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9: Stuff I'm using these days, edition one

Published 1/21/2015

In this episode, I share some of the stuff I've been using. None of these folks are sponsoring the show.


  • Ruby - https://www.ruby-lang.org
  • Rails - http://rubyonrails.org
  • Grape - https://github.com/intridea/grape
  • Sinatra - http://www.sinatrarb.com
  • Focus at Will - https://www.focusatwill.com
  • vim - http://vim.org
  • Sublime Text 2 - http://www.sublimetext.com/2
  • Thoughtbot's thoughts on vim: http://robots.thoughtbot.com/tags/vim
  • Upcase - https://upcase.com
  • Simplenote - http://simplenote.com
  • Drafts - http://agiletortoise.com/drafts
  • Quiver - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quiver-programmers-notebook/id866773894
  • http://developertea.com, http://twitter.com/developertea, developertea@gmail.com

Also, here's Yehuda Katz's positive thoughts on vim from back in 2010, despite the title: Everyone who tried to convince me to use vim was wrong

And reasons why you might consider emacs: Should I learn to use emacs? (Stackoverflow)

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider buying me some tea.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hello, we wanted to welcome to Developer Teaepisode 9. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, I'm your host and today we're going to be talking about some of the stuff that I've been using recently. I know that's kind of an informal title for this podcast but I just wanted to share some of the resources that I've been using with you in a way that's just kind of candid. Now the show is brand new and I don't have any sponsors so everything that you hear on this particular episode is just kind of coming out from my personal experience and things that I've picked up recently that I think are actually just interesting tools or things that are useful to me that I think you'll find useful too. So let's jump right in. I know this is a really common format by the way for podcasts because we're always looking for new tools and I guess it makes sense to talk about this for just a second. Tools are incredibly important but now this may sound a little bit hypocritical since this episode is about tools but you shouldn't get caught up in your tools. If a tool prevents you from doing a job or if picking between two tools preoccupies you to the point where you can't actually make any progress because you're just trying to pick between the tools instead of actually doing work then you need to stop looking at your tools and just use what you might have already used anyways if those new tools didn't come in to existence. In other words if picking tools is the thing that's taking your time if learning about new tools constantly is taking up more time than you actually building awesome stuff than you actually sitting down at your computer encoding then then stop looking at new tools just stop. It's not worth it. Actually writing code is the best tool that you have in your tool belt and really you don't have a lot of space on your tool belt so that's part of what this episode is going to be about is hopefully to give you some ideas for tools that I've used recently that I've thought were pretty cool and that you might be able to use but it shouldn't take you very long to determine whether or not it's time to pick up a new tool and I mean ultimately when you're picking tools it comes down to what's going to do the job best on the flip side though picking good tools can make or break what you do. I use Ruby I'm going to go ahead and tell you early on that I'll probably talk about Ruby not just Rails I use Ruby via Sinatra I do a lot of scripting for my local machine using Ruby use grape and a few other things and so I've found that the tool Ruby has been incredibly important to me and had I not found Ruby I think I wouldn't be as good of a developer as I am today so it's important to keep your eye on the horizon for tools that might significantly shift your job as a developer. So I guess the piece of advice to take away from both of those sides of the coin is that tools are important but they aren't more important than actually getting something done. Okay so let's move on from that discussion and actually talk about a few of the things that I've been using recently. Now I'm not going to always talk about explicitly software tools sometimes I'm just going to talk about cool services that I'm using and that's actually the very first thing I'm going to talk about today. I'm using this service it has a free 30 day trial it's called Focus at Will and basically what it does is it gives you music in the background of like background noise in your headphones and there's like 10 or 15 different channels for music and it's actually not all music some of it is like cafe noise if you've been paying attention to product hunt or designer news or hacker news some of these things have been coming out they're like noise generators and so the cool thing about focus on or focus at will is that it actually has like a scientifically backed like they actually have a paper the science behind this thing that has quite a few references to the science that backs what they do so it's scientifically studied in some way and it has like this slider at the bottom of the player that lets you determine what your energy level is at the music or the sounds can match your energy level. It's really interesting I've been using it and you know it may be just the effect of me knowing that I'm using something that's intentionally built to help me focus but I really do think that these kinds of tools are really kind of subconsciously very important because I know that when I don't use a tool like focus at will and when it's just you know top 40 radio or something like that on the sonos in the office the sonos speaker in the office I've noticed that it seems like I'm easily distracted so try focus at will 30 days it's free and again they aren't sponsoring me it's just a really cool little tool that I think would be worthwhile for trying especially if you have issues focusing if you need to block out sound that's around you try out focus at will. The next tool that I've been using is explicitly related to programming and it's one that probably everyone listening to the show already has. I'm going to go ahead and say it I have been using them I have not even tried Emax and I probably won't know that I've started down the Vem Road so if you're going to try to talk me into it then we probably shouldn't even try to have that discussion. I just came over from the sublime text world which I know probably a lot of listeners to this show are still using and I've just really been enjoying them and learning them. There's been quite a few arguments about this obviously but I don't want to get into that I just want to encourage you to take a look at them and just try it for a day maybe on a Saturday when you're just doing some playing around even if you're just writing like maybe a blog article which by the way I believe you should be writing blog articles but that's for a different episode of Developer Tea. Try Vem for a day and just see what you think. There's so much power kind of wrapped up in these more powerful text editors like Vem or Emax. Maybe try Emax if you don't like Vem for some reason take a look at Emax but try these new text editors and the reason why I say it's worth trying new text editors is because we are literally using text editors to create the things that we're building like one character at a time. So if we can have something that gives us a continuous return in other words we're constantly using the new tool the things that we are constantly using should be the things that are the most refined parts of our workflow and text editors we are constantly using as developers. So if you want to learn about Vem the good folks over at Thoughtbot have put together some resources for learning Vem and I've also been using their upcase learning platform. Upcase is like a monthly fee and you basically get to learn from some of the developers at Thoughtbot they put out quite a bit of great content and they've been creating these courses that allow you to interact with them so you actually get like a Git repository, pull it down, you make some edits and then you push it back up and the code is validated and you actually have people who review your code which is a really interesting thing and not alone I think is worth the monthly fee. So upcase is another thing I've been using. The last thing I've been using and it's been around forever but as I've been creating this podcast and since the new year started I've decided that I wanted to take more intentional notes on a day to day basis. Now I've been using simple note, it's free and it's really fantastic, really great simple features and allows you to collaborate, does all those things that you might want in a note application. I know that there's another note application that came out semi-recently called Drafts and I'm sure that simple note drafts have some similar functionality but I've been using simple note and I love it so I recommend checking it out at least. There's another really cool application that I actually bought and I haven't been using it because I just haven't found the perfect reason to use it just yet. It's called Quiver and it's really cool, it seems like it probably has a lot of good use cases especially for teams that are sharing maybe they're making documentation together or they have a lot of shared code snippets because basically what Quiver is it's like ever note sort of but it allows you to write code and it will highlight the code and it will actually allow you to write like mark down and export these things to HTML. It seems like a super cool application and I tried it out for like a day and then I just I guess I just kept on writing code in my text editor if I was writing a lot of code related blog posts I think Quiver would be my go to tool so check Quiver out I'll put that in the show notes and that actually wraps up this month's episode of the things that I've been using stuff I'm using these days. If you have any questions for me if you have any thoughts about the show please get at me on Twitter at at Developer Teaor you can email me at developertea@gmail.com and make sure you jump on to DeveloperTea.com and leave a comment on this episode if you have any other ideas about the things that I've talked about here. As always I appreciate your time I'm so thankful for all the people who listen to this show and until next time enjoy your tea.