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Choosing a smoothie blender

There are only two rules:

  • it can crush through ice
  • it’s easy to clean – by this I mean you can actually reach and clean the whole container without requiring a long brush to reach the bottom

Things to consider when recording your first screencast

I recently published my third and fourth episode of “Building Dashcopy”. Since the beginning, I have been compiling a list with things I should not do, or at least try not to do in future screencasts, and I thought it would be worth sharing.

Disclaimer: I have published only a couple of screencasts so I might not know what I’m talking about. Also, keep in mind that I record the audio after I’m done filming and editing.

  • Avoid using shortcuts unless they are obvious (copy/paste, formatting).
  • Avoid using words like just, easy. It might be just and easy for you, but not for the viewer.
  • Show what might go wrong. If you stumble upon an error, a missing parameter, typo, do not stop the recording and do it again. Leave it as it is as there is a good chance your viewer will experience the same mistakes.
  • If you have a cheap mic, avoid talking directly into it, as it will pick and maximize every breath you take. Keep a good distance (30-40cm) and place the mic on one side or the other, not directly in front of you.
  • Keep recording even if you’re not saying anything. It will make your audio feel more fluent, rather than having sound breaks everywhere.
  • You will need notes. It’s hard to not sound like you’re reading but what you could try is to direct your voice upwards, towards your head. It works wonders, but sadly, at least for me, it’s hard to maintain for a long period of time.
  • Pace yourself. Give the viewer enough time to process everything.
  • Master audacity. Play around with noise reduction, compressor, equalizer, and the clip fix effects.
  • Avoid having too many audio cuts. Having too many audio files will give you a hard time when you’ll try to glue them together. It might also lead to sentences repeating the same expression. In my case, I can’t seem to be able to avoid saying “Let’s” every minute or so. Try to cover as much video material as you can in one go.
  • Be careful what you promise for the future episode. You might pick a topic that is too broad to be covered in a single episode.

These are all mistakes I made in my first episodes. I’m sure I made others too, but these are the ones that stood most for me. Hopefully, you’ll get to avoid some of them.

But wait, there’s more!

Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.

The social network permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and it let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer, despite public statements that it had stopped that type of sharing years earlier.

nytimes – As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants

Delete facebook.

CPR works mostly in movies

1 in 5 CPR receivers leave the hospital alive

What doctors know about CPR in pictures, here.

Facebook cares deeply about your private data

In the odd case in which you never heard about Zuck’s conversation with one of his friends about how much he cares about the people using Facebook, read it below.

If you did heard about it, and you’re still using Facebook, read it again.

ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fucks.

IMs between Zuck and a friend, 2006

These messages are real. “They ‘trust me’. Dumb fucks”. These are words confirmed by Mark Zuckerberg himself. Read them again.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the investigation revealed that 50 million people were robbed of their private information, Facebook is back in the news.

It took them 3.5 weeks to disclose a bug that exposed millions of users’ private data to app developers. 

It then took us some time to build a meaningful way to notify people, and get translations done.

Compared to any Facebook engineer, I’m probably mediocre at best, but even I could put a page together explaining what happened in less time.

Facebook automatically translates your timeline into 50 different languages. You really think is that hard to translate “We’re really sorry we fucked up. The situation is under control. We found and fixed whatever was wrong.”?

There is still life after Facebook.

Gift ideas #1

We have a very unique tradition here at Falcon. Every year on December 1st we write our names on a piece of paper and put them in a jar. A draw takes place and each of us extracts a person to whom we must purchase a gift.

It’s called Secret Santa, and it’s not all that unique.

Picking the perfect gift while staying under the budget can be quite difficult. But don’t worry, you found the right blog post. Throw away the ordinary mug and let’s pick something good this year:

  • cd/cassette/vinyl with his or her favorite band/artist. Make sure they have a way of playing it.
  • book – only if the gift receiver expressed desire in reading it.
  • mini light bulb – you can put it on your nightstand, runs on batteries and lights the room more than you’d think. It also makes a superb clicking sound.
  • puzzle – easy or medium level. A 3D puzzle is even better
  • alarm clock – we all secretly want one, but don’t find the courage to buy it
  • team shirt – shirt with his or her favorite team/player
  • custom printed t-shirt –  I’ll never say no to a Zlatan or Jose shirt with whatever quote has on it

Switch places

Whenever something goes wrong, our first instinct is to find fault. To find who or what caused the situation we’re in.

We’re so quick to criticize, we don’t stop and think for a second. Rarely, if ever, we put ourselves into other people’s shoes. And when we do, it’s way too late to take back whatever harsh words we said.

Expecting too much of others, thinking their normal is our normal, is what fuels this. We expect people to know what we know, feel what we feel, and do what we do when given similar circumstances.

But that’s rarely the case. Everyone’s problems, experiences, and values are different. Their motivations and reactions are different.

Next time when you’re about to bite one’s head off, give yourself a few moments to think it through. Switch places. Try to understand where they are coming from. Why they do what they do. Maybe there’s a good reason.

I’m not calling back

2018 was a great year for businesses in Romania.

Last week my car rotors ran out. The brake pads were to be replaced as well. And since I needed an appointment, I might as well do a full inspection.

I went online, searched for nearby auto services, read all the reviews, decided the winner. Called it and asked for a quote.

“We’ll call you later”, they said.

I had a dentist appointment. Something intervened and I had to cancel. I called a few hours before to reschedule. “We’re not at the office at the moment and we don’t have access to our scheduling software. We’ll call you back as soon as possible”.

4 days have past and none of them did.

I was in shopping mode. All they had to do is to call back, do a good job, and they would’ve had me for years. It’s not like anyone changes their dentist every week – unless they do a terrible job.

There are dozens of people just starting out, with no clients, hoping to be given the chance to do their best work. I’m not calling back.

Changing themes again and again

Even though I love writing, I suck at it. Big time. I find it incredibly difficult to write about stuff, and when some tiny idea pops in my mind, I fail to express it. I’m like a 2-year-old struggling to speak.

But as with everything else, with practice, writing can get better – it can be learned. At least I hope so.

Since writing is too difficult for me, I spend my time changing and re-changing my WordPress theme. Yes, that’s just procrastinating. Running away from the keyboard. But I’m also right.

I’ve spent countless hours looking for something to suit my style. And even if I don’t have a style yet, one thing I’m sure is I won’t be writing 1000-word posts. I like short reads. I don’t want to spend more than 5 minutes reading something.

All the themes I could find, including, and especially the premium ones, follow the same style. The full-screen slider on the homepage, the half-screen banners on single pages, and paragraphs stretching on way more space than they need to.

I’d love a theme that breaks the pattern. A theme that looks and feels like a notebook, like a diary. Something personal, where I can write short, personal, silly thoughts on.

Doing what others are doing

The second our eyes open for the first time, we start watching and analyzing the people around us. We start doing what they are doing. We’re smiling, laughing, and eventually walking.

We learn everything from them.

But somehow later in life, I don’t know the exact moment, following others, doing what they are doing, asking for advice, becomes something we are ashamed of. Maybe it’s because we should know better by now. Or because people might think we’re stupid. Or that we don’t have our own opinions.

That’s stupid. We can’t be good at everything. Not before doing what other people did and certainly not before listening to their findings. And no. Sharing the very same opinions with tens of other people is not “copying” or being unopinionated.

Like it or not, we’re pretty much like an open-source project. Everyone you follow, listen, or read, contributes to your development as a professional and as a human being.

Get better at admitting that. Get better at following people.
They don’t know it all, but they might know more, or better than you.

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