day 5

I’m going to be completely honest: I missed a day and a half, and have only caught up today. My “side” project has been untouched since Day 1, at least by my own hand. My co-writer has been plugging away at it, thankfully, and we are still making progress!

More after the break.

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The Idea Series: Week 6

#NaNoWriMo18 has started, and I’ve spent the majority of my past two days at a keyboard typing. In this time, I’ve written almost eight thousand words. My fingertips feel like they should be bleeding, but thankfully most of a lifetime of this behavior has hardened them to such trauma. If only the same could be said for my mind!

Anyway, let’s jump in.

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#NaNoWriMo2018 – Day 1

Because I am an insane person, I’m participating¬†twice in NaNoWriMo this year. I will also try to blog about it as I go, as a warm-up and warm-down exercise, and as yet another way to publicly hold myself accountable.

If you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, the goal is this: write a novel in one month. 50,000 words in 30 days; 1,667 words per day. Yes, people participate voluntarily. Yes, I might be a ball of frayed ends powered by caffeine and neuroses by the end. But it will be fun!

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