Why MyWikis will no longer interview prospective employees

This post applies more to my personal life than the events of my company, so I’ve decided to write about it here on my personal blog. That being said, according to the title of this post, it has led to changes within my company.

You may think that I spend every single living hour outside of academics on MyWikis. This simply isn’t the case. Aside from MyWikis, I have plenty of things to do. (To be honest, I originally was  extremely passionate about MyWikis’ mission, which is why I founded the company of course, but five years puts a heavy toll on your passion. Today, I’m not as fired up about MyWikis as I was five years ago. And that’s okay! So I spend it somewhere else.) Two days ago, I started up a Bukkit server. Recently, since I’m a student too, I’ve been studying for some upcoming tests. I’ve been going to college admission information sessions too, so I can get an inside scoop on college admissions. And yes, college essays. Plus, did I mention I’m doing paid summer research for ten weeks at UNT? Yeah, my plate is loaded. I’ll admit to that.

I also founded the TAMS Cybersecurity Association, so I have lots of work to do in order to prepare this club for the upcoming fall semester. The reason I decided to found it was because of a lack of focus on cybersecurity-related topics in the TAMS community. Furthermore, being rejected from every single club and organization’s officer positions to which I applied resulted in my freedom to pursue something else. Since I wasn’t bound to an existing club, I decided to bring unfulfilled passions to share with everyone at TAMS. But from my experiences of being rejected, I was humiliated by the gruelling interview process. The questions being asked, as well as the surprise tasks that we were asked to perform, resulted in this said humiliation. I really had to sell my soul for these interviews, to show my passion for these clubs (and yes, they were true passions). Until they said, “nope, we don’t think you’re good enough compared to others.” Awkward.

Did you see something wrong with the fact that I was setting up a Minecraft server? Yeah, I’m bored. Let’s be honest. I’m not exactly pleased with the idea of studying for a test, then going to do research for 10 weeks, right after I finished a gruelling semester. My company? I love it, but I can’t spend all day on it at this point. I mean, I guess I could, but it’s not as good as—working on a fresh idea that has potential.

So I called up some of my friends who were working on a project that was just that. Previously, I worked with one of them on an open source project. It no longer exists today as a service, but I didn’t regret a second of developing it. And it was so. much. fun! My expectation was that I could hop on as a part-time contributor. These friends of mine gave me a formal interview at Starbucks, akin to the extremely triggering experiences I had at TAMS club officer interviews. Okayy… I knew the route this was going, with my luck. Sure enough, the interview process turned out to be the final nail in the coffin instead of the cherry on top.

In case you don’t know how hurt I was by the overall TAMS officer selection process, below is an excerpt I’ve taken from that article.

Through all of the assistance and leadership that I have shown this year, I have been stabbed in the back by every opportunity. Nothing seems to matter anymore. Apparently, I am an annoying, unqualified, “blacklisted” student that nobody likes and nobody wants to be a leader… Whenever I compare TAMS to the outside world, I see how I can make a true difference in real life, where my assistance is not only appreciated, it’s rewarded. I consistently contribute my time with a non-profit, and unlike TAMS clubs, they don’t treat me as if I were utter shit.

I’ve since come to the realization that the interviews given for TAMS and this opportunity to contribute to a project (free of salary) were humiliating. To be exact, I realized this twice: when I left Starbucks and when I received the email that I was not welcome to help because of my preexisting commitments.

Interviews are humiliating.

It felt like an initiation where I was asked to humiliate myself. For fraternities, that’s called hazing. I don’t know what it’s called in this case.

When you open up, when you are interrogated, when you are asked to share things too personal and too meaningful to you, and then to see them all dusted away as if they were nothing, you are humiliated.

Furthermore, friends don’t conduct formal interviews with each other. These things are mutually exclusive. Or so I thought? When I asked friends to join my company and help out (and paid them—remember I didn’t ask for a single cent from this new venture), I never put them through a formal interview process. Sure, I knew them, but I didn’t even question their true proficiency in what’s required to work in my company, and they ended up doing their job very well. I have now realized that I don’t need to interview someone to get a good sense of how suitable they are for a job.

Realizing how destructive and dehumanizing interviews have been, I have decided to completely eliminate any form of interviewing for MyWikis jobs. That’s right. Starting now, I am not going to even ask for “your worst quality and your best quality,” which is an absolutely bullshit question. I don’t give a crap about that. Everyone has them; no need to embarrass ourselves. I do know, however, that someone will do a good job if they’re qualified. And I’ll figure that out through an objective, fact-based simulation of how someone handles their job and communicates with others. Oh, and I’m not going to have people humiliated by having “surprises.” Applicants will have ample time to prepare before they enter the simulation. And that’ll be their training if they are hired, which they will, because they will be capable.

One last thing I forgot to mention: keeping talent on retainer means giving flexible work times, which is exactly my company’s policy on work. Matthew McConaughey might be a professor at UT Austin, but he isn’t working there full time. Yet UT respects his talents and gives him free reign over how he manages his time while bettering his students and the community overall.

See here for an update to our recent job posting: https://www.mywikis.com/jobposting-2017-05-11

In order to determine fit within our current company, you will be asked to complete a MyWikis-administered simulation where you will collaborate with others.

As a result of our recently-implemented No Interview Policy, we will not interview you for this job.

I am extremely serious and conscious about how people are treated, even if I’m not able to develop a harassment-fighting AI. As I once said in a TAMS seminar, humanity cannot be automated. That’s why I place more emphasis on ways humans can improve their behavior and attention to emotion, not just how a machine can do so in a regulated way.

I hope the elimination of any form of formal interviewing in the MyWikis job application process will reduce humiliation—a form of harassment. Destiny’s ironic.

Continuing to master the art of free Gogo Wi-Fi

Note: This is an updated post of something I wrote almost a year ago. I have since learned more about the art of free Gogo Wi-Fi. Enjoy this updated edition:

There are many things you can do to get free inflight Wi-Fi without having to shell out your money. Some are unethical and others are customer freebies. Anyway… let’s get to it.

1. Via T-Mobile

As a T-Mobile US customer, you just need to input your phone number into the special T-Mobile landing page and you get an hour of free Wi-Fi.

Here’s the catch: you don’t need to be using this on your T-Mobile phone. You just need to have a T-Mobile phone number with Wi-Fi calling used once. To avoid pissing off your family member or friend also on a flight and using T-Mobile, just use the phone number of someone not on the flight (and yes, it works!)

How would you get this to work on a laptop? Simply download an extension on your browser that changes the user agent to one of a phone, then visit airborne.gogoinflight.com and you’ll see the “Only for T-Mobile customers” plan appear. Click on it and authenticate as usual. It truly works.

After you have authenticated, you can return back to a normal desktop user agent and Gogo won’t notice. All should be well.

Actually, this part does not work anymore. Gogo has added enhanced detection of whether a device is a mobile device or not. In fact, this might even detect which carrier you use. So be careful.

If you have a rooted Android or a jailbroken iPhone, you can simply change your MAC address and do this again with another phone number after the free hour of Wi-Fi has passed. Clear cookies to be safe. Sneaky, but yes, it should work.

(Also, sometimes the T-Mobile free hour of Wi-Fi will continue working past one hour of use. This usually happens for me.)

2. SSH Tunnel

If you own a server (VPS or Raspberry Pi at home works), be sure to allow SSH to run on port 3128. For some reason, Gogo allows traffic to pass through port 3128 without authentication. You can repurpose an SSH connection to become a VPN of sorts, by using an SSH tunnel.

For me, setting up an SSH tunnel is trivial, so I recommend you check out this article below:

https://infosecdc.blogspot.com/2015/12/bypassing-gogo-in-flight-for-free.html

Essentially, you connect to SSH using -p 3128 and -D [whatever port number you want locally], then in your browser or OS settings, enable SOCKS proxy with the address of 127.0.0.1, port [whatever port number you want locally].

School meal shaming

Every day, after a morning of learning, students are eager to relax, eat, and chat with their friends. The last thing that needs to happen is for their warm, comforting plate of food to be tossed in the trash because their accounts were depleted of money—at absolutely no fault of their own. For some students, this experience can be humiliating and traumatizing, especially because this wasn’t their fault and they’re being punished for it.

Once a student receives their meal in the serving line, they expect the food to be theirs after they get done paying for it. And rightfully so; who would expect their food to be thrown away every single day? Nobody. Yet, when one day, money inevitably runs out in an account, the nightmare becomes reality. What was supposed to be theirs is now yanked away and turned into food for swarms of buzzards. In other words, their food is effectively stolen from them in front of others, and there’s nothing kids can do about it. Even though they didn’t pay for their food yet, it was supposed to be theirs. If you snatched the last $50 4K TV at Walmart on Black Friday but then someone else took it before you paid for it, wouldn’t you be pissed? In fact, many people get into fights over this. Search it up on YouTube. Yet kids aren’t going to fight with the lunch servers because they’re weak and powerless to appeal. This leads to them being traumatized after receiving an “alternative meal.”

What a tragedy. Remember that the financial responsibility of a student’s food should be on the parent. Any parents who can’t pay for their child’s meals will usually put their kids on free/reduced cost meals. So, meal “shaming” really only happens for those kids who don’t qualify for free/reduced meals, meaning their parents CAN pay, but they probably forgot to. And it’s not the parents who are shamed for forgetting to pay for their child’s meal; it’s the child.

At the same time, schools try their best to remind the parents to pay. Schools usually handle food through a for-profit corporation, and it is their right to make their money back. If one of their customers can’t pay, the corporation can’t be expected to send them free food. Yet, this is kids who don’t even earn any money we’re talking about. What ends up happening is that the student is caught up between the school and the parent, leading their hot meal to be thrown away and being humiliated instead of their parents being reminded. And I bet if some parents saw their kid’s meal being thrown away, they’d kick the lunch servers’ asses. Clearly, if kids are being treated like crap just because their parents aren’t there, this establishes that humiliation is NOT an acceptable way to “remind” parents to refill their child’s bank account.

Not to mention that if these for-profit corporations are trying to earn as much money as possible, then how on earth is throwing away food economical? I know they can’t serve this food again due to health regulations, but it boggles my mind why they can’t let these kids keep their meals. Say a student doesn’t get their lunch account topped up for many consecutive days. Still more money is lost from throwing away the unbuyable meal and giving a replacement meal than simply allowing a child to keep their meal. Not to mention how environmentally unfriendly and wasteful this practice is. And guess what? Parents still have to back-pay for all the alternative meals. Why not just let them back-pay for a regular meal?

One proposed solution I heard from someone else: Let the kids find out if they’re getting a hot meal or not BEFORE they go into the lunch line, not knowing if they will have enough money or not. That way, their food will not be taken away from them and they will still be reminded to tell their parents to add money to their lunch account. Personally, I still don’t like the fact that an alternative meal is given. This alternative meal is one of the catalysts for shaming. It needs to go. Let the children keep their meal, for goodness sake. They’re children. I hope that’s enough said to end school meal shaming.

Why college isn’t for everyone

Today, college is promoted by high schools as the panacea to the deficiencies of recent high school graduates (or grad-to-be’s). Don’t know what to do? Go to college. However, this fallacious precedent has dangerously misled many students into doing something that does not develop the skills they will need in the workplace. In some cases, several years of one’s life and hundreds of thousands of dollars could be wasted if college does not turn out to be what that person needed to advance their career.

Perhaps two hundred years ago, only very few people—the brightest intellectuals—would attend college. This is the way it was meant to be. College is an academic environment devoted to studying and research. Today, however, this core mission is blurred by frat parties and various students attending college “just because.” This shift of focus from academia to spring break at Panama City Beach has caused students to waste several years of life somewhere they don’t want to be, accumulating large piles of student loans in the meantime.

While the encouragement for more students to pursue what they want to learn and go to college regardless of conditions seem beneficial, and they can be very beneficial to those who are truly interested in the experiences of academia, there are also many students who would be better served at a technical school.

Before I dive in to better serving technical careers, I do want to emphasize that certain people are better suited to a liberal arts education, such as one that includes the humanities, social sciences, natural/pure sciences, and applied sciences, than to a technical careers education.

But does an aspiring carpenter necessarily need to know how to analyze the Iliad? Not really. What they do need to know is how to work with wood, which isn’t something that colleges offer and perhaps something that most high schools don’t allow students to focus the majority of their time working on.

In fact, go into any high school today and try to find posters in the hallways on how to become a welder, or a carpenter, or a mechanic. A policeman, a fireman, a paramedic. You won’t find anything of the sort. Meanwhile, hallways will be plastered with SAT and ACT sign-up dates. This leads to many high school students knowing when the next SAT is and going to a typical local college somewhere, instead of knowing when to apply for culinary school or learning how to sautée a filet mignon perfectly.

In Germany, specialization starts before our high schools would even start. Students are sent to whichever school they are most well suited for. Some people are just going to become great mechanics. But teaching them high school biology isn’t going to help them. In fact, they shouldn’t even be going to college, because you won’t find a single mechanic class, let alone major, in any doctoral-granting four-year university, a place where many undecided adults end up if they decide to go to college. Mechanics need to focus on how to fix cars, and where better to learn that than a specialized technical school? Yet, these undecided adults default to going to college, which doesn’t offer anything relevant for them.

Unfortunately, most of our public high schools only allow for students to dip their feet in the water for these technical jobs. Even then, CTE classes are considered “electives,” meaning want-to-be chefs will have to gruel through The Great Gatsby and using the law of sines to calculate the distance between the top of a cell tower and two people standing next to them before they can concentrate on perfecting their filet mignons. These things are great to know… for other people. But for these people, it’s wrong!

We should start promoting and teaching technical education more prominently to those who want to go into skilled work instead of condemning them to find the area under a curve. In fact, I don’t even think most English majors do that.

And the most important thing that everybody should learn: life skills. Regardless of whether someone should go to college, a technical school, or simply find a job, they all need to learn how to manage money, how to raise a family, how to cook, how to maintain houses and cars, etc. Have I been taught this? Nope, because I didn’t have the time to take a family and consumer science class (formerly known as home economics).

We need to change our priorities in the educational system. Let’s stop sending everyone to college. I know it sounds good to educate everyone, but after high school, there’s no need to educate everyone with the same “core curriculum” anymore. To start, send more people to community college. Better yet, send them to specialty technical schools instead of community college. Let them learn what they need to know. Let college students learn family and consumer sciences so we aren’t stuck with cooking ramen in our dorms. And no, this doesn’t mean supporting Betsy DeVos’s “school choice,” because that’s the wrong kind of school choice that students should be able to make. Lead students to their personal path—let them take the road less travelled.

McKinney ISD Salary Records 2016-2017

Under the Texas Public Information Act, I requested McKinney Independent School District’s salary records of its employees. The data includes hire date, gender, annual salary, location, and job description.

I have uploaded an unmodified version of the file that McKinney ISD sent me, except for the file name. It is available as an Excel spreadsheet. Please let me know if you need it in another format by contacting me through my email address, i@jeffw.xyz.

https://clearcloud.mywikis.net/files/jeffrey//McKinney%20ISD%20Salary%20Records%202016-17.xlsx

How I got a perfect score on my ACT

If you’re looking for my tips for improving or getting a perfect score on the ACT, please scroll below.

My personal story

On Wednesday, after preparing and taking my Microeconomics exam, I went to eat lunch and arrived outside of my next classroom. I browsed through Twitter and saw that ACT scores were out. I didn’t expect this, so I went to check on the website. I was hoping for a 35. Please don’t be a 34. Please be a 35. Or if I’m really lucky, maybe a 36.

I typed in my username and password haphazardly, clicked a few buttons, and saw that my composite was a 36.

But not just my composite was a 36. All of my sections were a 36.

I was overjoyed. I was almost hysterical. The euphoria I experienced was unimaginable. I became forever finished with SATs and ACTs. (Except for maybe the SAT Subject Test, but that’s not really as important as the SAT or the ACT.)


Never did I expect this. In January, I took the new SAT for the first time and I felt terrible afterwards. The new SAT’s format frustrated me and I was sick of it. Just in case, though, I registered for the February ACT. I also took some ACT classes and a practice test at KD College Prep. On that test, I got a 32 composite. Not bad for my first time ever. I bought the Official ACT prep book and took the first practice test, which was apparently the best one in the book. I analyzed my mistakes after getting a 34 composite; I would need to improve on the hardest math questions, my speed of reading, and I needed to reduce mistakes on the science test.

On the night before the test, I took a nice ol’ nap, flipped through my practice book to review where I screwed up, and I was basically done after that.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:20 (which was too early for me but whatever) and ate a good breakfast. I was picked up by my friend and we drove to the test center. We went in, socialized, and I gave a pep talk that would resemble something given by a tiger mom, but deep inside, I was just hoping to get a 35.

So I went in and took the test. It was easy.

After the test, I felt great. It seemed quite easy and I was expecting some hopefully good scores. I was depending on the ACT because I know that I didn’t do so hot on my SAT.


Now that I have received this score, I no longer have to worry about taking the test again. I can concentrate on college applications and use this ACT score to get in. I won’t have a fear of being rejected because my test scores were too low; in fact, even if colleges reject me, I will have some closure as to why. It can’t be my 36; it’d have to be because my essays didn’t demonstrate that I belong in their community, and that’s fine. I just can’t bear the thought of being rejected because my test score was too low.


Update (February 28, 2017): My writing scores are now out; 11/12! Here’s my full score report:


How to improve or perfect your ACT scores

So I’m in no way an ACT guru, but my 36 came as a result of a few strategies I employed. I have a few tips for each section. That being said, please take this with a grain of salt, as there are many factors that go into play when someone takes a test.

  • English – The ACT English section is harder than the SAT Writing section. I like how the ACT has a harder grammar section and an easier reading comprehension section because 1. ain’t nobody got time for BS analysis and 2. grammar just makes sense to me. If you are a grammar Nazi, I highly suggest you take the ACT. If grammar is very hard for you, you may want to consider taking the SAT. There are 75 questions in the ACT English section, done in 45 minutes. The timing is very quick. Be sure you are innately familiar with English grammar.
  • Mathematics – If you can do SAT Math, you’re good with geometry, and you’re good with trigonometry, then the ACT Math section is very straightforward and easy. As you may know, CAS (computer algebra system) calculators like the TI-Nspire CX CAS are unfortunately banned from the ACT. I used somebody’s TI-Nspire CX instead. You should use whatever graphing calculator you are most comfortable with using. Honestly, for those who take calculator courses where tests are non-calculator, this shouldn’t be too difficult for you. Also NO GRID INS BLESS. Be sure to work easy problems quickly. If you are finding yourself running out of time in the end, it is better for you to quickly do easy problems than to spend time on them, ensuring they are right, because they probably are. Instead, you should be done with 45 questions within 35 or 40 minutes. Use the remaining 20 to 25 minutes to work on the remaining 15 or even 10 or 5. The last questions are always the hardest and you should spend the most time on each of them relative to the other easier questions.
  • Reading – Unlike SAT Reading, the ACT Reading section actually makes sense. (What do I mean? There’s not much “inferencing” to be done.) Read the text, find the keywords in the question, circle, and move on. There’s not much thinking to be done. But you do need to understand the passage well. Be sure to keep on your toes! 40 questions in 35 minutes is difficult but doable.
  • Science – Also known as the “logic” test, or to those who think it’s a joke, the “free” section. But no, it’s not really a free section. Basically, you will be analyzing data presented within “experiments” or passages. Sometimes, you can simply look at the question, glance at the data, extract the relevant number, circle the answer, and move on. Other times, you will have to think or deduce based on the information given. The only scientific knowledge you may have to know: how to calculate percentage error or the planets, etc. Personally, I found the Science section to be the most challenging because there was no SAT equivalent.

Some general tips:

  1. If you’re confused about a question, just reread or come back to it later. If you’re feeling like you’re running out of time, then circle the answer choice that makes most sense to you and move on.
  2. Make sure you don’t miss a question by misreading it. Always double check and ensure that your answer choice makes sense by coming back to it a second time and analyzing how it correlates to the passage vs. what’s being asked.
  3. Get faster by cutting down on reading and answering questions faster.
  4. Do practice tests and analyze where you messed up. After my scores came out, I found out that reddit.com/r/ACT has great resources, including links to old released tests.

Here are the steps I took to get a 36, with some plausible alternatives:

  1. I took the ACT Bonus Pack lessons from KD College Prep. In retrospect, their ACT lessons are actually really good because 1. I understood them and learned very quickly from them and 2. more people get perfect ACT scores at KD. (Alternatively, get an ACT prep book that’s not the official one or take lessons from Princeton Review or Kaplan.)
  2. I took a practice ACT at KD. (Alternatively, take a practice test in an ACT prep book or Princeton Review, Kaplan, etc.)
  3. I bought the official ACT prep book and took a practice test in there. (January 2017) Then I went over my mistakes. (January 2017 and night before ACT.) If you do any more prep, make sure this is the last thing, as you need to get into the mindset of how actual ACT questions are written. Princeton Review, Barron’s, KD are great resources but they are not the real thing and that will never change, which is why you need real practice questions. (Alternatively, you may use the practice test located within the free ACT Student Guide, available on the ACT website through a quick Google search.)
  4. Took the ACT. (February 2017)

At the end of the day, just try your best and don’t tell yourself you have to get a 36 because then you’ll get a 35 or lower.

Feel free to contact me for any more advice. I can add more advice to this page if you ask for it.

My philosophy behind social interactions

Social interactions form a major backbone of our lives. Without them, we (humans) would go crazy, my introverted self included. While they are necessary, they can bruise or hurt others, like myself, easily. Ever since I was young, I have always shrunken into a little ball, like a turtle without a shell, thanks to others’ way of treating me. I was a serious, innocent young child put into a daycare full of careless, rowdy children whose actions amounted to horseplay between them, but bullying for me. “Telling the teacher” seemed to be an effective countermeasure… until the teachers were unable to handle the bullies. Did my parents care? I’m sure they tried to do many things to help me, but to them (and everybody else), I seemed to be too sensitive. I would have liked to see my bullies disciplined, but that would cause trouble among the bullies and the daycare administration, and that was apparently worse than me being bullied. It is the dilemma between “sucking it up” and being scarred for life or going through immense trouble to rectify sore points.

I don’t know if there was an intentional ploy orchestrated by my parents to give me an early exposure to bullying, because it sure seemed like I needed this dagger in my heart. (I would get it sooner or later; it is a part of life.) Either way, the effect stands before you today. My brain, while recently starting to move towards rationality (as my frontal cortex (?) matures), finds it paramount to always empathize with others’ feelings regardless of logic or reasoning. We are humans, and sometimes, sole logic and reasoning is too much to handle. Oatmeal is great for you, but its bland, unappetizing taste can be sweetened with honey. In this case, a mixture or combination gives the best of both.

Today, I see others place heavy emphasis on rational thoughts among their intellectual discourse, but this comes at the expense of our emotional appeal. Coarse, blunt rhetoric can be seen everywhere. Some remarks, blabbered by uneducated adults, simply use ad hominem attacks as a child would. Others utilize cogent logic that critically fails to respect others’ emotions. My eyes and my heart shrivel whenever I identify such depressing, hurtful rhetoric. I cannot help but cringe at these comments. I remember memorable charged rhetoric and especially its effect on me. I am hurt by what painful rhetoric I unwillingly remember; I am branded by it. And I wonder: if others had considered the resulting feeling of others, wouldn’t that make a world of difference?

Today, I emphasize keeping comments respectful and free of offensive, provocative language. While I have bad days, just as anybody does, I will eventually get around to correcting myself. I believe it is imperative to avoid offending others. I also cannot accept any hate speech or harassing comments, as one who cannot capture the hearts of others, instead injuring them, has no need to share their ill-fated words to anybody. Some lament the need to be politically correct because they are tired of suppressing their thoughts in exchange for others’ comfort. Their solution for sensitive people is to be “less offended,” and my response is that such an ideology proves to be ineffective. Everybody is different, but sensitive people should be respected and thought of, not tossed aside as inferiors, for we all have our diverse possibilities of “weak points” to our hearts, and as a general rule of thumb, should be careful to accidentally tread on them. We should make every effort to respect others the way we would want to be respected. Treat others the way you want to be treated. That is the “Golden Rule,” which has been proven time after time. If one is tired of being politically correct, they are tired of being selfless. And while that is understandable, at least keep selfish interactions to oneself, so that others will not be accidentally injured by charged words.

Today, I try to reflect my philosophy in my comments. Every time I write charged rhetoric, I feel a small voice of empathy warn me: others may not be so happy with my words. And I will tone down this charged rhetoric into more palpable, soothing rhetoric. My “voice of empathy” filter is far from perfect, but its installation in my soul is absolutely important for me to keep, or make, others happy with some positively or neutrally-inclined words. I hope you will understand what I feel, and try to focus your rhetoric not solely on the rational, but also on the emotional. Please, consider others’ feelings before saying things. It can mean the difference between a joyous day and a depressed day. And if you cannot consider others’ feelings when you speak, at least apologize after you’ve realized it. Thank you for making the world a better place.

Why I’m less lonelier of a programmer than I used to be

I am still not a loner. I still have friends, trust me.

So what do I mean by less lonelier of a programmer than I used to be then?

Since I started programming in 2008, I have explored many types of programming, but what has always resonated with me is web programming. In fact, that’s why my business tends to concentrate on the web. My business MyWikis uses MediaWiki to host wikis, so naturally, since MediaWiki is written in PHP, I have become quite fluent in the language. Although it’s been derided for its confusing array of language constructs and inconsistent functions, it’s still vitally important to web programming.

Why am I so interested in web programming, then, if its main languages are beginnerish and inconsistent? Because I know that desktop applications are lame, inaccessible, and unless it’s really good, there’s not much of a point in using them. I started web programming before HTML5, before Chromebooks, before the present era of the easy, modern web. Most people are interested not about downloading a web application and then using it, but simply typing in an address and getting all the information on a website. And if this website can do really cool things, all without leaving the comfort of one’s web browser, then that’s awesome!

This school year was the first time that I left for TAMS and would no longer see my dear friends every day at school. To be honest, it tears me up every time I think of it too much. It pains me, because I miss them. Yet this ironically brought us closer.

My rhetorical skills are usually pretty crappy. I always tried to convince them of the benefits of web programming, but for some reason, they never caught on until recently. When I left. Hmm. Kind of makes me feel like I was an antidote to the crusade of web programming conversion.

This awesome group of friends that I’ve had for many years now share the same passion for web programming that I do. While I slaved away at building MyWikis using PHP, JavaScript, HTML, shell, etc., my friends developed their interests in JavaScript, Node.js, Python, Yesod, PostgreSQL, and other web development platforms/languages.

Unfortunately, I’m an old dog, new tricks kind of web programmer, because the industry moves so quickly it’s unimaginable and hard for me to keep up with. The issue with old dog, new tricks kind of people is that they tend to stick with their old-style roots, which doesn’t help in an environment where new is (almost) always better. Now, the new thing is Node.js and since MediaWiki requires this in Parsoid, I am forced to bend down and get familiar with Node.js. And don’t forget Python and Ruby, which have somehow become backbones of the web. (I’m clearly in denial! :P)

Those who used to be my exceptions now champion the causes of their web programmer crusades of conversion. Both friends are interested in web development and that excites me! One friend knows Node.js (he’s truly a genius) and helped create Elephant (https://github.com/jeffw16/elephant), which won the Fall 2016 TAMS Hackathon. When I worked with him, my mind was quite dead but his was alive at 4am. It was an honor to create a project and I still remember it fondly. (Side note: PHP is still more accessible to others with a tight budget and resources (cough cough that’s me cough cough) and that is why I continue to use it.) Another friend develops in Python and interned at Mozilla the summer before his freshman year of college. He now develops for OU Web Communications and omg he’s just out of this world amazing ok moving on

But I still feel lonely, even after a whole year. As you may have noticed, this post is structured very similarly to a post made in December 2015. Since then, things have changed quite a bit.

I might just have a really closed mind, or I might actually be a loner, but it’s mainly because web programming is so diverse and nobody comes near the web development associated with MediaWiki, WordPress, and other software like that. Node.js isn’t used for stuff like that, and Python is probably better suited for newer, larger, and more complex applications. The nearest cousins of MediaWiki in Python would be MoinMoin and I’m not getting into that! (I don’t think there is a MediaWiki in Node.js yet.)

Why am I so concerned with people knowing PHP or even remotely having some kind of passion for MediaWiki?

It’s hard to run a company alone, but I manage to do so because there isn’t anybody interested in what I do, even though it makes money! A company is supposed to be a team effort, and honestly would be much more fun and efficient if that was done. However, nobody has that passion, and being a teenager who has done this for half his life (yikes!) doesn’t help with finding people actually interested in developing with or maintaining a company about MediaWiki. Furthermore, the market is quite divided, with most people not even needing the services of MyWikis or they use a completely different wiki engine that isn’t remotely compatible, like TWiki or MoinMoin.

And that’s why I’m still a lonely programmer, just less lonely than before, and I grin. I’d love to be even less lonelier.