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Hello World!

Created: 2024-Jan-06

Updated: 2024-Feb-23


About Me

If this were on Wikipedia, it would get removed for bias. Also, why would I have a page on Wikipedia? Hopefully for something cool.

There are lots of different ways to summarize my life, many of which would be immaterial to you, my theoretical target audience. Parts of my personal life will be published as supporting anecdotes for topic-driven articles, but I will reserve most of my personal life from publication indefinitely. Here’s the whirlwind chronology:

  • I grew up in rural Ontario. Picture an old farmhouse where - a generation previous - tending animals had given way to litters of cats and rabbits, with derelict barns full of mold, bats, and wasps.
  • I got my first job when I was 12, working as a dishwasher and assistant in a local bakery. After a few years I picked up a second job at a different bakery doing similar work. The first was all white flour, sugar, and old ladies. The second was organic, artisinal, and had a massive brick oven. I knew neither would be a long-term career, but I loved both. A good loaf of sourdough is still one of my favourite treats.
  • Out of high school, I did a season of treeplanting to make a bit of money and explore more of Canada. It was difficult, and rewarding in every way. Over the next decade I went back for a total of 5 planting seasons, personally planting just over half a million trees.
  • Not having a clear direction, I moved to Halifax, NS, and took the Foundation Year Programme at The University of King’s College, which got me a taste of english literature and creative writing. While it was a great experience overall, I concluded it wasn’t the right path for me. I left in good standing with an eye on software or electrical engineering.
  • Still having student debt from King’s, I pushed to pay it off while I prepared for my next step. I tried my hand at flooring installation and bookselling, each of which was enjoyable in its own right, and challenging in others.
  • Ultimately I decided that pursuing software development at my local community college was the most affordable and viable, and would satisfy at least part of my interest in technology and engineering.
  • My first paying software role was in 2016; a co-op for a company called Unique Solutions, which made the type of body scanner you would go through for airport security, but with the purpose of getting more accurate clothing sizing for industrial workforces. The company was at the end of an expensive round of prototyping when I joined, and two months into my planned three month co-op the company went bankrupt. It was a bit tragic, but a great learning experience.
  • My first job out of school was with IBM. IBM’s presence in Halifax is primarily consulting, and I ended up doing work for two major Canadian banks, building various parts of their backend infrastructure. It was harrowing, but I learned a lot about myself and about coding.
  • Going from a big international company to a small local startup, in 2019 I started working for a company called Proposify which makes sales enablement software. I worked for Proposify for 4 years before getting caught up in one of the company’s layoffs. Despite being let go unexpectedly, I have many positive things to say about the company. I’m sure I’ll go into more detail about Proposify in a future blog post.

That brings us mostly up to the present! As of writing this I’m currently unemployed, and unexpectedly cherishing this time. There are of course stressors to being unemployed, but I am working with a company on securing my next role, and for now I am enjoying all the silver linings that come with living frugally and being more budget-conscious. I’m making the most of the available time, and capturing at least some of it on my Now Page.

About This Site

The purpose of this site is captured on the landing page. This section will cover some of the design goals and architecture.

Some parts of the site may be broken, experimental, or subject to frequent change. This is intentional, as this environment allows for valuable learning from low-risk failure, and easy, fast (pending priorities and severity) iteration. That said, I will aim to keep the core functionality simple, stable, and fast.

The design goal for this site is to have a simple and performant core, while doing fun and experimental bits on the edges. To this end, the home page and the blog page will be kept free of excessive videos, pictures, and scripts. This design goal has also influenced my choice of framework, as Astro is known for being both simple and performant.

A secondary motive of keeping the site simple is that I am primarily a backend developer, and I want to build up my fullstack expertise as I build this site. There was a great temptation to go with a site template that would provide me with a vast array of frontend functionality out of the box, but that would limit my ability to practice building that frontend functionality, and there is increased risk that I would fall into the trap of relying on said functionality without adequately investigating it. So, my site will be simple, but it will be a more accurate reflection of my comfort with frontend.

Something Astro does provide out of the box is the ability to write documents in Markdown and render them as proper HTML. From there it didn’t take much work to get the styles from my site applied to the markdown pages, giving the blog posts a nice uniform look, and keeping every part of my process simple. Seeing as I was already a huge fan of using Markdown while writing (documentation, internal blog posts, personal notes, and really anything that fits), this was a huge selling factor.

About Blogging

Now it’s time to set some broad expectations for all subsequent posts:

  • My opinions change, and my posts will too. They likely won’t vary drastically, but I want to put forward the best insights I can, and that means updates as I learn and reflect.
  • Keep the site DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself)! DRY is valuable beyond writing code. I’ll link between articles where possible so that I repeat myself only when repetition is most effective.
  • Keep the internet DRY!
  • Advertising. Generally I want to make money. Certainly I dont want to lose money running this site. That said, my costs are currently minimal, and I would like to continue to provide the blog both cost-free and ad-free in perpetuity. As long as the costs stay reasonable, I’d like to consider this a form of giving back to the greater community. Beyond the main page and the blog, I’ll decide on a case-by-case basis, but will likely err on the side of keeping pages ad-free.
  • Affiliate links. I’ll likely add them, but it won’t be a focus. I’m not here to sell or write around products to sell them. I’m here to write and I’ll occasionally link topical products that I use (whether or not I get a kickback).

Thank you to every other blog author who has provided valuable knowledge along my software journey, and inspired the creation of this blog. I hope to do you proud.