Brainpad Development Blog | Blog de Développement
A thousand ideas later Published on / Publié le 25 Jul 2013
One year and a few thousands bucks later, I’m still here.
I’ve gained a few clients, lost some. Did wonderful work, learned a whole lot about various subjects through my freelance projects.
Started video game development, seriously. In short, I’ve been shooting for the stars with a huge assault riffle that I cannot hold yet.
I feel like I’d love to rebuild everything, every app I use has a little something imperfect about it which pushes me to build my own every damn time.
Why these ramblings? Simply because, focus is important.
This is one of the greatest lesson I learned in my whole adventure. Multi-tasking leads to nothing when not mastered.
Plan your weeks, day by day and try to stick with the plan. It’s hard for me to stick with plans because ideas pop into my head and I always feel the rush to go analyze them.
I think this is the hardest part of being a freelancer. We’re dreamers, we love to build ideas from the ground up and we tend to start a hundred project, leading only a few to conclusion.
I know it might sound silly but one way to ride with it is by taking note of your ideas, I keep every one of them and when they occur on multiple occasions maybe it’s time to start thinking about them a little bit more seriously.
Moderating the flow of my ideas have been beneficial for me this year because my creativity greatly increased for I-don’t-know-why. This helped me learn to think really outside the box, helped me understanding how to design good and clear user interfaces and helped my memory quite a lot.
Just published my note taking web app! Published on / Publié le 24 Jul 2013
Thought I’d share the tool I quickly built using Parse as the backend.
It’s called Notething and it keeps note, tags them, search them, prints them, permalinks them and is super simple, lightweight (static html) and has a clean look.
I will keep on pushing nice updates in the future since I’ll be using it personally on a daily basis.
More instructions are available on the Github page.
Indie Game Story on Indiegogo Published on / Publié le 12 Feb 2013
I’m currently developing a game called Indie Game Story and I need your help my dear reader.
Have a dollar left? Or you simply want to make a good action? Please visit our campaign and take a minute to spread the word around!
The game is a game studio simulation and it’s going to be awesome! Here’s a sneak peek:
You can also visit its development blog here.
Mise en ligne de Massothérapie AEM Published on / Publié le 25 Nov 2012
J’ai le grand plaisir d’annoncé la dernière création de Brainpad. Le site web de Massothérapie AEM!
Vous pouvez visitez ce site web à cette addresse: www.masso-aem.ca
Et n’ouliez pas d’aller « liker » sa page facebook!
Discipline Published on / Publié le 16 Nov 2012
Today I wanted to write about surely the one of the hardest thing about freelancing.
In the last months, I’ve been having a hard time getting fixed work schedules. Sometimes I was working early, sometimes at night, sometimes in the afternoon. It was messy and it fucked with my whole inner-system a lot. Surprisingly, I never thought I could inverse my sleep schedule but I was stuck living the night without never finding sleep and sleeping all up to 2-3pm. This sucked a lot.
I tried it all, sleeping pills, herbs, meditation, etc. But it didn’t work. All it took was time. Now I’m alright, hopefully. I can work normal 9 to 5 schedule, and I’m now easily twice as productive as I’ve been in the last months. (Clients are going to be glad!)
Anyways, never forget that it’s always possible to fix any problem. Just keep thinking and you will find a solution.
Mine was time. What will be yours?
Brand new blog, brand new article Published on / Publié le 16 Oct 2012
Just deployed a brand new personal blog that uses syte a very cool social integration web page.
Just Ship It Published on / Publié le 03 Oct 2012
I have been thinking a lot lately about “the right moment”. That place in time where everything is just okay for release, every feature has been nailed and everybody is ready to welcome that awesome and ambitious application. When every milestone is done and finalized for production. All you have to do is deploy and look at awesome tweets about what you just released.
If only, it could be like that. But the facts are different. Your little baby, the thing you passed the last months or years on will never be okay enough for release (in your opinion (as in mine)). Finalizing a project is hard, and releasing it successfully is even harder. But after having watched many others doing it right, releasing and pushing their own boundaries once in a while I noticed something. Something very important. Nowadays, you do not have to wait anymore.
Our time is amazing. The old software release cycle is over and now we can release as soon and as often as we wish. A very good example is GitHub. They release new features and improvement every week! I think it is wonderful, anytime someone isn’t glad they can ship a new improved release and call it a day without having hundreds of thousands of people needing to get a physical copy in some store.
With that being said, I can finally bring my point: You don’t have to nail every detail down anymore.
For the latest product I’ve been working on, I had the same problem. I made very detailed and long roadmaps and my first milestone were way too ambitious. I want to bring something to the world, now not next year. So basically the idea is to minimize content and maximize release cycles. Release more often but make release a bit less ambitious. You can ship that wonderful feature in four different releases. You know?
Facebook is the perfect example. Sometimes they release stuff that you look at and wonder “Why the hell did they release that useless crap?”. But one week after, they make another release that finishes the puzzle. That way people can play with the first feature-set, find bugs, help development and thus make the whole application and process better.
And that’s what I think drives the world today, it’s all about moving the right parts at the right moment.
Another good reason for releasing often is communication. Releases communicate. I always love to check the App Store for updates, when there is one, I always check out the changeslog to see what improvements they have done. Why? Simply because it gives me ideas for my own projects. Foursquare recently released a great update for its Explore tab. I hurried to see what it was and have been amazed by the ideas behind it and that very fact helped me resolving one unrelated problem of a project.
I love what I do, I seriously do. Improvement is the key. Ship an idea, refine it until it becomes the perfect feature.
Stay connected, I should have something great to show very soon!
Using Trello for Project Management Published on / Publié le 11 Aug 2012
I decided to write about some web app that I’ve been using for some time for the past three months. Trello. It’s a very unconventional way of managing projects. And I gotta say I love it.
At first, it seems to be a bit empty or plain, but it’s just until you start thinking about the possibilities that this emptiness is able to bring to you. There’s no mold you have to fit in, no rule, nothing about any conventions, no scrum, no agile, just a very good looking playground.
You can check it out at trello.com
The following text explains how I personally decided to use Trello for my project management. This isn’t how everyone should use it, because I use it for software development. You may use it to organize a personal task, art projects, vacations, reminders, etc.
I hope it helps anyone getting started with this wonderful tool!
Use lists to define states containers. Every list is for a component (card) state of development. It can be as simple as Todo, Doing, Done.
I also added a Backburner list, that way I can track what’s to be done next and what’s to be done later.
This is how you can follow basic agile software development concepts.
Use cards to define components. So if you have to work on a Page module then this is the component and the name of the card.
With every card, there can be any number of Checklists called on what part of the component it is for. So for our Page module, there would be checklists for Page management, Page comments, Page layout, etc.
Such list would look like: Page management
- Add/Edit form
- Drag & Drop page re-ordering
You can also use a checklist called Bugs if you need to use Trello for bug tracking as well. (Or maybe even create a list for them)
That way the same card is used for the whole development process, any related pictures or documents can be attached to that card for further references. And once it is over, the card can be archived.
Use cards to define tasks. What it is needed to be done, what kind of work it is. Development, Analysis, Design
So if a card needs to be analyzed and designed, there will be those two labels on it. Once it is analyzed, the label would be removed.
Self-explanatory. Cards’ members should be those who have to work on that card.
That’s it for today, go check it out, it’s free, it’s very powerful and it has an amazing community! Ah and it runs on a loved platform that is Node.js ;-)
First month++ Published on / Publié le 27 Jul 2012
It all goes too fast. Trust me.
Last time I wrote here, was when I got my first satisfied client and since then so much stuff happened. I often read about startups and freelancer, they all say that there’s a lot of surprises to be discovered, a lot of problems and a lot of joy. They’re all right, but there’s a nuance.
That nuance is that you really have no clue of all the new responsibilities you’ll get. In the last month I had to teach one of my clients everything about Git and GitHub, I had to fire somebody from a team I work in because I was “more aware of the reasons”, I also had to learn a lot of accounting basics to stay safe in the future of my startup, and so much more. Those are all little things that I was sure to know but, at the end I was so freaking clueless.
Talking about accounting and freelancers, I read a very good article that gave me a lot of insights about how other does that freelancing thing. I’m not sure but, I think I found the article on Hacker News. That article is a lengthy 6 months retrospective about Mike Rooney's freelancing adventure.
Some very good advice is given in the article. One very good thing I learnt was the fact that we only need enough money to live comfortably, and we do not have to work 40+ hours a week. It’s totally about the opposite: it’s all about yourself.
In the last years of my life I learnt that it was very important to focus on your personal development first and then focus on your professional development. Simply because if the last takes over the first, you’ll get burnt-out and you’ll do nothing useful anymore. Give yourself some personal goals, keep your time for yourself, try hard, persevere towards these goals. It all comes down to the fact that you need this personal time to stay productive when you’re on your professional time.
Another great lesson was how to manage all the money I receive every week. Frankly, I never had such an amount of money to manage in my life, ever. It’s easy to go on a buying spree every week with it. You always need something better and beautiful for your office. But such things can often wait a bit. One great thing that the article thought me was to have two bank accounts: one for the business and one personal. Give yourself a constant-and-not-superfluous amount of money every week. That way you’ll be able to maintain a healthy and predictable budget and save money for when you’ll need to or if you get sick, etc.
The last month and a half has been more than joyful. I learn a whole lot of things every week, I develop Brainpad’s projects without going crazy working at nights and everything is really going great. Yes it’s hard, but not the kind of hard that makes life suck more. It’s more about the kind of hard that kicks you in the butt to keep on going towards your goals.
I really love what I do, I really love the shape my life is taking and I really suggest anyone with a sucky job to do the same. Life is about making great things, making a change in other’s lives, to be creative and learn about yourself so you can show others how good it is to be free.
Stay tuned, an article about a web development framework built on Node.js I’m working on is to be released soon. Until then you can check it out on GitHub here.
Thanks for reading.
One satisfied customer Published on / Publié le 18 Jun 2012
I’d simply like to share this one little thing with the whole world right now:
Hey Tommy, I like what you did for one of the report. Great, keep up the good work!
This for me is worth a million bucks. This means I’ve made the right choices, and that I’m keeping up to my standards.
Achievement unlocked: Get a first customer and make him/her happy!
First week Published on / Publié le 17 Jun 2012
Here’s a bit of context:
It’s been almost two years I had this ambition. The ambition to be finally become my own boss, live from what I believe. I didn’t know what to build, but I always knew that I wanted to build something great that would help people.
Last month I lost my job for the sole reason that the company I was working for lost one of its major client and several people were laid off.
That is where all of this really began.
In the first week (first 10 days to be exact) I was able to find my first client and start working.
I don’t want to make any publicity, but I’ve been lurking on job boards for freelancers and after sending six offers for various jobs and I received my first response in the following hours.
Sounds simple enough?
Yes, that was that simple and now I’m making good bucks, working on a team with other cool people and having honestly a lot of fun. How much fun? Way more than when I was working for anybody else!
I still can’t believe it, a month before I was struggling to get my job done because it was a real pain in the ass. And now I’m enjoying my coffee, shirtless, with punk rock music playing very loud in my office.
I couldn’t be any happier than this.
Coming up next, I’d like to introduce you to my node.js-based framework ThinAir, write about what tools I use for getting my shit done and also write a bit more motivational stuff.
Thanks for reading!
The Idea Published on / Publié le 08 May 2012
Here’s the worst part of it all.
Some people may believe in idealess entrepreneurs, but I don’t. I for one, believe that if you really want to grab someone’s interest you must have a bright idea, many ambitions, and a personality that reflects these ambitions.
But still this is all about getting that very first idea. How to find it? Can you force it?
Keep in mind that I’m currently alone in my adventure and some tips may be more appropriate for one-developer-organizations.
No you can’t, but you can attract it to you though.
There won’t be any miracle cure in this article, but a simple list of how I got mine, what really did work for me.
Find a problem and think about how you could fix it.
This sounds easy at first, but it is unfortunately not. Here’s how I think it should be done:
Observe yourself each day, I mean really, look at what you do, and what’s annoying about it. What program do you use for doing something else than what it has made been for? What workaround do you take to get something achieved? I heard you swear? Why did you? How could you prevent it to happen again?
Those are all questions that could make you think about something that would make your life and probably a lot of other’s lives easier.
Talk with other people
One thing that motivated me a lot was, hanging around in StackOverflow Chat, brainstorming about new ideas for my framework, debating about how to build them and the best part: actually learning a lot from others.
This knowledge is super important, it is the fuel for your idea, what will make them work, what turns dreams into realities.
Also as a very important bonus: you’ll get to know people, good people, very good people and will even contribute to your ideas.
Code, a lot.
Do you have a GitHub account? No?! JUST DO IT RIGHT NOW!
If you want people’s interest, you should show them what you’re working on. That is why the framework I’m using for my project is one I developed on GitHub, which is 100% open-sourced. That helped me get many people’s attention, and some of them even contributed! Which is excellent.
Here’s one thing I love to say in real life:
The thing I love the most in life is to be wrong: because whenever you’re wrong, you’ve got something to learn and improve on.
That applies in coding. When people fork your code, and makes pull requests to it, don’t be angry, be grateful. You know, there may be something you can learn in there. Nobody’s perfect, and neither are you.
Reinvent the wheel
The last point I’ll be throwing at you today is this classic.
We’re in 2012 right now, and creating something totally new is almost impossible. And even if you would do it, I’m sure it wouldn’t get anybody’s attention. Why? Because people are used to the way things work right now.
If you want someone to try something new, you must bridge them to it. What I mean by bridge is, there should be a user friendly feature/guide/tutorial that tells them what concept you did take, and how you did change it. That way your user will know what’s the purpose of it, and instead of reflecting their worries they might finally adopt it. This is very good because these who got this working are the ones that pushed today’s boundaries and made the industry the way it is right now.
That’s it for today folks.
This is how I got my things working for now, I don’t know if I helped somebody if so then, please leave a comment below, it’ll be a total pleasure for me to respond to them.
Hello world! Published on / Publié le 07 May 2012
Hi, my name is Tommy Bergeron and I’m currently the one and only member of Brainpad. You can see what I’ve done/worked on lately by looking at my SO Careers profile.
My goal is to develop one of the best ideas I ever had, and log every useful detail here so that you, my future users could benefit from the experience.
The project I’m working on, prototyped as LifeStore will be built over a framework I’ve been developing in the last months called ThinAir which you can fork and play with here. It is built over the wonderful Node.js.
I’ll try to answer to every question I’ll get during all that adventure.
More details will be published here in the next weeks, stay in touch ;-)
Wish me luck!