Taking a ham radio course

I’ve always loved the pictures of people sitting at a desk with a wall of their ham radio equipment in front of them. They look so cool, like they’re helping someone land a plane or giving guidance to astronauts as they navigate space. Search for “ham radio station” on your favorite search site and you’ll get hundreds of pictures like this of people with their gear.

I started taking a ham radio course this week in hopes of getting my license. The community of people around seem like a fun bunch. My wife and I are getting our licenses for emergency purposes, but there’s also the hope of having my own wall of expensive equipment where I can take a selfie.

Writing a new book

I wrote a book last year called API by Design. Now I’m almost finished with one. I just sent it to an editor. This one is called The Language-Oriented Approach to API Development. I should have it released in a week or two.

The language-oriented approach stands in contrast to the common industry approach where you use OpenAPI in a design-first approach. It’s an approach I’ve used and seen several organizations use. The approach encourages people to create their own API description format that matches their organization’s way of designing APIs rather than using OpenAPI directly—you generate OpenAPI documents instead. That may sound scary the first time you hear it, but in my opinion it’s a better experience for API designers than having to learn how to write OpenAPI that conforms to a style guide.

I’ll share more on this soon.

Improving my writing practice

I started using Jerry Seinfeld’s method for work, which is to set up a calendar and cross off the day after doing the work. The streak is what keeps you going.

I printed out a calendar in August and taped it up on the wall beside me where it’s visible when I get up and sit down. It’s a reminder that I’ve decided to spend time writing daily and an encouragement to come back to the practice when I’ve been too busy. So far it’s worked. I’ve been able to write for this project regularly—I hit 17 days in October even with a week-long work trip. There’s something enjoyable about crossing off the day after working on something you enjoy doing.

Writing more Ruby

I’ve been writing more Ruby lately, both professionally and on the side. Ruby isn’t the fastest language, and it’s not the most popular to use anymore, but it’s still fun.

I programmed in Ruby professionally about a decade ago (yikes) and loved it. My joy for the language returned when I got back into it writing some code to automate my writing workflow for this site. I recently built another workflow in Ruby for writing this new book. The automation runs Pandoc to generate PDFs and Word docs from Markdown files, and it runs stats for me like word count. I can run rake pdf:preview to get a PDF that has the date in the PDF and the filename and is watermarked with “DRAFT” so I know it’s not the finished product. I love writing little tools like these.

Tinkering with this site

In preparation for the book launch, I’ve been tidying up around the site. It’s not perfect, but better than it was. With the uncertainty around Twitter, I think it will be important to have this space cleaned up and better prepared for writing more.

I’m still resisting writing my own static site generator.