Rey Bango

Web developer, honey badger

A Time for Change

For the last three and a half years, I’ve been privileged to work at the greatest software company in the world; Microsoft. During that time, I launched a standards-based web development site (scriptjunkie.com), worked with major product teams (Windows, Windows Phone & IE), partnered to launch initiatives that offered tremendous value to developers, represented MS at many events, and became the community bridge to the Internet Explorer team. I’ve learned a lot about building products, setting expectations, customer communications, and cross-org collaboration at a scale most haven’t experienced. It’s been challenging and rewarding.

But to me, the greatest thing about MS is working with amazing people. People who care deeply about what they build and enabling users to do great things with their products. It’s easy to look at MS as a big monolithic entity and forget that there are incredibly passionate people working there WHO GENUINELY CARE. I’ve seen this first hand. So much greatness.

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of it. They even allowed me to do it remotely. At a time when so many companies are reining in their remote employees under the guise of “better collaboration” (read: we don’t trust you), Microsoft gave me the opportunity to have an excellent job while not having to uproot my family, suffer insane commutes and maintain great work/life balance. And let’s not forget the world-class benefits which are the icing on the cake.

I would recommend this company to anyone in a heartbeat because they truly care about their employees.

When Opportunity Knocks…

Even when things are going great, life sometimes throws you another option that you simply have to explore. And that’s what happened to me.

Beginning December 2nd, I will be taking on a leadership role in Telerik’s Developer Relations team working to create a unified developer outreach strategy for the company along with relevant and consistent outbound messaging for Telerik’s growing product lines. These products span enterprise and web audiences helping them target:

  • Desktop Development
  • Web apps
  • Mobile
  • Collaboration
  • Software Testing
  • Content Management

and are complemented with services and support that help upramp customers quickly and make them successful. With 800+ employees and 11 offices worldwide, Telerik is well-positioned to continue to innovate quickly and offer new solutions as the industry evolves.

It’s a career opportunity that I’m incredibly excited about especially with a company that has an established track record of success and growth while maintaining a start-up, agile culture. That I already knew plenty at folks at Telerik (some former-Softies I worked with and many others from the conference circuit) and all raved about the company made my decision substantially easier. And the fact that they embrace the remote-work culture really helped seal the deal. So on to the next stage in my career.

My last day at Microsoft will be December 1st. Thank you Microsoft for a fantastic 3+ years.

And welcome Telerik, I look forward to contributing to your continued success.

Which Online Backup Service Should I Use?

I already do backups locally but I really would like to consider a cloud-based backup service. So I wanted to reach out to the community to see who is using what and what’s been really good to work with. Normally I’d put this on Twitter but organizing all of the feedback, along with regular tweets, becomes a bit crazy and the comments are better for future reference.

So which online backup services should I consider?

Random Thought: When Was the Last Time You Took a Step Back and Appreciated the Internet?

As I was tweeting back and forth with my online buddies, I kind of had a moment where I just looked at the screen in utter amazement of the fact that I’m able to communicate so easily with so many people all over the world. Setting aside all of the web pages we look at, code we build, videos we see..isn’t it just amazing that a set of cables (obviously a lot of them) allow our thoughts to go from one end of the planet to another at incredible speed?

Seriously, take a step back and consider your IM chat or your Skype call or even a tweet. Think about the fact that every keystroke and every data bit somehow gets to where it needs to go. That’s just damn impressive. I think back 32 years ago when I was 10 years old having to get up to change a channel on a TV or using a paper map to figure out how to get to a vacation spot. Now, our phones can accurately pinpoint our location and find the nearest eatery for a great meal. Amazing!

I know the younger guys & gals may not be able to relate. You guys grew up with much of this stuff so it’s just normal to you. For me, this is some really cool and amazing stuff and I truly hope that every now and then, you take a step back and just appreciate the wonder that is the Internet.

Which is Your Primary Browser?

I did a REALLY informal poll on Twitter to see which browser people consider their primary browser. I’ve listed the results below. The “Browsing” category is what I consider results for a “primary” browser in terms of general day-to-day use while “Development” is the primary browser used to build web applications or help you in your job:

Browsing:

Firefox: 9
Chrome: 25
Safari: 10
IE: 2 (including @getify)
Opera: 1

Development:

Firefox: 10
Chrome: 0
Safari: 0
IE: 1

Again, this was a totally unscientific and informal poll but the results were surprising. I would’ve expected Firefox to be ahead of Chrome & Safari in the “Browsing” category, especially since add-ons are such a huge benefit. I know that Chrome for Windows now has extensions but nowhere near the number of add-ons Firefox offers & their currently not available on Chrome for Mac or Linux. I guess it may not be too off base considering that most of the people that follow my Twitter account would be considered advanced users who tend to be early adopters. I remember Firefox going through the same adoption process with techies leading the charge.

Unsurprisingly, Firefox still rules the roost when it comes to a development browser. Add-ons like Firebug, Web Developer Toolbar, TamperData & ColorZilla really make a HUGE difference in getting work done. Other browsers are catching up (Safari Web Inspector & Developer Tools for Google Chrome) so it’ll be interesting to see how that evolves.

NewEgg.com Totally Redeems Themselves

I posted the other day about my disappointment in NewEgg.com for what I felt was a lack of genuine interest in my problem with the way my order was packaged. I felt that I was doing the right thing by contacting them to explain how my package arrived in the hopes that it could improve their service but ultimately, it felt like it fell on deaf ears. NewEgg is a pretty big company and I honestly didn’t expect much to happen from my post. It was a venting session mainly.

So yesterday, out of the blue, I get a phone call Mike Paulus, NewEgg’s Customer Service Operational Support Manager, as well as Kerrigan Hodnett, a director at NewEgg. Woah! Quite unexpected!

We talked for about 20 minutes during which both were very apologetic for the service I had received and the lack of attention to my concerns. What struck me was that they took the time to look me up in their database to get my contact info, read through my chat transcript with the rep (ensuring they had a complete picture) and actually called me to ensure that my concerns were addressed and to let me know that they valued me as a customer. I didn’t ask them to do it. I didn’t request to speak to a manager. They just did it!

This is really what customer service is about and I can’t remember the last time a company, especially the size of NewEgg, took the time to reach out to me about a problem. I’m still very much astonished by this but I’m very thankful that Mike & Kerrigan took the time to contact me. It really does speak volumes about the type of business that NewEgg is & how they care for their customers.

NewEgg.com Disappointment

I let a lot of things slide mainly because I’ve been around enough to know some things are beyond your control. But today, the folks at NewEgg.com disappointed me. I’ve ordered plenty of PC gear from them and they’re generally very good. So when I saw the following, I was surprised to say the least:

box1

box2

The fact that the box was all messed up, while not a good situation, didn’t really concern me because NewEgg always does a great job of packing stuff to prevent damage. They also have very good customer service so if something got lost, I’m sure they would’ve replaced it.

What did bother me was the following:

box-packagin

That is just a terrible packing job and in my opinion is a sign of pure laziness. How the heck would anyone feel it’s okay to stick in a bunch of packing, lay the ordered product on the top of it and just close the box?! That’s a recipe for disaster. Having worked at UPS when I was younger, I know how packages are handled and that is NOT the best way to ensure something goes undamaged. Very disappointing.

When I spoke to a customer service rep about all of this, I have to say that I just got the feeling that it wasn’t a concern to them. She did offer me a $5 credit but really wasn’t interested in getting the pics that I took until I pressed her on it.

I just hope this isn’t a sign of things to come since it’s one of my favorite sites to purchase equipment from.

Update: I received a call from NewEgg the next day and they’ve totally redeemed themselves.

Songza.com is Impressive

There are few sites that impress nowadays with copy-cats sprouting up everywhere. Songza.com, on the other hand, has taken a very cool approach to finding and listening to music.

It has a very slick and easy “Search Engine” style interface where you can enter an artist or song, get results and instantly listen to your favorite music.

Songza is the brainchild of 23-year-old Aza Raskin — the president of Chicago-based software company Humanized, Inc., and the son of Apple Macintosh founder Jef Raskin. Over the course of a month, he and Humanized's Web/Systems Architect Scott Robbin worked weekends to bring the idea to life. The site launched on November 8, 2007 and instantly generated significant buzz around the world. Hundreds of bloggers and news writers have praised its elegant user interface, beautiful design, and all-around utility.

This site is really worth taking a look at. Check it out at Songza.com.

Pownce API Released.

The Pownce team released version 1 of the Pownce API yesterday. The API allows for various methods of retrieving Pownce-related data such as notes, users or fans and allows for return data to be formatted as XML or JSON. Since the API will be evolving quickly, the team has also taken the added step of providing versioning for requests to ensure a level of backward compatibility when a new version of the Pownce API is released. Features soon to follow include:

  • More response formats.
  • Authentication via OAuth.
  • APIs for posting notes.
  • APIs for getting friends-only and private notes.

In addition, a new Fan Project page has been created to allow new projects to be featured. There's currently one application on the page, iPownce (Pownce for iPhone), but undoubtedly this page will fill up quickly.

To get the latest news about the API, be sure to sign-up to the PownceAPI Google group.

Mashable posts huge list of web development resources

Mashable.com is best known for their up-to-minute reporting on trendy websites and social networking news. Along with their standard news, they regularly make posts that list out great resources for different web technologies. Well, it looks like Mashable's Sean P. Aune spent the whole weekend on a new post because he's listed out 250+ tools and resources for coding the web.

While many of the sites will certainly be familiar to you, there's sure to be plenty of new reading material and tools for all to enjoy. I personally had never heard of Load Info – Gif Generator, a site providing Ajax indicators, and I'm sure I'll find even more great sites as I scan all 250 listings.

Included are links for Ajax, CSS, ActionScript and JavaScript tools as well as sites catering to server-side technologies.

Younger developers are better & faster?

In one of my recent posts on Ajaxian, I wrote about a 15-year old developer that created an impressive web-based client for Second Life. I was truly amazed at how young people are becoming more proficient in technology and especially application development.

In a recent comment, though, I was a bit taken aback by something that another developer said:

i am 18 and already worked for a company(as a web developer) for 2 years,i start working when i was 15 in tripcart.com,too bad i need to go to the army(i live in Israel).

The age doesn't matter,it is the skills that matter,and young people get things faster,it is the same as a kid can learn a language(a natural one) very fast compared to a older person.

In the last paragraph, Uriel Katz states that “young people get things faster”. Huh?!

Now, I do agree that young people have the fire to learn something new and for many developers, that's something that seems to slowly diminish as they get older. But the assertion that young developers get work done faster is a bit far fetched. Having worked in IT for almost 20 years now, I've seen my fair share of young bucks that have been not only slow but extremely sloppy in their work. I also feel that experience counts for quite a bit when developing applications.

What's your take on this?

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