Tom Ortega II

Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

IDEas: Tools for Coders

In Programming on December 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm

For those that don’t read my company blog, I wanted to give you a heads up about a post I made there that’s going gangbusters.

The post is here: IDEas: Tools for Coders

Or participate (and upvote) over at hackernews

And stay tuned to hear more about the tool that I am actually building vs the ideas that I give away for free in the post.

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A (Programmer’s) Life Shouldn’t Be Lonely

In Life, Programming on September 18, 2013 at 6:33 am

Reminders of Friends

Reminders of Friends

Oftentimes, programming is a lonely activity. Whether alone in a coffee shop with our headphones on or in an office behind closed doors, most of the magic happens in solitude. Oftentimes, it has to. If we’re paying attention to someone in a conversation, we’re obviously not paying attention to the text on the computer screen. However, we must never forget that no matter how important the work is, the fact that we’re human and need interaction takes higher precedence.

The picture above is the top shelf of my desk. It sits above my computer screens at home and rightfully so. The things on that shelf are of higher importance than anything that transpires on the screens below it. If I may indulge, lemme explain what those items are from left to right. I’ll also cover who those items represent to me, the ideals those people helped build in me, and how that affects my professional life. Read the rest of this entry »

Cooking Up a Storm Makes You a Better Coder

In Cooking, Learning, Programming on January 28, 2011 at 8:21 am

Sidenote: A companion piece to this post, entitled “Family Dinner: Cooking it and Making it Important”, can be found over on my spiritual blog.

(Re)Learning to Cook

In a recent post, I talked about being a Jack of All trades. I love to learn and do new things. One thing that I’ve forgotten I loved to do was cook. Last year, I travelled a lot. I rarely had time to cook other than some occasional grilling on the weekends. However, now that I work from home, I have time again to cook.

In addition to having time, I also want to start cooking more of the food that I eat. See, I created my own diet called One Minute Bite.(Yes, I really did create my own diet!) The diet requires fewer bites so I need to make sure each bite tastes good! Plus, if I’m eating fewer bites, I want to make sure I’m eating more real foods vs preservatives. I know, it’s a crazy notion, but I’m a crazy guy. LOL

The Books

When I want to learn a new tech, I go buy a book. I figure the same should apply to cooking. To jump-start my skills, I bought this two-volume set from Julia Child: “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

Julia's Books

Julia’s Books

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Jack of All Trades, Master of None

In Kids, Programming, Tech Writing, Video Games on November 2, 2010 at 8:00 am

I just figured it out. That stupid saying was probably introduced to me early on in life.  It’s a very teacher and parental thing to tell a kid. Most adults have a hard time finding that one thing they’re great at. It would be unfair to plant the notion that there’s more than one thing.

Here’s the thing though. I’ve lived what…35 years of my life in misery, literally, misery and agony trying to find that *one* thing I’m supposed to be master of.

Self doubt sucks

“Is it art?” I wondered until my portfolio quite literally blew away in the wind one day in high school. “Is it writing?” Fiction or non didn’t really matter to me. I wrote a novel, poems, short stories, news articles, technical articles, etc. “Is it programming?” I was good at it in the eighth grade and it’s paid the bills quite steadily since December of 1997. “Is it conferences?” A short stint proved that while fun, that certainly was *not* it. LOL

“Why can’t I figure this out? What’s wrong me?” Every other day, I find myself alone somewhere (my bed, the shower, in the car, heck, even the toilet) and I ponder that. I wonder why I’m broken. “35 years and you still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up.”

See, that’s the thing. I figured you had to be *something*. You had to be a Master of *something*, else you’d be a useless Jack of All Trades. I wanted a sign, from God, from my parents, from my peers, anywhere. “Let me know what it is and I’ll be there. I’ll dedicate my life to it.”

It’s all a Lie

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Thoughts on Adobe vs Apple from a guy standing between them both

In Adobe, AIR, Apple, Business, C++, Flash*Flex*AS, Kindle, Mobile Platforms, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on April 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I’m a developer.  I’m an entrepreneur. No company is responsible for my success or my downfall.  I am responsible for seeing the industry and (re)acting accordingly. As a developer, I know the pains of learning new technologies. As an entrepreneur, I know the pains of someone trying to tell me how to run my business.

Apple won the RIA War without ever joining the battle

Just about a year ago, I was chatting on the phone with Steve Weiss of O’Reilly Media.  I made a statement to him then and, sadly, never made any noise about it.  I think I held back the noise because I have a long relationship of working with Adobe and their products. I didn’t want to admit that I was probably right, so I said the statement, felt the pain of its truthfulness and tried to forget it.  The statement was simple:

“Adobe and Microsoft are trying to push this RIA term.  They’re trying to convince the world that this is a technology they want and need. They’re each trying to instill their own vision of that world: Adobe with Flash/AIR and Microsoft with Silverlight. The one thing that everyone’s missing is this: Apple has already won. iPhone apps are THE most widely used Rich Internet Apps.  Apple has silently won the war and no one’s even noticed. All they have to do is enable iPhone apps to run via Safari (for cross-platform support) and they’ll have crushed both Adobe and Microsoft’s dreams.” That last bit I was off.  Rather than upgrading the iPhone apps to the Mac, they upgraded the size of iPhone OS device and created the iPad.

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Points of Future via MAX keynote

In Adobe, Business, Flash*Flex*AS, Ideas, MAX, Mobile Platforms, Technology and Software on October 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm

There are many ideas being presented today.  I’ll try to highlight a few and also add some personal thoughts.

The youth of today are important.  It’s important to provide them the tools they need to express themselves, or else they’ll find other ways.  To kick off the show with some of today’s creative youth was awesome.

Content is no longer one sided.  One point hinted out early on is that content is no longer the domain of one group.  Today’s web users are just as excited to create content as they are to consume it.  You need to plan for that fact.

It’s important to not just build great websites or ads, but to also know how your customers think and behave.  I know that I would like sites to be smarter about me.  I’m tired having to re-explain myself to each website/company.

The next point is that full version Flash is coming everywhere: desktops, netbooks, smartphones and TVs.  The biggest problem was RAM usage.  It’s a true dilemma for Adobe and device manufactures.  I, as a techie, realize that devices and computers aren’t equal in power and ram.  However, my mom doesn’t understand that.  Most of the public just assume that a machine is a machine.

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Helping Developers Bridge the Gap

In Community, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Ideas, Programming on September 16, 2009 at 8:30 am

In yesterday’s post, I talked about finding your niche.  Today, I share more about my niche and my plans to get back into it.

I used to run Silvafug, the Silicon Valley Flex Users Group.  During my tenure, the group accomplished a lot. (Heck even without me, the group is still doing a lot.) However, one goal eluded me, despite having a great need to be attained.  I think it’s time to revisit that goal.  What is it?

Helping Flex developers bridge the gap from beginner-to-mid and/or mid-to-advance level.

It’s an ambitious goal, but hey, why aim small, right?  I sorta started down the path with a “hit” series of mine, “Graduating from Hack to Architected Development” (available on 360|Whisperings and Adobe’s Flex Developer Center)  Adobe said that was one of their most successful pieces at the time, though I’m sure many have surpassed it now.
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Finding Your Niche Via What Makes You Happy

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, eBay, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Programming, silvafug, Tech Writing, Workday on September 15, 2009 at 8:00 am

I’m amazed by people who have a singular passion. In addition, I’m in awe with those that have many passions, but the will power to focus on just one to the point of major success.  I fit in neither of those two categories.

My curse is I work hard to be just “good enough” in one passion, then move on to another.  By “good enough”, I mean good enough for me.  I’ll take a rare indulgence here (take a picture, it’ll last longer) and say that my “good enough” is better than some people’s “best”.  I take this odd (for me) stance for a good reason, and it’s not just to stroke my ego.

Mankind has a strange habit of staying with something that is comfortable, regardless of passion or happiness.  I know people (myself included) who stayed at a job because it was easy and comfortable, long after the passion and happiness were gone.  These people are giving their “best” but without passion or happiness.  Therefore, when I enter the same space with passion and happiness, I can attain more in a shorter time merely because the passion will help push me further. Read the rest of this entry »

WWDC Day 1 Report: Free Stuff and Symbian Hackathon

In FlashLite, Symbian, WWDC on June 8, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I always like when people blog about our shows while they’re going on.  Therefore, I felt it was only fair that I do the same for WWDC, since I’m an attendee with no responsibilities.

Today was the keynote, but everyone and their grandma will blog about that.  Instead, I’ll blog about some of the other cool stuff going down today.

First off, you can really make out with some great stuff at WWDC!  Here’s a picture of what I’ve received so far…and it’s just Monday.

My Free Stuff

My Free WWDC Stuff

As you can see in the picture, I made out like a bandit today.  Thus far, I’ve received a Nokia 5800, Jawbone Prime, 2 rubber ducks (bath toys for my boys!), 4 shirts (FastMac, Apple, Zagg, Symbian) and a Snow Leopard Preview DVD.  Life is definitely good.

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Flex code (read: my Tic-Tac-Toe game) on my Playstation 3!

In Flash*Flex*AS, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Uncategorized, Video Games on December 3, 2008 at 10:08 am

You fair readers of my blog may remember a post from waaaaaay back in the day entitled Playstation 3.  In it, I talk about being excited to run Flex Apps on my PS3.  Sadly, my pretty HD console only ran Flash Player 7, so Flex was not an option.  At MAX, I saw a big fat PS3 image and was hoping that Kevin Lynch would say, “Flash Player 9 is now on the Playstation 3!”  He didn’t so I assumed it wasn’t yet.  Then Renaun posted this!  Adobe has issues about making noise sometimes.  How did the blogosphere not light up on this news?  Well, maybe it did, but I somehow missed it.

Naturally, I went and did what the PS3 was meant to do: Play a game!  In this case, it was my very own Tic-Tac-Toe game.  Check it out!

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