Closed my Facebook account tonight. I’ve had a love/hate, mostly hate, relationship with Facebook. I hate their business practices. I don’t like the way people act on there. It’s fake. I’ve felt for a long time that I needed to keep it open to keep in touch with people but the amount of time I’ve actually engaged in any conversation there is very small. It’s time to finally let it go.

The Simple Art of Brewing a Cup of Coffee

Rekindling the joy of making great coffee with a single cup brewer.

The red Melitta brewer has been sitting patiently in a drawer waiting to be put back to use. The #2 paper cone filters have been biding their time in another drawer, certain that one day they’d be called upon again to brew a cup of coffee, one cup at a time.

But sitting in drawers they have been because, I hate to say this, in the last several years I’ve been lured by the promise of speed and efficiency. Drawn toward the more quickly acquired cup of coffee I bought a one cup Keurig machine (also red. is there a pattern here?). Never mind the flaws, it is as easy as it gets. Put in water. Put in a coffee pod. Hit brew. Done in a flash.

Before the Keurig I used to do a cup at a time using the pour-over method. Sinfully delicious coffee and cleanup was very easy. But the amount of time. It just took too long and kept me from rushing out the door in the morning to get to a fully-rushed day. But this weekend, my mind demanding that I start to slow things down a bit, I rediscovered the joy of the pour-over, and oddly enough, that it really doesn’t take much time. And did I mention the wonderful ritual? Or the fact that the coffee simply tastes better?

Steps to the perfect cup of coffee

  1. If you like sugar in your coffee put in whatever amount you prefer in the bottom of the cup. The mixing happens automatically as the coffee drains into the cup.
  2. Fill up your favorite kettle with water and start the water heating.
  3. Put the single cup brewer on top of your cup.
  4. Put a filter into the brewer.
  5. Put two heaping tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds into the filter.
  6. When the water is finished boiling let it rest for about 1 minute to bring the temperature down a bit.
  7. Now slowly pour the water over the grounds. Make sure to get them all wet.
  8. As the water drains keep it moving by continually slowly pouring more water over the grounds in a circular motion and keeping them all in play. Enjoy the smells coming up out of the cup.
  9. Put the brewer in the sink to finish draining once you’re near the top of the cup.
  10. Enjoy the best cup of coffee you’ll ever have.

This from Stehpanie Hurlburt:

I say this occasionally to normalize it:

I’ve never put code on GitHub
I’ve never done coding in my spare time for fun, side project, or portfolio
I’ve had a successful career as a developer

If you have done those things— great! Maybe I will too one day. But it isn’t necessary.

Before I had children I contributed to an open source project or two. I also still do the occasional coding for fun (but mostly for pay). I have never put anything on GitHub but I also consider myself successful as a software developer.

The notion that these things are necessary is silly.

Keen on Cal Newport’s idea of “deep work” but is it even possible in most jobs today? In my profession (software development) I’ve almost never had the ability to sit uninterrupted for any length of time to do deep work. Is anyone actually doing this?

Small b blogging

Via Om Malik a good piece on working on a small blog for reasons other than chasing an audience. I need to remember the lessons mentioned there and review them often 🙂

I do remember once, in a prior incarnation of this blog, writing an article about Whole Foods when they decided to stop offering plastic bags to shoppers. The piece got linked by a writer at the New York Times and the piece just exploded. To this day can’t believe how much traffic that piece generated for awhile. But obviously that becomes old news fast and traffic died and nobody cared anymore.

What was more satisfying was a simple how-to article I wrote up about syncing your iPhone with Google Calendar. At the time Google’s documentation for the procedure was terrible (and very hard to find) so I had many, many hits to that piece and it continued until I shut down the blog, even when Google’s own documentation had been improved both in visibility and content. At one point it was the first result that came up when you did a search for iPhone and Google Calendar. To this day I’m still proud of that piece. It was very satisfying to help so many people.