Nimble GeckoBlog of an upside-down developer, Art Skvira

Replacing pain and suffering with bliss and joy in your .NET journeys

Never Trust What Recruiters Say

02 Feb 2013

People generally don't enjoy job hunting. And I can't blame them. I'd rather clean up my garage, pair all my socks up, trim the hedge, take the rubbish out, vacuum the roof and be nice to neighbours instead of applying for a single job. All because of hating to deal with people who cannot tell their left foot from HTML, and yet they somehow manage to sound so confident and knowledgeable when asking you all those technology-related questions.

Read more →

Notes on "UX Design for startups" e-book

28 Jan 2013

Cover of UX Design for startups

Marchin Treder, founder of UXPin.com has published a book recently, "UX Design for startups". While not being a substitute for a good book on UX in general, it gives you a decent overview of relevant challenges that a startup may face, as well as high level overview of UX design. There are also some interesting notes on startup analytics, although nothing that Pirate Metrics wouldn't cover.

Following my general principle of converting books/articles into actionable items, I took some notes while reading this book. Have a quick look at those and decide for yourself whether it's worth reading the book.

Read more →

Automate Your News Reconnaissance

27 Jan 2013

Signs

Did you ever say to yourself - "I had enough of this whole internet browsing thing! It just has to stop!". So you quit cold turkey. But boy did you get back to it after a couple of days. A number of studies have shown that our willpower while being somewhat trainable, is still depletable. The same way we slide into tasty oblivion of junk food by the dusk, we tend to increase our news intake when we are tired, bored or stressed at work.

The Problem

It's hardly the best way to consume news - haphazard, jumpy, barely actionable. It can also feel quite overwhelming - especially when you see this huge, always growing pile of items sitting in your RSS or inbox. How often did you say to yourself:

"Screw this, I'm marking it all as 'read'!", so you can just get that illusion of control back?

Read more →

How to Deal with Recruiters: Salary Related Questions

19 Jan 2013

Bomb sign in Point Nepean National Park It all starts with a friendly-sounding recruiter who rings you up in the middle of your working day. He says that he's just found your CV in their database and you might be a perfect match for this new exciting role with their cool client (who, by the way, has got a bright new office that is filled with XBox consoles and unlimited free coffee; they also use this latest cool technology that you fancy and operate in a startup-y mode with none of this managerial crap that you have to put up with at your current place).

Then he changes tone of his voice slightly, just enough so you can notice it, and starts asking questions about you: your experience and technologies that you used in the past. The conversation then quickly shifts to things like your current position, salary and your manager's name.

Read more →

Notes on "Double Your Freelancing Rate" book

23 Dec 2012

I have just finished reading a rather interesting book by Brennan Dunn, "Double Your Freelancing Rate" (you can get the  "Interviews" part of it from Amazon here.

Double Your Freelancing Rate Book Cover

Brennan calls himself a "premium freelancer", and runs a custom software development business wearetitans.net. In this book Brennan shares his experience on how he managed to differentiate himself from a crowd of "tech web guys" by shifting the focus of value proposition from technical aspects, such as particular technologies to more of a business value creation, such as bringing more sales, customers and alike.

I have been taking short notes while reading the book and then distilling those into actionable items. It's too early to say whether doing so has helped me to achieve the proverbial "doubling of my rates", but it definitely made me think and question a lot of the assumptions I had.

Read more →

Focus, Or Else

19 Dec 2012

The more I venture into the whole "flying solo" mode, the more I realise the importance of being laser-focused on the stuff that really matters and ditching the stuff that doesn't. Oh, and discerning the latter from the former.

There's just too much going on around us - RSS, email subscriptions, Hacker News, Twitter, Facebook, Coursera, hanging out with friends - all of that is a great fun to do. Some of that creates an illusion of progress - like knocking the items off your reading list or writing short tl;dr type of summaries in Evernote. But very few of those things actually take you towards your goals.

Read more →

No Coffee, No Alcohol

01 Dec 2012

I started smoking in my first year of uni. Initially it was just one cig in the evening - that helped me to fall asleep faster. Later it became a sort of social thing - fellow students would be lighting up on lecture breaks, so did I. Eventually it became a part of the everyday routine - comforting, pleasure-bringing activity. That pleasure didn't last for too long - a year later I started coughing like mad and just had to quit.

Same theme of psychological and physical comfort and socialisation runs through caffeine and alcohol intake for me. I wasn't a coffee drinker until I moved to Australia - and even then for a year or so I somehow managed to avoid it. But eventually it caught up with me. Coffee in the morning on my way to work. Occasional coffee with colleagues after stand-up in the morning. An odd one at 3pm just to push myself through the day.

Read more →

How To Stop Wordpress Comments Spam

28 Nov 2012

Below is a simple solution to stupid, yet annoying spam problem. I never actually realised how bad it can get until I started this blog. Not that I get a lot of visitors and genuine commentators, but for some reason I used to get approximately 10 spammy comments per day - that's across all blog posts.

Read more →

When Your Drugs Wear Off

17 Nov 2012

Recently I have stumbled upon a great book on how to build a "Software as a Service" business. Although "Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's guide to Launching a Startup" (here's e-book version) focuses primarily on the business side of things, there's a great deal of insights related to your typical, run-of-the-mill IT job. Book's author Rob Walling did a very good job at spotting certain patterns present in everyday reality of a programmer and describing those in details.

Read more →

When You Are Stuck

09 Nov 2012

All too often we find ourselves trying to solve a problem for hours. You may have googled your problem, spoken to people, tried this and that. But nothing really worked. Sometimes you try the same solution twice or three times in a row, secretly hoping that it will work. This can feel like running in circles. And god forbid somebody asks you "How long do you reckon it's going to take?", since you immediately feel like going for their throat. The worst bit is that you may feel really exhausted and not motivated at all to do anything at this point.

Read more →