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Mel Reams

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Ember tip of the day

Lately I’ve been working with Ember components, which are really pretty cool. For anyone who doesn’t know, in Ember components let you encapsulate layout and functionality neatly together so you can reuse things all over your app without making a huge mess. Ember components have a lifecycle you should know about and a set of lifecycle hooks you can call. Those hooks are really handy, they let you do all.. Read More

Productivity tip of the day

You might have noticed I like watching conference talks and recommending my favourites, and you might have gotten the wrong idea about my attention span from that :) I actually have a terrible time concentrating on watching a video if that’s all I’m doing, my mind wanders and when I come back to the video I have no idea what’s going on so I have to skip it back to.. Read More

What is technical debt anyway?

Technical debt is one of those things that you completely understand when you run into it, but is really hard to explain to someone who has never worked on a large application. That picture on the left of the messy server room is probably the best illustration of technical debt I’ve ever seen, and you should definitely use it the next time you need to explain technical debt to someone… Read More

What’s the big deal about years of experience in a language?

A while ago I was wasting time on reddit, as you do, and came across an interesting question: “why do employers and just about everyone else make a big deal about language-specific positions and “what language should I learn”, etc.?” The greater context there was that the asker had a pretty easy time picking up new object oriented languages once they got a good handle on one of them, so they.. Read More

Dealing with imperfect requirements

A very common question developers ask is what they can do about bad requirements. The internet definitely needs more opinions on it, so here’s mine! The first thing you’ve got to do is accept you will never get perfect requirements. If anyone knew how to get perfect requirements every time no matter how large the feature was, you would know their name because they would be deservedly famous for finally.. Read More

Linux tip of the day

Take out the trash! Unlike Windows, Linux (at least my distro, Mint) doesn’t have a recycling bin/trashcan icon on the desktop to remind you to empty your trash directory once in a while. That really adds up if you forgot to empty your trash for, uh, a while. Technically you can just hunt down your trash directory and delete everything inside it, but do you really want to have to.. Read More

Back to basics: advanced Java generics

Last time I mentioned that there are bounded generic types and wildcards. I’ve never actually used one of those if I remember correctly, which I why I left them for a followup post. Bounded generics are really cool – they let you narrow down which types you can use with a generic class or method while still having the flexibility to work with different types in the range you’ve defined. There are.. Read More

Lastpass tip of the day

LastPass tries to be helpful by filling in form fields for you, but sometimes it gets it wrong. If you see it fill in the wrong data or if you just mysteriously struggle to sign into services that use 2FA (for me LastPass was helpfully inserting an old 2FA code when I tried to sign into AWS, which meant AWS thought my authenticator app was wildly out of sync and.. Read More

Back to basics: Java generics

Every so often you’ve got to go back to basics no matter how long you’ve been doing something. It’s amazing how much you forget when you haven’t done something in a while, even if it’s kind of a core feature of a language you use all the time. Like Generics in Java! So let’s talk about Generics. First of all, what is a Generic? It’s just a placeholder for a.. Read More

App of the day

Today’s app is Authenticator Plus It’s available for both Android and iOS and will save you a lot of hassle if your phone dies on you like mine did. On an unrelated note, I do not recommend the Nexus 5x but you can’t buy new ones anyway so that’s kind of a wash. Authenticator Plus, on the other hand, is great! It stores your accounts in your dropbox so you can.. Read More