Impostor Syndrome

Brent Simmons writing for inessential:

There’s no developer bit in anyone’s DNA. I don’t have that bit — nobody does. There’s no such thing, and there’s no collection of genes that make you a real developer, either.

You don’t have to have a CS degree. (I didn’t even own a computer when I was in college. And I didn’t graduate.)

If you’re working on an app, you’re a developer. Period. Even if it’s not a stand-alone app; even if it’s some scripts. You’re solving a problem on a computer with logic and code — that makes you a developer. That’s all it takes!

Impostor syndrome goes away eventually. You just forget about it. The fastest way to get past it is probably to help other people.

It’s okay to admit that you have it. It’s been many years, but I had it too. 🙂

If you were to replace this for blogging this is what it would look like:

There’s no writer bit in anyone’s DNA. I don’t have that bit — nobody does. There’s no such thing, and there’s no collection of genes that make you a real writer, either.

You don’t have to have an English degree.

If you’re working on a blog, you’re a blogger. Period. Even if it’s not on your own domain (though, you should really own your site if you do anything online). You’re sharing your thoughts online for others to read — that makes you a blogger. That’s all it takes!

Impostor syndrome goes away eventually. You just forget about it. The fastest way to get past it is probably to help other people.

It’s okay to admit that you have it. It’s been many years, but I had it too. 🙂

This is me, and I am sure others reading this also agree.

I have been dealing with a lot of things offline lately–which is why I haven’t been posting at all–that’s partly due to imposter syndrome. I get married in a few days, to my beautiful fiancé. The person that has helped me with all of my mental health issue the better part of a decade now. Afterwords, I hope to keep the imposter syndrome part of what’s holding me back at bay.

Until then, if anyone wants to get in touch with me you can do so here on micro.blog or via email at Jeff[at]rocketpanda[dot]net.

Getting Caught Up 25: Task Managers and Podcasting

In episode 25 of Getting Caught Up Mike and I talk a lot about task managers and getting things right when it comes to keeping tasks together. Jeff explains his checkered past with nearly every task manager out there, and he lets fate decide what app he uses next. Also, Spotify is talked about briefly at the end of the episode.

Being Honest With Myself

It’s no secret that I write a lot about blogging on Rocket Panda. I have a thing with going meta, I even used to host a podcast about podcasting before Rocket Panda even existed. That said, sometimes it can be fun to go down memory lane.

Yesterday I was migrating my website over to micro.blog1 and I noticed something about my writing style over the last two years. There’s been a stark contrast in my older posts and the ones I write now, and I wanted to talk about it.

My older posts were me trying to imitate and mimic tech journalists like that of 9to5Mac and TechCrunch. I was trying to be more journalistic and matter-of-fact without adding anything personal to them. I even tried to make myself sound like and Apple expert, but if I am being honest with myself I know little about the history of Apple and the impact they made before 2008, which was when I jumped into the Apple ecosystem.

Once I realized that wasn’t working out for me, I moved to doing things like listicles and have my Top 10 iPad Life Hacks and The 9 Things I Learned Going iPad Only. I look back at both of these kinds of writing and cringe, because desperation has a foul and pungent scent and I reeked of it. After I got over how much of a try-hard I must have looked like I realized that had I not done those things and looked in the mirror afterwards I wouldn’t have come to the conclusion I have today about what it is I want to write about the things that I’m passionate about.

If you look at my more recent pieces, I am writing more personal pieces about the things that I can add personal input on. I have written things like Why iOS 13 Made the iPad Home Screen Fun Again and my TouchType Pro Review2. These things are comments on the news from Apple and the companies that cater to those users, but I center it on myself and my feelings on it instead of trying to make this an article for TechCrunch or something similar.

It is much more satisfying for me to comment on the smaller things that I’m comfortable speaking on instead of trying to get my share of the pie with what the rest of the big Apple blogs are commenting on. There are times where I may add my feelings and opinions on something but only when it is something that I am comfortable with. Gone are the days where I try and do some quick research and reading up on something that I know nothing about just so that I can be with the rest of the Apple News cycle. It is great if you enjoy that but I found it to be extraordinarily draining both mentally and emotionally. Chasing that forever-spinning wheel of tech news is not something for me.

If I am still staying honest, it’s hard to make a blog about the Apple news as a single independent writer. That faucet is broken and it is just a firehose of information shooting out at you with an unlimited supply of water. I have tried being a part of the firehose and it’s simply not for me. I would rather be a trickle of water by myself for a small amount of people to drink from. Which brings me to why I have moved my site to micro.blog.

Why I Moved to Micro.blog 3

The reason for this is two-fold:

  1. I am not a Pro Blogger, and I need to stop acting like one
  2. The atmosphere at micro.blog isn’t as formal as something like WordPress for me, and I like that

When I say I am not a Pro Blogger I mean that I don’t have hundreds of thousands of readers, and I don’t think I necessarily want that. It isn’t a goal in my life to make Rocket Panda anything other than a way for me to express myself creatively. I don’t look at stats, I don’t see what posts are getting the most clicks, and I definitely don’t want to make my site a digital billboard with ads everywhere and videos playing automatically. That wasn’t the case when I first started though, I wanted to make Rocket Panda my full time job so badly. So much so I was willing to throw a piece together I thought would get lots of clicks and subscribers instead of writing something that I was happy with.

What I want when it comes to this blog is that I own every pixel top to bottom and that I can say what I want, when I want without worrying about upsetting anyone that has control over my livelihood.

As for the second point, micro.blog is a place for me I consider a much friendlier atmosphere than that of Twitter or Instagram. There’s nothing about this service that makes me upset or feel inadequate about myself. It is just writers and bloggers sharing their lives, thoughts, ideas, and photos with others. As someone that doesn’t have a staff of writers it can be lonely at times writing, and having the ability to be a part of a community that isn’t culturally toxic and genuinely delightful helps fill that void for me.

I could have kept my blog on WordPress and linked it to micro.blog, but for me it made more sense to just put all of my chips in this service and embrace the limitations it comes with. I am happy with my setup and I hope to see it stick, and I think that this time it will.

After some tinkering and playing around I finally figure out how to fix my biggest gripe with the service, which was differentiating the micro posts (the things I would post on Twitter) to the articles (like this one). Because of the addition to categories and the support for Hugo I managed to figure out how to add parameters to my site to hide my micro posts from the website but still have them post to micro.blog for those who follow me there. For those interested, I found the answer to that from the Hugo Discourse which is a group of helpful individuals4.

This isn’t me saying that you should move to micro.blog, that is for you to decide. That said, I do think that more bloggers should look I the mirror and answer the tough questions about what they are writing about and what they want to share, because it took me way longer than it should have to listen to the people who told me to write more personal posts over the bland lists and news articles I was writing.


  1. More on that in a bit 
  2. Sorry Salman if you’re reading this, I still haven’t sent the review unit back to him. 
  3. I have since moved back to WordPress because of wanting to have link posts work the way I want, as well as having more granular abilities with the way my site looks. That said, the sentiment of being more informal is sticking with me. 
  4. I have bookmarked this site for future browsing as well if I ever decide to tinker with my website again 

A Meditation on the Open Web

Something about this video makes me realize the real reason I am blogging on Rocket Panda instead of something like SquareSpace or Tumblr. It isn’t because I think WordPress is a better platform, that is debatable on many different levels. The reason is because it’s my platform. I own every pixel of this website and I can control what goes on here and what doesn’t.

This isn’t about WordPress though, it is about the open web. If you are unsure what the open web is, I will let Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, explain.

Mark Surman writing on Year of Open:

What is Open Web?

“Open web” is a sweeping term — it encompasses technical concepts like open-source code and open standards. It also encompasses democratic concepts like free expression and digital inclusion.

But there’s a single underlying principle connecting all these ideas: An open web is a web by and for all its users, not select gatekeepers or governments.

At Mozilla, we compare the open web to a global public resource, like clean water or the environment. The open web is something we all depend on: to communicate and create, to work and play, to buy and sell. And like any other natural resource, it’s fragile. It needs care, because it can be polluted: by harassment and abuse, by misinformation, by bad public policy.

Why is it important?

The web doesn’t exist in a vacuum, or apart from society. The two are deeply entwined. The web is where we engage with journalism, form opinions and share knowledge. It’s an arena for politics, education, culture and science.

An open web means positive progress for all these things. A more informed public; more civic participation; more opportunities to learn and connect with each other.

An unhealthy web has an opposite effect. When misinformation, harassment or surveillance proliferate online, we lose trust in our institutions and in each other. Fewer people engage. And when closed, proprietary technology proliferates, innovation and competition are stifled. The web is no longer a level playing field — it’s a platform controlled by a select few.

While the main issue is governments seeking control of the internet, another entity is at work to wall up our content and lives: social media. I read somewhere a long time ago that you can’t be playing in someone else’s yard and then get upset when they kick you off it.

If Facebook one day decides that they want to close up shop all of the photos, posts, videos, status updates, and events you have put there are susceptible of going away forever. While losing a large part of your digital life can be catastrophic the thing that I think is much more dangerous is the freedoms you are giving up as a cost of entry into Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

These social media giants aren’t making these social networks just so you can stay in touch with friends and family, it is to get data and demographic information for marketing and advertisers. You are the product, and the more information these companies can get on you the better.

That said, Apple is planning to launch Sign In with Apple soon and that is a game changer in my opinion. You no longer have to use your personal information to log in to a service. You can now use great services online and in the App Store without having to worry about privacy concerns. This is the digital version of having your cake and eating it too.

I plan to remove every piece of my Facebook the moment I get married this summer. I no longer want to be a part of a company I deem to be evil, and I don’t want to keep feeding them my personal data for a myriad of reasons.

I guess what I am trying to say is when I want to share something on the internet I am going to do it on Rocket Panda, and I hope that you consider doing the same for your stuff.

Why iOS 13 Made the iPad Home Screen Fun Again

The newly announced iPadOS is Apple making the iPad operating system different to that of the iPhone. Now, gone are the days of mobile browsing on an iPad, and gone are the days where changes for iPhone are less-then-optimized for the iPad1. One of the things iPadOS offers in iOS 13 is the Today View widgets being pinned to the home screen of the iPad.

Apple iPadOS Today View 060319

Now, if you so choose, you can slide the widgets over from the left onto the home screen and always have them on the home screen of your iPad. This bodes well for anyone who wants to utilize the widget screen more, as well as those who want more whimsy on their iPad; because who doesn’t want a little variety on their home screen?

For me, I think this is going to make apps with crappy widgets, or no widgets at all, push to make them more usable and feature rich. I haven’t been one to use widgets because it’s always been an “out of sight out of mind” thing for me. Now that it’s on the home screen I think that this is going to make me rethink my entire iPad workflow. Apps like Timery, Eventail, and Shortcuts offer great widgets that I can tap to run actions or use to check on something without the need of opening an entire app. For example I can run a saved timer in Timery from the home screen instead of having to open the app and tap on it or running a specified shortcut. It all lives in the widget now and makes for things to be much more fluid and smooth.

I think that the home screen for the iPad just got a whole lot more useful as well, because when the addition of the Dock on the iPad I rarely kept apps on the home screen. The Dock added a lot of utility to the iPad but with that came the question of whether to keep everything on you iPad in a folder or two within the Dock or still use the home screen even though it isn’t as optimized for multitasking as the Dock was.

As of right now I am no on the beta but I plan to as soon as there is a build that is reliable. Once that happens, I think my new setup will be to have more things on the home screen because I will be going to it more and more thanks to this new addition.

I’m looking forward to seeing what both developers and other users make of this once iOS 13 becomes available as a public beta, but until then I will be keeping an eye out for any apps that make significant improvements to their widgets and share them here on Rocket Panda.


  1. I’m looking at you Shake-to-Undo 
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