Jay McGavren's Journal


Templating Plain Text Files With ERB

I maintain my talk slides in Markdown these days, converting them to PowerPoint using Pandoc. One of my talks includes exercises, all of which need to follow the same format.

Each exercise has these repeated elements:

  • Short URL to exercise on Go Playground
  • Long URL in a comment, in case anything ever happens to the short URL
  • Exercise preview
  • Cheat sheet (with short URL repeated so I can leave it up on the screen)
  • Solution


Coping with MacOS Mojave for Web Development

For pretty much every Mac I’ve ever owned, I’ve copied my configuration from machine to machine. But when one does so, a lot of unused cruft builds up over the years. So I’ve decided to wipe everything and start totally (well, okay, mostly) from scratch. This is a rare learning opportunity and so I’m documenting my setup here, for my reference and for yours.

This post is intended to be a living document. I’ll be updating it as I discover improved settings. Comments and suggestions are welcome!

Be warned: I am an Apple skeptic. I don’t like the direction recent MacOS versions have gone, and many of my settings represent an attempt to get back to “the good old days”. If you’re one of those fans who think Apple can do no wrong, and you want to make use of all the latest MacOS features, you may want to find another configuration guide. Now get off my lawn!


Setting Up New Google Accounts for Developers

I don’t like many of the default settings in GMail and other Google accounts. And sadly, there is no settings import, so new accounts have to be set up manually. I just switched employers, so I find myself having to set up a new account from scratch. I’m recording my settings changes here in the hopes it will help others out.


How to Hunt for a Development Job

Update 2019-07-02: I’ve taken an offer! Huge thanks to everyone who got in touch and/or shared that I was looking!

I was laid off from my job a week ago, along with many of my colleagues. Luckily for us, the friendly Twitter developer community has turned out in droves to help us. It’s generated a lot of leads.

I’ve noticed that my communications with contacts at these companies tend to fall into certain patterns. I ask many of the same questions of each. But I also find that I sometimes forget to ask certain details. Or worse, I ask questions in the wrong order, getting a bunch of details about the tech stack but then discovering the position isn’t remote-friendly, for example.

So I’m writing this post to help other job hunters avoid the same pitfalls. I mean for this to be a living document. If you have comments or suggestions, please get in touch!


Backend web development tutorial on YouTube

Treehouse asked me to write up an overview of back end web development to publish on their YouTube channel. Yeah, there’s a little sales pitch at the end, but if you want to know what web developers do, it’s a great summary. Our motion graphics team’s work is amazing, as always!