Is Eli going to the Hall of Fame?

Eli Manning is set to anounce his retirement today on NFL Network.

The big question now though is, will Eli Manning be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

With 16 seasons in the NFL, two Superbowl wins, 57,000+ passing yards and 366 passing touchdowns I think Eli is definitely hall of fame material. Eli Manning was a great quarterback to watch and even though he wasn’t giving many opportunities to play in his final season, he still showed great integrity in supporting his fellow team mates.

He should definitely go to the hall of fame.

Nicholas Bate on writing more and better.

Personal DuckDuckGo traffic idea

I was looking at the DuckDuckGo traffic for the last few years. The stats are pretty impressive. A seven-fold increase in queries over the previous five years and this month’s number of queries is already more than last January. It looks like it’s going to be another year on year increase for queries.

It’s got me wondering about my usage of DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo has been my search engine of choice for many years now, and as a result, I’m pretty familiar with a number of the bang methods that are available to help with your searches.

Now, I know DuckDuckGo is a privacy-first search engine. It’s why I use it in the first place. Saying that I’d still be interested to know how many searches I do over the year and how often I use the different bang methods. I don’t want the actual search terms tracked, just the number of times I search and how often I use each of the bang methods.

If DuckDuckGo did this, it would raise a few concerns about where they are going with tracking. This functionality might be best done in a browser extension so that it’s purely an opt-in feature.

Not everyone will agree with me about tracking your search usage, but I still think it would be quite interesting nonetheless.

The retrospective. A useful practice that can be used with individuals or groups. Check out how Jason Roberts is doing his own personal retrospective.

Career paths

Career has been a frequent topic in our house in the last year as our oldest decides where he wants his career to start. He is beginning his third year in secondary school in August, which means that he will be studying just 8 subjects, of which 5 of them he will choose.

Last night we attended a presentation at his school that provided more information on the subjects available to students.

On the way home after the presentation, our oldest had a fair idea of what subjects he wanted to select for his third year. After hearing his reasons for his choices, I realised that he hadn’t selected computer studies.

Now, I’m not a parent that thinks my kids should follow in my footsteps. They have their own careers that they want to pursue. I will, of course, let them know the benefits and drawbacks of my career, but ultimately, it’s down to them to decide what they want to do.

If I’m being honest, though, I’m relieved that my oldest isn’t pursuing a career in software development.

Still a fast industry

Software development will always be a changing industry that requires a degree of time to stay on top of. Don’t get me wrong, the industry needs to evolve and change. But, unless you’re in a position that affords the time to learn about new trends in the industry, you will find yourself devoting your own time to learning which isn’t always feasible.

Too many screens

Software development jobs involve a high degree of screen time. In fact, many posts require screens of some kind as we increasingly move to a more connected world, but being a developer, you always have at least one screen in front of you. Couple this with the screens that are already around you outside of work and you’re facing days where you could be facing a screen for up to 12 hours a day. It just doesn’t feel healthy.

Mostly a sitting job

It’s only in the last ten years that the health risks of sitting jobs have come to light. And for most development teams and organisations, sitting is the cheapest and therefore easiest way of setting up developers. Unless of course, you’re fortunate enough to be able to provide your own standing desk, or you have an employer that includes standing desks as a policy. Having sat at a desk for so many years, it’s for me, the worst aspect of the job.

Most of the reasons I’ve given for not recommending software development focus on negative aspects of the job. However, there is a positive reason why I wouldn’t support software development as a career to my oldest.

Always accessible

A popular introduction on the programming podcasts that I listen to involve the developer being interviewed to provide their background in how they got started in programming. It always surprises me the number of people that change careers to software development or have qualifications in another industry, but just wanted to give programming a try.

My late grand-father took up programming as a hobby when he retired. He continued to write software until his health deteriorated his ability to see.

While my oldest might not be looking to a career in software development not, it might be something that he considers later on in life. While he might not have the traditional qualifications for a job in software development now, it’s still possible for him to find a career in software development later on. He can learn the skills on his own and gain some additional skills through online courses. This might not have been the typical route into software development in the past. Still, now with so many learning options available, it’s just one of many ways in which he can transfer careers.

Despite these downsides, I do enjoy my career in software developer, and I am aiming to improve it over the next few months. As a parent, though, it’s not a career that I would recommend for my kids at this time.

Happy birthday to Boing Boing and their 20 years of blogging!

I love seeing sites that are still running after a significant period of time.

I need to ship Rails app updates more often

On Sunday night I migrated a couple of Rails apps to Ruby 2.7 including Writeabout. Last night I did the same with another Rails app. By the end of the week I hope to have Markcase moved over to Ruby 2.7 as well as Dailymuse on the road to being upgraded to Ruby 2.7 and Rails 6.0.

Upgrading apps is a pain if they’re are left alone for too long. I’ve left Dailymuse on it’s own for such a long time that it’s still sitting on Rails 5, Markcase is on Rails 6 but requires a wee bit of maintenance with regards to Webpack.

I’ve learned my lesson that leaving apps for such a long time between updates is not the best thing to do. Even upgrading an app regularly through it’s patch versions is better to do than just leaving them sitting gathering dust.

Not the score I hoped to wake up to for the NFC Championship game. 🙁🏈

University professors release games to improve cognitive skills

Interesting. Research backed brain training games.

University professors from New York and California designed and developed three digital games – available online and in the iOS and Google Play app stores – to help its users’ brains work more efficiently. While some digital games falsely claim to improve cognitive skills, these three games have actually proven to. Evidenced through a series of research studies, these games can help users boost memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility.

Professors Create Free Research-Backed Games to Train Your Brain

The three games each focus on a single cognitive skill. Gwakkamolé is designed to train inhibitory control, CrushStations is designed to improve memory and All you can E.T. is designed to improve cognitive flexibility.

And the best part? The games have been released as free so that everyone can benefit from them.

The Pixelmator refresher file

I increased my knowledge of Pixelmator last night by messing around with the subtract option to create new shapes and also using the tile effect for backgrounds.

Pixelmator is one of those tools that I dip in and out of every few months. When I need to know something new, I find myself digging through tutorials and guides to get the desired outcome.

I keep a file of everything I’ve picked up in Pixelmator since I’m only using it every once in a while. It helps me get back up to speed with what I’ve learned over the years. A refresher file of sorts.

I’ve got quite a few of these files in place. I can’t remember everything I’ve learned, but at least I’ve got what I need to know written down.

I’m going to add a back-end admin plugin to Writeabout to make the adding and updating of writing prompts easier.

I intended to have an admin API endpoint to manage the prompts, but for a short term fix, I’m going with the admin plugin route.

JetBrains have a released a new font for developers.

I had a bit more fun messing about with Stimulus and Rails by implementing light and dark themes for Writeabout. The default theme is now light with a link at the bottom to change to dark. I’m really starting to come round to the idea of Stimulus and how it works with Rails.

Last night I added a fav icon, a touch icon and Twitter card handling for Writeabout.

On the face of it, one could argue this is purely a vanity change. It was actually a test run to see what’s the minimum icon changes I need for a web app.

I finished James Clear’s Atomic Habits this morning. The first of many books that I hope to read for 2020. 📚

Baby steps with StimulusJS

Last night I needed a much needed break from the usual Rails coding, so I worked through an example on the StimulusJS website so that I could add a “copy to clipboard” button for the displayed writing prompt on Writeabout.

For me, this is the ideal level of integration I need with JavaScript. A framework that does some of the heavy lifting on the user-interface without me having to re-write the whole front-end.

The end result is nice, but I don’t like the way the elements on the page move up and down when the copy button has been pressed. I’ve added a little div section with an indicator that the button has been pressed. It disappears after a few seconds, but it moves the elements on the page up and down when it changes its display state. I’ll fix it another day, but the first pass at this functionality is still good.

Little code and coffee combo this morning while the boys are back at Taekwondo. Working on a feature that allows users to differentiate between page layouts for a CMS.

It’s been a horrible week of colds, coughs and flu in our house. Today was a major turning point though with everyone back at school and work. Planning for a quiet weekend now so that we can all recuperate.

Blogs, blogs, blogs

Over the holidays I mentioned that I was writing a blog post that I would publish this week. Well, after a delay thanks to the flu, I finally hit the publish button on my return to using my main domain. My first post, about my focus for 2020, is a return to building up some long form content that I want to reside on that domain.

Is this the end of my time on

Definitely not. is a wonderful blogging platform that I will keep on using. This blog on will be my social feed to the net. It’s the one place that I will post to daily. Short posts, photos and links will continue to pour out from here.

So what’s the point of the new site?

For a while I’ve been trying to find a way of supporting short and long content. I’ve tried mixing these two lengths of posts over the years and it’s never sat well with me each time I have tried it.

Now that is my daily social feed, I can now focus on pushing longer posts through my main site again.

Nicholas Bate’s skills, tools and knowledge series continues. One for the notebook fans.

Don’t cheat on the quality of your (paper) notebook. It records your greatest work.

The Skills, Tools & Knowledge You’ll Need for 2020, 101, 61-70

Apologies for the radio silence over the last few days and the days to come. The flu has swept through our house. 🤒

I’m hoping to return back to normal blogging service next week.

I’m writing this morning on Ulysses. I forgot how great it is to simply write.

It sounds very dramatic and I certainly don’t mean it to sound this way, but is 2020 the start of a decade that will make or break the world?

What is your word for 2020?