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"This is our last dance. This is ourselves. Under pressure."

New Year musings

Is it too late to be “resoluting”? How about just some thoughts over a cup of coffee, is that ok?
My 2016 Big Resolution

 

I’ve said before that I’m not big on New Year resolutions. Something about spending the quiet days of the year imagining how you will be active once they’re over rubs me the wrong way. But I do very much like the idea of looking back and reviewing the past year (or years) and figuring out where you’ve come from, where you’re going and how to get to where you want to. Let’s do a bit of that.

 

The elephant in the room every January is looks & fitness, and I want to charge that head-on so we can move on to more important things.
I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older (read: grown up?), I no longer care that much about an extra inch of muscle around the arms or an extra inch of fat around the belly. Instead, I’ve come to care obsessively about energy levels, “feeling” right and mood. Because of that, my health principles are simple and haven’t changed for me much over the last few years.

 

‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants’ (Source)

Lift heavy things. Move as much as possible.

That’s it, no lifting goals, no calorie counting, no special diets. As always, I’m really happy that I have actually made progress on each of these, but still a long way to go. And that’s ok.

But is that all there is to health? Is it all about that one piece of chocolate, or that steak, or lifting that bar? It’s definitely important, but I think there’s a lot more to it than that.

Who has time?

If I had just one real goal for this year, it would be “make more time”.
Make more time for myself.
Make more time for the lady in my life.
Make more time for my family.
Make more time for my friends.

 

I don’t want to do more things this year.
I want to do fewer things, better; and I want to enjoy them more. I want to enjoy everything more.

 

Too many daily things become chores that we’re just trying to get out of the way. I was recently chatting to someone who noticed that I read a fair amount of books, yet don’t do yearly reading challenges. My argument was that I very much enjoy reading as is, I don’t want to turn it into a “challenge” at all. I get enough challenges during the day, laying down in bed with a good book is so relaxing, why would I mess with that? I don’t care if you think I read too much fiction, I don’t care about the twenty books I “have to read” in my life/year/career (What does that even mean? Is the entire meaning of my life dependant on reading some books and ticking some boxes?) and I really don’t care what “successful people read”. Stop turning everything into a chore or a challenge, just read a book because you want to, not because others want you to.

 

While I feel pretty smug and confident with my reading argument, I don’t apply this as well to most other aspects of my life. And that’s the goal really, and it requires learning, as much as anything. I’m trying to learn to enjoy my time more and part of that is setting up fewer artificial challenges, just for the sake of some imaginary rat-race. There are enough real challenges as it is, just make time to enjoy everything else.

 

I’m writing this for myself, but I am also writing it to share. The sharing part is not so much about my goals, it’s about yours. As you’re already feeling that sadness that comes with looking at the checklist you wrote down two weeks ago and finding that ticks haven’t magically made their way to it, think about how many of those tasks are worth doing as challenges or resolutions and how many you would just do for fun if you made more time for them. Perhaps then you will arrive at the same conclusion I have… most “resolutions” can be simplified to one general goal: make make more time for what’s important. Once you have that, you will do what’s right with it and you won’t have to force yourself to do it.

 

In any case, here’s to a great 2016! Let’s make it awesome!

 

Android RangeSeekBar

There are many awesome things about doing an open-source release, but one of the more selfish benefits is being able to continue working on the projects you love even after you move on to a different company.

So while I have left Yahoo a few weeks ago to join YPlan, I can keep working on the Android RangeSeekBar which was open sourced last year. It hasn’t been receiving a lot of love lately, as I’ve been busy with other things, but there a few enhancements coming soon, that should take care of some of the open issues.

I wrote more about this project here. Please check it out and send your feedback, bug reports and, if you would like, contributions!

Super social

Most technological inventions are not inherently good or evil, they are just tools and it is up to the humans in charge of them to decide how they will be used. I wonder then, when did the Internet become the evil master villain? I’ve been reading so much recently about how to keep away from the online world, resist the addiction, throw away the smartphones. There are songs, books, blogs (which is so ironic it feels like trolling), and probably a church coming up soon. When did every person with a smartphone become an addict that needs an intervention?

At some point last year, I was sitting in a restaurant, all by myself on a business trip. I got these strange looks from people around me, because I was on my phone for most of that time. The image of the lonely dude, eating dinner by himself, consumed by his smartphone was troubling my fellow humans. There was a cloud of disgust and pity that was so thick you could cut through it. I wasn’t killing boredom with flying birds though, I was keeping up with my friends and family half a world away. I was having a more meaningful social interaction through that glass screen than I could have ever had by striking up a conversation about the NFL game with someone at the bar. They were seeing me sit alone, but they weren’t seeing all the people smiling behind that tiny shiny screen.

For me the Internet is about connecting people. Sharing knowledge. It’s our immature teleportation mechanism… we can’t physically cross the distance yet, but we can be “present” more than ever before, anywhere in the world.

Anyone that has gone through a long distance relationship will tell you how handy this is. When you’re far away for months, you will grasp onto anything that gets you closer. Watching the same streamed film while on a Skype call can be as close as you get until the next trip.

Yes, there’s something to be said about the serendipity of chatting up strangers in a public place and how some of that is probably lost. But hey, some of us have never been particularly adept at that anyway, and I doubt this would have improved with or without smartphones. That aside though, I have doubts that any conversation I would strike up on my commute would be more valuable or interesting to me than the podcast I’m listening to. Or reading updates from Twitter, where I can follow great people that I would have never gotten a chance to communicate with otherwise. Or seeing updates from the life of my friends and family on Facebook.

We are not anti-social, we are super-social. We are absorbing knowledge from people that we have never met, we are getting updates from friends that we would have lost touch with before, we are able to talk to our loved ones wherever we are. All you see is the person with a screen lighting up their face, but from that little device, connections go out to so many other humans.

This is not to say that physical presence matters any less than it ever did. This is not to say that some people aren’t becoming so addicted to their devices that they are damaging their relationships and lives. Yes, there are many problems out there and they need our attention. But the solution is not to demonise the technology and run for the woods, it is to develop ways of merging these technologies into our lives for the better.

As mobile developers we have a moral and social duty to think about these issues, to aim for the positive impact in people’s lives and not for the mindless addiction. But, in the end, these inventions are tools and it’s up to every single one of us if we’ll use them for “good” or for “evil”.

 

 

 

Yahoo Mobile Blog

I am super excited to announce that we have launched a brand new and shiny Yahoo Mobile blog!

I will continue to write here as always, but I will also be writing on the company blog (and will repost links here for my posts). If you’re interested in mobile development, definitely something to follow, as you will be reading posts from many different developers and we plan to be sharing as much as possible of the things we learn and do.

First post is from yours truly, about Droidcon London.

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