Four Thousand Days

four-thousand-days

I came across this book via Twitter, and actually picked it up on a special promo some time last year. I finally got around to reading it on my trip to USA last month.

It’s a very easy read and keeps you very interested and wanting to keep on read to find out what happened next. Duane got tied up in something bad to help pays some bills and then turned his life around from entering prison to selling his on-line business and becoming a very wealthy man, all within 4000 days. Prison is an interesting subject, and a majority of the book focuses on Duane’s time behind bars. Later on in the books he talks about running a business and going through the process of selling his business. If you are interested in the “start-up” culture and knowing more of what’s involved and goes on in big companies buying the small fish this book gives you a great insight to this including lots of details of the steps and money involved.

Rather than giving away too many details of the book, I recommend you pick the book up and give it a read.

Four Thousand Days: My Journey From Prison To Business Success on Amazon.co.uk

Employee benefits at Basecamp

I find reading about how other companies in the world operate, and coming across this great article from basecamp on what the offer their employees as benefits is a great read. While benefits as an employee are great, do we need so many? Is this a tactic to keep employees? Obvious more benefits are better but to what cost?

Morning at Ae Forest

Photo taken at: Ae Forest

New books for Todd. Flying Fergus by Sir Chris Hoy @chrishoy1

Shake!

Photo taken at: Ed’s Diner

Todd's second bike race at Ae today

Photo taken at: Ae Forest

Documenting your CSS with Styledown

Generating a styleguide for your CSS is something that can help other developers, and go a long way in reducing the confusion and possibility of someone reproducing the same styles. Ever jumped around a few projects over time and had to dive into all the CSS to find a style you thought was there, then found there was not one and you wrote it, or you may of even ended up duplicating some work that was brought up in a code review.

“Did you know we had a style already for that”

Generating a styleguide should not be a chore, and something you want your entire team to buy into. It should fit easily into your flow, not be too intimidating to other developers to start and continue with.

There are quite a lot of CSS styleguide generators around if you do a quick Google search, you will be greeted with many choices. I decided to go with styledown, as it looked to be the simplest and required very little in terms of getting up and running. Also the comments you needed to add to your CSS is very minimal, this suited what I was after. Another bonus for styledown was it was not Sass specific, it’s just CSS comments, you can even use markdown files if you so wish. Styledown is a node package, and is available on npm as styledown.

Documenting your CSS with Styledown is a simple as follows:

/***
 * Buttons:
 */

/**
 * Button:
 * `button` - Button stylings for default sbittons on the sitee
 *
 *     @example
 *     button Standard button
 */

The first comment acts as the header, so in this case we are documenting our buttons. A file can contain multiple headers so you don’t have to worry too much about splitting your Sass up into lots of partials. We can then add comments throughout our CSS to give a description and example of the styles. The example part of the comment can be written as either Jade or HTML. The only required thing which can trip you up is the first line of the block you are documenting, in this case Button has to end with a semi-colon (:).

On top of adding comments to your CSS styledown allows you to have a config file, this file is markdown and lets you define what will be output in the head/body of the generated HTML file.

Generating the styleguide is as simple as running the following from your command line, assuming you have install the package globally.

styledown scss/**/*.scss config.md > index.html

If you are using gulp as your build tool you there is a gulp-styledown module, makes things nicer if you want to build the styleguide for each change. I recently added the gulp-styledown module to a new project and have the style guide generating on save of any .scss file.

I am running styledown on my little CSS framework I use for personal projects, it’s more a big reset and normalize in one. You can see the source on Github, or view the styleguide at flucss.com.

The beginning of Podcasts

podcast-covers

Recently I’ve started to really get into listening podcasts more and more, I am currently subscribed to 5 different ones that I take the time to ensure I listen to all new episodes.

Podcasts have been around for a while now, but I never really got into them until I found the app Overcast for iOS. The number 1 feature I use in the app is the ability to speed up the playback. This is amazing for listening to long podcasts, especially ones over half an hour long. I always thought I don’t have the time to listen to people talk for an hour, and times that by a few¬†podcasts that’s a lot of time in a week to listen to podcasts. I use the 1.5x setting the most, that seems to be the best for me, even when the speaking gets a little fast form the podcaster it’s still understandable for me, anything more an it sounds like chipmunks squeaking.

Over the past few months I’ve gradually increased my subscribed podcasts up and regularly listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. It also helps that in Overcast you can subscribe to new episodes of a podcast and be notified of new episodes, this helps me keep up to date and not forget about episodes.

My current regular podcasts are:

I also listen to some episodes of the following, but not fully subscribed as of yet

What podcasts do you listen to? What would you recommend? Tweet me.

The world of cycling according to G

The world according to G

Not your normal kind of cycling book, autobiography or biography. This book takes a look at cycling as a whole, it is from the point of Geraint, and he does have a fair few stories related to him and the teams he’s been with. The idea of the book, to take the reader into the world of cycling and explaining all the different parts of what’s involved for rider, partner, mechanic, soingueur, and all the others involved. If your just getting into cycling this is a great book to help you understand cycling as a whole, and also the racing. If you are a season professional of the cycling world this book is just as good a read.

Have you ever sat and watched a stage of the Tour de France and wondered why the peloton has given a group of riders 9 minutes advantage, Geraint explains this and many other tactics involved in racing. Wonder what happens after all the racing has happened for the day, Geraint explains it all.

This book doesn’t just cover the professional side, it has some great stories from the early days, from youth racing in the UK up to last years Tour.

Just a small note he did spell my brothers name wrong when mentioning him, but I’ll not hold him to that.