19 September 2018

Installing PostgreSQL 9.6 on macOS 10.13.6 via MacPorts for Development Purposes

After finally receiving a new MacBook Pro with 2.9 Ghz, 6-core i9 processor and 32gb of memory, I am reinstalling all of my development tools. Not only is the big increase in resources really useful from the development point of view, but the computer is lighter and thinner as well. That being said, there are still things I do not like, such as the keyboard, the touchbar (I miss the tactile feedback from the escape key which, as a Vim user, I use constantly) and some other minor things. For my own purposes, I usually document the steps to make it easier in the future. But I also figured it might help other folks out there to achieve the same ends.


Having documented this procedure once or twice before, I'm going to keep this brief.






BTW, below are the start/stop scripts that I created for PostgreSQL:



06 September 2018

GopherCon Denver 2018

Recently I attended GopherCon 2018 in Denver and really enjoyed the whole event. There were about 1500 people there and I really learned a lot. One of my teams writes Kubernetes operators using Golang which got me into writing some Golang myself.

On the first day, we attended a workshop titled Advanced Ultimate Go that was taught by Bill Kennedy from Ardan Labs and it was excellent. Not only is Bill incredibly knowledgeable with Golang (he has years of experience not only in Golang but also in C++) but he is also an extremely good teacher. I learned a lot in a single day and I would have loved to have this class extend for another day or even two.

Coming from a background of mainly Java for 20+ years, the Java community has an amazing piece of engineering in the JVM that handles most performance related concerns for us. We design Java classes however we please and we make use of any data structures we please and never really give it a second thought simply because the JVM handles all the real mechanics for us. With Golang, this is not the case. Although Golang has garbage collection (which is really nice, I hated using malloc() and free() in C) it's very different than what JVM does. Also, in many ways, the Go language is very succinct compared to Java. Both in terms of the amount of code you must write (Golang requires a lot less boilerplate code) to the ease of deployment with Golang (you have a single binary to deploy, no dependencies or CLASSPATH to manage). That being said, I'm still not sure that I would completely switch all web development away from Java to Golang. While the Golang learning curve is a lot easier than Scala, the issue I see are the implications on performance with the code you write. Whereas with Java, while there are performance concerns, as I said above the JVM handles a tremendous amount of things under the covers so that we don't have to care nearly as much.

Having spoken at many, many conferences over the years, I was very pleasantly surprised by the number of female attendees and speakers! I saw more talks delivered by women than I saw delivered by men which was excellent! The community seemed very open and engaging to everyone which I really liked. Being in the software industry for so long, it's still shocking to me how much of it is dominated by males. Anyway, I really enjoyed the cultural and gender diversity at Golang.

There is one minor change that I would like to suggest to the organizers of the Golang conference. Many years ago, I spoke at a conference in Denmark where I first saw this. On tables next to the doors at the back of a room where talks are taking place, there are big glass bowls with three piles of Post-It size paper, each pile a different color -- red, yellow and green. As attendees exit the room, they are asked to grab a single piece of paper in the color that represents how you felt about the presentation/talk. When the talk completes and the room is empty, the conference organizers gather the papers from the bowl, tally them up and provide the stats to the speaker. It's basically like a quick rating of what attendees thought of the talk. This small system does not replace the comment cards that organizers always ask of attendees because this is how attendees elaborate on they rated the talk the way they did. Both systems of rating are important because they deliver two different but equally important types of data to the organizers and the speakers. Anyway, this my two cents.

I really enjoyed GopherCon for a variety of reasons and I would love to attend again. Since the conference I have written a lot more Golang code and the more I write the more I like it. In my mind, Golang should be the goto language for systems programming, DevOps type stuff. While it can easily handle general web development tasks, I'm not sure yet if I would drop Java in favor of Go. I guess I need to keep coding away in both.

29 July 2018

Vacation and Hiking in Crested Butte

Last week my family and I took a week's vacation in Crested Butte to do some hiking and relaxing in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. Although we missed the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival by one week, we still enjoyed the flowers on our hikes.

As we explored the Crested Butte area and enjoyed numerous hikes, we got to spend time together as a family which I really enjoy doing. It's hard to believe that my girls are basically adults now (they are 15 and 20 years old). Bailey even got a second week of altitude camp in for her cross country training by running every day that we were there.

My in-laws even joined us with our two nephews and we all had a very relaxing time together. We even rented some paddle boards and went to Lake Irwin one day. This wasn't something that would have been very easy for me to do, so I enjoyed watching everyone experience the paddle boards for the first time in a cold mountain lake.

Crested Butte is a sleepy little mountain town with a well-known ski resort. We enjoyed hanging out in town, checking out the restaurants and shops, and also finding trails to explore all around the area, including on the ski mountain. Unfortunately, the Crested Butte ski resort was recently acquired by Vail Resorts. This means that it will be completely over-developed soon enough, everything will become too pricy and too crowded with traffic just like all the other resorts it owns. What a drag.

Later in the week, we visited a friend in Lake City and hiked Spring Creek Pass, a high mountain pass with an average grade of 7.5% at 10,901 feet. My phone told me that I climbed 50 flights of stairs that day which was quite an achievement for my withered legs. When we returned to the car, we took a photo by the trailhead sign and Janene had her arm around me and said, 'Your legs are shaking, you need to sit down.' I just chuckled and said, 'Yeah, I know.' Even so, I loved it! I am so thankful to be able to feel that exhaustion from completing a difficult hike.

23 March 2018

More Muscle Movement Discovered Recently

Recently I paid a visit to my physical therapist. I only see every 2-3 months to check in and guide me on the physical therapy work that I do on my own. She always checks out my progress to see how my body is doing and this time she found something new -- the tibialis muscles in both my legs are moving now!

The anterior tibialis muscles are what allow you to flex your feet upwards (this is called dorsal flexion). So far, I have only been able to press my feet down (this is called plantar flexion) because this is controlled by the calf muscles. But now that the anterior tibialis muscles are moving ever so slightly, I can begin to rebuild these as well. Just like my calves are taking time, these muscles will also take time to rebuild as well.

I am still working to rebuild my calf muscles and this is slow. My physical therapist reminded me that I'm not just strengthening my calves. I literally had no calf muscles left. So I am rebuilding my calves from nothing which is much more difficult. She also said that at this point, we have no idea if the calves are fully firing or not. In situations where there is nerve damage, you never know if you are getting a full squeeze from the muscle or if the whole muscle is firing yet. This makes the work much, much more difficult. She also told me that this is why most people give up.

My calves are increasing in size and strength, but they are very far from 100% functionality or strength. I still have a long way to go. But I still feel lucky to be where I'm at today with my body still healing.