210. Developer Friendly Reminders

What is your ritual for starting the day? Are you starting out by choosing a deliberate practice that can help skyrocket your productivity?  Welcome back to another episode of The Rabbit Hole, co-hosting today with me, Michael Nuñez, is Dave Anderson. Today we are giving you developer-friendly reminders! Things that you can do with your life that will take five minutes that you should be doing, every now and then. So stay tuned as we share some friendly reminders to help you get through your day!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Two-factor authentication; what to do if you wake up tomorrow and your phone doesn’t work anymore?
  • Using a password manager and leaving some backup codes in there.
  • The importance of figuring out your escape hatch.
  • We stress the importance of having a password manager for your organization and doing the work to find out which one is best suited.
  • Fitting in a 7-minute workout, rest break, or gaze out of a window.
  • Remembering the maintenance of your mechanical keyboard and workstation.
  • How bringing in changes, however small, can help boost energy and refresh your space.
  • Drinking more water; stay hydrated, stay healthy.


Transcript for Episode 210. Developer Friendly Reminders


[0:00:01.9] MN: Hello and welcome to The Rabbit Hole, the definitive developer’s podcast, living large in New York. I’m your host, Michael Nunez. Our co-host today.

[0:00:09.3] DA: Dave Anderson. 

[0:00:10.9] MN: Today, we’re giving you developer-friendly reminders.

[0:00:14.3] DA: You know, there are things that you can do with your life that will take five minutes that you should be doing, every now and then.

[0:00:24.5] MN: Every now and then.

[0:00:25.5] DA: Maybe you just didn’t do for the past year because of reasons.

[0:00:31.0] MN: Reasons. Things and life happens and that’s okay. It’s all okay.

[0:00:37.6] DA: Here’s something you do that takes five minutes, let’s say you have your phone and maybe your phone is your two-factor authentication device, you have all your keys on there. What if you wake up tomorrow and your phone doesn’t work anymore?

[0:00:50.5] MN: Boy, I don’t even want to ever think that. That sounds crazy.

[0:00:56.8] DA: Yeah, that happened to me on Monday.

[0:00:58.0] MN: My gosh. What did you do? What happened?

[0:01:01.5] DA: Thankfully I had already done these things but I forgot that I had done them.

[0:01:06.5] MN: Yes. Thank you, past Dave, really appreciate the work you did.

[0:01:09.6] DA: Right, yeah, exactly. The work that Dave did 2018, 2019 circa. Really top notch. 2020, like a little less under par but yeah, what I did do is you have all these backup codes for your accounts that have two-factor authentication, very easy to do. You just go in and copy them into a file like maybe something that is secure as well or you just write them down, print them off, keep them somewhere safe because your phone could just stop working and then you’d be screwed.

[0:01:51.0] MN: Yeah, that sounds horrible bro, I’m glad you were able to get those codes. Do you write them down? I know for certain apps, I’m old, I’ll keep a piece of paper and put it in my desk to make sure that it’s fine. Other parts, I use, this is probably another thing you want to check for your developer friendly reminder, I use a password manager and ensure with a really strict password, I leave some of my backup codes in there. I’m probably going to get hacked now, we’ll see.

[0:02:19.0] DA: Yeah, right. I was like, “Yeah, I should do like a mini security audit” and it’s like such a big task that if you just do it like five minutes or like start doing it, then as you log into different piece of the software every day like when you log in, you ask yourself, okay, what is going to happen if I can’t get access to this or whatever. Yeah, put it in your password manager, make sure you have your backup codes if it uses two-factor and yeah, there’s a lot of ways you can do it.

You can put everything in one password in LastPass. I have like a local password vault that is encrypted that I have in Dropbox that is shared among other computers but I don’t think about that as like, I didn’t audit that and it turns out that the only device that actually works on my Dropbox is this laptop that I’m on right now.

[0:03:18.8] MN: My gosh.

[0:03:19.4] DA: This laptop is the single point of failure for all the other things in my life. It’s like okay, I could do a little bit more, I could distribute the trust a little better.

[0:03:30.9] MN: Right. You probably got a raspberry pie or something and then get that also in your machine that has the passwords too.

[0:03:37.0] DA: Yeah, or their services like off E2 which you can put your keys in there and encrypt them and back them up, which is like debatable if it’s a good idea but it’s a capability that’s available in addition to backup codes.

[0:03:51.1] MN: Right. Yeah, I think I did the really nerd thing a while ago when I was doing my security audit. They have that Yubico where you get the key that tells you whether it’s you or not.

[0:04:04.3] DA: That’s fun, yeah. 

[0:04:05.9] MN: I actually use – this is not training advice but I do invest in crypto because it’s fun and goes to the moon, right? I guess. The ledger device that I have actually is a universal two-factor device and I actually have it like hooked up. When I log into Google, it’s like, “Hey, could you unlock your device thing?” Yeah, cool, I’ll do that.

Which is really fun but the other day, I was far away from it and like thought I was stuck and unable to log in. Always be mindful of the other devices that you’re planning to log in and keep your secure things at.

[0:04:41.0] DA: Right, yeah. Yubico is great, having a physical key is so awesome but then, you got to figure out what that escape hatch is because if you don’t have it, then what do you do? My escape hatch was like okay, if I can’t generate the code then I’ll send the code to my phone where it’s like, my phone is dead, dead. I could get a new phone and then get a code and then go in but thankfully I didn’t need to do that, I was able to get through.

[0:05:09.6] MN: Man, check your security, make a mini security audit, it’s very important that you do that. I would go as far as far as asking, if you don’t have a password manager, have your organization get an account so that everyone in the organization can be secure and have decent passwords that are saved and in your vault.

We’re not getting paid for any of these promotions, so definitely do the research, figure out which one is best for you and your organization and ensure that your team is using it.

[0:05:40.2] DA: Yeah, I’m not getting paid for promotions but for VM, just going to use the wire cutter. They’ve done the research.

[0:05:45.0] MN: Yeah. Wirecutter is great. Wirecutter or password manager, I’m pretty sure you put that on Google and that will be good.

[0:05:50.9] DA: Yeah, cool. What else can you do in five minutes to make your life better?

[0:05:58.9] MN: I can do something in seven minutes. You can do the seven-minute workout, we were thinking if you’re sitting down in front of your computer for some time, I would suggest not. Try and get up, what is it? If you stand up for 20 seconds, look 20 feet away in 20 seconds, if you have a window, please look out of it and try to rest your eyes to do that but resting is important. Taking breaks is very important.

[0:06:26.0] DA: Yeah, I love that. Your exercise could just be to look at something else besides a screen, depending on your level of fitness.

[0:06:37.3] MN: Yeah, because you ask me, I bought the app, thinking I was going to get to it, I’ve invested money in it, of course I’m going to start the thing and that doesn’t happen, it rarely happens. A two-year-old is a lot of workout though. You got a two-year-old running around and needs diaper change and you got to lift them up, he’s like 25 pounds.

[0:06:56.0] DA: Deadlift, just deadlift two-year-old’s.

[0:07:00.3] MN: Just deadlift them all the time.

[0:07:02.4] DA: Yeah, there is one that I thought I was pretty good too that I haven’t done this yet but it’s on my goals. There’s seven-minute workout is awesome, I’ve done it but it’s kind of involved, there’s a lot of – there’s some props, there’s like, you got to get on the floor, they also have a standing seven-minute workout variation that I think maybe seems a little more practical for the day, I don’t feel like I would need to roll around on the ground at least.

[0:07:31.4] MN: Yeah.

[0:07:31.7] DA: That should be great. Yeah, we’re big proponents of Pomodoro too, so do 25 minutes of work, five minutes off, looking at something, doing an exercise. It is a small thing that you can do that chips away and before you know it, you’re going to be much better mental and physical wellbeing, you’ll be like self-actualized and completely ripped.

[0:08:00.8] MN: Exactly. I mean, Pomodoro is definitely, if you haven’t introduced it into your workstyle, I would suggest doing that. 25 five is great to get those breaks in, try to walk around in those five minutes. 50, 10 is famous, people like. If you feel like you hit the flow and you need more time then make sure you take those breaks and walk around, it’s very important for you to do that.

[0:08:24.2] DA: Totally. Another thing that just hit me today. I use a mechanical keyboard, one of the keys got stuck and I had not – I neglected any kind of maintenance of my keyboard. Really, my workstation in general for a very long time.

[0:08:44.0] MN: Yeah, you just wake up, you brush your teeth, you get ready for the day and then you just sit down and you start, right? I don’t know if you – like me, I’m not aware of the surrounding, we were starting to do the outline of this episode and mechanical keyboard cleaning is definitely one thing. The desk is a whole other thing I need to clean up. 

[0:09:05.1] DA: Yeah, I got all these post-its and index cards. I could really make it rain with the number of notes. 

[0:09:13.7] MN: It’s just getting these stuff, exactly. 

[0:09:15.2] DA: That are just very abstract. I don’t even – I don’t think that they even will make sense to me anymore. They’re just for a different person basically. 

[0:09:26.6] MN: Yeah, exactly. I mean past Dave would understand it very much like how past Dave did the security audit for you, so we need to thank past Dave. 

[0:09:34.5] DA: Past Dave is really on it taking notes and auditing security.

[0:09:38.8] MN: Exactly but we also have the question Past Dave, like does this sound notes taking right here? I don’t know, Past Dave thank you for all you do. We really appreciate it. 

[0:09:49.3] DA: Right, yeah maybe as a notebook. I don’t know all of these post-its but yeah, cleaning keyboard is a very simple thing you can do. You get that canned air, you just blast it, get a q-tip, get in there, swab it real quick. You could do it preventatively. I could have done preventatively for so long, although opening up my keyboard, it seemed like there is a lot more than prevention that was necessary because it was both sticky and greasy at the same time and it looked like a really gross bar of soap. I apologize, I should have lift then a content warning or something before describing that but – 

[0:10:27.3] MN: No, hopefully maybe in the future of a Patreon, this will be the recorded version when we watch you clean it like ASMR, I don’t know because that will probably make a whole lot of noise. 

[0:10:37.0] DA: No. Leah S., maybe if it’s just the audio version of it but like the video version will likely be the opposite of ASMR will give you nightmares but rest assured, my keyboard is looking a lot better. The key is still sticky, I got to work on that but you know, it will get there. 

[0:10:56.0] MN: Yeah, no. I mean, I myself I have a ton of index cards here like Dave mentioned. I’ve just been trying to rip them up, make them a little bit more clean. I don’t drink Monster but anyone who drink Monster, Red Bull, clean those cans out of the desk. You may get five cents if you return it back, that’s something if you are interested in that kind of recycling plant that’s there for you, I’m sure — but cleaning your desk and your workspace, just be a friendly reminder that that kind of cleanliness and picking that up goes a long way, right? 

[0:11:29.8] DA: Yeah and there is a mentality that I heard about this week that I really liked where basically there are things that you must do that are chores and I guess you could think about cleaning your desk or your keyboard as a chore or you can just have it be like, “Okay, when I start my day, I do this” and this is the ritual of how I start the day and by choosing to do that with deliberate practice, you can get it done and you mentioned earlier before you started recording about like kind of the digital side of cleaning your work station too. 

[0:12:09.1] MN: Yeah, I was thinking about one thing that I used to do was — every year, it was a little bit more mindful of changing the editor that I am going to use at the work that I do and I think that one of the things that forced me into that habit would have been going into an office or going into a different office would give me like that physical reminder, “Hey, I’m changing locations as a consultant to another place.” Maybe I will change my editor of choice for this particular client and see what we do. 

Yeah, I would say if you’re interested, I mean I know there’s a lot of people who use VIM and will never change from using VIM and I totally get it people. VIM is cool, it makes you much more of a better program than I am. 

[0:12:57.6] DA: I don’t know.

[0:12:58.2] MN: Yeah, if you’re not going to change your editor, you know maybe you want to change something about it like the styling or the color, right? VS Code has those, you can install those cool dev fonts that are pretty sweet. I actually try to Google a website that had a couple of free ones and we could probably put that in the shownotes but the idea like giving your environment, your digital environment like a boost or a refresh will probably be good. 

[0:13:26.1] DA: Right and I feel like there are certain things now I have set-up in my editor and I’ve definitely seen this with people who use VIM as well where like, there are certain pieces that you have slotted in like these Lego pieces and then something gets upgraded and then it stops working or something moves or something. 

It just breaks and falls apart so there’s like, you got to put a little bit energy into that system in order to keep it up and you know, keep it polished and question, “Does this plugin spark joy? Is it working? Should I just delete it or try something else?” see if there isn’t a new community plugin that’s available for whatever your language of choice is or your testing framework of choice. 

[0:14:18.0] MN: Right and just like you know, spicing up that can give you a different feel and boost of energy, you know? It may be a better editor or fuzzy finder or plugin or I know that is big in the VIM community, fuzzy finder plugin or whatever have you that exists out there that you just may have been accustomed to in your current work station that you may want to change. Change it up, spice up your life bro. Just switch it up a little bit, get some colors and like a new style. I try to install a new font, like these are cool. I like having color.

[0:14:52.6] DA: Change your desktop background, delete your downloads folder, I don’t know. 

[0:14:57.9] MN: Yeah, I know, just doing like your regular spring cleanup. Delete that docker image that you’re never going to use again that takes that space for no reason, right? Stuff like that. The digital environment I think should be treated no different than your physical one and ensuring that everything is up to date so you can do the work that you are tasked to do in the most efficient way possible is something that we should spend time to do. 

This is like I mentioned, a friendly reminder of fixing all the things. The last one I’m going to add is definitely, I need to drink more water because I don’t know if I drink enough water.

[0:15:37.0] DA: Yeah. 

[0:15:38.8] MN: That’s what I need to do. I got this little – my wife got me like a Harry Potter, I don’t know to spell so if you want to correct me on Twitter, feel free to do so but it’s the Aguamenti spell and then like it’s on the water bottle, so I mean it doesn’t refill when I cast it because I’m a muggle, right? But it actually tells you the amount of time you should be drinking water and I totally disrespect it but then I just chug it at 12 and then I chug it at six and it’s not helpful, so drink water. 

[0:16:05.7] DA: What is the effect of the Aguamenti spell? What is the pivotal scene? 

[0:16:09.9] MN: Well, I have no idea. I’m pretty sure it’s in the book, right? I’m going to get flamed. I have only watched the movies, never read the books and I’m sure the Aguamenti spell gives you water or makes water or makes it rain physically, I don’t know but drinking water is cool. You should drink water. If water is not your thing, I’m sure developers out there are drinking coffee, they’re drinking their Monster cans, their Red Bulls, their caffeinated drinks. Me, I’m going to try to stick to this Aguamenti bottle and see if I can stay hydrated. 

[0:16:40.5] DA: Yeah, stay hydrated, stay healthy. Now, we end the episode with Mike just chugging two litters of water. 

[0:16:47.2] MN: All right, ladies and gentleman, I’m trying to drink three hours’ worth of water, let’s go. 

[0:16:51.8] DA: Oh no, that’s too much. 

[0:16:54.1] MN: No, that’s way too much, I’ll probably – 

[0:16:55.8] DA: Okay, all right. 

[0:16:57.0] MN: Well, Aguamenti is a spell I guess, it’s a charm. A jet of clean drinkable water. I think if you Google Aguamenti, you actually get an image of the bottle that I’m referring to. I don’t have it promos, if you make that bottle, hit me up, I want to cut of money but yeah, water making spell. Drink water, be healthy, be well and I hope that these reminders were helpful to you. If you have any other reminders that we should be talking about, always hit us up. I try my best to be as active on Twitter as possible. 

[0:17:27.9] DA: Definitely, yeah. Let us know what other things we can do with five minutes to tune up our lives and be better developers. 


[0:17:37.0] MN: Follow us now on Twitter @radiofreerabbit so we can keep the conversation going. Like what you hear? Give us a five-star review and help developers like you find their way into The Rabbit Hole and never miss an episode, subscribe now however you listen to your favorite podcast. On behalf of our producer extraordinaire, William Jeffries and my amazing co-host, Dave Anderson and me, your host, Michael Nunez, thanks for listening to The Rabbit Hole.


Links and Resources:

Michael Nuñez on Twitter

Dave Anderson