Creating a Chef Cookbook

In May, I wrote a cookbook for the s3ninja project and wanted to share how I go about writing application cookbooks. This cookbook is primarily used to test another project that I’m working on, tram. In the tram cookbook, I include this cookbook for use in the cookbook integration tests, so this is an interesting use case for an application that can stand on its own as well as be included in an application stack. Read On →

How I Work

I love reading the how-i-work posts on life hacker. They aren’t the first to do that sort of series, but I love the mix of writers, industry leaders, software engineers and designers that contribute to it. With that, this is my contribution. Current gig: Software Engineer Location: Centerville, Ohio, USA Current mobile device: Google Glass, Samsung S4, Nexus 10 Current computer: Apple Macbook Pro, System76 Ratel Performance One word that best describes how you work: Furiously Read On →

Amazon, you've got competition

tl;dr I’m using a Chromecast and the Google Play store to purchase and rent movies instead of Amazon Prime Instant Video. This is a change from what I’ve been doing and unless Amazon makes it easier, faster or cheaper, they’ll probably continue to loose business from me. A few months ago I picked up a Nexus 10. I love it, it is great. A few weeks ago I made my first non-app purchase in the play store, some movies to watch on a flight to SFO. Read On →

ElasticServices 1.0.0 RC1

A few days ago I pushed a project up to Maven central called Elastic Services. This library provides a protocol buffer based framework for creating self coordinating asynchronous services. This is an early release candidate and I’m very interested in getting feedback.

Smart Things

I’ve been playing around with Smart Things and wrote a few small applications for it. These are pretty specific to my needs (and my house), but demonstrate how easy it is to write custom applications for the platform. This first application is used to turn the office lights on when I’m home and there is activity in the office. It makes use of a motion sensor in the office, a zwave lightswitch that I installed in the room and a presense sensor that I have on my keychain. Read On →

Using BitTorrent Sync, GPG and Linode for secure messaging and storage

There has been a lot of discussion lately on the state of privacy. I’m not going to comment on whether or not people who assumed that there was some notion of privacy and security between ISPs were right or wrong; I can only look at what has been made very clear and proven. With that, I’ve been reading different opinions on things like lavabit and spider oak and how they compare to existing storage services like Hightail, dropbox, etc. Read On →


When Google Chrome was released, it had some really cool features and abilities. Over the years support for hangouts, native extensions, Google made extensions for Google Apps, the javascript engine used and the improvements made to it to support the chromebook have made it a truly awesome browser. In the meantime, the folks at Mozilla have really stepped up to make Firefox equally great. Hardware accelerated graphics, many improvements in memory consumption and management, enthusiastic support for privacy, safety and security and a huge base of extensions has made me want to go back. Read On →

How I Interview

At Blizzard I had a reputation for being tough during interviews. I was the guy who would ask for additional time with a candidate and could easily spend 2 to 3 hours with someone. I don’t claim to be perfect at it, but I do have a system that I think works and works pretty well for interviewing people for technical positions. Coniser this blog post version 1.0.0 of Nick’s Technical Interview Guide. Read On →

My style doesn't matter

It’s official, I’m no longer with Blizzard and started with the company YouSendIt. I’m really excited to be working with the FoundApp team doing some very awesome things that I’m sure that I’ll be able to talk about soon ™. Until then, I’ve just got the one takeaway: my coding style doesn’t matter. If you’ve worked with me in the past or have dug through my open source projects on GitHub, you know that I’m a big advocate of normalizing coding standards and style. Read On →

Arch Linux

I switched over to Arch from Ubuntu and love it. Being a fan of Gentoo (and Slackware back in the day), I really appreciate the minimialistic nature of the OS and the powerfull package management system, pacman. The base install was pretty quick, but I had to do some extra research to get wifi working during the install process. The documentation was kinda thin there. I installed only what I immediately use and the base install is pretty light and fast. Read On →