In web development, it’s never enough

It’s not enough to know HTML, CSS, MySQL, and PHP.

It’s not enough to know JavaScript, jQuery, and AJAX.

It’s not enough to know LESS, Sass, Stylus, and the CSS preprocessor du jour.

It’s not enough to know Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

It’s not enough to know iPhone, Android, and God help us, Blackberry.

It’s not enough to know Linux, Apache, and Nginx.

It’s not enough to know Ruby, Node Package Manager, and Grunt.

It’s not enough to know SublimeText, PhpStorm, and Coda.

It’s not enough to know SFTP, WordPress admin, and cPanel.

It’s not enough to know Git, SVN, and Mercurial.

It’s not enough to know XML and JSON.

It’s not enough to know Composer, Capistrano, Puppet, and Vagrant.

It’s not enough to know WordPress and all its classes, functions, hooks, filters, and template hierarchy.

It’s not enough to know the different coding standards for each language.

It’s not enough to know…

When it comes to this web development thing, it’s never enough. There’s always something changing, and it’s not all progress. Web development is a fool’s errand, yet we’re attracted to it like an addict to a crack rock. Because it feels good to take that hit.

Just know if you take up web development as a job, you’ll be the fat guy on a treadmill with a pork chop dangling in front of your face, and all you’ll ever get is a whiff. Because the pork chop doesn’t get closer and the treadmill never stops. But it sure smells good.

Like moths to a flame

Moth to a flame

Moth to a flame

It’s getting late and I’m sitting here just staring at the computer. Flipping between things – the code editor, my website, Twitter, and the notepad where I jot down my thoughts.

This late I’m not really getting much done, except feeding that inner hunger for whatever the hell it is that draws me to this light. This computer is a portal to any number of places in the world. Yet, it’s just a box that glows. If a caveman saw me looking at it, he’d think I’m stupid or something.

The content on the screen changes from minute to minute and each time a new world emerges. Yet, to the caveman it’s all the same. Me, staring at the glow, touching it, for long periods of time.

Think about the concept, not the details. Now imagine you can see the hundreds of millions of people around the world doing the same thing right now.

Just sitting there, touching a box that glows.

Like moths to a flame.

Don’t call a welder to fix the toilet

When I have plumbing problems at home, I do what most sane people do. I call a plumber. And you know what, he does a really good job. Why? Because that’s his specialty. He has years of experience. He’s an expert. I don’t call a welder, and I suspect you don’t either.

Don't call a welder to fix your plumbing. Photo by Seth Anderson.

Please do not ask welder in back about plumbing. He does not know anything about plumbing. Photo by Seth Anderson.

So, why is the newspaper industry calling on journalists to do photography and videography? Journalists are writers. Writing is their true love. It’s in their blood. Writing takes time. Good writing takes even more time. Continue reading

Going on vacation rules, so why don’t we do it more?

Man, life has a way of getting ahold of us, doesn’t it? I mean, day in and day out we get up and go through the day, repeating the same set of rituals over and over again. Hit the snooze button, make the coffee, shower and get dressed, run off into the world to make a buck, take a lunch break, do some more work, come home, eat, go to bed, and get up and do it all over again. That’s the gist of the story for millions and millions of us.

If we believe all the griping and complaining we hear from co-workers, friends on social media, and the endless supply of studies showing just how much we hate work, we’re a pretty miserable bunch of people in this so-called civilized society.

So, what the hell are we doing? And why? For what exactly? Continue reading

Pick your battles

We all like to get our way. That’s pretty obvious, right? Who doesn’t want to get their way pretty much all the time?

Here’s the thing, every time we insist on getting our way, we create friction. Sometimes this friction is necessary, and the battle is worth fighting. But sometimes it’s just not worth it. Even when we’re right. Especially when the others in the relationship lack the capacity to gracefully accept their loss.

Some battles are too small and not worth the collateral damage. Keep your mind on the long game. Don’t piss off the whole world around you just so you can win every single battle. Even if you’re convinced you’re right.

Pick your battles wisely.

And it makes me happy

This morning I was standing in the kitchen making coffee, and I looked out the window and saw that it was snowing. When it snows here in the South, we kinda make a big deal out of it. You see, we don’t get snow that often, and when we do, it is kind of a big deal.

Have a seat and enjoy the snow.

Have a seat and enjoy the snow.

Since we don’t get snow that often, the states don’t have the capacity to keep the roads clear so that things will keep running as usual. It doesn’t make sense to invest millions in snow equipment if it only snows once every few years. That’s money the government would rather waste elsewhere.

But we do have some capability to “deal with” the snow. We have salt and sand. We have trucks with plows. Not enough to keep things running at 100%, but enough to clear the main roads within a few hours or so.

Then the rat race continues as if nothing happened.

And it makes me sad.

Every time it snows I hear people complain about it. They don’t like it when the roads are impassable. They don’t like it when they can’t get to work or they can’t get to the store.

Normally, the snow we get is here one day and gone the next. This happened a couple weeks ago and I bet I heard a dozen people say “That’s the kind of snow I like. Here one day and gone the next”.

What I really hear are people that choose commerce over family. The daily routine over special moments. Relieved that their routines weren’t disturbed for two days in a row.

In this modern life, we’re always on the go. Always working on some task. Always chasing money. We say it’s for our families, but we say all sorts of things we don’t really mean. When given the chance to spend a day or two with our families, we get antsy and hope for the snow to melt so we can go out into the world chasing things again. We’ve been conditioned to crave this “pursuit of happiness”.

We’ve lost our sense of wonder. We’ve lost our inner child.

And we’re losing our souls.

I guess it’s all about perspective. The people I know who live in places where it snows a lot view snow as a nuisance. You know the saying: Too much of a good thing can be bad. Well, I’m glad I don’t live where they do. They’re missing out on something special. When you live in the South where it really only snows once every couple of years, snow is something different.

It’s magical. For a brief moment, the daily grind stops. Virtually all of the human noise stops. The world is quiet. Families are together. The world is a different place.

And it makes me happy.