I have been a software developer for many years now, and for the last 5 years, I’ve been working remotely 100% of the time. What does this mean? It means I’ve been working primarily from home, but it doesn’t mean I’m always home; instead I try to balance my time between multiple places inside my house AND more importantly, I go out and about when I can and when the weather permits it.

Working from a place other than your home is essential in my opinion, having a different environment, a different view, and a different location to code is stimulating, and if I might say it, empowering and motivating too. Many times I will walk outside my home and just pick a random direction, but I’m lucky to live in Seattle (just moved here recently) where I know I’ll find a coffee shop (and a good one that is) in almost every block.

What happens if you don’t live in the city you might ask, well, the majority of my time as a remote software engineer I lived in the suburbs of Austin, TX. Of course, my options were much limited than now, but none the less, I was always able to get in my car and drive to a coffee shop or any other place with a good WiFi and simple food and beverages at reasonable prices, like Panera Bread for example.

OK, so enough about my own experiences and on with the tips. Below is a list of things that will help you be more successful when working outside of your home, at a coffee shop, at the airport, at a restaurant, etc.

Here’s what you are looking for

  • Portable power
    • This is by far the most essential item to have, never assume that your laptop or tablet will have enough power to last as long as you need. Invest in a portable battery that can charge both your laptop and other devices such as your phone or tablet. Personally, I use an Anker portable battery, and it is enough to fully charge my laptop once + my phone.
  • Good headphones (ideally noise canceling + mic)
    • Why? Well, as a programmer I need to focus on my code, and public places tend to be full of noise. While I don’t use them all of the time, they are definitely a handy item to have when working outside of your home and in a noisy environment. Also, if you collaborate with other people, make sure to get headphones that include a mic so you can have a conversation with your team when needed. I use the Bose QuietComfort headphones, and while they aren’t cheap, they were a good investment for me.
  • A good cell phone plan (with unlimited data preferably)
    • I cannot say this enough, you need to make sure you can provide yourself with a good, fast AND secure internet connection to your laptop or tablet when working outside of your home. Yes, nowadays coffee shops and most public spaces do offer free WiFi, but most of the times the speed and the security of these WiFi connections is questionable. If the free WiFi at your local coffee shop is enough for you then fine, but for me, it is not. I recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile which has an unlimited data plan (and it even works internationally!). It costs me less per month, and it works much better for my family and me. I often turn on my Personal Hotspot to share my data connection with my laptop, it has saved me from poor free WiFi connections many times.
  • A newer laptop/tablet
    • While it isn’t required of course, with a more modern device you’ll benefit from the longer battery life, and while you’ll want to carry a portable battery, it is still a good idea to have a laptop or tablet that has a great battery life, if possible. I recently got a Microsoft Surface Book 2 from work and the battery life is pretty good. Tablets in general also enjoy a great battery life as many other light laptops do such as the MacBook Air, etc.
  • A great backpack
    • This is important, while any backpack will do to carry your laptop, portable battery, multiple charges, and other cables, headphones, etc. I do recommend getting something that can help you organize these items quickly and also comfortably. I have been using this backpack for a few years, and while small, it can carry all of my devices, a 15″ laptop, an iPad Pro, a mirrorless camera and a Kindle along with my cables, portable battery, and a few other things. The backpack is compact and very comfortable, and this is the reason I like it. I can walk for miles with it, and it doesn’t bother me, and at the same time, it’s small enough to place it by my feet anywhere I land. It also fits perfectly under airplane seats.

This is all folks, these are the most important things I can think of that has helped me be very productive while working remotely and outside of my home. If you have other tips, please share them below in the comments.

Last week I attended a tech conference where I learned about Azure Functions. This new service from Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, is something that got me interested. Microsoft is promoting this new service as a server-less option for simple APIs, triggers, notifications, and anything that you can think of that can be processed by a function, regardless of the programming language used.

It’s worth mentioning that just like with any other cloud service or feature, Azure Functions isn’t the solution for everything. However,  Azure Functions are really helpful in supporting your application without the need to provision a new full-featured API, servers, etc.

In this blog post, I will show you an example of an Azure function that serves as an API endpoint, returning text from a simple call to it. (more…)

Prerequisites

Getting Started

In this tutorial, you’ll set up your Mac to do development using .NET Core and Azure. The tutorial also shows you the new and powerful .NET Core Command Line Interface (CLI) Tools.

After you have installed the .NET Core SDK and Visual Studio for Mac, open a terminal window and type the following:

$ cd /users/

$ cd users/yourusername/projects

$ mkdir samplereactapp 

$ cd samplereactapp

The above commands will do the following: browse to the Mac user’s Projects directory and create a new directory to place the react app that we are about to create.

.NET Core CLI

.NET Core’s Command Line Interface (CLI) is very powerful, it allows you to do a lot without leaving the command line which allows for the fast and straightforward creation of these projects. Double-check your current directory is the new directory you’ve created, in our example this is samplecreateapp. 

To make sure the .NET Core was correctly installed, type dotnet –info in the terminal, you should see output that looks like this:

.net core CLI

Once you have confirmed that you have all the needed prerequisites, let’s continue to build the React web app. (more…)

google adsenseHow to monetize your blog? When you’ve had a blog for a while with plenty of content and visitors, one of the options you have it to monetize it is displaying ads.

You care about your site and your content, and you should care about the ads you choose to show in your website.

Google AdSense offers relevant ads and it gives you control over the look and the position of these ads.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use AdSense to monetize your blog. (more…)

In this blog post, I will show you how to remove the date from your WordPress blog posts without losing traffic. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform out there, it is widely used not just for blogs but also for full featured websites by professionals and businesses. One of the reasons of its popularity is that you can get a simple blog started within minutes. There are a multitude of free plugins and themes available to you to help you create and launch your blog in a short amount of time.

One of the most common mistakes people new to WordPress do when starting a blog is to leave the default permalink option. The default permalink option often includes a post id or the date and name of a post. While the date and name of post isn’t the worst option, it is also not the best one if you care about search engine optimization (SEO). (more…)

Writing is not easy and there is always room for improvement. Attracting an audience is also hard and it takes time. Here are some of the things that have worked for me in the past few years, I hope they can be useful for you too.

  1. Focus on longform articles. People are starting to get overwhelmed with the shortform content abundant in social media. Finding well-written long-form articles is becoming a rarity and so it is becoming scarce and thus valuable.
  2. Use tools to improve your writing. Applications like the Hemingway Editor can help your writing to be more readable. Grammar and spell-checking only go so far, you want your posts to be easy to read and understand.
  3. Write about topics that can stand the test of time. Your posts should be relevant today and 5 years from now. Avoid writing about the hot/popular topics of the day. Also, if your blog platform and/or theme allows it, remove the date from your posts and URLs.
  4. Write for you and not an audience. If what you write is good for you, it will be for other people. This is also a great way to get over writer’s block. Most of my blog posts are a way for me to learn and remember what I’ve learned. Reading and taking notes about specific items you find interesting can also give you an abundant source of things to write about.
  5. Take part in popular blogs and websites by adding smart comments and points of view. Make sure your blog address is part of your profile. People do notice when someone has smart things to say or unique point of views. And, they’ll want to know more about you and your own writing as well.

Hope this is useful to you. If you like this article please subscribe to my newsletter and share it with your friends.