A Quick Trip to Toronto

I just got back from a few days in Toronto that I spent attending some web conferences. I had a great time, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.

Full Stack Toronto

Full Stack Toronto was the conference I had traveled in for and it was a reallty good conference. Especially if you work for a non-profit since they have a discount which made the conference ticket around $75.  I would say if you are close and can make it it is worth your time, even at full price. Specifically, Jenn Creighton’s talk on flexible React components, Joe Carlsson on React performance and Rachael McQuater’s talk on TypeScript (Yay Grand Rapids!) were really good.  There also was clearly a big push for diversity in speakers by the organizers which I really appreciated.

WordCamp Toronto

I’de never been to a WordCamp before, but have recently been spending some more time with WordPress and the new Gutenberg editor. I knew that the 5.0 release would be a few days before this WordCamp when I registered for it, so I thought it would be interesting to time to check it out. (It ended up being a few days later – today!)  This was interesting in that it was not at all who I thought would be attending. I guess I expected a group similar to who I had been at Full Stack Toronto – full-time developers, already up to speed on everything WordPress. If I had to guess that would only be about 50-70% of everyone there, with a lot more casual WordPress end users – people who use it to make websites but develop heavily. It was an interesting perspective and I am glad that I went. I knew there was some concern about page builders and Gutenberg, but even then I was surprised by the number of times it came up. 

The City

Even though I live only a few hours away, I’ve never been to Toronto before. To be honest, I knew it was a big city, but I didn’t know it was as big as it is (4th largest in North America!)  For its size it was super clean, something I really appreciate. I stayed right downtown in a super nice condo through Airbnb. It was super nice but the owner must not have been permitted to rent it out because the check-in instructions were “Walk right past security, if they stop you, tell them you are here visiting Susan” Besides that, super nice, even had a gym I could use. The Chinatown area was my favorite part, great food, tea, and fun to walk around. the Chinatown seemed more authentic, with less of the super-touristy stuff like in New York or San Francisco. The art museum was cool and free every Wednesday night. The other thing I did was head to St. Lawrence Market for a Toronto specialty – the “Pea-meal bacon sandwich.” I thought it was odd they called it bacon since it was more like ham to me, then had the embarrassing realization of why we sometimes call ham “Canadian Bacon.” 

Goals for 2018

I used to post yearly resolutions here, but haven’t for a few years and wanted to get back into it. I’ll call these goals because resolutions start at the beginning of the year and it’s….later.

Finish one woodworking project a week

I got a wood lathe as a Christmas present this year, and I would like to get decent at it. I’ve also wanted to do more work with the other tools I have. Practice makes perfect and all, so the goal is to finish at least one woodworking project a week, even if it sucks.

Eat out less

Specifically, lunch. I used to NEVER eat lunch out, then at some point I got in the habit of it and if I’m honest it’s only ever gotten worse since. So this year I’m going to try to do a better job prepping lunch the day before work so I can try to break that habit.

Brew 6 times

I started brewing beer two years ago, and the results were decent, but I haven’t given it the time that I wanted. So this year I would like to make at least 6 batches. I drink most of the beer I make, and 6 full batches would be around 30 gallons. So, I’d also like to start looking into smaller one-gallon batches. That would be cool because then I could try all grain brewing without needing any more equipment. 

5 Web Projects

I already have a few side projects lined up and have a few of my own ideas that have been percolating. I’m hoping to get at least five of them live this year, including at least a face-lift for this site.

Write/Post three things a month

 This kind of goes along with the last goal. I’ve had some sites that have languished on without updates for far too long. This is the year they either make the cut and I start posting again, or they go away. Here you will see more about my web projects and foray into woodworking. You might even witness the long-awaited return of the teageek… 

Solidify a morning routine

I’m a natural night-owl. It’s actually 11:53 p.m. as I write this. Last year though, I started getting up about an hour before I normally do. It was really great to have some time in the morning to cook a real breakfast and not rush around. I want to expand on that and make a little more structured daily routine. Hopefully, that will solidify the habit and set up some time in the morning. I’ve read a little about journaling and meditation recently and would like to try it out.
 Well, there you have it, my goals for (the rest of) 2018.

November: 6:00 AM Wakeup

The return of the monthly challenges!

So this month I decided, somewhat randomly, to try a monthly challenge again. I’m not sure what brought it about, but I decided to try getting up at 6:00 every morning. Now, this may not seem like it is that challenging, but to a night owl like me, it was a serious shift in habit. I usually would roll out of bed around 7 and then get ready during the week, but the weekends were fair game for a 9:00 am wake up call. So this month, I will try and get up at 6:00 every morning.

Update: 12/3/2013

Well this has been a busy month, and a few times, I cursed myself for deciding to do this whole challenge thing this month. Overall though, after the first few days it wasn’t so bad. There were a few mornings I didn’t quite make it; usually on the weekend if I was out late, but other than that it went pretty smooth. Will I keep doing it? Maybe, I just bought a house so I have been busy and getting up that early has helped me still get to the gym, but we will see how long that lasts!

April: Blog Twice A Week

This month I am going to continue on with the theme from last months challenge and get back into blogging. Teageek.org has been pretty stagnant the past year or so, and outside of my challenge updates this site hasn’t seen too much action either. Now, if you are thinking that blogging twice a week is a bit of a weak challenge; you would be correct. I am heading to New York and heading down to South Caroline for the convergeSE conference. Based on past experience, anything that is going to take a lot of effort is probably not going to happen if I am traveling that much, so blogging more seemed like great “attainable” challenge .


Update:  Well, you can see how that went! Oh well, better luck next time.

March: Online Overhaul

For March I am going to try to redesign both www.brentswisher.com and www.thewebcounts.com, as well as update my profile on all of my social media accounts. Just one of those things that has needed to been done for a while that I keep putting off, so I thought I would make a challenge out of it. I also thing that one of the reasons I haven’t been posting as much as I used to is that the site has become a little dated and I just don’t care to look at it as much. Hopefully a redesign will get back on the blogging bandwagon a little more frequently.

Update: 4/6

Well it took a late night on the 31st and a few fixes after the fact, but I updated both brentswisher.com and www.thewebcounts.com this month. I also went through and updated my linkedIn/twitter/facebook info. The new redesign of this site is the first completely from scratch design I have created as a WordPress template. It was an interesting experience, definitely a different environment.  It was also a good php refresher, it had been a longer time than I had realized since I had done any actual coding outside of work.