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DaedTech Digest: How I Feel about Your Weather

In most of these digest posts, I either answer questions about slow travel or else I chronicle my life doing the same.  Today, though, I’ll do something a little different.

I’m going to offer kind of a philosophical take on slow travel.  And I’m going to do it using the weather as sort of a proxy.

In the Beginning: Schadenfreude, But Only a Little

This is now the 4th winter that my wife and I have spent mobile and mostly south.  The last winter I spent almost entirely in the Midwest was the winter of 2014-2015, during which I spent most weeks commuting back and forth between Chicago and Detroit.

That was a brutal winter.

Less of this

I routinely drove in blizzards and had flights canceled by blizzards.  And by the end of that winter, I vowed, “never again.”

Fast forward one year, and early January had us driving south with a (metaphorical) “Louisiana or bust” sign on our car.  We wouldn’t return until late April.

At first, when we made that lifestyle decision, we’d listen to the weather report of things at home with interest.  Oh my goodness, were we missing a blizzard?  Were the temperatures in the teens?

It was fun and sort of gratifying to go outside in jeans and a sweatshirt while knowing that we were missing out on polar vortexes or whatever.  So it’s not so much that we wished any kind of bad weather on our friends back home, but that we wanted our decision to have been the right one.  As my wife likes to say, we wanted to feel that we were “making good choices.”

The Gradual Path Toward Living in a Vacuum

I’m typing this, right now, from the Florida Keys.  Every day, the highs here range between about 83 degrees and 86, while the lows can vary anywhere from 74 to 78.  Sometimes it rains a little.

This is an example of a very insulated climate, relative to the Midwest.  A fishing guide told us that Key West is the only city in the continental US that has experienced neither frost nor 100+ temperatures.  I believe it.

We’ve also spent time in San Diego and the Sonoran Desert.  A lot of time.

Now, we’ve also spent time in places like Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas.  When the polar vortexes roll through the plains and the Midwest, they also affect those places, as if both were weights on a string separated by about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

But when you start to spend time in enclaves of the country unmoored from the weather most others experience, it becomes kind of surreal to you.  Think of the way some overeager factoid crafter might approach you and say, “do you know what the summer high temperature in Barrow, Alaska is?!  It’s 47 degrees!”

You’d just kind of shudder and shrug and think, “well, whatever, I guess them’s the breaks if you live there.”  It’s unreal to you.

My Take on the Weather These Days

We have people that work for us living in the Midwest.  And, of course, we have friends and family there as well.  As I’m typing this draft, those folks are anticipating a snowstorm on April 27th.

And I find myself completely unplugged from it, even after just 4 years.

Upon hearing that news, I vaguely thought to myself, “is that too late for snow in Illinois, or are people just annoyed by what usually happens?”  I can’t remember.  (And, as an aside, I’ve stopped thinking of Illinois or Michigan really as “home” and started thinking of them, like anywhere else we go, as places)

The nomadic life is wonderful and strange.

Until you go full-drifter, you probably won’t realize how much of your life’s rhythm involves commiseration over local stuff.  You and half the people in your feed are saying things like, “can you believe it’s snowing again?!”  Or maybe it’s complaining about local politicians or sports teams.

Whatever it is, it unites you in life’s mundanities.

I don’t have anything like that, really, anymore.  We don’t have a large circle of friends here in Ramrod Key to commiserate with about larger-than-normal jellyfish populations or sea grass or whatever.  And I no longer relate to or care about Illinois snow or local Michigan politics.

In a way, it’s like being in the bottom layer of inception, where time slows way down and wraps you in unreality.  Except, instead of a nightmarish, Hotel California situation, I actually have my wife, my pets, and frequent interactions with folks I like through remote channels.  So, it’s like living in pleasant fantasy land.

So I take no joy whatsoever in your weather woes, nor even a feeling that I’m making good choices.  I just sit in my cocoon of vagonding and think of you and the inhabitants of Barrow and conclude, “wow, that’s hard to relate to.”

More of this

Picks

  • My disdain for the job interview is pretty well known to anyone who reads this blog, but it looks like I’m not alone.  I loved this post.
  • If you’ve ever felt the pain of wanting to give something personal, but having distance or expediency make cash a much better option, this site, Giftly, gives you the best of both worlds.  It’s a way to send cash, but packaged in the form of curated suggestions for things to do with the gift, at your option.

The Digest

It has been a rough few weeks for me in terms of time to create content, so I’ve got another anemic digest.  But don’t worry, more fill flow soon.

  • I published a Youtube video for Hit Subscribe about how to make your blog posts rank better by breaking up text in them using a variety of techniques.
  • In a Facebook Live recorded in Isle of Palms, we talked about the different kinds of content that we offer with Hit Subscribe.  It’s actually a lot more than just blog posts.
  • And, finally, speaking of slow travel, here’s a house tour of our place at the Isle of Palms beach.

And, as always, have yourselves a great weekend.

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DaedTech Digest: Taking a Vacation While Vagabonding

Thanks, everyone, for your patience these last few weeks.  I’ve been eking out some digest posts, but have taken a bit of a hiatus from dev- and consultant-centric content.  That’s because I’ve been on a vacation doing, among other things, some deep sea fishing.

So I figured I’d do a post about the idea of vacation as a vagabonder.

A lot of people think, given the places we go and the touristy things we do, that our life is a constant vacation.  But, in a way, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Specifically, I don’t think we’ve ever taken a vacation, per se, while vagabonding.

In a way, that would make no sense.  We’re paying a premium to stay in an AirBNB, so it would be ridiculous to fly somewhere for a week.  Anything we do, we do it locally.  And, because of that essential connection and lack of travel, there’s a tendency to limit tourist stuff to the weekends.

Anatomy of a Vagabonding Vacation

But, for the past week or so, I did take a vacation (ish).  This fun bit of life was prompted by my brother and sister in law coming for a visit.  When you’re staying somewhere as scenic as the lower Florida Keys, people give a little more weight to your invites to come stay.

I must admit, I did a little work on several of those days, but mostly I did not.  I unplugged and enjoyed local attractions, including Key West, a fishing charter, the Bahia Honda beach, and a lot of good food, drink, and local fishing.

In a weird way, I took a “staycation.”  I know, I know — that sounds crazy.  But, think about it.  When we go places for a month or more, they become home, albeit somewhat temporarily.

I set up my work environment, get a PO box, and do all sorts of other, decidedly non-vacation-y things.  The place really does come to feel like home, and my career a work-from-home scenario.  So having people out and taking time off is a delightful kind of staycation.

It was my first time doing it, but hopefully not my last.  It really kicked our exploration of local, off-the-beaten-path places into high gear, such as this key without a name.

Picks

  • Speaking of the mail (earlier in this post), I’ll throw a pick for our virtual mail provider, PostScanMail.  Your mail goes to them, they open it, scan it, and show it to you, and then you pick what you want them to do with it.  It’s a great, low-friction service.
  • In order to get around MLB blackout restrictions, I re-upped with NordVPN.  They’ve really made the whole “hide your location” thing pretty turnkey.  No more messing with the network adapter settings or setting up VPNs or whatever.
  • If you’re ever driving down through the keys toward Key West, keep your eyes out on Cudjoe Key for Moritas Cuban Cafe (it’s hard to see from the road).  The owners were great, the outdoor seating pleasant, and the food some of the best Cuban I’ve ever had.

The Digest

Once again, a pretty slow week, given that I was on vacation.  But nonetheless, here’s some new stuff I scrounged up.

And, as always, have yourselves a great weekend.

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DaedTech Digest: Good Times, New Habits

Kind of a light digest this week.  I’ve been on the move, and we’re taking sort of a vacation.  I mean, the work rolls on, but we’ve got folks visiting us, so I’m trying to do the vacation thing, in my spare time.

However I fare, this will result in a sparse digest post this week.

As I mentioned last week, we’re spending our time in the lower Florida Keys.  And we’re definitely enjoying it.  Life down here is slow-paced, consistently-temperatured, and pretty.

In fact, life down here is so nice that it’s inspired me to slightly re-structure my work life.  Instead of rolling out of bed and getting started immediately, as has been my habit, I’ve slowed things down.  Now, I get up, make a coffee, and read outside for half an hour or so, on the patio, before really getting going.

And I’m enjoying that immensely.  Not only is the quiet time nice, but I actually feel more productive once I start working.

So find a way to take some time off and to clear your head.  Maybe it’s for an hour, like I’ve mentioned, or maybe more.  Maybe even a full day fishing charter, as pictured below, with Amanda fishing for yellow tailed snapper.  But whatever it is, make it something.

Picks

  • I feel that it almost goes without saying… but, in case I haven’t mentioned it, Trello!  You can use it for anything from the humble to-do list to elaborate workflows.
  • Another longtime favorite of mine is the 538.  If you like an equal-opportunity, data-driven breakdown of sports and politics, without the BS, you’ll enjoy.

The Digest

  • Here’s a Facebook Live we did about how writing can improve your overall communication skills.
  • And here’s another Facebook Live about what getaway week is like in the life of a slow traveler.

And, as always, have yourselves a great weekend,

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The Digest: First Impressions of Florida’s Lower Keys

I realized something this week.  Specifically, while I field a lot of questions about slow travel as part of the digest, I don’t spend a lot of time specifically chronicling places of interest.

But that’s exactly the content I’d want to read if the roles were reversed.

So, I’m going to create the content I want to see in the world.  And, while I’d advise against this strategy for content marketing, it’s perfectly fine for a hobby blog.

And thus I give you my initial impressions of the lower Florida Keys.  On Monday, we left Atlanta Georgia and drove about 12 hours south to arrive in a little key called Ramrod Key (it’s okay, I snickered too the first time I heard it).  We’re now staying in a nice elevated house on a canal that empties into the sea.

We came here because neither Amanda nor myself have ever experienced small island living.  She’s never been to the Keys, and I’ve only previously spent about 3 hours here, in Key West, at a cruise ship port of call.

So far, so good!  Here’s my take, less than 72 hours in.

The People

I’m starting with this one because it was the first thing, chronologically, that I could speak to.  We drove in well after dark, so I couldn’t really see much.

But we did stop at a gas station, earning ourselves a slice of life.  I kinda expected local people to have a “Salt Life” vibe: divers, surfers, fishermen.  And, while that’s probably true in a lot of cases, the people at the gas station seemed more like… hobos.

We went in to pick up a few sundries, not knowing if our AirBNB would have anything stocked.  And, while there, we encountered a number of loiterers and other ‘shoppers.’  They were buying varying ratios of Red Bull, bad beer, and chewing tobacco, and some of them were yelling about whatever upsets drunk people that are missing teeth and hanging out at a gas station.

Beyond that, we haven’t encountered too many other folks directly, just yet.  We’re in a neighborhood with nice houses, on the water.  And here, we’ve been waving politely to neighbors, who seem like the sorts of people that would be in a neighborhood with nice houses, on the water.

And, the people at stores and whatnot have been nice enough, and undifferentiated from other places.  So, I guess, too early to get a definitive vibe.

The Food

Here, I have very little idea.  We got groceries the first day, and have been cooking at our place.

The only sense I have so far is that there’s a little “grocery” in walking distance, which is really just a place that has a few sundries and serves Cuban food for lunch.

We’re pretty close to Cuba, so I think that counts.  And the food smelled good, but I have yet to eat it.  Will report more later.

The Local, Physical Area

This, I can speak to with a bit more authority.  We came to this area because we wanted to experience Caribbean and island living.  And, we’re certainly getting both.

Granted, there’s a road that runs through the keys (route 1), so you can always drive off of the island.  But, still.  I can easily walk in any cardinal direction and quickly hit the sea.  In fact, I’ve already mostly circled the island’s perimeter in my daily jog.

As best I can tell, the island has 2 restaurants, a hotel, the Cuban food ‘grocery,’ and a landscaping business.  Beyond that, it’s just a handful of houses.

We can drive over to the next keys in either direction at any time (or walk along A1A if we wanted).  And there are bigger keys within 15 minutes driving that have proper grocery stores (Winn Dixie) and such.  But it’s a really interesting thing to be on an island with so few things.

Wildlife

The more we travel, the more I tend to notice wildlife, even including birds, which I’ve never historically cared about.  So, I’ll talk a little about that.

We’ve learned that the Keys is home to alligators, crocodiles, “Key deer,” sea turtles, and various other exotica.  We’ve seen none of those things so far, but I’m hoping to report later that we have sought them out and seen them.

But here’s what we have seen.  There are huge iguanas and little skinks that roam around here, everywhere.  You will probably trip over one if you come.  We’ve also seen pelicans, some kind of giant buzzard, grackles, and lots of fish in the harbor.

What we haven’t seen any of is palmetto bugs, which is great.  We saw them in both Austin and South Carolina, so it’s weird not to have seen any yet here (knock on wood).  We’ve also seen no scorpions.  Apparently, there are some here, but they’re not super common.

I think I’ll wrap my first impressions here, and leave off with a picture.  And, if you’re wondering anything about what life here is like, fire away in the comments with your questions!

Picks

  • Not sure if I’ve picked this before, but if you’re a lifestyle entrepreneur (or aspiring one), the TMBA podcast is pretty interesting.
  • Weird as this is, I’ll throw a pick to Twitter as a source of local, time sensitive info.  We had a power outage here our first day, and the only place I could find good info was through Twitter, with people talking about the cause of the outage and the estimated time to fix.
  • I’m also going to throw a pick to Prime Photos.  As we get more and more stuff in it, I really enjoy seeing what I was doing on all sorts of dates in years past.

The Digest

  • For the Hit Subscribe blog, I did a write-up on the specifics of content marketing for software companies (or software solopreneurs).
  • We recorded an episode of the Freelancers Show, about things not to do as a freelancer, even if it seems like everyone else is doing them.
  • And here’s a Facebook Live that Amanda and I recorded about why content marketing is important.

And, as always, have yourselves a great weekend.

 

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Reader Question Round-Up: APIs, Your Own Business, and Discrimination

I seem to have settled into a pattern of alternating between video round-ups and written posts.  And, I’m good with that.

So let’s follow that pattern once again.

Over the weekend, I posed another Youtube video where I answered four more reader questions.  Here are those questions, as sort of a teaser.

  1. 00:01:14 Should you treat all of your code like an API?
  2. 00:03:21 How do you make sure everything you’re doing is legal when you start your new business?
  3. 00:07:06 What do you do when someone wants to invest in what you’re doing or buy you out?
  4. 00:11:53 What do you think of that Google Manifesto guy, James Damore?

Those timed links will take you to the specific question in the video.  But, you could always just watch the whole thing below.

Also, a quick thank you to those of you sending me new questions these days, and to those of you patient enough to wait for answers to old ones.  I was definitely remiss in my response time to these when I wanted to do a blog post for every question.

But I think this new format is helping encourage me to produce more response content and to get them answered more quickly.  And that, in turn, is leading to a new influx of questions.

Keep ’em coming!