Chat with a Spanish Bot

Duolingo now has a feature to chat with a bot. I think it’s more fun than just answering quiz questions. Plus it’s more real to have to answer in a dialogue fashion. 

Maybe it will help me become fluent in Spanish 😜

Broken RCA Jack

Unloading the car the other day, I broke off an RCA cable for the auxiliary input.

After a bit of searching Google, I found the method to fix it and it worked like a charm.

I love the internet 🙂

Much Cooler

One of the air conditioning lines in our MDX had a leak so we’ve been without A/C for the last few weeks. 

It definitely pays to have a dad with a lot of tools. The new parts from a dealer would have been close to $200 plus labor and I got the parts online for only $60. 

Is This Poison Ivy?

Several times last year and now once this year, I’ve gotten poison ivy.

I’m highly allergic, so it’s not a good situation.

The weird thing is, I haven’t been able to figure out where I got it. We don’t live near a woods, nor have I been in a woods, yet, I have the ichy rash on four different places on my body.

Today when inspecting my flower bed, it looks like this might be the culprit. It follows the “Leaves of three, let it be” slogan of poison ivy, but doesn’t look like it.

Any experts out there than can identify this plant?

IMG_0462

April 2017 Recap

I’m quite certain that was April was the fastest month in history, well it seemed like it to us anyways.

Here’s what happened this month:

  • I ran the shuttle service on Mon / Wed / Fri for our daughter to go to preschool and Thu afternoons for swim lessons (got to get ready for swim season!)
  • Bought a sweet new mower so I can now cut my grass in record time. And it’s battery operated, so double yeah!
  • We made a few trips to the chiropractor to make sure our bodies are in alignment and that baby’s is too.
  • Lots of playing kitchen / restaurant with our three year old. She has quite the imagination.
  • I read Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution and Guilty Minds which makes 12 books for the year. I’m a book ahead of my pace to read 35 books this year.
  • Enjoyed watching the Cleveland Cavaliers sweep the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
  • With the combination of my Apple AirPods and holding my son for nap times, I’ve managed to cut back my podcast queue back from ~100 shows to 40 shows. My goal is to eliminate about 10 from the queue each week and be 100% caught up by the end of my paternity leave (which will be about the time I get 100 behind again 😛 )
  • And in the last two weeks, I’ve been working my way through the Full Stack Javascript on Treehouse. I currently have 39 more hours to go before I’m an *expert*, ha! Javascript is an interesting programming language and I’ve been having a blast, even though I’m only able to work thru the materials at night when I’m tired.

No Wonder It’s So Expensive 

I switched to Time Warner Cable’s Spectrum Internet last month, yet every week I get a letter in the mail with a “special offer” I cannot use because I’m already a customer. 

If they’d stop advertising to their own customers, I bet the could charge less for their service. 

March Madness Begins

The title is twofold.

Yes, the NCAA March Madness tournament starts today. And the remaining parts of March could be quite crazy with the birth of our son.

As the tournament starts, it reminds me when I was in college a handful of friends drove down from Ohio Northern to watch the opening round game. It was worth the $5 cost of admission to be at the game and one year, ESPN even captured us on camera rooting for LeHigh University as they came back from a commercial break.

Here are some pictures from the tournament game in 2005.

100 Days of Code

In 2017, one of my goals is to become a better developer.

I spend a lot of time troubleshooting with customers for my day job at Automattic, but I don’t have the skills to fix any code.

While I’ve called myself a developer in the past, I’m more of a tinkerer type of developer. I can take someone’s code and modify it to work as I need, but my skills are highly lacking when it comes writing code from scratch.

This will change in 2017.

I found a group of aspiring developers who are challenging each other to spend 100 days of an hour each day working on their coding skills.

Here are the details if you want to join.

I started Day 1 today as I’m pretty sure I’ll only get to 80ish days before being interrupted by the birth of Baby Hartzler.

My plan is to wrap up a lot of the outstanding projects I’ve been putting off for awhile, like some new features to YourWebsiteEngineer.com and work on my plugin in the WordPress Repository As Heard On

Now on Dustin.blog

The new home of my blog is Dustin.blog.

I plan on using this to post updates from me, rather than on Facebook and Twitter.

I wiped my phone clean back in November and the only social account I added back was Instagram. And with my busy life taking care of a two year old and prepping for a baby, I find it’s nice to have the extra time that I used to spend on social media.

Blogging will give me a chance to test our product at WordPress.com and work on my writing skills.

Get your fancy new .blog address at https://get.blog

iPhone Battery Issues

I’ve been having some major battery issues with my iPhone 6s. Today, with only a few minutes of use, I was down to 12% charge by noon.

I finally made time on my schedule to do what the Apple Genius suggested; factory reset my phone.

After loading my “critical” apps, like DuoLingo and Elevate, which I have more than a year daily use streak, to my iPad, I backed up all the contents to my Mac and completely wiped the phone.

I’m heading to bed with 90%, let’s see if it can last all night.

100 Pushup Challenge

Last week at CrossFit, we had a workout that had four different moves and each move had 100 reps. The moves were box jumps, pushups, situps, and lunges. For me, the pushups were the by far the hardest.

Since this a move that I can work on at home, I found the 100 Pushup Challenge. Over the next few weeks (and while travelling next week), I’m going work on getting strong enough to do 100 consecutive pushups.

After doing the initial assessment, I was able to skip to week 3 to start the program. The last two rounds of 13 and 17 were tough! I’m excited to see how I progress thru July.

Upcoming Travel

Over the next few days, we are heading back to the US after being abroad for more than six weeks.

We’ve been in Valencia for the majority of the time and we’ve taken a few excursions which Melody has eloquently documented on our family travel blog.

Today, I’m in Austria, set to fly home after volunteering at WordCamp Europe.

Tomorrow, we take a train from Valencia to Madrid. This seems to be the easiest way to get back to Madrid in time for our flight home.

On Tuesday, we’ll start the long journey of flying across the Atlantic Ocean, going thru customs and immigration in Atlanta before arriving back in Dayton.

We’ve had a ton of fun and created a lot of memories, but I’ll be glad to be home!

My Morning View

We’ve been in Spain more than three weeks now and while a lot of our daily lives are the same (Melody and I are still working during the day), but my morning view is much nicer.

In order to fit all of my work in, I’ve been getting up around 5am each day and get to watch the sunrise around the church bell tower. 

A few more weeks of adventures before we head back to Ohio 🙂

Inbox0 – Finally

In 2015, I set a goal of clearing out my personal inbox every day. I was able to keep this going for more than 4 months, until travel season started and I couldn’t find the energy or time to fully clear out my inbox from May on.

I had the goal of repeating the same habit in 2016, but I was sick the during the first two weeks of the year and that didn’t happen.

Yesterday, I was finally able to respond to and create to-do items for all my messages.

My goal is to keep it up and for my inbox to not rule (or ruin) my life.

My inbox is empty and signing off for the day. What a great feeling 🙂

Plain Christmas Bulbs

My wife sent me out last night to get a half dozen shatter proof plain Christmas bulbs.

Apparently 2015 is the year of the sparkly ornaments because I had to go to five stores before finding enough. But even the pack I bought had 50% of the covered in glitter, ugh!


Learning Git

Today I spent time going thru the Git Course on Codecademy.

Git is a way to version control your code as well as giving you the ability to easily share your code with your team.

I’ve been using Git as a version control system for my own personal projects, but never with a team.

In 2016, I want to help our developers out and write more code, so they don’t have to 🙂

Cincinnati Zoo Lights

For my father-in-law’s birthday, we gave him a coupon to see the zoo lights with his granddaugther (and her parents too 🙂 ).

We went this evening because it was almost 70 degrees today. By getting there at 4pm, we were able to beat the traffic and see some of the animals.

Kenley was a big fan of both the elephants and the giraffes. So also really enjoyed the lights.

Tracking Activity with FitBit

A few weeks ago, we found that our company, Automattic, was going to purchase all of us FitBits to track our physical activity. 

I opted for the FitBit One because I didn’t need another thing on my wrist, since I already wear my Apple Watch. 

This tiny device fits in my pocket and will track my steps when I walk while walking on my treadmill desk. 

I’m glad it arrived before we travelled to New Orleans because I recorded a record amount of steps yesterday:

  

The Signal is Down

This morning, I worked from a coffee shop in Yellow Springs before my chiropractor appointment called Dino’s.

Dino’s Cappuccinos is a small local coffee shop and this is the first time I worked from here. Side benefit: they accept payments via the Apple Watch 🙂

I walked up to the counter to ask for the wifi password and they said “The signal is down” before I even asked.

Uh, what?

They said, yes, the password for the Internet is thesignalisdown.

#PerfectlyExecuted

November 2015: Monthly Review

I’m going to start publishing a monthly recap at the end of each month detailing my habits, projects, and tinkerings. Inspired by my coworker Jeremey (I’m mimicking his format).

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted last, I guess I got a bit lazy after my consecutive streak ended. It’s time to start the streak again.

November was the first month since March that I didn’t travel at all during the month. Most of those months were short trips, but I’ve still traveled a fair bit in 2015.

Monthly Goals

  • Learn to type Dvorak. Partial win. What’s Dvorak, you ask? It’s an alternative keyboard layout where the keys are more ergonomically placed. I started the month typing at speeds of almost 30 WPM. Today, I’m averaging more than 45 WPM.
  • Continue to become stronger / build endurance. Win. I’ve been going to CrossFit every week day and I’m slowly mastering all of the moves and adding more weight to the bar.
  • Read three books. At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of reading 12 non-fiction books and I’ve gotten a bit behind. It’s still possible to hit the goal by reading about a book a week in December.

What habits did I focus on?

  • Learning Dvorak. I’ve spent more than 10 hours working on drills to make me a faster typer. I’ll see the benefits of being able to type at more than 80 WPM soon 🙂

What did I publish?

Books I Read:

Looking forward to November

Goals I want to complete:

  • Take an online course to master GitHub. I want to learn how to properly make a pull request and fix broken code or add enhancements.
  • Outline the content for Your Website Engineer. The hardest part about producing a weekly show is coming up with the ideas. I want to map out next year so I can be ready to create podcasts and videos for my audience.
  • Type at 70+ WPM by the end of the month. It’s frustrating to type so slow.
  • Daily Blogging. I want to post something here every day.

Habit I want to focus on:

Inbox Zero. I maintained inbox zero daily for the first few months of 2015, but let this habit slip as well. My goal is to completely empty my inbox at least Monday-Friday (goal of 20 times in the month).

Bombers Crossfit

A few weeks ago, after I returned home from the Financial Bloggers conference, I was interested in finding a crossfit box close to my house.

I’m happy to say that I found Bombers Crossfit which is less than 10 minutes from my house.

I’ve always been a big fan of working out in my basement and have went thru the P90x, T25 and other workouts numerous times in the past few years. Even though they are good short workouts, they can get boring really quick to do the same workouts over and over.

In the two weeks of crossfit, each training has been different and I’m totally digging the variety.

Another benefit of working out with others is the ability to be challenged and pushed by people completing the same workout. It’s much easier to run a little faster or jump a little higher  when someone is just ahead of you.

Today’s workout had a name of Kelly. I’ve been told that the women named workouts are some of the most grueling. And this one did not disappoint. Kelly consists of 5 Rounds for time of:

  • 400m Run
  • 30 Box Jumps, 24”
  • 30 Wall-Ball Shots, 20 lbs

That means, that after running 400m, then we had to jump on a 24 inch box 30 times then do 30 squats with throwing a 20 pound ball to the ceiling. This workout had a cap of 35 minutes, which means, on average, you had 7 minutes to finish.

With just over 2 minutes to go, all I had to do was the wall-ball shots. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to finish and planned on doing as many as I could. That’s until Amy came over and did the squats with me (mind you, she already completed her 150 wall-ball shots).

She helped me get thru three rounds of 10 and I had thirteen seconds to spare. It was definitely one of the hardest workouts I had to do and wouldn’t have completed with out Amy pushing me and the others cheering me on.

Hopefully I can walk tomorrow 🙂

Eighteen month old twin

Kenley had her 18 month wellness visit today and she passed all the 18 month milestones (when she was 15 months) and she passed 9 out of 10 of the two year milestones today.

The only one that she missed was “does she have the ability to dress and undress herself?”

Success!

Today ends my 30 day challenge that I set at the beginning of September to post everyday on my blog. And I’m happy to say that I successfully completed the challenge 🙂

Here’s a few thoughts from the past few weeks:

  • It’s easy to come up with blog topics while traveling (which I did twice this month). When I don’t leave the house, it gets tougher.
  • Some days it would take me all day to come up with an idea to write a post about.
  • Other days, I’d have a great idea and put it off until the last minute and realize it would take to long, so just did a short post instead.
  • It’s super easy to get photos taken with the phone uploaded to your blog with the iPhone app. This was my go to method for adding pictures. Sometimes I would simply upload the photo, save it as a draft, then write the post on my computer.
  • Posting daily helps me to figure out a creative way or idea to share.

I’m going to continue the streak thru October and see if I can post interesting things for 31 more days. Luckily I have a couple of work trips coming up that will help me to have something interesting to post about.

Getting Things Done

I’m currently reading the revised edition of Getting Things Done by David Allen.

This will be my third time reading the book, with the first two reads being the older version where he referenced palm pilots multiple times 🙂

One of the big takeaways I see I need to improve on is making each task on my to do list small so I can make progress on my goals.

I started breaking down one of my bigger projects today and while it looks much more intimidating with all the extra tasks, I think it will be easier to complete the small tasks.