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Father, geek, software development professional
Thousands of people demonstrate in Cologne, Germany, June 6, 2020, to protest against racism and the recent death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo courtesy Associated Press.

I called someone racist today. I explained the things they did which were racist. I made very clear why I called them racist. I pointed out their racist behavior. Afterward, I made clear that I wasn’t calling them racist to be insulting. I was warning them that they were on fire, fully involved, and needed to stop drop and roll. I was calling out something dangerous and giving them an opportunity to change.

I called someone racist today, and I explained why they felt so safe in doing racist things. I told them I was probably the first and only…


By the time I’ve had my coffee and gotten around to publishing this in the morning, your social media will already be awash in a sea of jingoism and glittery gifs. People will be asking, “where were you on September 11th, 2001?”

And everyone will be furiously pounding at their keyboards, answering the same question they’ve been answering for nineteen years, now. …


Photo by Eric Gay — Austin, TX — April 18, 2020

Recently, we all saw Alyson McClaran’s iconic photograph of a nurse in Colorado standing vigilant against individuals in a pickup truck protesting the state’s social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

It was the ultimate visualization of similar situations around the country, as small but vocal crowds gathered at city capitols and hospitals to protest business, school, and public park closings. On the other side, healthcare experts insist that so-called “quarantine” measures are necessary: by isolating each other as much as possible, we can slow down the rate of contagion and spread out cases over a longer period…


Or, A Conversation With a Man Who Tried and Failed to Buy My Property By Randomly Texting and Calling Me

Recently, a man named Chris started texting me out of nowhere trying to buy property. I thought he was a bot at first, and I was bored, so I decided to mess with the bot, and see where it went.

(I refer throughout this exchange to a title of nobility. This is from a special holiday promotion put on by Cards Against Humanity, whereby they purchased a castle, Sensible Castle, and they were selling tiny parcels of that land, which in turn got you a fancy certificate with a title of nobility, and then you got to be king of the castle for 3 minutes.)

Turns out it wasn’t a bot. It was Chris. This is what transpired.


Grungy table. Fridge-made ice cubes. Plain glass. The New Fashioned I enjoyed is as unpretentious as it gets.

Recipe

  • 2 parts Bourbon
  • 1 part Brandy
  • Squeeze of an orange wedge
    ( go nuts, use a clementine )
  • Dash of simple syrup
    ( maintain eye contact with any haters as you stir it in )
  • Serve over ice, and garnish with a small orange peel
    ( or twist of orange if you’re unapologetically fancy )

History

There it is, my New Fashioned recipe. See, what had happened was, I had to take the day off from work to deal with having my stairs replaced. It involved my input a lot more than I expected. …


Understand the oft-misunderstood, and gain power in the process

It’s much less complicated than… whatever is happening here.

If your team is operating within some flavor of Scrum, it is likely wrestling with the concept of story points. The Scrum Guide instructs teams to use some quantifiable means of estimating the complexity, difficulty, or effort involved in completing a story — and so, teams settle on some arbitrary point scale.

At face value, the concept appears to be fraught with problems. It’s generally agreed-upon that complexity increases according to the Fibonacci Sequence, and so that is the most common scale for story points; while the reasoning makes sense, the…


So you want to develop software products? Let’s start from scratch — the very beginning, a beautiful, untouched green field, ripe for planting the seeds of success.

The Product Development Team: Everything Flows from Here

First things first, you’re going to need Product Development Team.

Already, you’ve already made three very critical choices:

  1. You are building a team.
  2. Your team develops.
  3. Your team develops products.

The Three Perspectives

As it turns out, these are also the three critical perspectives that must be maintained if you want to be an effective product development team: the Process or Project Perspective, the Technical Perspective, and the User Perspective. …


I was invited by the University of Texas at Arlington to participate in a Career Readiness Panel, in association with the Lockheed Martin Career Development Center, in March of 2019. This was my first ever time participating as a panelist for anything — but not my first time engaging with bright young minds as they seek to begin their careers.

On the panel with me were representatives from a broad array of fields, including legal, human resources, filmmaking, and industrial engineering. I was representing rewardStyle as a software development professional. …


The Argonath: The left hands of Isildur and Anarion are raised in defiance against the enemies of Gondor

If you’re not willing to fight and suffer for what you believe, what’s the point?

Two things have been rattling around in my brain for a while, and I haven’t really had the time to sit and suss them out. They are related, and they’ve been troubling me.

First, I’ve been told that my political posts on social media are at best annoying, and at worst nothing but an eternal torrent of noise begging to be muted and ignored forever. I can totally understand that — I have been posting a lot of political things on social media. Our political climate is incredibly partisan, and everyone sticks to their own bubbles of influence, so they…

Brian Shef

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