Archive for October, 2015

Apparently this is a Neurodiverse Devs Blog

When I created this blog I had intended to focus on software development, particularly the systems and compilers “short stack” stuff most interesting. Then I broke my rule about agility, and John Sonmez’s advice on blogging. I let myself stop writing because my content wasn’t “good enough” or some such nonsense.

The fact is I don’t have much interesting to say about “Short Stacks”. I’m still learning and beyond repeating content that I would serve you better by linking to I have nothing to add to that conversation now.

What I do have things to say about is how to be an superlatively effective developer around mental illness, disability, and the general insanity life throws at everyone.

  • How to make time to learn when your brain is fogged up and struggling.
  • How to know you probably ought to seek out a professional for help. Seriously not doing so is like when archetypal “aunt Myrtle” or “uncle Ted” trying to write their own drivers. It doesn’t end well.
  • How to work with us crazy folks. Tip 1: Don’t call us crazy unless and until we have established that’s how we cope.
  • How to communicate with a client or employer about how mental illness, or disability can impact a project.
  • Why it’s Neurodiversity and not mental illness.
  • That one really neat command line tool that saves me 20 minutes every day.
  • How disability and accessibility are awesome angles to think about UX from.
  • Why on earth are our tools so hard to use.
  • Links to the latest cool “short stack” and .net stuff I’m playing with.

So that’s whats coming up soon.

There but for the grace of God

Each time I read about one of these events I think, “There but for the grace of God go I”. Even as my loved ones say I’m not like that, and the Professionals say “You don’t have the temperament” I know that is not true. The me of the past was a prime “creepy white guy”, with all the entitlement, rage, and relationship issues common to these mass shootings. And yes I do mean a creepy white guy, one of the tribe you might call the fedora bearers, or neckbeards, because somehow we breed most of this violence. I don’t know why, but I do know that the adjacent tribes of geeks, nerds, makers and hackers on are in a unique place to do some good here.

Everyone who’s on about gun control, mental health, or whatever pet issue you’ve brought up in the wake of the recent tragic shooting. Would you kindly stop arguing online and instead go help a creepy white guy. Do this every week, and you’ll have done more to end these mass shootings than almost any other action you could take. I know, because I got that help and now I’m here twitchy, and slinging code instead of there on the front page seeking some kind of glory or recognition.

The me of a decade ago or even just a few years ago, had ample soil for this seed. My heart has been broken, I spent a decade in the wilderness of the “girlfriend zone” where I subjected women, who would have otherwise become dear friends, to desperate neediness. The exact complaints the recent shooter made of college women. After a bitter divorce I entertained fantasies of a mass shooting, both as the actor, and as a bystander. A commonly found motivation in gun violence across the nation. But none of these grew to become the poison intent to harm my fellow citizens.

Instead I had a social network. A fabric of people who accepted me, as I am, and never isolated me while expecting better of me. My community never allowed that seed of bitterness and hate to find soil within me. More people than I could name have reached out and helped me. Explained why what I was doing needed to change, and helped provide the accountability to make that change.

I quite literally owe my life, my career, and my relationship to those people. The friend who explained why my attention lavishing was creepy. The fellow gamer who repeatedly called me out for staring at her chest, and then still was there when I was unsure where rent was coming from to make sure I had food and shelter. This list is endless, and every week it grows. I hope this list is always growing.

If you care about gun violence, then take a moment and practice empathy and grace to your fellow humans.