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The little things matter: fortune | cowsay

$ brew install fortune
$ brew install cowsay
$ fortune | cowsay
/ Retirement means that when someone says \
| "Have a nice day", you actually have a  |
\ shot at it.                             /
        \   ^__^
         \  (oo)\-------
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

via Niklas Eire Granström


Change what you can change

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 – 1971)

Life is full of problems. Haven’t you notice? You can spent you’re whole energy and creativity on fixing them.

Here are a few examples that you might encounter as a programmer:

  • Your team does not test code
  • You want to use Git but everyone else just feels fine with SVN
  • No department speaks to another one
  • Scrum sucks

I had quite a hard time trying to fix all these things only a few years ago. It was quite impossible for me to “fix” these things in my team.

Do not try to change people

This is my advice: Do not try to change people.

It sounds simple. But it isn’t easy to do it.

Start with yourself

Here are a few examples:

Example 1: Everyone else uses SVN and you want to use GIT

What you can change today is use git-svn. It is not perfect, but you can commit as often as you like, squash commits and only push quality code into SVN.

You don’t have to ask anyone. Just do it. Be patient and wait. Someday some other colleagues might use GIT. Tell them about git-svn. Before long you all might use GIT.

Example 2: Your team does not test code

And what about you? Do you really test-drive or test code? No? Then why not start now. You don’t have to ask for permission. If you believe it’s what professionals do then do it. Today.

If there is a point to testing, then someone might notice. If there is no point to testing you might notice.

Example 3: The deparments do not speak to each other

Speak to another department. Invite a colleague that you don’t know to lunch. Are you willing to do this? Are you willing to do this weekly?

Are there colleagues that might be willing to do it? Can they join you? Ask them :)

Is there a question in your daily work, that only another department can answer? So why dont you not ask them?

This is something that you can do. Today.

Why is this more effective?

You can act now on these problems now.

You do not have to ask for permission to change yourself.

Why waste any energy on stuff that you can not do? It is absurd to change, if you think about it. It shows a lack of trust into your fellow programmers and why should they follow you? You are not doing it yourself?

Change yourself

The things that you can not accept in others, are a mere reflection of you. You can not accept them, because you haven’t come to terms with yourself.

Try to change yourself.

You might not change the “situation” at all — but you will stop to be the victim. You will feel much better and in the end you might be surprised, that the problem just disolves over time.

After a few of these experiences you might even notice, that the biggest problem might have been you’re perception of the “situation”.

This is for the brave

Do not forget that changing oneself is only for the brave. It hurt’s to see that all the bad things that we think “others” do, we do on our own.

Forgive yourself and through forgiving yourself, come to terms with others.

Beautiful isn’t it?

Do you know the difference between a good working place and a great one?


Everyone cares. Not only management!

Everyone brings in his or her unique talents.

People challenge each other to become better human beings.

Culture patterns: Serve hot beverages

You think you’re company culture is bad? You feel stuck? You feel managment should fix it?

Sorry to say it: Managment can not fix culture.

A good (company) culture is build upon many little acts of mutual respect.

It is your responsibility to seed respect and trust from below.

In this series I want to show you how it can be done.

A can of tea

Let’s start with a simple act of mutual respect.

You and your colleagues are probably drinking tea or coffee every day. Since you prepare a hot beverage daily anyway, why not transform it into a vehicle for changing the situation?

A can with hot tea has the power to change company culture

When to use this pattern?

  • Departments/people do not talk to each other
  • Everyone works in isolation
  • There is no synergy between departments/people
  • You wish for more openness and humbleness
  • It is cold outside
  • You yourself drink tea or coffee

How to do it

Cook a pot of tea or coffee every day, grab a few cups and serve them to your colleagues.

Exchange a few words every day. Listen.

After they have received there share, the last cup is for you. It will taste delicious.

Do not start with people, that you do not respect yet.

Start in your immediate surrounding (your team).

When you feel save enough, offer the beverage to another team.

Start with the friendly people you know there. Then include all the “neutral” persons.

When you feel comfortable doing that expand your circle even further. Maybe to the department/team that you understand the least. Or to the colleague that you have absolutely no respect for.

Keep going

In the beginning you might encounter resistance. Both internal and external.

People might ask themselves why the hell is she doing it?

Or you might find, that the offer does not come from your heart at some days. Reflect on this. Why do you expect mutual respect, without respecting the other person.

Do not expect anything in return. Do not stop, because nothing seems to change.


People will start to open up. And even if they don’t: You will open up and feel at home at other departments.

Sounds naive?

Seems like a thing a lovely old lady would do.

Consider this: You feel respected at here table. You don’t start a heated debate over nonsense. And she will feel great as well.

You know it.

Change you’re workplace — one cup at a time. It is that simple.

breeze – Virtual wind chimes

Rain, thunderstorms, the gurgle of a stream — I love to listen to nature to calm down.

I used to use ordinary recordings, but I recently found something better: breeze.

breeze is a collection of virtual wind chimes. You can select the chime that you like the most (i prefer bamboo), select a nature sound and enjoy the chime in action on the screen of your iOS device.

breeze is great. If you are into nature sounds as well, give it a try.

How I fix persistent typos

Sometimes I feel really stupid. I have repeat the same typos over and over and over again.

Take “tapas” for example — I type “tappas” instead. Consistently.

So here’s my fix for these kind of situations:

I add a TextExpander snippet that replaces my typo with the proper spelling.

I am not certain if this is the best way of doing it — but this is the first solution that works for me..

Resize panes in VIM with your arrow-keys

It’s worth to write about your learning’s. Even if they seem small.

Recently I turned of my arrow keys in VIM and blogged about it.

After reading my article Philipp Fehre suggested, that I could take this a step further and use the arrow keys for resizing panes.

So I went ahead and copied the following 5 lines from his .vimrc:

" Make arrowkey do something usefull, resize the viewports accordingly
nnoremap <Left> :vertical resize +5<CR>
nnoremap <Right> :vertical resize -5<CR>
nnoremap <Up> :resize +5<CR>
nnoremap <Down> :resize -5<CR>

Phil was right! This is a great way of resizing panes.

You are your own master

During the last years I realized that I play victim all the time. So I try to actively avoid this.

Let me explain what I mean by that. Every morning I walk to our local train station. Often the train will not arrive on time.

In the past I was angry and unrelaxed, waiting for the train on the same spot. I also complained to my colleagues about the stupidity of the train system.

Here is the problem: getting angry will change nothing. The train will still come late.

Here’s what I do now, if the train comes late or if I missed it.

I use the time to walk. It’s much better and I am not pissed that much. I am doing something meaningful and am not letting someone else waste my time.

Let me phrase it differently: I am not wasting my time.

If you look at all the instances, where someone else makes you miserable, there’s a good chance that you make yourself miserable.

You are the master of your own life. If you choose to.

If you realize this simple fact, you can turn almost any situation. Do not excuse yourself by pointing to other people.

Changing your life — there’s an app for that

I try to get rid of bad habits and to introduce benefitial behaviors. On a stressfull day however, it’s hard to stick to all my resolutions. 2 months ago I have found a solution that works really well for me: Lift.

The basic idea

You start by feeding all youre good resolutions into Lift. Every day you check off all the one’s that you achieved. This makes it very transparent, what you did and help’s you to not forget your commitments to yourself.


Lift has the concepts of streaks. If I did something for 5 days for example this is a 5 day streak.

For me this works great. I would not think about breaking my 66 day Lumosity streak for example.


On Lift you get support (“props”) from other people. There are some pretty remarkable guys on Lift, that get a ton of stuff done every day.

This got even better, when my colleagues joined in. It’s amazing to work on habits together and receive positive energy all the time. My colleageus and I also founded a group to work on some habits together.


Lift is the most important app in my life. It helps me to transforming myself.

I have over 30 commitments to myself in Lift. Common wisdom says that this is totally bananas. The amazing thing however is that, on a normal day, I finish most of them.

I am really grateful for this app. I think you should give it a try as well.

If you like Lift — and I am sure you will — become my friend!

The awesomeness tool-chain

I have an awesomeness tool-chain — command line tools, that increase my productivity dramatically. In this blog post I want to introduce you to these powerful tools.


$>  echo "I love strawberries" | cowsay
 < I love strawberries >
          \   ^__^
           \  (oo)\&#95;&#95;&#95;&#95;&#95;&#95;&#95;
              (__)\       )\/\
                  ||----w |
                  ||     ||


If you like ponies and colors more – I understand. Depends on the use case really. I found ponies way more effective if you want to communicate something that could trigger bad feelings.

sl – The ls for pros

I often mistype ls. Gone are the days were this was boring. I just lean back and enjoy the show. Steam Locomotives are a big part of being awesome.


If you are as new to programming as me you need help, when someone asks you for you’re opinion.

Fortune produces profound answers to all kind of questions you did not even ask.

$ fortune
I am the mother of all things, and all things should wear a sweater.

$ fortune
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.
    -- Andy Finkel, computer guy


Being awesome requires a special tool-chain. Having ponies and quotes at your disposal is essential. I think you should give this a try.

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