Like a lot of developers, I’ve long thought that I should write blog posts, but didn’t see what I could bring an already crowded area.
I quit Purplebricks in February 2019. It had been a long six years, and I was totally ready for a break. I had plans for a year out, but I wanted to do some little projects of my own. If I’m totally honest, I wanted to rediscover my love of developing again, as the slog of that six years had severely diminished it.
So, I started a little project using the preview of .Net Core 3.0, and I also bought a Raspberry Pi 4 to use for a home automation project. I wrote notes as I went along, so that I would be able to retrace my steps if things went wrong at any point.
However, I ended up doing a couple of contracts for previous employers of mine, which rather halted any momentum.
In January 2020, I went to the Microsoft Ignite On Tour conference at the London Excel Centre, as a) it was free, and b) it’s not like I had anything better to do! Ok, I’m being slightly facetious here, I have found most of the conferences I’ve been to inspiring, even if that inspiration has normally faded before too long.
It was an interesting two days. You’re always at the mercy of the accuracy of the session synopses when at a conference. I remember my second visit to NDC London feeling like a massive disappointment, as the majority of talks I went to either didn’t match up to the synopsis, or were at a much more basic level than suggested.
By far the most enjoyable talk, however, was by Dona Sarkar and Dux Raymond Sy, entitled From Geek to Chic: Build Your Brand & Elevate Your Career in 5 Steps. I’ll admit that I went to it purely because of the presence of Dona, who I was aware of as the face of Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program, and someone who always comes across well.
This exact talk is up on YouTube (audio-only). It was very entertaining, as both speakers were very engaging, and I could not help but come out feeling inspired.
However, I still had that nagging worry about what would I write about? I then came across a tweet from Scott Hanselman, another Microsoftie, brilliant speaker, and all-round cool dude.<
Why do I blog? So I can google "hanselman christmas list mail merge" and get instructions I wrote for myself 12 years ago https://t.co/iuWMfPLria— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) December 12, 2020
This really resonated with me. Blog for future me, he’ll appreciate it!
Additionally, the pandemic of 2020 coincided with me looking to get back into work. TLDR; pandemics don’t lend themselves to job hunting. Who knew? I therefore needed something to provide some inspiration to keep coding, alongside home-schooling my kids.
I’m not going to lie, it didn’t work too well. I have an even dozen posts in various states of unfinishedness (including this one, obvs). I made the classic rookie mistake of wanting to get a series of posts finished before posting any of them, as I didn’t feel confident in my writing or resolve. However, this is clearly both unnecessary and counter-productive.
With that in mind, I’ll start by posting the first part in a series looking at writing a Chromium Extension for the first time, to help my kids with their mathematics (I’ll explain in the post, it’ll make sense, honest!).