First Timers Only

A suggestion to Open Source project maintainers

The hard part of getting into open source for the first time isn’t the implementation of a feature, but figuring out how to actually contribute code.

Great read on setting up your open source project for success as well as making it EASY for people to make their first contribution

Top Four 5: Podcasts

Marco and Tiff rank their four favorite podcasts (right now)

​This episode of Top Four was great. It did NOTHING to help the number of podcasts that I want to listen to. I already listen to a lot so adding would have to mean removing something if it was for my personal queue.

​Luckily, it did give Laura and I some great ideas for shows to listen to together in the car. As we get closer to holiday season and start driving around the northeast, these will be a huge help:

Roderick on the Line sounds like something I'd really enjoy. But, at 178 episodes it's too intimidating. I can only handle one "catch up" show. (Interesting that both of these involve Merlin). If I had more space/time, Reply All would be first up

Science Says Snapchat Makes You Happy

The study, titled “Sharing the small moments: ephemeral social interaction on Snapchat,” concluded that Snapchat interactions are correlated with increased “social enjoyment and positive mood” compared to those on platforms like Facebook. In other words, the quick-fire moments you experience on Snapchat — which is used to share videos and photographs that disappear after a short amount of time — might make you happier than other social media.

I need to get better at understanding snapchat. I feel like a dinosaur

I seem to have the mental bandwidth for 2 social networks. For me the non-negotiable one is Twitter where I read everything. Part of this is keeping the number of people I follow to ~200 and a heavy use of mute filters. I've recently gotten better at browsing Facebook and Instagram, more to see what my friends are up to. I went through a HEAVY unfollow process on Facebook. I now probably only see 30 people in my feed compared to the hundreds of people I'm friends with.

I do find myself chuckling when I get snaps compared to any other network so this article tracks

12 Months of the Show & Tell Podcast

The 12th episode of Show & Tell, my monthly movie podcast came out recently. We've been doing it for a year, and I can't believe I've never mentioned it on this site!

The show is hosted by Samuel Strickland, accompanied by myself and Ellyn MaNamara. Each month, we pick a movie that we've each seen before, and bring it to the show to discuss. We chat, rate, review, and once in a while go off the rails. It has been SO much fun working with the crew on the Tekside network, being part of a podcast, and leaning the ins & outs of recording and producing.

It's been great as forced relaxation for me. I was hesitant to jump into a show with people I'd never spoken to before (we had 1 Skype call before we recorded episode 1). Immediately, recording became one of the highlights of the week (month) that I look forward to. Sam and Ellyn are a lot of fun to talk to on the air or hang out in our Slack channel. There have definitely been movies I never would have considered otherwise that I really liked. We're currently gearing up for our Star Wars spectacular and I can't wait!

Our episodes to date (I started with Top Gun, obviously)

Episode 1

  • Top Gun
  • Fargo
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Episode 2

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The One I Love
  • A Most Wanted Man

Epidode 3

  • Mad Max
  • Oldboy
  • Snowpiercer

Episode 4

  • Calvary
  • The Lego Movie
  • Nightcrawler

Episode 5 (Nic Cage!!)

  • Vampire's Kiss
  • Face-off
  • The Wicker Man

Episode 6

  • Knocked Up
  • Inglorious Bastards
  • Blue Ruin

Episode 7

  • Alien
  • Empire Records
  • Practical Magic

Episode 8

  • The Princess Bride
  • The Master
  • Lost River

Episode 9

  • Inception
  • Her
  • John Wick

Episode 10

  • Inception
  • Django Unchained
  • Whiplash

Episode 11

  • Ray
  • Hard Candy
  • Ex Machina

Episode 12

  • Blade Runner
  • Never-ending Story
  • 8 Mile

Sending Email to Omnifocus in Airmail2

Airmail2 is my desktop client of choice for Gmail. It keeps the same hotkeys as the web version of gmail and has some good integrations.

In outlook, I use ^O to send an email to Omnifocus. That workflow also attaches the outlook email to the task for easy reference later. I wanted something similar for gmail besides just forwarding the email to Omnifocus. With that, I still had to go find the email to actually reply to it. Omnifocus integration is the single most important reason (to me) for using Airmail. Airmail will add an in-app link back to the email in Airmail in the notes section of the task.

But, I don't like the default hotkey, I just want it to be ^O. To get this to work:

  1. Go to > Keyboard > Shortcuts
  2. Add Airmail2
  3. Add an action with the Menu Title of: OmniFocus...
  4. Record your keyboard shortcut to be ^O

How to Sync Basecamp Todos to Omnifocus or Todoist

Basecamp is a large part of our process at Ai. It tracks most of our communication (a lot of this has been moving to Slack). Basecamp serves as our system of record for signs-offs and deliverables. We also use it's "todo" function pretty heavily in the planning stages and tracking client tasks. Once we get into implementation, we transition to Jira, as it's more powerful. Clients do not have access to Jira.

I don't have an issue tracking Basecamp tasks. It's really good at emailing you when something is due. But, as I've said before, I'd be even BETTER at it, if the tasks were in my world. My world is Omnifocus, but there is a VERY large contingent of Todoist users at Ai. I am the outlier in this. In the past, my reasons for not using Todoist were I didn't want Ai tasks and personal project tasks in the same app, the hotkeys weren't up to snuff, and I didn't want to pay for premium to get notifications. I've since ignored these rules with Omnifocus; It runs everything in my life, it DOES have great hotkeys, and I dropped the $$$ for premium Omnifocus which was more expensive than Todoist premium in the long run. But, this is a topic for another post.

Back on track. How to get Basecamp todos into my system? Again, Zapier to the rescue. Zapier can connect to Basecamp, do some basic filtering to make sure I only get tasks that I care about, and drop them into my Omnifocus inbox. Most of the following steps hold true for both Omnifocus and Todoist

  1. Create a new Zap that triggers when a new Basecamp todo is created. Have it create a new task in your system

  2. Select the appropriate Basecamp account and test it

  3. Select and test your Todoist/Omnifocus account

  4. Choose your Basecamp Account, Project, and Todo list. If you want to filter even more by only items assigned to you, add a custom filter. Do this by either Assignee ID or Name

  5. Match up the Basecamp data to your tool of choice. First is how I send it to Omnifocus. Note, I do need to populate the due date by hand. In both options, I add the url back to the task in Basecamp so I can easy mark it off or comment in it when I'm done. Todoist lets you be a LOT more granular and handles all of the fields so you have no manual intervetntion

  6. My tasks are now in my world. Profit.

Creating a Custom Podcast Feed Using Dropbox and Huffduffer

I use Overcast as my podcast client because of it's SmartSpeed feature. This feature is now 100% free with the new 2.0 update. SmartSpeed has spoiled me. Before Overcast I would listen to most shows at 2x. This resulted in "chipmunk voice" which I dealt with to try to get through a few more episodes each week. Overcast let's me reduce this by speeding up playback by removing a certain % of silence.

Sometimes I'll find other recordings, episodes, or files that I want to listen to. I don't want to see if they are already in a feed somewhere, or subscribe to a whole podcast. So, these files just sat in a dropbox folder that I'd "listen to one day". I forgot it was there. Recently, CGPGrey was talking on Cortex about a similar problem (though with audio books). The result was this workflow below.

I've been using it to create a custom podcast feed of random audio files that I throw in dropbox. I get a notification in Overcast when they are ready, and I can add them to my existing listening queue. Awesome


  1. Dropbox (iOS App)
  2. Workflow (iOS App)
  3. Any podcast client that accepts an RSS feed. (Overcast is 100% free)
  4. Huffduffer Account
  5. You have audio files in Dropbox somewhere


  1. Setup Dropbox on iOS
  2. Open this url in Safari
  3. Tap "Get Workflow"
  4. Allow Safari to open Workflow
  5. Open the workflow in Workflow
  6. Check to see if Workflow has access to Dropbox
  7. Hit Done
  8. Go back into the workflow and run it
  9. Navigate to where your audio files are in dropbox
  10. Tap the one you want, and give it a Title
  11. Go to your profile page in huffduffer and grab the RSS url for your profile
  12. Add this by URL in your podcast app of choice
  13. You are done!

A Preview Of What'S New In Basecamp 3

Basecamp 3 is coming and I'm exited. Below are excerpts from Basecamp's preview post on what I'm looking forward to most

Basecamp won'€™t send you any emails, push notifications, or in-app notifications if it's outside your specified work hours. Live a little! Work Can Wait until you're back at work.

group chat room for quick discussions

This is cool but it came a little too late. We've been using slack for project based and individual chat. It has a dedicated app that is easy to cmd+tab to. I see campfire in the browser sitting in an unchecked tab and not being useful

Show someone you care by clicking the Applause button on any message, comment, document, or answer on any automatic question. They'll get a discrete notification letting them know you appreciated what they said. This is a great way to show your support for someone’s suggestion, idea, or point of view without also sending a notification to everyone else on the project.

e.g. What did you work on today€ or Are you blocked on anything?)

Hmm, I wonder if this could be used for virtual scrum?

@mentions: Psst!


They'll instantly get a notification letting them know they've been mentioned, along with a direct link right back to where you mentioned them

If you're not in the desktop app

Buhhh wait what? Ok maybe what I said about the tabs and apps above might not apply

You can bookmark just about anything in Basecamp 3 so you can jump right back to it from anywhere else

This will be handy. Here are always a few key threads I end up digging for. Usually long running threads about key deliverables

At the bottom of every project is a timeline of all activity going back to the moment you started the project

I like this if search hadn't been improved. This has a lot easier than scrolling through all the lists looking for something around a certain time

So you can make a folder and put a photoshop file, a Google doc


Now you can assign to-dos to multiple people. Now you can set date ranges, not just single due dates. Now you can bulk assign multiple to-dos with a single click. Now you can select multiple to-dos and move them as a group.


Now you can save any new message or document as a draft before you publish it

Basecamp 3 allows you to see all the work you've assigned to other people

You can sign up for an early invite here

Magento 2: Q&A With A Systems Architect

Magento 2 has revamped the architecture of the platform. Many of these changes introduced tried and true design patterns into the platform. Although these design patterns are more advanced, they come with a lot of literature to describe how they should be used in practice (read up on the ‘Gang of Four’). For eCommerce managers, these fundamental changes provide their team with a more structurally sound platform to scale-up their business.

​I am very excited about the direction Magento 2 has taken. It feels more thought out, more complete, and more flexible. Magento 1 feels bolted together by this point. Between composer, the new service layer, and it's component based architecture, Magento 2 requires a higher order of developer. This is a good thing. Script kiddies and SO copy/plasters will not survive or at least REALLY have to learn OOP and new architecture patterns. ​ ​Bring it on

Using Omnifocus as a Honey-Do App

Laura and I are trying a formal Honey-Do List. We're both very task-oriented people and we really like lists. There are a lot of things I can do to help with Charlie but have to wait until I get home from work. Vice-versa, stuff I'll think of while I'm at work that Laura should take a look at on the days she's home.

We probably should have done this a long time ago but even suggesting that one of us ditch our to-do app of choice would have been blasphemy. I switched to OmniFocus this year and you'd have to pry it from my cold dead fingers. Laura really likes Remember The Milk [RTM] but I've never cared for it. One option was just use another app just for the HoneyDo list. The front-runner would be Wunderlist. This would work.... but meh. This would mean another slot on our coveted iPhone home screens. A space we didn't want to give up. I personally would have trouble remembering to go into it. If it's not in OmniFocus, it's not in my world.

There had to be a solution. What actually mattered? It boiled down to two things:

  1. The tasks entering "our world" of to-dos
  2. The other party being notified (or at least aware) that a task had been completed (or is still outstanding)

Neither OmniFocus or RTM have the ability to do 2-way sync. But, they CAN take in tasks through email addresses. Ok, there is a way for tasks to get into our respective worlds from somewhere else. Check.

The next step was to have something be the single point of entry for tasks. This entry point would also serve as the aggregate list of both our worlds. Wunderlist and Todoist both have great API's, there had to be something. There was also a good chance that IFTTT or Zapier could connect to everything. IFTTT was a bust, but Zapier hooked us up. I went with Wunderlist because Todoist's notifications are a premium only feature. We're not sure if we'll actually use the notifications, but I didn't feel like switching if we decided to in the future. Wunderlist could also handle shared lists, asignees, and due dates.

How to set it up:

  1. Choose a trigger and action

    When this happens: Wunderlist; New Task

    Do this: OmniFocus; Create Task

  2. Make sure your Wunderlist and Omnifocus accounts are set up

  3. Create a shared list in Wunderlist and add someone to it

  4. Tell Zapier to only trigger on the list you just created. (We'll add advanced filtering later)

  5. Create the OmniFocus task. I put "BroderFam" in front so I know where it came from, the name of the task, and the due date. (I manually set the due date when I process my OmniFocus inbox)

    In the body, I set urls back to Wunderlist so I can mark the item as done in there as well as in Omnifocus. The first URL is for when I'm on my laptop and want to open the Wunderlist website. The 2nd one is a deep link to the iOS app for when I'm on my phone

    Keep note of the assignee ID on the first task that comes in, you'll want it for advanced filtering

  6. Test the Zap and turn it on. Now, any task that goes into your list will go to OmniFocus. But, we don't want that. We only want the ones that are assigned to me.

    Now that you have the assigneeID from the first task, go back into the Zap and add a custom filter

    Also go back in and remove AssigneeID from the body of the task

So, a little bit of double work when marking things as read. But I'm really happy with this system. Let me know in the comments if you have any trouble setting this up and I'll help