DaedTech

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DaedTech Digest: Here We Are in Austin

In last week’s digest, I chronicled our packing for Austin, and I described how packing for several months is different from packing for one month.  Now, here I am, a week older and wiser, and relocated as planned to Austin, Texas.

Slow travel is always interesting.  There’s a fair bit of prep in selecting the place, packing, and traveling, even when this becomes old hat.  You choose carefully, ask questions of your prospective landlord, spend a lot of time packing and even more time traveling.

And then you arrive.

On arrival, you’re always hoping that the place is, well, good.  Your prep, the description, and the pictures can only show you so much.  Imagine the house buying process, but if you couldn’t ask for a showing and just had to buy based on the pictures.

That’s what it’s like showing up in your new place.  Will it be clean?  Do all of the rooms look like you’d envisioned?  Did the pictures do it justice?  Will it have a certain je ne se quoi?

Luckily for us, the answer to all of that has been positive.  We arrived on Sunday, and made ourselves at home in a spacious home in the woods and on a lake, but still in the city of Austin.

And if the location, the creature comforts, and the warm winter weather weren’t enough, check out this photo we snapped during an evening walk the other day.  This is pretty country.

Picks

  • I recently acquired a Xenvo Squidgrip tripod to help us with our recording of Facebook Lives and Youtube videos.  If you’re looking for a tripod to hold your phone, it’s definitely worth a look.
  • I’ll follow suit with another consumer good in the form of the Roku.  We’ve been hauling this little companion with us on every one of our vagabonding adventures, and it’s nice to have access to Netflix, Prime Movies, TV channels and more, all with a thing that has a remote and fits in a laptop bag.
  • Last up, I’m going to pick work life balance.  Seriously.  I threaten this a lot and often fail.  But I took the holidays off and have been mostly knocking off work in the early evening since then, and I feel much more productive when I am working.

The Digest

Another relatively light week with content, as I haven’t been focused on this of late.

  • Here’s a Facebook live in which I interview Amanda and Angela, Hit Subscribe’s director of finance and operations, about Thanksgiving traditions.
  • And, here’s another Facebook live, where we talk about running the business in the face of various, sometimes weird, forms of adversity.

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DaedTech Digest: Goodbye, Frozen North, and Hello, Texas

Happy New Year, everyone!  I’ve gone quiet since post the last digest, a couple of weeks ago.  We managed to take some real time off, getting much needed R&R.

But that’s all over now, following New Years.  Not only are we back to work full time, but we’re also spending our evenings prepping to leave for the winter.  As I mentioned last time, we’re headed to Austin.  More specifically, we’re going to be staying on Lake Travis, at a nice, secluded property (at least, it looks that way from pictures).

As always, packing is an adventure.  But, unlike the first time I started journaling these trips, we’re not going somewhere for a month, and we’re not going somewhere that has predictable, chilly-ish weather.  Here’s what we’re doing instead:

  • Going away for 3-4 months instead of 1.
  • Not entirely sure where we’ll be after the first month.
  • Packing for weather that, over the course of 4 months, could range from “chilly at night” to “deathly hot desert.”

This means that we’ll probably pack more.  But, counter-intuitively, probably not that much more.

In terms of hauling the cats around or our work setups and electronics 1 vs. 3-4 months really doesn’t matter.  And, clothing-wise, we’re only ever really looking for 1-2 weeks’ worth of stuff before doing laundry.  It’s just that in this case, we need 1-2 weeks worth of pants and long sleeve shirts as well as shorts and t-shirts.  And that doesn’t account for a ton of variability in our approach.

So, wish us luck on our travels.  It’s been fun, after a fashion, here in frozen Michigan, but I’m ready to put scenes like this in the rearview mirror.

Picks

  • Here’s a simple pick for you, and one that those of you with New Years resolutions about productivity might appreciate.  This site, tomato-timer.com, is a dead simple way to implement the pomodoro technique.
  • Amanda and I have been watching this show called Black Mirror lately, which is a series about the near-ish term future.  It’s sort of Twighlight Zone meets sci-fi, and it’s as compelling as it is dark.  (I also suggest watching beyond the pilot, which isn’t really representative of the rest of the show.)
  • And, finally, speaking of Amanda, she got me this activity/fitness tracker for Christmas: the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music.  I’d found Fitbit to be increasingly annoying (especially the mobile app and the fact that you needed a data connection to see how many steps you had), and this is an awesome replacement.  The app is a nice user experience, and it provides an immense amount of data, which I find very cool.

The Digest

The digest is a little light this week, since I was on vacation and not producing content the last couple of weeks.

  • Here’s our last video from Vermont, in which we talked about how we, as small business owners, handle things that employers usually take care of, like sick days and health insurance.
  • And, here’s a Q&A mailbag that we filmed upon returning home from Vermont.

As always, have yourselves a great weekend.

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DaedTech Digest: The Results of Our Winter Destination Lottery Are In

Last week, I asked for everyone’s help in picking a refuge from winter cold for Amanda and me.  And that went well!  Thanks, everyone, for your comments through the various media.  It was fun to read and discuss.

This week, we’ve arrived at a decision.

I carefully took all of the input from last week, aggregated it, and thought “wow, I’m insanely busy this week, so I’ll think about this later.”  And, that went well.  The part where I didn’t think about it, I mean.

In the meantime, Amanda went on AirBNB and fell in love with a place near Austin, Texas, on a lake called Travis.  It’s affordable, it’s spacious, it’s got great scenery, and it kind of looks like a tree house.  What’s not to love?

So, by the time I had a few spare minutes, our path was all but chosen.  And, that’s actually perfectly fine with me.

In fact, I’ve historically been the one more likely to feel the allure for a particular locale and pick it.  It was about 3 months ago that I said, “hey, let’s go to Vermont for when the leaves change.”  So, she’s overdue to have the whim and decide our fate, and I was more than happy to ride shotgun on this decision.

This winter will be a bit different, though.  I think we’re going to think about it month by month, rather than laying everything out until Memorial Day.  So, it’s going to be a month near Austin, and then, wherever we feel like heading next.

In honor of that, here’s a picture of Amanda eating Mazapan in El Paso (the last time we were in Texas, which was about a year ago).

Picks

  • I might have mentioned that I’ve been listening to an audiobook called the Pumpkin Plan.  Well, that audiobook has a companion site, and that companion site includes a pretty helpful worksheet for evaluating your book of business in order to 80/20 your client roster.
  • For all of you Diablo 2 players out there, I just stumbled across this recently.  I haven’t actually tried it yet, but if you ever get the nostalgic itch to revisit an old favorite, this might spice things up.
  • And, finally, I don’t have a specific link for this, but Amanda and I received an air fryer as a gift recently.  We did an inaugural run with breaded chicken strips, and it was quite good.  All of the texture, none of the grease.

The Digest

  • I participated in an interview this week, around the general topic of software engineering management.
  • For the make me a programmer blog, I soldiered on with introductory topics, this time addressing what programmers do at work, day to day.
  • Here’s an episode of the freelancers show, where we talk about dealing with contracts.  Should you have your own?  Should you sign clients’ contracts?  How does all of this work?
  • And, finally, here’s a Facebook Live we filmed in Vermont, talking about how our lives had changed since the founding of Hit Subscribe.  (If you view the Thumbnail, you’ll see probably the worst still image of me ever taken.)

One bit of housekeeping here.  Hit Subscribe is officially on company holiday the week between Christmas and New Years, and we’re going to try to do a little R&R.  So there’s a pretty good chance of a quiet DaedTech the next two weeks.

And, with that, as always, have a great weekend.

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DaedTech Digest: Where To Go This Winter? Seriously, What Do You Think?

Let’s do something a little different today.

With the digest posts, I’ve been answering questions about slow travel and chronicling our adventures.  But today, I’d like to get a little more interactive.

Where Should We Go for the Winter?

It’s that time of year again, and I don’t mean the Christmas holiday.  I mean, it is that time of year as well, but I don’t really care all that much.  I don’t count myself among the people who mark the passage of time by drifting from one themed holiday to the next.  Holidays, for me, are just a chance to see friends and family and have a good meal.

The time of year I’m referring to is when, for people with a highly mobile lifestyle, the US Midwest becomes unacceptably cold and oppressive.  It’s time to go south.

This year, Amanda and I don’t really have any specific destination in mind, though we’re most likely going to remain in the United States.  But still, even with that restriction, the southern/warm part of the United States is pretty large.

Here are some parts that we’re thinking.

  • Coastal Texas.  We could head to South Padre Island or something there along the gulf coast.
  • Inland Texas.  We could base around the Austin or Houston areas, somewhere like Lake Conroe.
  • South Florida.  Places in the keys can get pricey for the whole winter, but whether inland or on the coasts of the mainland, this is a nice, warm place to be.
  • Gulf Coast.  We’ve spent time in and around New Orleans and in Bay Saint Louis in the past, and we find that coast to be really appealing.
  • Southwest Desert.  Maybe we stay totally away from water and do winter in the desert, somewhere in New Mexico or Arizona.

What do you think?  What would you do or recommend in our position?  The only real criteria for us is warmth this year.  Weigh in below in the comments.  What would you do if you had this kind of open road in front of you?

 

Picks

  • This last weekend was Amanda’s birthday, and I got her a weekend getaway that featured a wine tour.  The hotel we stayed at was great, if you’re looking for an atmospheric getaway within a 2 hour radius of Chicago.  It’s on the lakefront town of New Buffalo, in Michigan.
  • I’ll also pick the wine tour company, which showed us a great day on the southwest Michigan wine trail.
  • Finally, something related to tech.  I’m incorporating more and more stuff into our home automation situation at the home base.  And I’m doing it by and large through this, the Wink hub.

The Digest

  • Here was a fun-to-write post that I wrote for Raygun, featured on the New Stack.  The prompt was about how to use APM to guide architectural changes, an interesting premise.
  • Here’s a Facebook live that we did when we first arrived in Vermont.  Don’t worry about the orientation — we fixed that pretty quickly.
  • And, finally, here’s another Facebook live where I interview Amanda (same thing — we fix the orientation).

And, as always, have yourselves a nice weekend.

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DaedTech Digest: How to Make Money While Vagabonding?

This is an interesting premise for the week’s digest post.  I say this because I think it arose from somebody misunderstanding why and how I have money.

There is a small population segment that slow travels and makes a living blogging about the same.  But we are not part of that segment, weekly digests about our adventures notwithstanding.  We make money in a different way.  Still, let’s answer the question.

How do you make money while vagabonding?

First up, there are some people that don’t.  These include retirees and the independently wealthy.  This ins’t terribly interesting, though, so let’s quickly move one.

Next, you have people that work in some kind of gig capacity.  Do a gig for 3 months, take a new one elsewhere.  This isn’t what most think of as slow travel, per se.  But, depending on the demand for services, people working this way can control their destination and live places a few months at a time.

Alright, now here’s our bucket: the remote worker.  My wife and I own a location-independent, pure-remote business.  We can work from anywhere, so we do.  As we travel, we tend to work schedules that would look familiar to the workaday nine-to-fiver, albeit with more flexibility.  But remote work could also apply to wage employees that are remote, as well as to folks that simply contract or freelance.  As long as you can work from anywhere, you make money doing that work.

And, finally, you have the people that I mentioned earlier, who are travel bloggers.  Sure, they’re a subset of business owners with location independence.  But, for them, the vagabonding itself is kind of a job.  Not so for the rest of us.

So the money itself can really vary.  But what stays consistent is the interesting assortment of destinations.

Picks

  • I’ve been listening to an audio book called the Pumpkin Plan, and it’s about how small business owners can avoid a situation of barely keeping their heads above water indefinitely.  Of particular interest to my audience might be how he talks about ranking clients and cutting bait on bad ones.
  • Here’s a podcast I listen to called The Business of Authority.  It covers a range of topics, but it’s good stuff if you’re an established freelancer or consultant looking for advice on how to grow from there.

The Digest

  • For those of you who are fans of my research posts over at NDepend, here’s another one.  I examined the relationship between code comments and the descriptiveness (length) of method/type names.
  • Hot off the presses!  I recorded a solo episode for the Freelancers show about how to target the C-suite was a freelancer.
  • And, finally, here’s a Facebook Live where Amanda interviewed me while I was standing in a lake.  This was done in the same vein was one of our author spotlight interviews.  Except the lake part.  We don’t normally do that with the authors.

Have a great weekend, folks!