Book Review: The Dirt Cure

The Dirt Cure by Maya Shetreat-Klein I read this book awhile ago with my wife, and wanted circle back and do a recap. The Dirt Cure argues that far from being something harmful to be avoided, dirt is actually rather healthy - more specifically, the microbes living in the dirt. This basic premise leads to insights into diet and illness. Dr. Maya’s philosophy is that the health of our inner terrain —our bodies– is a reflection of the health of our outer terrain, the natural world around us. Read On →

Book Review: Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien I confess this one took me a while to sink into. There came a point early on when I happened to pause the book and I almost never picked it up again. It sat there on my night table, a reminder, but I’d find something else to occupy my time with. Eventually I did continue and I’m glad for it. The story is a history of modern China told from the perspective of an everyday family comprising of artists and musicians. Read On →

Setting up a (free) Password Manager

After years of remaining skeptical about password managers (do I really want to put all my eggs in one basket?), I finally caved after realizing that (a) there were simply too many accounts to remember and (b) my email is effectively a basket holding all the eggs already (anyone who gains access to your email account can use the password reset feature to access your other accounts). With that in mind a password manager didn’t seem to increase my risk profile any further from it’s current state. Read On →

Architectus Oryzus

Martin Fowler wrote an article on software architecture almost 15 years ago. I just discovered it now while in the midst of changing jobs, and I found this part where he contrasts architect styles to be very relevant for me in this moment: Architectus Reloadus is the person who makes all the important decisions. The architect does this because a single mind is needed to ensure a system’s conceptual integrity, and perhaps because the architect doesn’t think that the team members are sufficiently skilled to make those decisions. Read On →

Book Review: Project Animal Farm

For most people, myself included, ignorance is bliss when it comes to meat. We prefer to pick up our vacuum wrapped cuts from the grocery stores with only a cursory thought to its journey there. So it was with some trepidation that I picked up Project Animal Farm by Sonia Faruqi. It’s the story of a Wall Street banker who followed her curiosity into the dark world of animal farming. It’s a very personal journey and mainly anecdotal, which doesn’t take away from it; in fact it enhances the connection with the reader. Read On →

America is stumbling, what can Canada do?

Last week, the US passed a law to ban refugees and Muslims. From a world that views America as a role model in freedom and opportunity, this is a shocking reversal on some core values. America is one of the strongest democracies in the world. If this can happen to America, then no country is safe. Here’s what Canada can do today to avoid a similar eventuality down the road: Electoral Reform In my lifetime, the Canadian political experience has always included numerous political parties. Read On → Launched!

A website I have been helping to build for CSED has officially launched! is a directory of social enterprises in Ottawa. A social enterprise is a venture which has a mission that goes beyond profit. This can mean offering employment to vulnerable or disabled people, protecting the environment, or passing their profits on to a charitable organization. Check out the website for many examples of social enterprises in Ottawa. This website will serve customers of the social enterprise sector by gathering all the local enterprises listings in one place, where a potential customer such as yourself can discover and browse the offerings. Read On →

Book Review: Into the Silence

The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest Into the Silence by Wade Davis recounts the failed 1920s Everest expeditions, the first ever attempts on the mountain. But it’s much more than that. All the climbers were shaped by the Great War, and so the book begins there. This leads into an engrossing look at the chaos, the folly, and the haunting reality of a generation of men who would return from war with wounds that could never heal. Read On →

Integration Testing with Node and Mongo

I’ve been building an application using Node.js with a MongoDB datastore. Now I want to perform some integration testing (without mocking the DB layer) to ensure full end-to-end success of the application. Here’s how I went about doing this. Using a test database While the goal is to execute code paths that go through Mongo, it will still be acceptable to execute against a different db than the one used for production deployments. Read On →

Presentation Skills Training

I recently completed a two-day training course on presentation skills. While I have been known to give a killer presentation (or speech) in my time, doing so takes a lot of preparation on my end and it’s never as natural as I would like. By taking this course, my goal was to hone my skills, practice a little more, and discover some new tips and tricks. Here are the main takeaways for me… We live in a world of partial attention, so we cannot assume that our audience is engaged with us. Read On →