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Taking care of yourself

Hi everyone,

A little over two months ago I tripped in my living room. I knew immediately that something bad had happened because the pain in my foot was unlike anything I had ever felt before. Surprisingly, nothing was broken or fractured, but I did have a severe sprain that swelled my foot up to twice its normal size. And then I panicked: how am I going to work?

I've been working from home for the past year and a half due to the severity of my Lyme disease symptoms. I stand to use the computer because sitting in a desk chair causes pain in my neck. Now I was to be off my feet for at least six weeks (zero weight bearing) and had to keep my foot elevated most of the day. I went through scenario after scenario trying to figure out how to keep working. After all, if Lyme hadn't prevented me from working, why should this?

After a couple days, though, it was obvious that working was out of the question. This caused me a lot of emotional trauma - all I've had for the past year and a half was my work to keep me company, and faced with the prospect of not having that, I got depressed. I pictured myself lying around in my recliner binge watching Netflix everyday and I weeped for that version of me.

Ultimately, I decided to take a six-week medical leave. I'm in the fortunate position that I didn't have to worry about losing part of my salary during that time, and my mom stayed with me to help manage everything. It turned out this was the best decision I'd made in recent memory. Once the initial pain and discomfort subsided, the extra rest reinvigorated my mind. Whereas I was previously having trouble finding things to write about, ideas just started flowing into my mind. I became a voracious reader and ended up getting my finances better organized as a result. I came up with the idea for this newsletter! My medical leave turned out to be a transformative moment in my life in a number of positive ways.

So I'll leave you with this: Technology is fun and exciting, but be sure you're taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Step away from it all every once in a while and relax. It will all still be there when you get back.

Be well.

-N
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Recommended Links

An Interview with U.S. Chief Technology Office Megan Smith (article)
Under President Obama, the United States established a CTO position to help guide the country with regards to technology. In this interview, Megan Smith (formerly of Google) talks about her role in the government, how technology is changing everything, and how to encourage more women to pursue STEM careers. Vinton G. Cerf

Incremental DOM (project)
React introduced us to the concept of virtual DOMs and DOM diffing for performant updating of browser-based UIs. Incremental DOM is an evolution of that idea that does away with the virtual DOM but still provides DOM diffing for efficient updating of UIs. By eliminating the intermediate data, Incremental DOM minimizes memory usage and garbage collection. A very interesting approach to solving this problem. Google

Google+: A Case Study on App Download Interstitials (article)
You've seen it before - you go to a site and get an overlay telling you about the fantastic mobile application that this site offers. Few people enjoy this experience, but the Google+ team decided to do some actual research on it. They found that 69% of mobile users didn't download the app and also didn't continue on to the mobile Google+ site. As a result, the interstitial was removed. If you're looking for ammunition to remove an interstitial, this research is invaluable. David Morell

Recommended Book

The Tao of Pooh is one of my favorite all-time books. As you may have guessed, it has nothing to do with technology at all. Instead, it's an exploration of simplicity vs. complication through the teaching of taoist principles. What makes it fun is that these lessons are taught by using the characters and stories of Winnie the Pooh. It's a delightful read that reminds you to that sometimes, simplicity is the right choice...which is probably why I've read this at least four times in my adult life.

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