Adventures in Angular

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MAS 014: Aaron Frost: My Angular Story


Aaron Frost

On today’s episode of My Angular Story we have special guest Aaron Frost. This episode might as well be both, a My Angular Story as well as a My Javascript story. Aaron has worked with us on JS Jabber and was a panelist for Adventures in Angular. You also may know him from NG Conf, the original Angular Conference. Stay tune to hear his story!

Getting Started

Before Aaron got involved with Javascript or Angular, he worked as a loan officer, and he wasn’t the best at it. Luckily his job exposed him to small bits of SQL. Aaron goes to say that SQL “was like speaking English”. In 2010 he shifted into development. At the time, most web developers hated Javascript, so anytime they could pin Javascript work on him they would. Aaron loved it.

College Dropout

Aaron decided to go to college to learn programing, mainly as a means to an end. His goal was primarily to get a job. After finding the job, he dropped out of classes. Aaron says that he was confused by why he was still in school considering he had the job and at any rate, Aaron had learned how to teach himself. Between Stack Overflow and podcasts and Youtube, Aaron has all the resources he needed.

Getting Into Work.

Aaron talks about his time working with Kynetx, writing a language called Kynetx Rule Language. Kynetx was a platform where developers could create web browser plugins and it would work across the platforms. Aaron talks about the lack of frameworks then, leaving mainly only jQuery.

And Then, Angular…

In one of the corporations Aaron worked for, they used a framework called Backbone. Five Hundred programmers all prescribed Backbone for their work, but Aaron nudged someone in the stack team to look into Angular. It was a no brainer, Angular allowed to get the job done in much less code. They adopted it and got proficient.

Conferences “Oyee! We should make one!”

Aaron and Kipp Laurence decided that after they were unable to find an Angular conference to goto online that “Oyee! We should make one!” Reluctantly Aaron agreed and afterwards had someone from Google on board to send a whole team to the conference.

Google Developers Experts

Aaron is a GDE. He talks a bit about what that process what like and how it’s changed. He talks about what Google looks for in a GDE and clears any misconception that a GDE is about people who contribute to the community and are natural evangelists.

Aaron vs Captchas

Aaron talks about how one of his first projects will always be his favorite. His brother worked in real estate and used a particular website for work. The website had an annoying Captcha that had to be filled out pretty frequently. His brother asked Aaron to attempt to create a way to bypass the Captchas. Aaron talks about how at first he thought it was impossible, but after contemplating using a canvas and some basic calculations, he was able to put together a web browser extension to handle the task. They marketed the tool to others that used the website.

What He Has Learned

Aaron says that there is a theme that is reoccurring for him. Aaron talks about how often programmers and developers spend their efforts “chasing the pendulum” instead of focusing on solving the issues that the company needs them to solve. Programmers should worry less with how cool their patterns are or if they are using the latest Frameworks, and more about getting the job done.

Keeping Up

Aaron’s Twitter
Aaron’s Medium
Aaron’s GitHub
Aaron’s AMA

Picks

Aaron

Superpowereds
Yarn
Samsung SmartThings

Charles

Nimble
BlueTick
Zapier
Visual Studio Code
Microsoft Build

This episode is sponsored by

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TRANSCRIPT

My Angular Story

MAS 014 Aaron Frost


CHARLES:
Hey everybody! Welcome to another… it’s both a My JS story and a My Angular Story since we’re talking to Aaron Frost. How’s it going Frosty?
AARON:
Good man. How are you doing?
CHARLES:
Doing Alright! Now you were a panelist on Javascript Jabber and then we started out Adventures in Angular you moved over to Adventures in Angular so. I think usually I announce “Hey there were on this episode and that episode, but you’ve been on quite a few!
AARON:
Yes. I did just Jabber for awhile and then you did Adventures in Angular for awhile, I did both for awhile. I then I kind of dropped off of JSJabber because I didn’t have enough time for both. And then I did just Adventures in Angular. THen it was kind of hit and miss, really really random appearances on Adventures in Angular so.
CHARLES:
Yeah so do you want to tell us really briefing where you are now?
AARON:
In life or in work or what do you mean?
CHARLES:
Yeah just because people have heard from you for awhile. You know so just kinda give us a picture, where you’re at in life and in work and everything.
AARON:
So I’m a Principle Engineer at Domo still and I’ve been there for for years and it’s been a lot of fun. I work with some really cool guys. A lot of people that you’d know. Dave Gattis, Peter Christianson. People like that. We just have our 4th NG Conf. So, as one of the organizers of that, it’s always a big deal. I have four kids now. My youngest is 2 years old, oldest is 11. Got a dog for Christmas, we named him Jack Frost.
CHARLES:
Oh nice!
AARON:
Yeah so that is kind of where I’m at. It’s kind of where life is right now so.
CHARLES:
Your wife wouldn’t you name one of the kids Jack Frost?
AARON:
Nahh. Nahhhhh. It’s a great dogs name when your last name is frost.

[Have you ever felt like you’re falling behind? Or that the programming world is moving so fast that it’s impossible to keep up? Then there is the issue of knowing where to go to make sure you’re up to date. My answer is to join a community dedicated to discussing the latest in Angular. I mean wouldn’t it be nice if you got Adventures in Angular all day? Well you can! Kind of… We’ve set up a Slack team for Adventures in Angular that you can join. That means you can connect with our listeners and guests on a platform that you’re most likely already using. Plus we’ve set up a keeping current channel that pulls stories from across the web to help you know what people are talking about. And coming soon, we’ll be holding monthly webinars and roundtable video chats to connect with experts in the community and with each other. So come join us with Adventuresinangular.com/slack]

CHARLES:
Well we usually start off the show in a little bit of a chit chat like we’ve done and then we get into the first question which is “How did you get into Programming?

AARON:
Okay so, I was a loan officer, I was really bad at doing mortgages. So, I sucked. There are really good loan officers, and then there is people who are bad at it, and I was one of the bad ones. So I needed to get a new career so I went to work at this accounting support phone center where we did phone support for accountants. And sometimes we would have to do SQL. Well, I was out manned as far as brain power goes, with accounting. Everyone on my team was so much smarter than me but SQL was the thing I was good at. Like Immediately it was like speaking english. I was like oh this is really easy. So I quickly excelled with that. And then they were like you should try out for QA. So I tried out for the QA team and I got on there. In auto QA team the automation, the UI automation made a lot of sense to me. So I wrote more automation test in like two weeks then the whole entire company had been able to build in it’s existence. So I excelled really quickly at automation. Then I became Senior QA, and then I went to management for awhile, then back to Senior QA. And then I finally, in 2010 jumped over to development full time from QA. That’s kind of been it. That is kind of everything, that’s kind of when I met you. It’s kind of when you and I met. Was around 2010-ish, I remember we were both speaking at Utah Code Camp. You had a codec presentation on how to build a URL shortener. Do you remember that talk?
CHARLES:
No I don’t actually!
AARON:
You were like “Hey! With Ruby this is how you do a URL shortener” how and you build you own and organize it and that was cool. And so I knew a little of Javascript and everyone was like “Dude you know Javascript? You must be really smart.” You know that time when Javascript was starting to turn? I got in the development right then and everyone kind of shoved me at the front of the line because I kinda knew Javascript.
CHARLES:
During that period, toward the end, leading up to about 2010. Most web developers hated dealing with Javascript. It was all about the back end. All about the back end. “Oh you want to do Javascript? Here!”
AARON:
Yeah exactly. And I loved it. The very first time, the first night someone tried to teach me jQuery and I was so pissed. I was like “I barely know this language, why are making me learn another one?” And by the end of the first night I was like “Whoa, this language is so much better than all the other languages I’ve ever learned.” So I got really good at jQuery and then I was like, “Well I should probably learn JavaScript properly then” and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been in love with it since I’ve learned it.
CHARLES:
Awesome. One of the reasons I do this show, the My JS story and my Angular Story in particular, is that I want to shed a bit of light on “hey no matter what your background is, you can get into this and learn this”, it doesn’t take these genius that got a computer at 5 years old and whatever and that’s where they are out now. You’ve been recognized, you’ve been a GDE for Angular if I remember right? Things like that and you’ve came into this field relatively recently. For me it’s kind of this “Hey look!” If you’re out there and you’re a loan officer, and you want to change careers, you can do it!
AARON:
Yeah! You totally can. When I started into to school to be a programmer… So I’m a college dropout by the way. I just had a certain salary. Programming was a means to an end for me. I needed to get a programming job so I could get have this dollar amount annual salary. Once I hit that I kept going to school, kind of confused why I was still going. Once I made it past that simnifically I was like “yeah I think I’m done. I know how to teach myself now so. I’m going to stop going.” Between Stack Overflow and podcasts like the one you do and Youtube. I had everything I needed. I was able to teach myself from that point on. But yeah, kinda going along with the story. I wrote my first line of code when I was 27 I’m 37 now. I didn’t start like a lot of these Ruby young geniuses that were surrounded by you know… because how fast programming is going, most programmers are millennial. So you’re surrounded by all these really really young genius kids that’s like “Why I really wish I was that responsible when I was that age” right? I just wasn’t. I wasn’t that responsible. I didn’t start to make good decisions like that until I as like 27 or so. So yeah.
CHARLES:
It’s interesting too, you mentioned that you are surrounded by new people, new programmers, younger people. I listened to a talk, or watched a talk on youtube, I’ll have to find the link for it, but it was Uncle Bob Martin and he was talking to a group of people about solid development principles. But when he started out the talk. He started out that pointing out that every 5 years about, the number of programmers in the world doubles. What that means is that, half of the people at any given time are new.
AARON:
They’ve been doing it for less than 5 years.
CHARLES:
Yeah! It’s kind of interesting that the point you’re making there. It really drove that home for me. You’re surrounded by younger people, or newer people. The majority of the industry has been programming for less than 10 and half of them have been programming for less than 5.
AARON:
Exactly. It’s humbling. I’m sure you have the experience where you run into a 23 year old kid that blows your mind and you’re like wow. I had no idea. Mad props. It’s humbling, every time it happens and I love to see it. It happens to me a lot.
CHARLES:
I think that a lot of that too, comes down to just kind of the level of exposure that they’ve had and the way that technology shaped their childhood in ways that it didn’t shape mine. I’m 37 also, so we were growing up around the same time. I grew up around here in Utah, and I’m assuming that you probably did you but I don’t know that. So my background is going to be different than theirs. Because I’m 10, 15, 20 years older than they are. They take a lot of things for granted and they just see things in a different way sometimes.
AARON:
I remember telling my kids, my kids asked me what kind of games we had on our phones when I was a kid. I was like, “dude, I was 4 levels separated from games on phones” I was like “back then games were on our Nintendos, phones were plugged into a wall” you try to explain it to them, like “I was so far removed from games on phones”.
CHARLES:
And then you try to explain to them that the only fun thing you could do on the phone was either call Grandma or crank call somebody but now everyone has caller ID so crank calling is kind of not a thing. AARON:
It’s totally busted.
CHARLES:
So yeah. You talked a little bit about how you got to Javascript. What was it about Javascript that got you really excited about it. You’re talking about, you’re coming into an era when most of the people were in the Ruby community. They were all like “ugh, we have to do Javascript because we are on the web but ugh”.
AARON:
So here locally in Utah there is this company, they are still around they aren’t growing as fast as they were. They are called Kynetx. When Dr Phill, he is the owner. What they were building at a time, was a platform was you could build an browser extension on this platform and they would would make your browser extension work on Firefox, IE, Safari, and Chrome. I was like “that’s a pretty good build. I can build one browser extension and it just runs on UI.” So I kind of got involved there and I wrote a custom language called KRL – Kynetx Rule Language. And I was like “This is kind of cool” I had never learned Javascript and they were like you have to learn jQuery to do some of this stuff. I was like “Good night! Another fricking language.” But I love browser extensions because they are so fun. If you’ve never done one, do one! Because you can take a really big site that is popular like Facebook, and you can modify it. Or like Twitter or Netflix or whatever you want, and you can make it to be what you want it to be. You can tell the web “Hey web, do what I want you to do” not just experience it like the default user experiences it. So they were like “You gotta learn jQuery” and so I was kind of forced into it. It was literally that first night I was like “I love this language,” and I just kind of stuck with jQuery for 3 or 4 months. Because it’s pretty powerful. Especially when you consider that time, 2010. There weren’t any frameworks. You just did jQuery. That was kind of the thing.
CHARLES:
Well, and working in the DOM by yourself. Across all the browsers and stuff. That was a pain. jQuery solved it.
AARON:
Yeah. So then I formalized on actual javascript and I was like man this an asynchronous thing, it’s functional based scripting language just fits in my head, fits so much better in my head so much better than the classical Java or the C# that I had always learned. It fit so much better in my head, I felt so well equipped in a way I never did in Java or C#. I know that a lot of developers can’t identify with that. They feel less equipped with Javascript but for me it was the opposite. I felt very very powerful from day one.
CHARLES:
I think a lot of that thought, just comes down to the way you train your brain about programming. So if you started out in JavaScript and you really didn’t branch off into to many of these languages very deeply, it probably just fits in as this is just programming paradigm. This is the natural programming paradigm. Most of the time when I hear people complaining about Javascript, typically they are comparing it with whatever language they learned first, or whatever language they have had the most experience with.
AARON:
Yeah. I’ve had the similar experience.
CHARLES:
So you get into JavaScript, jQuery. Life is good. You’re making whatever money you wanted to make. How do you get to Angular?
AARON:
That’s a good question. I worked for a big local corporation in Utah, and there was a really powerful developers there. The Javascript community was really strong in that corporation. We were doing Backbone as like generally the Javascript stack team for the whole organization. Which there were about 500 programmers. They was one team that kind of prescribed to the Javascript Stack and they were like “you use Backbone”. And then Knockout came out and Embercame out and Aurelia came out and one day in passing I just kind of elbowed the stack team. I said “Hey dude, have you seen Angular. It’s kind of cool. I write way less code in it than I do with Backbone. I get a lot more done in a lot less code.” This was Dave Gennis for everyone who knows who’s awesome. And he was like “Hey you should come work with me on this, on the stack team and we will push out Angular to everyone.” So we did. We pushed it out there and both hired on the same week at Domo and they were on Backbone and we started this big conversion to Angular. That was kind of how we started with Angular. We were writing so much less code in it than Backbone that it was just an immediate no brainer. “yeah we will move to this.” And now two way data biting is this swear word in JavaScript, but back then it wasn’t a swear word. It was like “Wow, there is so much utility in this paradigm.” It was the coolest, newest thing and it actually did save a lot of code.
CHARLES:
Oh it totally did.

AARON:
And now it’s not great, but back then it was amazing and we totally recognize it at the time. It was still a great decision looking back at it. It was still a great decision so. And one day my buddy Kip Laurence who I know you know Charles, but not everyone on this will know him but. He kicked back in his chair and was like “Yo… we should go to an Angular conference. We are learning it, we are getting good at it, maybe we should go to an Angular conference.” And I was like “that’s a genius idea we should go.” So then we Googled “Angular Conference,” “JavaScript Angular,” we tried 15 different variations and there weren’t any. The best we could get was JavaScript conferences with one or two Angular talks. And then at that point I was like “Okay let’s go back to work.” And then Kipp was like “Oyee! We should make one!” I was like “…that sounds like a bad idea, I don’t want to do that.” But it turned out that it was actually a good idea. I went to Google the next month and Brad was like “yeah I’ll send the whole team” and that was when Kipp and I, we were like “Okay let’s get Joey on board, let’s get Dave on Board and let’s make this a serious conference” and that’s kind of my story with Angular.
CHARLES:
That’s amazing.
AARON:
That’s the beginning. And since then I’ve really, because I’m on a team with 60 front end developers, we are on one single page app. Think about that. 60 engineers on one single page app.
CHARLES:
You guys must hate your life.
AARON
We don’t hate it, but it has it’s own challenges.
CHARLES:
Yeah I’m sure.
AARON:
There are some benefits doing that way too, but there are challenges. We have some serious performance things we have to focus on sometimes. And so, the last probably year and a half, two years, I’ve been focusing specifically around performance improvement in a gigantic SPA with Angular. So.
CHARLES:
Wow. Yeah. When I say you must hate your life, I just can’t imagine having to coordinate contributions from 60 people into a single app. Especially given the way that angular works in a lot of cases you’re going to have several people relying on the same components and services, and if something doesn’t play nicely it’s going to get ugly really fast.
AARON:
Yeah there is actually an unexpected amount of sanity in the way we got it working. Sometimes the build will break but it’s rare. Sometimes someone will break your code but it doesn’t happen everyday. A lot of us are working on our own feature and it doesn’t touch anyone else so. There is a surprising amount of sanity in the way we make it work. There is a lot of lazy loading going on right now. We basically lazy load everything we possibly can. In order to make the time something as slow as possible.
CHARLES:
That’s really cool! So I want to talk a little bit about being a GDE. How does exactly does that happen? Does someone at Google say “this guy is awesome let’s make him a GDE.” or
AARON:
That’s how it used to happen. Now there is a GDE app. I’m trying to find it real quick. Yeah there is an app you just go to and you just nominate yourself. You have to put in, there is a lot of questions, there is a lot of things that go into being a GDE. There is a lot of really smart, like way smarter than me Angular developers, or like Chrome Developers. You don’t have to be a GDE at Angular right. You could be a Chrome, or Polymer, or whatever. They are really really smart, you and I both know, but that doesn’t qualify you to be a GDE because a GDE is also like an evangelist. They are going to ask you what blog posts you’ve been written. What’s your StackOverflow score with regards with that hashtag? Wether it’s Chrome Dev tools, or it’s Chrome or Palm or Angular or whatever Google related technology. And they are going to ask you what Blog posts, what conference presentations you’ve done, what books you’ve written, what open source contributors you’ve done to the project. All these things that would make you stand out among developers, not just that you’re an expert with the technology but you also help evangelize it and make it better for the community. That’s really what a GDE is. It’s like a community leader in the community. Not so much as an absolute brainiac with regard to the specific technology. So I did a lot of conference stuff and I did some blog posts and I organized a big conference at NG Conf and I did several things and and GDE was like, “Let’s get this guy nominated.”
CHARLES:
That makes sense. As far as Javascript Jabber, do you remember how you got to be on the show?
AARON:
I can’t recall for certain but it was either you or Joe Eames that was like “we need another panelist, Frost why don’t you fill in” and so I filled in a few times. And I think you formally said “hey, come and be a panelist.”
CHARLES:
Yeah, that’s typically how it works. I couldn’t remember for sure but…
AARON:
I showed up a couple times and then I showed up a couple times and then I got on the email distro list and so I started showing up to the recordings every week.
CHARLES:
And then with Adventures with Angular, I know Joe came and talked to me about it. I think you did, and I think Merrick did as far as starting the podcast and it was funny because I remember telling you guys no two or three times before I was like “Alright! Let’s do it!”
AARON:
“…Okay fine let’s do it.” I Think the size of that initial Angular growth kinda caught everyone off guard. Yourself included. You’re like “There’s no need for an all Angular podcast” and then obviously there is a need. And then there is a need for an all Angular conference, several of them. I think it kind of caught us off guard. The same thing is happening with [React][].It’s just exploding. There is a need for all things React as well so.
CHARLES:
Absolutely. It’s really interesting to not only to see where Angular and React are going as frameworks for development, but also all the other places they seem to be creeping into. So you got things like React Native. And NativeScript with Angular. So you can get on the mobile devices and some of these other… I don’t know quite what to call them, like set devices I guess. Where you have AppleTVs and stuff. You can compile native script or React native on those. I mean just stuff like that is really amazing. And nobody saw that coming.
AARON:
I didn’t. Now you kind of expect it right? There’s Electron, there’s Cordova, there’s NativeScript, React Native. There is anything you need to do, you can pretty much get it done in Javascript.
CHARLES:
Yep! So what else have you done. We’ve talked about NG Conf, we’ve talked about the Podcast, your time as a GDE. What else have you done in Javascript or in Angular you wanna discuss?
AARON:
I think that one of the very first projects I ever worked on is still one of the coolest things I ever did. My twin bro, he was using this website for real estate. You had to like go to see if there was any new orders available and if there weren’t you had to refresh after 10 seconds. After you refreshed you had to put in a captcha. Once you typed in a captcha, it would show you if there were any new orders, and there’s not. There is only like one new order an hour. So to sit there and type in captchas for like hours is stupid right? It’s stupid! So my brother was like “I want you to build a browser extension to solve captchas so I don’t have to do this anymore.” And I was like “I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to parse letters out of an image with Javascript. That doesn’t make any sense to me.” But he was like “Think about it”. And so I slowly started to think about how like if I took the captcha and I put it into a canvas, and I started to doing neighborhood calculations, I bet could figure out what the letters are and then I could those letters and then I could type those letters into a box and hit next and before too long I had built like a browser extension that would solve these captchas on this site. So we started marketing it to other people that used this same site. My brother did. It was one of the first things I ever did and it was one of the funnest problem to solve. Busting a captcha, reading an image, getting text out of an image. That’s pretty advanced for a total noob and it was something I had a lot of fun doing.
CHARLES:
Yeah. Huh. I think, did you do a talk at one of the users groups or something on busting captchas? I think I remember sitting through something like that.
AARON:
Yeah that was one of the first things I ever did in the Utah JS group.
CHARLES:
Back when we were meeting in the Domo office that was just off the freeway over by Orem.
AARON:
Yeah up in North Orem yeah. There was like 8 of us. That was is.
CHARLES:
Man that was a long time ago.
AARON: That was. Now Utah JS is like, 2 of them and there is like 80 in each one. It’s a big group now.
CHARLES:
Absolutely. So what are you working on these days?
AARON:
I have a little side project I’m working on and its got a lot of WebRTC involved in it and a lot of web sockets and Firebase. It’s fun. It’s a remote communication app for remote teams, for remote workers. NG Comf is always a challenge. Trying to figure out how to make it bigger and better each year. I know you’ve been before Chunk. So I know you know it’s a pretty awesome event. Trying to make each year better than the year previous is a cost and challenge. I’ve put a lot of time into that. Joe Eames is absolutely amazing when it comes to NG Conf. I get to MC it and a lot of people think Dave and I are the basis of the event, but Joe Eames is the amazing Joe Eames is the amazing behind the scenes guy doing a lot of the work so. We put a lot of time into that and I’m kind of chilling out on conference speaking and I’m spending more time being a Dad right now so. That’s what I’d doing with most my time. And I’m a workaholic. I love working at Domo. I love getting a lot of code written so. I work voluntarily a lot of hours there so. Because I really really like what we are doing and I care about the mission that we have there at Domo.
CHARLES:
Very cool. Is there some overarching theme that you’ve learned over the last 7 or so years of programming. Or ten years or whatever?
AARON:
I think a theme that has been, it keeps reoccurring recently. Is that there is a real need for engineers to focus more on solving problems per users and less on having perfect code. I think that a lot of some of the decisions that I see, Is developers trying to make decisions to make perfect code that could really sink a company. Rather than sticking on a technology that is not as beautiful as they want, or code that is ugly for all argumentative purposes. And just sticking with that and make sure you’re still solving the user problem. I think developers need to be more business focuses rather than tech focused sometimes. And focused more on solving business problems and making sure that businesses is as successful as possible and less on “are we using the latest technologies? Do we have the coolest patterns and practices and stuff like that…” I think there is a lot of cheering right now. A lot of chasing the pendulum. And I think that chasing the pendulum is a fools errand and is kind of childish. So I like to see people make more responsible decisions of solving, making your business profitable. Solving problems for the end user. I think that is a thing that has really hit home for me and it keeps reoccurring again and again recently.
CHARLES:
I agree. There is something to be said for writing great code, but great code serves the purpose for the business as well. As far as being maintainable and running well and running quickly and things like that. A lot of times we lose sight of that because we want to do the cool thing or the interesting thing or the tricky thing instead of doing the thing that gets the job done. And if we lose sight of what we are trying to actually serve then a lot of times it’s a mistake even if we do it right.
AARON:
A lot of people right now are going to find themselves in a similar situation where they’ve got a lot of Angular JS code and they are going to have a lot of this new code, React or Angular, and it’s really easy to focus on getting rid of all the Angular JS but if it’s still working then you should still focus on still getting your company the competitive edge and let that Angular JS exist and you keep, like, add new stuff. Keep providing new value. Don’t try to replace the already existing value that still works. With a new version written in a new language. Leave that there and write something new in your new language. Continue to provide as much value for your owners and yourself as possible, and your end users. That’s a big message I would, chasing the pendulum is usually a waste of money. That is my opinion. Not always but it usually is. Sometimes it’s okay to be uncool for 18 months and let that pendulum come back to you.
CHARLES:
Yeah awesome. So do you have any picks to share with us?
***[Are you looking to expand your skills in mobile development? Have an idea for the next Angry Birds app? Then you need to check out iOS Remote Conf produced by the same people who bring you your favorite Devchat.tv podcasts like Ruby Rogues and iPhreaks. Join us for two days of jam packed fun and learning steamed to you live May 17th and 18th. Go check it out at iOSRemoteConf.com] *** AARON:
I’ve got a couple picks yeah! I’ve been reading a series of books and I’m going to throw it out here. It’s called SuperPowereds. It’s a really good series. It’s about a world where there are people with Superpowers and then they go to College, to the hero certification program to become super heroes. It’s just kind of a story about this world where supers are real, and supers live out in the open and there are heroes certification program to become a superhero and it’s a lot of fun. The characters are really really cool. I’m just kind of finishing up the 4th book in that series. It’s a lot of fun so. Superpowereds. As far as other picks… I don’t really have any other picks.
CHARLES:
It’s all good. I’m going to toss out a couple of pick here myself. The first one is a system I’ve been using as kind of as a CRM, it is a CRM. I’ve kind of gone through this CRM dance. I might have picked this on the last episode I don’t remember. If you’re hearing this again I’m sorry. I’ve gone through probably 6 or 7 CRMs including Salesforce and then probably some that you may or may not have heard of. Context.ly, 17 Hats… And I hated them all. But I’m using one now called Nimble. And that’s at Nimble.com and it’s got a Chrome plugin and a bunch of other stuff. It makes it really easy to find information about people. For example, right now I have an email that’s, you know my computer is on, and I have an email open from a friend of mine Mike Taber who built BlueTick. BlueTick.io it’s an email on an ancient system which I’ll also pick. But anyway, the first time his thing came up, his profile came up. It showed me all of this stuff about him so I could say “Yes that’s him” and it would add all the information from LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter. I can go look at his profile in Nimble and it will actually tell me news so I can kind of pull stuff off of the social networks and gives me information. So if I wanted to reach out to him, let’s say he is a big sports fan, I could reach out to him and say “Hey the Real Salt Lake,” I know he isn’t a fan of Real Salt lake but, I could say “Rail Salt Lake blah blah blah, that’s awesome!” or I could say “Hey I noticed that you’re a fan of this sport teams” and I could send him a mug or something. It’s been really helpful that way. It doesn’t try to pretend to be this email automation system, which is what I was looking for, and I use BlueTick for that. It works really nicely, the most of the automation in BlueTick actually, besides sending out email sequences in timing, just works through Zapier, which is also really nice. Since I’m using that anyway it’s really solid. Besides that, I ran into… I’ve been kind of playing with VS code off and on. I’m really digging it. So I’m going to pick Visual Studio code as well. We interviewed Wade Anderson and… I can’t remember her name, but we had another engineer that we interviewed at Build, Microsoft Build. And they talked about what’s coming up and that’s really exciting so I’m going to pick that as well. Lot’s of really cool stuff going on in the Javascript world and Im really enjoying. I’ll also mention that Zapier is also what I use to power the ‘Keeping Current’ rooms that I have in the Slack channels. So setting up Slack room channels for Javascript Jabber and Adventures in Angular and people can just join. I think I’m charing a 10 dollar a month fee, and that’s mostly so I can pay speakers to come and talk about whatever they got going on. It’s just easier to get people going in and give them something for showing up. So yeah, I use Zapier and I pull off of Reddit and I pull off of a handful of other places and just get that information in there. I can pull off of our RSS feeds so I can pull from Javascript Jabber and any podcasts, blogs, etc. It’s really great so. Just some interesting stuff there.
AARON:
Can I actually throw out two more picks? While you were talking I thought of two picks I want to throw out.
CHARLES:
Yeah go ahead!
AARON:
So this one, it’s probably already been picked, but I’ve barely started using and I absolutely love it and it’s Yarn. I’ve been going through a lot of branches and stuff so I have to constantly have to remove my Node modules and re npm-install. And that normally takes about 80 or 90 seconds but with Yarn it’s like 14 seconds. So Yarn is like saving my life. If you haven’t used it, it’s awesome. Apparently NPM 5 is going to have a lot of these Yarn speed improvements built in native, but for right now Yarn is amazing and it works with your packers, like JSON, literally you just install it and the next time you do NPM-install you just do Yarn and it will take place. So really really fast, it’s totally awesome. So Yarn. And also I started implementing my own home automation system.
CHARLES:
Oh! I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.
AARON:
Yeah. I’m using Samsung SmartThings as the platform. And Samsung SmartThings is so awesome. It’s got a whole ton of devices that exist in it’s ecosphere so if you want switches for you light switches or a camera or a water sensor or motion detector or a movement detection thing for like your doors, so they open or close. All these devices already exist. You can just hook them up to the app and the SmartThings Hub, you can like automate through it. It’s just like clicking buttons. Like “After 10pm, if there is motion, don’t turn the light on in the bedroom because it means I don’t want to turn the light on in the middle of the night. But during daytime, turn the light on with motion and turn it off after 5 minutes of no motion so the lights don’t stay on all day long you know what I’m saying? It’s really easy to do that kind of automation, you just tap tap tap and you’ve got the rules all set up and your house is automated. You can automate your front doors and your garage doors and your lights for your front porch or for anything. I’m going to pick Samsung SmartThings for the home automation stuff.
CHARLES:
Nice.
AARON:
Yeahh…
CHARLES:
I’ve been wanting to get involved in that kind of thing for awhile, I’ll have to check it out.
AARON:
Yeah it’s pretty cool. So if people want to get ahold of me, you were asking?
CHARLES:
Yeah if people want to follow you on Twitter, or Facebook, or GitHub, or where ever you tend to have the most up to date and interesting information. Maybe a blog? Where do they go?
AARON:
So I’ve got a JS_dev on Twitter. I’ve got Frosty on Medium. I don’t really do a lot there. Ive got, On GitHub Aaron Frost. And there’s an AMA there if anyone wants to go, I haven’t done too much with it but if you want to ask any questions. AMA me and get a file or shoot bull. Yeah that’s how you get ahold of me. I will put up direct messages up on Twitter so anyone can pretty much DM me. That’s how you would get ahold of me.
CHARLES:
very cool.
AARON:
Yeah
CHARLES
Alright well thank you for coming and talking to us. We’ll get this out on the feed and we will talk to everyone next week.
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