Examined Self

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

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Projects

Things I’ve worked on distilled into something between step-by-step guides (how I did it) and reflections (what I would have changed). These projects take many forms, from the maker/DIY-space to self-improvement. [Explore All Projects…]

Journeys

Places and situations I’ve found myself in, from the literal to the metaphorical. While this category is something of a public journal, you may find something inspiring or useful here. Stories from the road mix with the occasional life lesson as I bumble my way around this swiftly titling planet. [See All Journeys…]

AbouT

I’m a Michigan-raised, California-distilled male of about thirty years. I’ve been a student, athlete, world-traveler, video game designer, startup-founder, engineering manager @Airbnb, author, and otherwise lived a life for which I feel very fortunate. I enjoy nothing more than to consume and create new things. This blog is a projection of my collected interests. [Read more…]

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Latest stories

The Plan to Build a Van

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About a year ago, a friend first told me that he was buying a “sprinter van” to live in. Knowing the friend, I laughed and shook my head at the prospect — something I’d later learned is called #VanLife. Come to find out, there’s a whole community out there of people who convert vans into tiny homes. Skip Ahead… Day 1: Insulating a Van for Summer and Winter Living Day...

Day 2: Installing a Passenger Swivel-Seat for Maximum Living Space

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There’s not much living space in a cargo van. A swivel-seat installed on the passenger side can help fix that. What to Know Swivel seats can rotate 180 degrees so that a seat is facing backwards. In the case of a van, this increases the effective living area by turning the cabin into more seating for the living room.   It’s hard to capture just how much of a space difference this...

Day 1: Insulating a Van for Summer & Winter Living

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The first thing I did to my new Ford Transit van was rip out all of the factory-installed cargo gear to make room for insulation. Insulation Needs I wanted to be able to park my van to the base of a ski mountain, like Tahoe, so that I could get first runs in the morning. In order to not freeze my butt off, I knew I’d need some good insulation. Heat retention in insulation is measured by its R...

How a Puppy Trained Me

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At six months old, Azuli is quick to make friends. Her innate personality played no small role, but there are a few things I did to enable her to become smart and well-behaved. Still, she taught me as much as I taught her. I suspected this might happen, but I’m still surprised what I’ve learned so far. Communication There’s an old joke amongst enigneers that goes something like...

The First Time at Burning Man

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Some subjects are indescribable… which is precisely why so much ink has been spilt upon them. I’ve been putting off this post for months, not because I had nothing to say, but because I had no idea how to say it. Still, I’ve been asked so many times with (apparent) genuine interest about my experience at Burning Man that I need to write down my thoughts… if only to...

GraphQL and GRPC Speed Test using C# and Ruby

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I recently implemented a GraphQL + GRPC server, with a bridge between the two. This way, clients can connect via GRPC or via GraphQL but have complete feature parity. In this post, I’ll analyze the performance (speed) of each. The Setup For this test, I created a complicated GRPC function that needed to load an item from the database, update it, and then return a huge amount of nested...

Times I’ve Lived in a Car

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Sleeping in a car is something about which people have strong opinions… most of them negative. The allure, for those who feel it, comes from what it represents. What is lost in creature comfort is gained in flexibility and freedom. As I work on building a tiny home in a van, I’ve been thinking back upon the few times I’ve lived out of a car. What started as a cost-cutting...

Building a GraphQL Gateway to a GRPC Server

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GRPC and GraphQL are both fantastic technologies. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. I’ve long wondered if a server could easily allow the client to choose to use either. In this post, I’ll discuss how I built a C# server which serves GRPC calls over HTTP/2, and then added a Ruby on Rails gateway such that web (or other) clients could fall back on GraphQL over HTTP 1.1...

Architecting a Networking and Database Library

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For one of my projects, needed to build a networking and data layer as a library which could be used in my Unity game. I wanted a single library which would provide data model classes, handling both persistence (database) and client/server transport (networking). It made sense to build the project using C# .NET 4.6, meaning that it’d use the same language / framework as Unity itself...

Cross-Compiling GRPC in C# and Unity, targeting All Platforms (iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, Mac)

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Traditionally, game developers have been constrained in their networking choices. TCP and HTTP are typically far too slow for any seriously real-time game, leaving UDP and all of the… interesting problems that go along with it. Or WebSockets, for the truly masochistic. GRPC, or Google’s take on Remote Procedure Calls, are a fast and efficient use of HTTP/2. I had a dream of being able...

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zane

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