My thoughts about life, which sometimes involves software.

Visualize Progress through Contrast

Over the past few weeks, I have been on a hiatus from my normal work at Cerner. During this time, I have been working on several home repair and improvement projects. While I have been doing this work, I was reminded of something that I like to do which helps illustrate progress achieved in projects. In this short post, I will share a few things that I think are important to capture which leverage the power of contrast to highlight progress.

Learning with Preschoolers

Last week, I had the honor of attending a preschool class to share the topic of software development. In order to explain this subject matter, I decided to prepare a few items and have them paired with a theme. I thought it might be worthwhile to share what I used, as it seemed to work well, and I found it exciting to see young minds interested in the topic. Since this was going to be a short exercise (20 minutes of their time), I wanted everything to be simple with no electronic screens.

Thank You Emails

Here is a short post on the importance of thanking people, and a common way I achieve this through email. This is also the final part of my trilogy on guidance with email (Email Trilogy blog series). Throughout our work, we are continuously challenged with newer problems to solve. As we encounter these obstacles, we realize we can’t do it alone. Consequently, we routinely ask others for help. In my experience, I found I was often asking other engineers to present in a technical meetup that I was helping organize.

Drawing 101

I previously posted a set of design principles about building presentation slides. In this post, I shared how you can improve the effectiveness of your visual aides, by authoring your own images. This post is going to be a simple starter of how I began including images in my presentations and notes. Equipment Required For this tutorial, I’m using the following equipment: Dry erase whiteboard and a black marker iPhone (can be pretty old like mine) and using its built in Camera app Preview app on macOS You can of course use other equipment to do this tutorial, but I wanted to share how I started capturing my images in a very basic way.

Think Twice Before Emailing

I previously posted a short set of notes of how I apply my simple process of digesting emails. However, I think there are some other important rules of when to produce email. In this short post, I will share a couple things to keep in mind before you send an email. Email is where your keystrokes go to die Several years back, I watched this talk by Scott Hanselman on Scaling Yourself, which touches on several topics on how to improve your productivity.

Design Principles of the pptx Language

The pptx Language A few months ago, I was speaking with a senior member of our engineering leadership team, and he stated that the only language he has been coding in lately, is pptx (referring to the file extension of Microsoft PowerPoint). While this statement was delivered with humor, I found it to be true with many engineers. As they grew with experience, so did the amount of time they spent giving presentations.