Needed: Three (+) Way Audio Recording Software

We are looking for a three-way (or four-way/five-way/etc…) audio recording software which provides individual tracks for each person on the recording.

Splitting all the tracks is empowering for podcast editors, but I won’t get into why in this article.

Today we ran a test with this other companies software and the results of our three person recording was as follows:

This doesn’t solve the split track recording because all three voices are on the same track. Also, the track is stereo for reasons I don’t understand. Why not just make it mono when both sides of the track are the same?

I used Audacity to generate an example of what we are looking for:

This assumes that we aren’t interrupting/ speaking over each other. If we were speaking over each-other, the wave lengths (bumpy blue lines) would be on the same vertical.

That’s the problem folks! Anyone know software that solves it?

Applying to Automattic

In this article I tell the story of when I was applying to Automattic. They are, in my opinion, the coolest technology company in the world.

Step #1 – The Application

I applied via email with a resume attached on June 25th, 2018 at 15:13 PST. The specific position I was after is ‘Code Wrangler’. The email functioned as what would be traditionally called a ‘cover letter’. In the email I answered the following questions:

  • Tell us some details about an interesting programming problem you’ve worked on. What made it interesting?
  • How do you use our products or their competitors’? How would you improve one of them?
  • What questions do you have for us?

I sent the email and a moment later I received what must be an automated response.

The email explained that Automattic receives a lot of applications so I should not expect to receive a response swiftly. They provided some links to learn more about WordPress. They linked to:

Step #2 – The Additional Questions

On  July 4th, 2018 I received an email from one of the hiring folks at Automattic with additional questions.

  • Why did you apply to Automattic?
  • What do you like about software development?
  • How did you get into it?
  • What’s your favourite thing you’ve worked on? What experience do you have with testing (unit/integration/regression)?
  • Can you share a story about a time you’ve worked with someone to solve a problem
  • How did you approach it and who did what?

Though the questions were attached in a .txt document, the next step was to go to their document site and fill in my responses there.

I’m fairly confident that I filled my answers into that document that day, but I didn’t hear back for a while.

On July 23rd, I followed up via an email to double check that the Automattician had actually received my responses. It had been 19 days and I hadn’t heard anything. That email didn’t get responded to either. After I didn’t hear back for a week, I assumed I had made a terrible error in my response questions and would never hear back from them again.

Luckily, I did hear back….

Step #3 – Slack Chat

I heard back from Automattic 35 days later on August 8th, 2018 via email. The Automattician explained that based on my answers, they would like to set up a Slack chat within the week. In the email there was a link to another web application with a calendar.

The Automattician lives in Australia so the avaliable times were between 5pm and midnight. This works great for me because I like to stay up late and work.

I selected a few times that worked well for me. Again, I didn’t hear back until the last day of the three days that I selected. None-the-less, I’m excited to experience the Automattic Slack chat.

The Slack Chat Happened

Our Slack chat happened. Here are some details of what happened…

I asked,  “From what you’ve seen in my response to the technical questions, what would you suggest I dive into learning next? Is there a book or specific resource that you think would be good for me to dive into?”

Cpt. Automattican suggested the following resources:

I’ve always had the intuition that this was the best way to get a job at Automattic anyways.

They are a company that is growing quickly and need people who know how to do the work. Contributing to WordPress means doing that work. Therefore, people who do the work get hired.

On a final note, there was an ominous message calmly relayed by Cpt. Automattician. He mentioned, “we aren’t in a position to take on junior or mid-level developers, which is something I am working on changing, but that limits us.” This was in response to me asking, “what is the bottle neck in Automattics capacity to scale?” I’m guessing I’d be generous to call myself a mid-level developer at this point. With luck, I don’t know my own power!

Stand-by fellow reader! Cpt. Automattician has promised to get back to me within the next day or two.

The Interview Follow-up

“Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. After carefully reviewing your application and our interview, we will not be moving forward to the next stage. We don’t think that your skills and experience are a match for this position at this time.”

This isn’t a huge surprise for me. I’ve become moderately good at computer programming over the past few years, but I have a long way to go.

Of course, I’ll never give up. A few months from now, I’m confident my new skills will bring me to a new opportunity. 

For now… that is the end of this chapter. Thank you for reading. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Create a Website with HTML, CSS and JavaScript

When I was learning to code, I often struggled with fundamentals like connecting the index html file to the JavaScript and CSS files that went with it. I made the following tutorial to help beginners write quick applications.

Potentially helpful things a young coder will learn in this tutorial:

  • How to use the terminal to:
    • Create new files
    • Move and rename files
    • Create new directories
    • Navigate folders and files using the terminal
  •  Create a new HTML5 document and format it correctly
  • Link CSS files to compliment the HTML5 document
  • Link JavaScript files to create functionality for the HTML5 document
  • Use Google Chrome’s developer tools to test functionality

Open Source – Just get the Code

If you’re planning on building a really simple website and you don’t feel the need to retype everything in this tutorial, you can copy the code from the following open-source repository:

A Blank Website with JavaScript, CSS and HTML Functioning.

Thank you for watching. Please let me know if you found this useful, or if there is something you would like to add.

Today I Deployed my First Web Application

For the past few years, I’ve been focused on learning full-stack web development. It turns out that writing a web application is hard. Here’s the result:

My First, Running Blank Web Application

first full stack web application

If you think this web app is just a box that adds to a list, you’re right. It’s ridiculously simple in it’s functionality, but it’s also a fascinating collection of web technologies.

This application serves a page from a hosting service (Heroku) takes data from a user (via web browser), writes it to a database on a separate services (hosted with mLab), reads from the database the updated list of forests and finally serves a page with the updated data to the user.

This is a big day for my career as a builder of web application. A full-stack developer is a person who can make programs on every level from the JavaScript that runs the server to the css which styles the page.

There is a lot I will never understand. Node and V8 go from C++ to JavaScript which I don’t understand. The C++ that runs the database is all written by the MongoDB community. The NPM list of packages is a giant hairball that I don’t understand. Just ‘”npm install” and pray’.

But aside from being in the dark on all of that stuff, I now have a little experience building a full-stack web application.

I’ve open sourced my work so it’s free for anyone to copy this code and use it to write their own web application. You can clone the repository via this link:

Express Skeleton Mongoose Handlebar – Blank App

What is Next?

Now it’s time to write more complex applications.

Keynesian economic thinking versus classical economic thinking (Peter Thiel vs. Lawrence Summers)

Keynesian economic thinking versus classical economic thinking. Another dig at Lawrence Summers.

I’m of the same opinion as Thiel in this. In order to supply economic growth in the US, we need to make it easier for people to create.

We have a problem because so much of the supply side is throttled by regulations. Starting a business is hard in the USA. Business owners pay self employment taxes and are forced to create compensation packages that match government legal requirements (minimum wage, health care, w-2 type tax obligations). Most US citizens spend their entire lives here so the administration cost is considered healthy behavior. This administration cost is not healthy.

My European friends are generally surprised with the complexity of the process we go through to do our federal income taxes. But the Europeans are more likely to have complex state run demands on their time than other parts of the world. When I compare my business processes in the USA to those of friends in Asia, Central or South America, it’s clear that we have a great weight on our shoulders when we build US based businesses. The administration costs are only the first step on a stairwell of unfriendly business behaviors.

To start a hair cutting business, one must go into debt to attend state mandated schools.

To start a campground the entrepreneur has to spend thousands developing plans for city, county and state organizations.

So doing things in the physical world today, is more expensive than doing things in the digital world. Perhaps that is why we see so much economic development on the internet these days, and less on the street.

PRAISE ODIN! The Havamal in JavaScript

Here’s a quick little project I made using normal JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS.

Havamal in JavaScript
On GitHub | Live

This was a quick fun project. I copied the text from the University of Pittsburg’s page and used regular expressions to convert it into a JavaScript array.

When I started, that was going to be the extent of the project. Once I committed it to GitHub, I decided it would be cool to display it in a modern way because… it’s weird seeing ancient texts displayed in a modern way.

Thank you:

The University of Pitsburg provided the text of the Havamal which I converted to a JavaScript array.

It’s mobile responsive thanks to the Skeleton framework.

Ray Dalio and Lawrence Summers – Lawrence’s Listening Challenge

Where Lawrence Summers Could Improve

Start the video at 37m 30s

Lawrence Summers: You’ve emphasized, meritocracy of ideas, power of argument, correction, careful and extensive reflection based on evidence as pre-eminent values. Many people would say that government by tweet is kind of the opposite of that and is very dangerous, precisely because it doesn’t embody those values and it basically maximizes, in your phrase, the amygdala rather than minimizes the amygdala, yet since we inaugurated the  current regime which, many people in the United States would say, is sort of government by tweet. Markets are up 25%, the economy is feeling better than it was 15 months ago. I dare say, no White House has operated very much like the meritocracy of ideas that happen at the internal culture of Bridgewater but there would be a lot of evidence which would lead a lot of people to conclude that this one has been further from those ideals than most. Is that a consequential problem for the formulation of policy? How do you square it with the superficially good results, in terms of markets that we’ve seen? Maybe reflect on that.

I think this is a great example of a bad question. Let me explain…


It is not succinct at all. The question took 2 minutes and 20 seconds for him to relay. It was full of useless information. What did he say?

It boils down to this:

“You evangelize a healthy culture of disagreement, the president tweets a lot and that is dangerous, the economic markets are up, what do you think about that?”

The above question requires 7.75 seconds to speak. Because Lawernce fills his sentences with unneeded phrases like “we inaugurated the current regime….” or “there would be a lot of evidence that a lot of people…”, his questions are long and sleep-inducing.

The long-winded question is not the core problem though, it’s the question.

The Core of the Conversation

To me, it sounds like he is just asking Ray Dalio to say mean things about the President.

If you watch the video, they go on like this for the next 13 minutes. Here is how I would paraphrase it:

Dalio: The economy is largely unrelated to the president and the stock market isn’t as good of an indicator of economic power as it once was. I think it’s important to have honest, open questions with the person I’m communicating with to improve the chances that we will improve our chances of achieving our goals.

Summers: Yeah, but say something degrading about the president. He should be asking a group of people before he tweets, right?

Dalio: I don’t know if the President of the United States should use Twitter to communicate with the people of the United States. I’m humble so I don’t like to make statements about how others should do their jobs.

Summers: Yeah, but why don’t you say something bad about the president?

Dalio: I don’t find gossip to be a tool to help me achieve my goals. Gossip is arrogant and unconstructive.

Summers: Alright. I’ll let you get out of this conversation with saying bad things about the president, despite the fact that I really wanted you to.


Ray Dalio was suggesting a way of being in their conversation.  His success at Bridgewater is the reason that he was invited to share. He was there to help teach people about the process he used to be successful.

Lawerence Summers was there, but he wasn’t listening.

Core to Dalio’s philosophy is the idea that you have open, honest conversations with those that you hope to achieve goals with. Saying negative things about someone not present is contrary to that philosophy.

Therefore, Summers was actively breaking the philosophy of the person who had just laid out that philosophy.

This is a common problem when it comes to politics. People become so wrapped up in being on this side or that, that they become unable to deviate from the path of bashing the other side.

I do hope Summers can think back on this and work to develop his ability to listen and act on the lessons provided.

The Great Bus Business Opportunity

What is the story?

For the past six months we have successfully rented out our school bus tiny home conversion on Airbnb. This is a fully equipped school bus RV conversion that can comfortably accommodate 1 – 4 people.

It was all going well. Until the city of Huntington Beach threatened us with fines if we continue to operate. So for this reason, we have stopped operating at this location.

We are now looking for a new home for El Dorado. This is an opportunity for someone who owns a cool spot that would like to monetize it. Does that sound like you, or someone in your network?

Keep reading…

Airbnb Success Story


We successfully took in 86 bookings from January to July 2018. The total revenue for this time was $15,058. Operating expenses were very low, I’d guess around $200-$250 per month for consumables, software and propane.


We’ve received a lot of really nice compliments on the bus.

“This little place is awesome! We were looking for a little place for a weekend getaway near the beach but off the beaten path, and we couldn’t be more pleased with our pick! The owners have made the place super unique with lots of little personal touches. The place is close to everything and a very easy come and go concept. Enough space for us and all of our things. Such a unique idea, and we are already planning a return trip! 5 stars, we highly recommend this place!!” – Anamarie (an Airbnb guest)

We had a total of 61 five star reviews. Here is another one:

“The skoolie was one of the most eclectic AirBNBs I’ve ever stayed in. It had amazing amenities. Shower, heated floor, washer and dryer, kitchen, and a surprising amount of space. I wish I could have stayed longer than one night! If I’m back in the area, I would definitely stay again and would recommend anyone to stay!!” – Julia (an Airbnb guest)

We’re a short few steps away from being listed as an Airbnb Plus property and we have ‘Superhost’ status already.

What we are Looking for Now

We are now looking for a beautiful place for the bus to live where it can continue to serve as a great vacation rental.

What the Bus Has to Offer

Welcome to our unique custom built Skoolie. We used epoxy industrial paint for the exterior because of it’s durability and longevity. It turned out great.

Here is the entry way.

A view from the front cabin, to the front entrance.

The sofa is made up of a 6″ high-density 2 x layered memory foam mattress, and the backside of the sofa is a 3″ memory foam. The sofa is super spacious and comfy to sit and sleep on!

This beautiful spacious living area is made up of a lounge and dining room, plus can be converted into a second bedroom.

There are thermal insulated blackout curtains throughout the entire bus. You can close them for full privacy at night, and open them for natural sunlight during the day.

Linen and blankets for the forward cabin beds can be found stored inside this double ottoman.

The forward cabin has a collection of modular furniture which can be moved around. These 3 large ottomans, along with the sofa, create ample seating for the dining/lounge room, and can also be pushed up to the sofa to create a full size bed.

This is a custom made 3/4″ pine dining table. The table can easily be flipped down and stored away for more space. This is especially useful when making the sofa bed.

The dining table is a place where you can dine, work and entertain. If you have some spare time have a game of Babies vs Bears!

We used birch wood to wrap the ceiling of the bus. We used recessed LED lights which are solar powered to light the interior of the bus.

The kitchen countertop is made from reclaimed Philippine mahogany. They were originally pallets, used to ship plants. After breaking them down and running them through a table saw and a planer, the wood turned out to be stunning! Here’s a video of the final epoxy jobThe kitchen was designed with efficiency and comfortability in mind. Their’s plenty of counter top space for preparing and creating delicious meals on the bus.

This Ramblewood (LPG/Propane Gas) high efficiency 2 burner gas cooktop is super efficient and perfect for all your cooking needs. Cooking on the bus is a breeze. We have everything you may need to cook a delicious meal so we hope you cook to your hearts desire! 

Washing up is a breeze with this deep stainless steel sink and pull down sprayer kitchen faucet. WARNING: The 6 gallon hot water heater ensures that the running water gets very hot, very fast, so please take care!

The kitchen is stocked with pots and non-stick fry pans for all your cooking needs. And plenty of storage room for dry food.

All the herbs and spices you need to make a world class meal.

Cooking oils to ensure your Master Chef game is strong!

We offer tea and coffee.

You will find bowls, mugs, glasses, cutlery, utensils, plus plates, large preparing/serving bowls, strainer, toaster oven, a 3 speed hand blender and food storage containers for all your b’ouse needs.

This Norcold 6.3 cubic ft 2 Door Refrigerator is the best 2-Way AC/LP RV refrigerator on the market today. It is set at the perfect temperature, plus it’s super spacious and can hold enough food for four people for a week.

Plenty of room for storing delicious food and beverages. We hope you enjoy this full sized refrigerator as much as we do! It also runs on solar power, but it needs help from either propane or grid electricity on cloudy days.

The top device here is a solar controller. The solar controller fluctuates the amount of power which is sent from the solar panels to the battery bank. Their is also an inverter, 35,000 BTU furnace thermostat, fantastic vent fan and bathroom floor heating controller. Everything is set on a thermostat so all you need to do is sit back and relax. When cooking, you can use the ceiling fan for extra ventilation.

Our Mohawk rugs will help keep your feet warm on a cool night. Light oak vinyl plank flooring also spans the entire interior of the bus, besides the mosaic tiled bathroom.

This is a hipster-inspired image of the neat lights we have on the bus.

You will find soap, shampoo and conditioner in the shower. The entire bathroom floor also has a 15 square foot, 120v electric radiant in-floor heating cable system. This heating system has a thermostat with floor sensor and will help create incomparable levels of comfort.

The bus has a fully functioning toilet and shower. This Thetford aqua magic style II RV toilet has a lightweight china bowl with full-size customizable residential seat. It has a water-saving hand sprayer for a hand rinse wash down. A single-pedal flush offers convenience with a powerful flush and a 100% bowl coverage. There are many toilets like this, but this one will be all yours. The bathroom also has a 70 CFM (cubic feet per minute) exhaust ventilation fan you can use anytime you are occupying the bathroom.

This is a detailed image of the mosaic that V worked on for 1 month and a total of approximately 166 hours!!! It’s beautiful, but the pictures don’t do it justice. It’s a work of art!

This is a turtle mosaic. It’s part of the magic of the bathroom.

Adjust your water temperature with ease with this Moen faucet in your own bus mosaic shower. WARNING: The 6 gallon hot water heater ensures that the running water gets very hot, very fast. So please take care!

This is an example of the shower’s light show. The bathroom is lit up with a waterproof LED light strip, and a color changing LED shower head. It’s amazing. Warning: If you’re over 6′ tall, it’ll be a little short on head room. For those under 6′, it’s the perfect height. Regardless of your height, we hope you enjoy this amazing and unique space!

The countertop above the washer/dryer can be used as a charging station and/or a standing desk area. There is also a USB stereo system with handheld remote for nonstop entertainment on the bus. Just plug your iPhone in and play some sweet tunes!

The bus comes with a barometer. It’s fun to watch it change with the time. And this is a cool close up image of the bus’s woodwork in the evening.

In between the kitchen and bedroom you will find a vented combo washer/dryer in the bus for your comfort and convenience. You can put your dirty laundry in here, set the washing and drying cycles, and in a few hours, your laundry is fully washed and dried. It’s pretty amazing. Works best with small loads. This definitely does not run on solar power. The bus needs grid power for this baby to function.

In the bedroom you will find a low lying desk area, plus an open closet with ample hanging space. There are also 2 large drawers, plus open drawers for storing away all of your personal belongings. For full privacy there is also a curtain to divide the main bedroom from the rest of the bus.

In the rear cabin is the main bedroom, it has an exceptionally comfortable and sturdy bed with a Lucid 10 inch Queen size plush gel memory foam antimicrobial mattress. It is firm, yet plush. We hope you have a very deep, wonderful sleep during your stay. You’ll also find custom made redwood crates under the bed for extra storage.

The main bedroom is very comfortable and spacious. And when you close all of the curtains you’ll have full privacy from neighbors.

This is the rear cabin view from the main bedroom.

This is the back door. You can use this locking device on the right to lock the back door. It’s more secure than the U.S. mint.

This is the back side view of El Dorado. This is what it looks like when it’s all plugged in and operational.

Requirements to add the Skoolie to your property

  • Septic/sewer tank
  • Electrical connection (traditional 110v outlet is fine)
  • Water supply (normal garden hose is fine)
  • Zoning is dependent on location, city, county, state etc. If it’s a good fit, we will work with you or the property owner to ensure we meet all legal requirements

What would be ideal for our new Skoolie spot

  • A great view
  • A quiet space
  • An existing cleaning and booking team
  • A non-freezing climate

Please share this with your friends, or anyone you think would be a good fit for team El Dorado.

If you’re interested in the creation of El Dorado, feel free to watch the maker series of the school bus tiny home conversion adventure here on our YouTube channel.

El Dorado Skoolie Facebook page.

Doc Holiday Soundboard – Vanilla JavaScript and the Skeleton Framework

This evening I completed my Free Code Camp Front-End Library certification wrapping up the projects with a Doc Holiday Soundboard.

Doc Holiday Soundboard

The project was built using vanilla JavaScript and a mobile responsive CSS library called Skeleton.

Though these projects request that we use complex software like React and Redux, I couldn’t bring myself to do that for this project. This project was too simple to run those huge front-end libraries.

If you’re interested in learning more about the project and the process I went through to build it, you can find all version history on GitHub.

Thank You

Thank you to DHG for the Skeleton framework.