Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Two-hours of basketball is better than zero hours of basketball.

Two-hours of basketball is better than zero hours of basketball. Strained my leg muscle though. Also mowed the lawn for the first time this season.

Perfect evening basketball weather. 

Perfect evening basketball weather.

Yes, I watch basketball and tweet about space exploration. Nerd.

Yes, I watch basketball and tweet about space exploration. Nerd.

Time to play some basketball. 

Time to play some basketball.

Took a few minutes and worked on my basketball shot this afternoon. 

Took a few minutes and worked on my basketball shot this afternoon.

Basketball felt great…

Basketball felt great. I am still in shock that we’ve played outdoors multiple times this year and it is only March.

Basketball with people 20-years my junior.

Basketball with people 20-years my junior.

E2: Milk basketball

On a short drive I talk about an annoying habit that I have.


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Played some basketball this afternoon…

Played some basketball this afternoon. My ankle hates me but man I love that game.

The original 13-rules of basketball

Dr. James Naismith published these original 13-rules of basketball in 1892. I especially like #5:

5. No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute allowed.

Could you imagine if this rule were still in effect today? It would be like hockey where a team could have a power play. Until the next goal was scored a team would be playing 4 on 5.

/via Jason Kottke.

A little bit about basketball

Basketball has been some part of my life, big or small, since I was very young. I’ve never been any good at it really, but that’s another story. As an early teen I would go to the elementary school playground in the morning and not return until it was dark. Summers came and went, meals were missed, and I can still hear my Mom yelling my name from the back porch as the sun went down.

There was a fairly long stretch from about 19 years old until 25 that I actually didn’t play as often as I now wish I had. Maybe it was discovering the world of programming that stopped me from getting onto the court. Maybe it was getting married at an early age, and dealing with the responsibilities that brought, that gave me the excuses I needed not to take the time to play. Or, perhaps as I gained more and more weight I just didn’t feel up to it.

But I’ve come to realize something I consider very important. After gaining, then losing, gaining a little, and now on my way to getting back to my goal weight again – I’ve learned that basketball is an essential part of my healthy lifestyle.

[viddler id-b46f2778 h-322 w-420]

My MeToday video from June 6, 2007 (view)

When I play basketball regularly I’m able to stay in pretty good shape. I feel good. I’ve got energy. My outlook on my own health, and my goals for good health, remains high. When I do not play basketball very regularly, I keep my same eating habits, and end up gaining weight. Put simply, basketball is one of the very few forms of exercise that I truly enjoy doing.

I suppose that ultimate frisbee could also be a supplemental form of exercise for me, but I don’t get the chance to play that nearly as often, and I’ve only just started playing it a few summers ago. Ultimate, as it is often called, is a really fun sport and a great way to get cardio exercise – if you haven’t tried it, I recommend it. You can see how frisbee helped me during my diet. While you’re at it, you might as well see how basketball helped me on my diet too.

Now, at 27 years old, I’m playing basketball at least a few times a week when I’m in my normal routine. I’m loving it. Sometimes I really do not feel like playing but I always feel so much better after I’ve done so. I’m looking forward to losing a few more pounds, maybe gaining a few centimeters on my vertical jump, and playing some of the best basketball of my life.

Do you have a sport you love?

Switched to wool shirts for basketball. Never going back.

I purchased my first 100% Merino wool shirt for basketball. Looking forward to trying it out and, hopefully, tossing my polyester shirts.

Scott McNulty read 101 books this year, what did you do?

Scott McNulty:

I managed to read 101 books this year (that’s over 35,000 pages!), the most I’ve read in a year since I’ve been keeping track.

Don’t forget his tip for reading so much.

Conversely I didn’t do as well as he did on my own personal reading goal. My annual goal is typically 24 or so books – or two books per month. I started off with good intentions but fell short at just 12 books.

Having missed my goal two years in a row – 2017 was 16 books, 2018 was 12 books – I think I’m going to simply readjust my goals. I’m aiming for 12 this year.

I’m not mad or upset with myself. I accomplished a lot this year outside of reading. I prioritized other things. My photography, as an example, I think is markedly better than it was just a few years ago. My capabilities as a designer and as a video editor are better. I hiked a ton. And my basketball game improved a lot. So I have many reasons that missing this goal isn’t at all a cause for self mutilation.

I will however, keep reading books as part of my year goals. I think it is very important to read longer form pieces of media in this small bites of junk food world.

Perfect weather for basketball and no one at the court. The worst thing about having a team sport as a hobby is that you need a team.

Observations on moreFit Slim Fitness Tracker

After switching to Android late last year and subsequently giving Eliza my Apple Watch Series 3 I have been wanting a simple fitness tracker for playing basketball. In most activities in my life I can keep my phone on me but for basketball I always miss out on tracking those steps.

I wanted to purchase something inexpensive that, if it were to break playing street ball (which it inevitably will), I wouldn’t mind replacing it.

I found the moreFit Slim Fitness Tracker on Amazon. It is undeniably a knockoff of FitBit but that didn’t bother me at all. On the day I was researching these Amazon had a lightning deal on them for $17 so I jumped at getting one.

moreFit fitness tracker

Here are some random observations that I’ve had after using it for a few weeks:

  • It works better than I anticipated. At $17 I thought it wouldn’t work at all or would be a terrible experience but thus far it has exceeded my low expectations.
  • The software is where it lacks the most but for my use I just need the step count to be pushed into Google Fit. Google released an update to Fit that broke this functionality so for a few days I had to enter the information manually. Which wasn’t terrible. I was happy to have the data. Google has subsequently released an update that has restored this feature though.
  • The accuracy is on par with my Google Pixel 2 XL. The numbers are not exact but I cannot say the margin of error matters at all for my purposes.
  • The device also tracks my sleep – which is a side benefit that I didn’t anticipate – so I’ve been wearing it 24/7. It is comfortable. I don’t even notice I have it on.
  • The battery lasts longer than a week in my case. If I let it drain my guess would be two weeks. I use a similar approach to my Apple Watch battery strategy. So I’ve set a reminder for me to pop the band into my computer’s USB port (via a dongle because Apple) every Tuesday for 15 minutes.
  • Tracking my sleep has been interesting. It has caused me to desire a battery quality sleep. I’ll be interested to see if I can somehow improve my sleep quality.

For my use this little moreFit is working just fine. I can see myself wanting a higher quality software experience (and better waterproofing) in the future but for this outdoor basketball season I’ll be just fine.

A few hours of 4-on-4 full court basketball and my hip is in pain. Worth it.

A few hours of full court basketball was just what I needed. 

Picked up a $17 moreFit step tracker just for basketball. Works just fine.

Enjoyed my first outdoor basketball session of 2018 yesterday. Chilly but worth it.

90 minutes of full-court basketball felt great.

The Quincy Jones interview

Quincy Jones:

What would account for the songs being less good than they used to be?
The mentality of the people making the music. Producers now are ignoring all the musical principles of the previous generations. It’s a joke. That’s not the way it works: You’re supposed to use everything from the past. If you know where you come from, it’s easier to get where you’re going. You need to understand music to touch people and become the soundtrack to their lives.

You’ve likely already read this interview. It sure is causing a buzz and it is an entertaining read to say the least.

However, I’m quoting the above bit for a reason. It doesn’t matter if Quincy Jones is right that today’s music is all terrible. He likely is right, by the way, that most music today isn’t as innovative as the past because — well — so much has been done and most artists are chasing money as he points out.

But what I like about this interview, and what I take away, is how it is an indirect call to action by one of the greats. Any of today’s popular artists that read this may react by digging deeper, trying harder, studying more, and trying to bring something new to the table. Perhaps they’ve already made their millions and now they can set out to make something great — even if not a commercial success.

It’d be like if Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant said “these new basketball players don’t work hard enough”. It wouldn’t matter if they were right or not. But I’d bet the NBA’s team gyms would be full the next morning.

Let’s check back on this in a year or so and see if it had an impact. I’d bet it will.

Python is blowing up

David Robinson, not The Admiral, for Stack Overflow:

We recently explored how wealthy countries (those defined as high-income by the World Bank) tend to visit a different set of technologies than the rest of the world. Among the largest differences we saw was in the programming language Python. When we focus on high-income countries, the growth of Python is even larger than it might appear from tools like Stack Overflow Trends, or in other rankings that consider global software development.

I don’t think I would have guessed this.

What I saw this week #35: March 17, 2017

I took two weeks off for travel/vacation (and didn’t read much online during that time) so this list will likely be a bit all over the place and sparse.

Dunbar’s Number – I’ve read about this a few times. Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and other things, reminded me of it in her TOI post this week. This principle keeps popping up up over and over for me and it something I’m seriously considering about acting against somehow. (such as limiting myself to 150 points of contact in my entire life across all media) More on this in the future perhaps.

Hacks many developers don’t know about – This is a great list of some relatively simplistic things that many developers may have overlooked. There is one item on this list that made my jaw drop; that for at least 5 years browsers automatically assign global JavaScript variables for all DOM elements that have an ID. This is a huge find.

Video: Ratchet Face w/ Orchestral AccompanimentLast week I linked to Tom Thum’s Ratchet Face. I dug around and found a performance he did with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Watch his face when the orchestra chimes in.

Pixel Dreams – Great pixel art on Twitter. Here is a recent piece I liked.

Video: The Professor – The Professor, the street basketball star, goes to Kazakstan to school a pro. The behind-the-back/between-opponents-legs is an amazing move.

Video: How Earth movies – A great explanation of so many things about how Earth moves from the always excellent VSauce.



The Warriors scored 149 points last night. Sometimes they make professional basketball look like a video game.

Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game this has been the most fun to watch season of basketball in my lifetime.

My #FollowFriday recommendations

Today I decided to go through the list of accounts that I follow on Twitter and cherry-pick those I think others should consider following and why. I’ve tweeted all of the suggestions but I also wanted to catalog them here on my blog.

Update, September 23, 2016:

These are just a few of the Twitter accounts that I’m currently following. The accounts that I follow change all the time. But my general goal is to have a timeline that continues to inspire me to make and share.

Observations on using a standing desk

I’ve used a standing desk on-and-off for a few years.

In 2011 I stood for a week before giving up. At the time I claimed that I wasn’t able to focus on my work as well while standing as I was while sitting. Reading that now confuses me as I believe standing is far more conducive to focus than sitting. I think it is because I didn’t push through the initial discomfort of standing. If I had, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had an issue with focus.

In 2014-2015 I tried again and ended up standing for 4 months straight. The first two weeks, I recall, were very hard on my feet and knees. But it was after those initial two weeks that I really began to see the benefits of standing all day (or, at least most of the day). Once those first two weeks of discomfort were over I ended up putting in my longest continuous stretch of using a standing desk. I had to sit down because I injured my ankle playing basketball and could not stand.

I tried standing again earlier this year just prior to moving from a dedicated office to my home office. And I likely would have stuck with it. But once at home I didn’t try standing again until this past week. I hadn’t even thought about it.

This time has been a bit different. I’ve had nearly no discomfort that I’ve had to push through and I’ve noticed an increase of focus almost immediately.

In the past I’ve said that my productivity increases while standing. I’m now not so sure that is the best way to describe it. It isn’t that I get less done when I’m sitting down but I am able to be fully alert and feel no “lull” that I have to push myself through each day. When I have a deadline, I’m going to work like crazy to meet it whether I’m standing or sitting. However, there is a time period each day where I feel less alert or focused or in the mood to work when I’m sitting at a desk. Whereas when I’m standing I feel like I never have that lull in my day.

I still do not own an adjustable desk. I’ve looked at a few but have never made the investment. Sitting all day is definitely bad for your body. Standing all day is also bad. I hope to find the right adjustable desk for me in the near future and give it a whirl.

Congratulations to…

Congratulations to Kobe Bryant for scoring 60 in his final NBA game, to Steph Curry for hitting over 400 3-pointers in a single season (this number is baffling), and to the Warriors for winning 73 games in a regular season. Last night was an amazing night for basketball.

Thirty five down

I’m now on day 35 of my 60-day break from social media.

I wanted to write a post on the 7th, since that would have been a calendar month since the start, but I didn’t. So, today I thought I’d jot down how this experiment has been going. To do so, I’ll answer the same questions I have in each post.

How has these last few weeks been? Since day 21 it has been easier than ever to avoid the desire to check Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Since January 1 (since I had that day off, was sick, and had extra time) I’ve been checking Feedly once-and-a-while to catch up on RSS. Save for a very few subscriptions I think I might end up ditching the rest. In fact, I think I’ll do exactly that the moment I publish this post.

On Wednesday last week the sun sprang into action in the late afternoon and I saw an opportunity for Eliza and I to drive around the countryside and shoot some photos. When we were finished I did have the desire to post photos to Instagram. But that desire abated after a day or two.

Have there been any benefits? After playing some basketball with a friend we went out for a drink and then chatted. I had no desire at all to check my phone. I was completely present the entire evening.

I wish I could say the same about SMS messages. I find myself needing to check and respond to these a bit more than I’d like. I think I’m going to create a routine of checking these only every few hours and just be done with it. If someone sends me a message that I believe will turn into a longer conversation I think I’m going to bite the bullet and call them. This way the conversation can be done quickly and I can get on with my night. Otherwise, I’ll attempt to respond with a single message that will answer any questions they’ll likely follow-up with. One and done.

Have there been any drawbacks? I’m now able to say that 35 days in I’m coming to the realization that there have been none. Zero. Since the beginning there is an illusion that you’ll miss something that matters or an opportunity will be missed that you cannot get back. Perhaps I have missed an opportunity here and there to meet someone new on Twitter or to see a cool photo on Instagram… but the benefits far, far outweigh any of these.

What do I miss the most? For several weeks in a row I’ve been saying that I miss posting photos to Instagram. This is the first week that I can say that desire is waning. I’m hoping that it goes away completely. Will I return to Instagram when this is over? On day 1 I would have said definitely. On day 35 I’m saying maybe.

What do I miss the least? Being a dill weed to family and friends by looking at my phone when I’m with them.

I’ll check back in a few more weeks.