Adam Tuttle

2014 In Review

Partially inspired by Ray Camden's similar post (a fun read, by the way), I thought I would take a look at how 2014 shaped up for me.

Blog Stats

This year I continued my trend of writing at least one blog post every month, so my streak since starting this blog in April 2007 remains unbroken. The most popular post that I wrote this year (as determined by total hits) was Creating Cordova (PhoneGap) Android Prod/Dist Builds on the CLI... However Heavily Customizing a Bootstrap Typeahead remains my most popular post of all time... despite that version of Bootstrap being outdated and the new version not including a Typeahead control. I'm pretty consistently getting between 300 and 500 hits a day between all of my various content, and a surprising amount of comments on older posts. The long tail on these things is crazy.

Reading Stats

While not a prolific reader, I do like to read and can occasionally get sucked into a book and do little else for a day or two. I set a goal of 12 books for the year, and it looks like I'm going to finish the year out having read 15. My favorite book of the year has got to go to Sugar Alpha: The Life and Times of Señor Huevos Grandes, which is sort of a cross between some early-to-mid skydiving history (the fun parts), and an action/thriller movie about drug smuggling. In fact, I hear that it may become a movie in the next few years. If you hear anything about it, definitely go see it!

A close second place would be The Martian, a ridiculously good hard science fiction story about an astronaut that gets stranded on Mars and has to get very resourceful to save his own life.

I Wrote a Book!

Sort of on a whim, in December I wrote a book: REST Web APIs: The Book. Inspired in part by Amy Hoy's book Just F#*!ing Ship, which she wrote and shipped in 24 hours, I decided to try my hand at shipping a book in just over two weeks time. I knew I didn't have 24 consecutive hours to work on it, so I broke it up over two weeks, working about 3-4 hours per night, most nights. That works out to about 42 hours instead of 24, but still quite the accomplishment, I think.

The point was this: You really don't need to get hung up on all of the little details. You can self-publish and skip anything that doesn't absolutely need to be there. My book still doesn't have a table of contents or an index. It's just a rudimentary cover image and a collection of chapters, available as PDF, ePub, and Mobi (kindle). It was proofread by volunteers and does still have a few errors that slipped through (to buyers: expect an update soon!). I shipped a true Minimum Viable Product, and I can improve on it over time as needed.

Anyway, I wrote a book. I'm (self-) published now! That's cool. If you're interested, I released a sample chapter, too.

Conferences/Presentations and Career

The only conference I went to this year for self-betterment was cf.Objective() — now dev.Objective(). 2014 was also my first year on the Content Advisory Board for the same conference. I'm finding myself more and more frustrated with Adobe's handling of ColdFusion by the day at times, so it's no surprise that I chose not to attend CFSummit and find myself more interested in Node/JavaScript focused events.

Oh, I forgot about the Node Philly event at Philly Tech Week, where I gave a brief presentation on integrating things in your life by building custom IFTTT-like implementations with Node.js and hosting them for free on Heroku.

I also participated as a vendor at the CASE District II conference in February, where Steve and I started selling our warez in earnest. I hinted at this at the beginning of the year, and we are well on our way. We have our first paying client for our product suite; and development is going really, really well. We're on the path to a product based business, and I couldn't be happier.

I was invited to apply for a job at Netflix by someone that I really respect; and while I ultimately passed on it (for now!) I was honored to have been thought of and humbled by the thought. I'm fully invested in making AlumnIQ into a successful business, and even if I was looking for a new job (and I'm not!), convincing my wife to move across the country would be about as difficult as convincing fish to come live on land.

Favorite Movies and Music

I've been using to track my listening habits since I first heard of it in December of 2007. I haven't always listened via methods that could be tracked (e.g. early iPods, etc), but when tracking was possible, I was doing it. My most played artist/song for the year came as just a little bit of a surprise to me, because I feel like I haven't listened to them in a while thanks to the holiday music season and associated family gatherings.

Indeed, because during family gatherings or just a day at home with my family we tend to shuffle-play a huge Spotify Christmas-themed playlist I created, that stuff dominated my stats for the year. But because it's not "active" listening I'm not going to include it in my "favorites" determination. So with that in mind, my most-played artist/song of the year:

More stats on my listening habits are available here.

I don't put much effort into rating movies on IMDB, but I do tend to rate what I watch on Netflix in hopes that it will generate good suggestions. Unfortunately Netflix doesn't seem to show my ratings (there appears to be a page for it but it's empty, so I'm guessing it's buggy at the moment)... So I'll just wing it. Memorable movies from this year include Guardians of the Galaxy, How to Train Your Dragon 2 (I have kids, after all), Edge of Tomorrow, and Gone Girl. I suspect Interstellar would easily top this list if I had been able to see it yet, but I haven't. So I think my favorite movie of the year has to go to Gone Girl just for the shear mind-f§¢k of it. I didn't even want to sleep next to my own wife after watching that movie.

Other Memorable Stuff

If you've been reading this blog, you probably know that I've switched to a standing desk in my home office. It's been great at doing exactly what I hoped it would: Working out muscles that were otherwise going mostly unused. My lower back, calves, and thighs are all getting much more work during a workday. I haven't been terrific at sticking with the standing desk —there were many days toward the end of the year that I sat on the couch instead— but I really do like it and I will be back at it again in the new year.

Also this year I decided to become a licensed skydiver and take it up as a regular hobby. That has been a great success! I went out for my first day of training in late April, and in early August I received my A license, which allows me to jump at any USPA-member dropzone in the country. I've since bought my own set of equipment so I don't need to rent it for every jump, which is very nice. As I write this on the afternoon of the 30th I have 41 jumps to my name, but when I post it on the morning of the 31st I'll be on my way to the dropzone, hopefully to add a few more to that total, if the wind cooperates! (Hooray for holiday vacation!)

Here's some video from my most recent jump. I'm in the blue helmet and black sunglasses, facing the camera as the video starts:

This year I participated in my first color run, which was pretty cool. Running with a 5 year old, though, is predictably fairly slow going, especially when that 5 year old falls down within the first kilometer and scrapes his hands and knees pretty badly. He did finish, but he was kind of shaken up by it! Here I am with my mom and my oldest, whose school was holding the color run as a fundraiser:

Color Run!

I was terrible at keeping in shape this year. I'm up more than 13 pounds from the beginning of the year, and I haven't even weighed myself since the traditional holiday gorging began. I didn't run anywhere near as much as I wanted this year, nor did I do as much yoga as I should have. Definitely need to work harder on that in 2015.

What it looks like when you let yourself go...

And finally, one of my brothers got married this year, in Niagara Falls. I had never been to the falls before, so it was double cool to get to go there and to see my brother get married. Triple cool: First time my kids were out of the country! (First time they stayed in a hotel, too...)

Brother's Wedding

It's funny how the days can seem to drag on, but the weeks fly by, and the months more so.

Published 2014-12-31 @ 10:00 in Meta

15 Days Ago I Was Not Writing a Book; Today You Can Buy My Book

So early on the morning of December the 4th that it was still the 3rd in my mind, I decided to write a book. Within a few hours I had drawn up a basic outline and an aggressive but accomplishable timeline for getting it written and shipped without wasting time trying to get every little detail perfect (a.k.a. not shipping)... That was almost two weeks ago to the hour, as I write this, and that deadline was noon today.

I've just delivered the final files —that is, the PDF, ePub, and Mobi (for Kindle) files— to be shipped today at Noon US-Eastern. It feels good to ship on schedule!

With literally hours left before the files are delivered to everyone that pre-ordered, this is your last chance to save 36%. At noon the price goes up to $19. I'm not complaining if you're holding off to pay full price (Thanks for that, Andy!), but as a fellow deal-lover, I can't help but want you to get a bargain too. Get a deal... Buy Now!

From the bottom of my heart, Thank You to everyone that believed in me to get it done on schedule, and to deliver something worth some of your hard-earned money. Your support has been a huge motivating factor, so in a way you helped me finish on schedule too!

Published 2014-12-19 @ 09:00 in REST Taffy

Mission Accomplished! Last Chance to Buy REST Web APIs: The Book before Retail Price!

Last night I finished writing my book. The last chapter and the conclusion are awaiting copy editing and tech editing, and I have just a touch more polish I'd like to add to the end result, but it's 99.95% done.

And it will ship this Friday at noon, US-Eastern time.

"Having decided to read the first chapter now, just to see what I'm getting myself into, I read the whole thing. I absolutely could not put this book down. It's refreshing to see a book focusing on pragmatism over dogmatism."
Adam Cameron

Any purchases made after noon on Friday will be charged full retail price: $19. Save yourself 36% and pre-order it now for $12!

What can you expect from the book?

  • A chapter that you can have your boss read to understand what REST is and why it's better than SOAP.
  • A very short history of REST and AJAX. If you find the history of computing interesting, you'll dig this.
  • A look at raw HTTP requests, and how REST is not a layer on top of HTTP, but just using it to its full potential
  • Did you know you're already doing a subset of REST? Did you know it's really easy to use jQuery as a REST client?
  • Basic design principles every API designer should know
  • Common security patterns, including Basic Auth, API Key Provisioning, OAuth, CORS, and JSONP
  • More best practices than you can shake a stick at
  • And an entire chapter dedicated to illustrating the majority of these concepts with Taffy code samples

All of that and more in just over 100 pages. At $19 it's a great deal. At $12 it's a steal.

Click here to pre-order now!

Published 2014-12-17 @ 10:00 in REST Taffy

The First Reviews Are In! REST Web APIs: The Book Is "Refreshing", "Immense"

REST Web APIs: The Book, by Adam TuttleI have been working closely with a few volunteers that offered to proofread each chapter as I wrote, and provide their feedback and criticisms along the way. Now that all but the last chapter is completed, the first reviews have started to come in. I am just so overjoyed with the positive reaction that this idea has gotten all around, and I think the first response sums up precisely what I set out to do:

"Having decided to read the first chapter now, just to see what I'm getting myself into, I read the whole thing. I absolutely could not put this book down. It's refreshing to see a book focusing on pragmatism over dogmatism."
Adam Cameron

If he's being honest (and when isn't he?) then I seem to have hit the nail on the head. Brevity and pragmatism were my top two goals for the content of this book.

Likewise, Matt Gifford seems pleased, though he didn't give me much of a blurb to work with:

It looks immense and you should be incredibly proud.
Matt Gifford

I'm pretty sure he means "immense" in the British sense of "great," because I don't know that you could otherwise call a ~100 page book "immense."

I wish I could say that I finished the final chapter ahead of schedule as planned. I didn't. I wish I could say I finished it on schedule (last night). I didn't.

Saturday evening and Sunday morning I spent many hours incorporating a huge round of feedback from reviewers. Sunday evening I started writing the final chapter —and it's going to be great— but I had to call it an early night (by two-week-book-writing standards: I went to bed at 11:30 instead of 1:00am) because I've got an important all-day meeting today for work, and need to be, you know, awake for it.

I hope to be able to link you to some actual full-fledged reviews soon (not before I finish the last chapter!), so keep coming back for the updates. We're in the home stretch now!

Published 2014-12-15 @ 09:10 in REST Taffy