The vicious circle of mediocre work And how to break out of it

Why do some people, some teams, some companies create outstanding work, while others seem stuck in mediocrity? Why do some of us excel in creativity, have better ideas, and find ways to make ideas happen while others don’t?

One of the thoughts I’ve recently had was How Does Focus Affect Creativity?  If you only get to work on something that might be disruptive and helpful for 30 minutes at a time you are most likely to just give up.  I’m the one who will be working away when all of a sudden…. squirrel.  I frequently go down the rabbit hole with the justification that its a better place.

I use a method I call “Dailies” which is using a simple text editor with a list of things.    Simple categories  Work, Personal and New Ideas.  The “Squirrel Calls” goes down under New Ideas.  Because it’s a simple text editor I can go crazy defining the thing.  Next day I start over with a blank daily and enter things I need to do for just that day.

I also put the distractions on the Dailies with a minus hours (-.25) to show myself how much time I lost to distractions.  I use a markdown syntax called ASCIIDoc to make the simple text file look great in a browser.

When I actually have some time I go back to Dailies and read through the new ideas after they have sat for a few days or a week.  I’m amazed at how many of the ideas lose the “Shiny” New Thing status.

Follow your passion doesn’t work in the real world, take a few minutes and watch Mike Rowes YoutTube video about this topic.  When I’m doing the things I love to do I appreciate them more because I don’t expect life to be full of them.  Too much passion will kill you.

Via: The vicious circle of mediocre work And how to break out of it


ASCIIDocFX Getting Powershell as your Windows Terminal.


The Geek have been converted, hallelujah, pass the cmdlets.  The Geek was a self-proclaimed expert at Windows Batch files.  I could get them to sing, dance and tell jokes.  The writing on the wall and Microsoft’s recent lapse in sanity have resulted in PowerShell is available on both Windows and Linux, image that.  This means the Geek uses PowerShell whenever possible so that sometime soon I can get to the level where “I don’t suck at that anymore.”

The Geek also uses ASCIIDoctor for all of the technical document he generates.  I can use Visual Studio Code with a bunch of plugins and rapidly create documentation, research notes, and general ramblings.  ASCIIDocFX is an open-source, multi-platform, extensible editor for ASCIIDoctor files.  For a long time, it was somewhat unstable and had a limited support and community.  Recently I revisited it and it has recovered from whatever was ailing it.

ASCIIDocFX Terminal Mode

  1. So you click on the Terminal button on the bottom of the page
  2. The window opens, and it’s got the Windows Command Processor, in it, how sad.


ASCIIDocFX Setting Mode

How difficult can this be?  Opps, I just recited the magical black spell on this whole thing.

  1. Click on Settings  on the right sidebar
  2. Click on Terminal Settings
  3. Scroll down to the Terminal Starter (Windows) entry, there is the culprit cmd.exe.
    Let’s change this to Powershell.exe
  4. I also like colors, so I changed my background color to blue and foreground color to yellow, this is my standard PowerShell colors.
  5. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Save button.


Then I closed down ASCIIDocFX and reopened it. clicked on that

  1. Clicked on that Terminal button again.
  2. I’m still stuck in Windows command line hell, what the hell!


So with great confidence, I closed ASCIIDocFX and reopened, just in case.

  1. Then I mashed down on the Terminal button again
  2. I’m still sad but, now add frustratation to this.


So what do I do, the same thing we all do….


Test Powershell in ASCIIDocFX

All this gets me is more frustration, so I wonder “… Does ASCIIDocFX even know if Powershell exist?”

At the Windows Command Prompt I type Powershell, it works, that’s a good sign

When I do a simple test with a PowerShell cmdlet, at the PowerShell PS prompt I enter write-output “GeekMustHave Powershell”, that works, another good sign.  I like good signs but, I’d like PowerShell even better.



Article: Relearning to Learn — InfoQ

For my 30 plus years in tech, I’ve been reading and listening to tech mostly wrong. After in depth investigation into learning strategies I’ve restructured my knowledge acquisition process. Find out how I’ve take control of my learning queue. How I now perform active reading while taking creative notes. And hear how to use reflection…

Like this author of this article Don Denoncourt I also have been doing the learning thing for over four decades.  Some of the concepts here I have adopted, active learning, going slower and taking notes.  I find the more notes I take, even if they are entered into Notepad the better I can remember those things.  I had notes everywhere, Evernote, LastPass, JIRA and little-handwritten notes.

I simplified things, I take “Dailies”.  Basically notes on what I’m doing and what I  learned.  I use a basic Notepad called Notepad2 which is a much better notepad.  I start out the day by copying yesterdays daily and deleting everything I either completed or no longer need to do.  I also do daydreaming on the Dailies to try and “Use the things I’ve learned”.

I use a Markdown syntax to help quick format the Daily so it is easy to read and update.  I use ASCIIDoc as my markdown of choice.  It only takes a little practice to use markdown.

Here is an example of today’s Daily


The (=) is the main heading, (==) sub-headings, (.), (..) are bullet items, checkmarks indicate the item is done.  I copy everything into here, web links, snippets of text from the web for the things I’m doing.

Then I have a Chrome extension installed called ASCIIDoctor Preview live, which can read my daily file and display and print in a nicely formatted HTML page.


I’m still learning about how to learn and even better, how to remember.

via Article: Relearning to Learn — InfoQ

Better tools for debugging Node.js

Debugging – the process of finding and fixing defects in software – can be a challenging task to do in all languages. Node.js is no exception. Luckily, the tooling for finding these issues improved a lot in the past period. Let’s take a look at what options you have to find and fix bugs in…

I am at the level with Node.JS that I no longer “Suck at it” but I am still learning every time I use it.  One of the areas I struggled with was debugging, which was much different and difficult than my .NET and PHP days.  It seems like open source meant that you were on your own for debugging.

Special thanks to Gergely for his article on just the topic of Node.js debugging.

pino.pngOne of the takeaways in the article is Pino is an extremely fast Node.js logger, inspired by bunyan. In many cases, pino is over 6x faster than alternatives like bunyan or winston
I had tried Winston as it was recommended by one of my programmer gods.  I was not worthy because I couldn’t understand it.  I have high hopes for Pino.

I use Microsoft VS Code editor as my editor and my IDE for almost everything including PowerShell, Bash, JavaScript, SQL, Node.js, ADCIIDoctor, and more.  I was glad to see a section in this article on how to better use MS Code with Node.js

via How to Debug Node.js with the Best Tools Available — RisingStack Engineering

ASCIIDoctor Split heading across multiple line

splitit (1)

Sometimes when using ASCIIDoctor to do some documentation it would be nice to split the heading across multiple lines.  If you type one continuous line of text you take your chances where the splitting will occur.  Using a special sequence can help you control the splitting.

The example above shows three distinct lines in the header

  1. State of Micigan (Misspelled)
  2. Departmental Work Intake Process (DWIP)
  3. Design Document.

The ASCIIDoctor header code for the heading is

= State of Micigan Departmental Work Intake Process (DWIP) Design Documentation

This will result in ASCIIDoctor determining where the split will happen.

By using the special control sequence, shown below,  you can add breaks where you want them


This control sequence allows a “pass”through of an HTML sequence ”
” to ASCIIDoctor

To get the format shown in the example change the header line to

= State of Micigan pass:q[<br>]Departmental Work Intake Process (DWIP)  pass:q[<br>]Design Documentation

PDF View of multiple line header

Still not formatted exactly how I want it but if I move the “Line Break” control sequences around I can it just right.

HTML View of multiple line header

ASCIIDoctor Primer

If you’re used to Microsoft Word then you are used to Markup authoring. You type some content, then you switch you view to format the content, and back and forth. Make your life easier by losing the Microsoft Word addition. If your focus is the content over form then maybe consider using ASCIIDoctor. It is a “Markdown” tool, less is more. Create large amounts of content easily, quickly and with a standard righteous look.

This is truly a minimumilist approach to creating and maintaining content that can be shared across the web, turned into a book, slide presentation, turned into a Word document (Why??) or heaven forbid, printed.
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