I Am Finley

How to Break Your Echo Chamber

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The Echo Chamber. Since November, much has been focused on it. How Facebook, through algorithms, enforces it. How our own confirmation bias encourages us to surround ourselves with things that we agree with. But how does one start to break out of their chamber?

A few years ago, I started to use my morning commute for podcasts. I went through quite a few before finding a couple that I regularly enjoy. While there are a few tech podcasts on my list, my daily morning commute is Albert Mohler’s The Briefing. The Briefing is a news and events podcast, covering things from a Christian worldview. The benefit, however, is that he doesn’t grab articles from Fox, or The Blaze, or even Breitbart. No, he regularly references New York Times, HuffPo, Washington Post, and more on the Left-leaning side. Hearing the way that liberals put things, their use of language, and their train of thought has become a part of my daily routine.

The other podcast that is a part of my weekly routine is Steven Crowder’s Louder with Crowder. While he is less respectful and more comedic, he too cites liberal news sources more often than conservative ones.

By taking 20 minutes a day, one can start breaking down the barrier. So if you are a conservative, I’d recommend both of these podcasts. If you are a liberal, I’d honestly recommend both of these podcasts as well. The reason is that Albert Mohler has a humble honest way of explaining things that I feel anyone can respect him and from him understand the way that conservatives look at things. And Steven Crowder is just hilarious and I think that can work across political boundaries.

Breaking the echo chamber in your life has to be intentional. Make a choice to understand people instead of stereotype them.

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Healthcare Ignorance Makes Me Sick

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I’m supportive of protests, however this particular protest exposes ignorance. What?! Liberals, ignorant? Yes, it’s true. You see – this protest demonstrates that these people believe there are only two options – Obamacare and going back to the way things were before Obamacare. The reality is that Republicans have released several thoughts on what the best replacement plan might be – yes that’s right, replacement plan – as in not going back to the pre-Obamacare years. It’s no secret there were issues with healthcare – no one is denying that.

The Resurgent

This goes back to the echo chambers that we build around ourselves, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or the news we read. For the conservative, it is hard to live in a self-confirming echo chamber. All major news sources have a liberal lean outside of Fox and even if you watch television, liberal concepts and priorities are pushed very heavily.

For the liberal, the opposite is true. Outside of Fox, Last Man Standing, and a number of online publications, almost all news and media content from Hollywood is self-confirming. Breaking the echo chamber has to be intentional.

Ignorance of your opponents is what is driving people to declare everyone that voted Trump to be racist, misogynist, bigots. I regularly ready articles from the New York Times, Washington Post, and even HuffPo. Why? Because hearing about something from multiple worldviews is important and makes it harder for me to stereotype the Left.

So back to healthcare, the article above gives some insight into the Republican reform of healthcare that is coming this year under Trump. We don’t want to go back to how things were before Obama. I don’t know anyone that does. So read that and ask questions of conservatives in your life. If you don’t know any conservatives, this is a good year to start.

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Crap. I’m starting to like Trello.

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I went to Agile training last month at Asynchrony. Our department director wanted our team and a few others to go. I agree with almost everything about Agile. It’s easy to, at least for me.

Last week, as I prepped for our team’s next project, I decided that I want to push myself to do as much from my iPad Pro as possible. I have edited many sites from my iPad. But at work, I have been working on a C# website for the last few months. Despite trying, it was much easier to work in an IDE (Visual Studio for Mac Preview) on this site. But our next project is a complete redesign of a marketing site, setting it up on a LAMP box with a PHP-powered CMS.

There is a difference between making quick updates to a site and starting one from scratch. Quick updates typically only require Coda and Web Tools. But starting from scratch sometimes requires more tools. So I started looking at what I needed.

Image Tools is what I came up with. Two new tools coming soon to Web Tools. Easily open an image and use a ruler to measure and a loupe to grab colors.

My typical flow is to jot down a stream of consciousness in iA Writer. Lots of unfiltered thoughts. But this time, I downloaded Trello. I’ve never necessarily hated Trello, but I have a thing about todo list apps. I buy tons of them. Trello just didn’t fit my flow before. But this time it did. I created my Ready, Working On, and Done columns and started adding cards to my Ready column.

Saturday, as I finished my designs, I started working cards through my columns. And crap, I’m starting to like Trello.

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Dragons and Geese

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Watched “How To Train Your Dragon” with Lottie Saturday night. Sitting at church Sunday morning and she says, “Daddy Daddy, dragons!” while pointing out the window.

Okay, I think, what does she see? I walk over to see what she’s pointing at. Canadian Geese. She’s pointing at a gaggle of Canadian Geese outside.

“No, Sweetie, those are geese. They’re worse than dragons.”

“Baby dragons!” she exclaimed.

“Well, remember, even baby dragons can spit acid and fire.”

Dad’s job is to train her for battle. Even with dragons and geese.

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Using a framework is not always bad

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Using a framework is not always bad, outsourcing your understanding of the basic languages of front-end development to one is definitely bad.

Rachel Andrew

Great article on CSS support, making everything look the same everywhere, and more. This line, though, stood out to me. It’s an argument I frequently find myself in. Everyone knows that I hate Bootstrap. The why is what they don’t often understand. That line sums it up.

All too often I see “JavaScript” developers that cannot write a single line of vanilla JavaScript. Front-end developers that struggle outside of Bootstrap. That don’t know what the browser is capable of without Angular.

Have you outsourced your understanding of the basic languages to a framework?

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Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

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As a dad, I love that Nintendo has added this functionality. I wish Netflix or Hulu had this too.

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A Smallville Man

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This is my Superman. Brave, strong, and a defender of the weak.

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Animorphs, Twenty Years Later

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Written by K. A. Applegate and her husband Michael Grant, the Animorphs books first hit shelves two decades ago. The beloved 1990s series told the story of five human kids — Jake, Cassie, Rachel, Marco, and Tobias — who stumble upon a dying alien prince and are recruited into saving the Earth from the Yeerks, a parasitic alien species taking over peoples’ brains.

Entertainment Weekly

These books were a critical part of my childhood. I have every book on my bookshelves at my parent’s home. If you want to know my secret origin as a web developer, it is in these books.

I first encountered the Internet at a friend’s house in the mid-90’s. The first thing I did was search for Animorphs. I remember the crappy website that was so cool. When we eventually got access at our house, I got active in the online community around Animorphs. I drew characters and uploaded them to fan art sites, I even launched my own site for a while. Then, as the series ended in 2001 on a cliffhanger, I started writing my own continuation series.

After Animorphs, having been part of the online community for years, K. A. Applegate launched the short-lived Remnants book series. I built my first fully PHP-driven community with forum, fan art, fan fiction, and more.

It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty years since the first Animorphs book. If you have memories about these books, drop them in the comments below.

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Mark Zuckerberg Loses Faith Necessary for Atheism

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There are many dorm room Voltaires, many privileged rebels. But here’s the thing: there are fewer atheists in the ER. Life has a way of humbling you.

[…]

But it is not only suffering that often pries open the human heart. Whatever took place in Zuckerberg’s heart and mind, the gift of children is a little worldview in itself, albeit one that comes to you with tightly-shut little eyes and a feeble cry. Though you may reject this discovery, having a child introduces you to a world beyond yourself. Suddenly, in a vigorous and unopposable coup carried out by a 7-pound baby, you are dethroned. You no longer have control of your life; you don’t get to be served by others; you can’t claim to be the priority of those closest to you.

Center for Public Theology

Mark Zuckerberg, like Steve Jobs, falls into a Myers-Briggs personality type of INTJ. I have read much about these two men because I too fall into that personality type. INTJs are one of the most rational, analytical types. Rational types are often least likely to find religion. INTJs are, I believe, the least likely.

This is why my faith, while radical and odd to many not in my head, is very rational and intellectually-driven.

But Zuckerberg has always been an outspoken atheist. Until Christmas, when he posted that “religion is very important”. Having a child can do that to you.

We’ve been told that we’re just all flesh and blood, atoms colliding in a purposeless dance. But that’s not what you feel—in your bones, in your heart—when you look at your sleeping child. That’s not what you sense when your tiny loved one is hurt or sick. That’s not why you get out of bed in the middle of the night to calm your two-year-old experiencing night terrors. It’s not because of atoms colliding. It’s not because of chance. It’s not because of chaos theory. It’s because of love. It’s because your heart has opened to another.

There is so much immaterial. So much that cannot be understood with science. What's more, science often tries to explain the most radically unscientific concepts with theories that are just cold and illogical.

Seeing my daughter’s face for the first time over two years ago stopped time. I only know two women that have caused time to cease. When I hear beneath the sound of our television our daughter cry out “Daddy, help!” from her bedroom upstairs, I’m often on my feet before I can think.

Rationality and God aren’t opposites.

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Resisting Impulse

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I just resisted posting something to Facebook. And then almost tweeted about resisting posting it to Facebook. It was after the third or fourth sentence, after the second rewrite, that I realized that it was better for my blog than Facebook.

Impulse drives us to post the moment something comes to our mind. Take the extra time to sit on something. The world doesn’t need your commentary immediately. Your snark and sarcasm can wait, even if you don’t catch the trending #hashtag. Be more thoughtful. Slow to speak, slow to anger.

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