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Project RIP

Project RIP --->

Co-hosting for Today's podcast is Army veteran Tim Kuzack who created The Veterans Project. The Veterans Project is a comprehensive photographic essay detailing the lives of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom combat veterans and their return to civilian life. The project focuses on the many challenges surrounding their reentry into "polite society" and realistically depicts their lives profiled in both photographic and interview formats. On with Tim is Bert Kuntz an Army Special Forces veteran with multiple combat rotations. Below is an excerpt from the episode.

All good things come to an end, and in this same vane, Heroko recently ended their free tier. While I was lucky enough to have none of my side projects that I care about on Heroko, I still used to be a big fan for anything, from hosting a quick database to some projects I build during my studies at University. And above all, Heroku used to be the defacto standard for side projects.

Now that it is no more, in this series of four blogposts, I want to point your attention to a few alternatives that can help you still get a side project of the ground or even start a software startup with very low budget.

Railway is cool. Not just their website, which makes me wish I had their teams design skills, also the usability is amazing. It is super quick to get started by either deploying your project or choosing a template. The crazy part - you don't even have to log in! Need a quick Postgres DB for testing Seconds later, no login required, and you're ready to go, faster than I could even get my brain to remember the docker command to launch a container on my local machine.

With features such as templates, easily composable services, secrets management, auto scaling, great metrics and their own CLI, Railway ist probably the better Heroku already. Add deployment Rollbacks and even critical applications, not just your side project might feel at home.

In the next part, I will highlight Herokualternatives for the age of serverless that can deploy full scale apps, but also some excelent choices for a static site, a developer blog or a frontend project.

How can you participate in returning an endangered species to its home in Costa Rica The Ara Project is the next iteration of an effort to save the Great Green Macaw. Nearly 30 years ago Richard and Margot Frisius had a dream of what could be possible. They have now departed the planet with their dream not yet complete. See also story Tico Times June 15th 2012. The project is now run by a few incredibly dedicated and skilled volunteers.

And these are 2 baby Scarlet macaws a few days old at the breeding center in Alajuela. There are also about 120 Scarlet Macaws at the project most in breeding pairs. Macaws leave the nest naturally around 90 days after birth. As most of the Project's breeding macaws are rescued birds (relinquished from poachers or were previously mistreated/unwanted pets), they cannot be released back into the wild, but contribute to the conservation of their species by laying fertile eggs. If possible, they raise their own chicks, but sometimes due to their past histories, they are not capable of parenting for whatever reason. As a result, some babies need to be hand-reared by staff members. These babies will be ready, in a few years, to fly free in Costa Rica. In the meantime these two must be hand-fed every 90 minutes with a tiny syringe delivering special chick formula into their delicate baby beaks.

This project is completely unique (largest breeding program with Great Green Macaws on the planet, the first to reintroduce the Great Green, a goal of linking up the Scarlet Macaw populations and reconstructing the Pacific biological corridor, reestablishing the Great Green Macaw corridor on the Caribbean coast etc). The project needs a LOT of help in this ambitious project. Think about it for a moment:

To appreciate the scale of this effort and the goals of these special volunteers, a visit would be an eye opener. If you want contact the Pura Vida Hotel directly we'd be happy to help you organize a visit. The project is 8 minutes from SJO (San Jose International airport) or from the Pura Vida Hotel. Visit something absolutely unique on the planet. As a breeding facility, this is not open to the general public as a "walk in" - you can book ahead for a 9:00am appointment any day of the year - local numbers are 8730-0890 (Chris) or 8662-2663 (Jenny) for appointments.

The project is a successful 30 year effort to breed and release/reintroduce the native Great Green and Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica. The long term mission is to reintroduce the Great Green into the wild on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and create a corridor from the Panama border north to the last wild Costa Rican population on the Nicaraguan border. For the Scarlet Macaws, they have already established a new population near the Panama border on the Pacific Coast (in operation for 10 years).

Their goal for the Scarlet Macaws is to create a biological corridor encompassing the Nicoya peninsula eventually connecting the wild populations in the Osa and Carara National Park. There are biologist volunteers at each location. The owners of the project (Richard and Margot Frisius) have died and left the project in the hands of some very capable volunteers with no resources. Unfortunately they did not take care to see the land stayed with the project. The 2 primary volunteers have been on the project for 10 years (Chris) and 5 years (Jenny) respectively and have the largest collection of endangered Great Greens (rescued) breeding birds on the planet. They have about 80 Great Greens on the Ara Project, there are 300 Great Greens left in the wild in Costa Rica and maybe 2000 or so in the rest of the world in the wild.

The project breeding center is located in Alajuela about 5 minutes from the SJO international airport. The project was told by new owners of the land (being sold out from under the project) to move. Of course that is currently impossible. The land under the project was ideal unfortunately as it included 2 springs and 30 years of fruit and nut trees used for feeding the Macaws and volunteers. The local municipality has expressed interest in helping with local support. But the project needs to build cages, breeding house, volunteer housing etc and does not have the ability to do that even IF some land can be found locally. The alternative is to move everything to Punta Islita (5 hours away) and that move is in process. You will help keep the project operating by your visit to the current site - 9am by appointment only.

In my previous post, Epic Development Environment using Windows Subsystem for Linux, I opened with my reasoning for buying a new laptop: the many side projects I had going on. Unfortunately, over the years, many of those side projects languished into obscurity and were never looked at again. Recently the venerable Isaac Lyman published the blog post GitHub Graveyards: I'll show you mine... and went through all the side projects that fizzled and died for various reasons, why he built them/what he learned from them.

Coming off of the high of building my first open source project, I quickly moved into once again building something Bootstrap and others had already built: A grid system. On this project, in fact, I shamelessly walked through the Bootstrap code itself and followed its example to essentially rebuild the same type of grid as a standalone library.

At the end I had a working responsive grid (practically identical in functionality to Bootstrap) and even wrote documentation on how to use it, and released it to Bower. It died because I never used it, even in my own projects. I did, however, get a couple of stars on GitHub, which was another first for me!

Ah, my first Ionic application. This was back on Ionic v1. It was love at first sight, a love that continues to this day. I was building a project at work to track department priorities and project timelines, and thought it would be fun to make a slimmed down version of the project as a mobile app. I had just attended ng-conf in 2015 and learned a bunch about Ionic, so I was stoked to be able to build native apps with the web technologies I already knew.

This was the project I jumped on to after losing steam on Project Tracker. A much more simple design using mostly basic Ionic components. I also used Chart.js for the first time, which was quite fun and a good learning experience. I completed most of what I wanted to accomplish in the app before moving on to other projects.

I was still in school at BYU during 2015, and they had an in-house Learning Management System (LMS) they built called Learning Suite. It was an atrocious experience. Slow, incredibly buggy, and everyone hated it when it came out. (it got vastly better over time, and I'm sure it's totally fine now) Due to this annoyance, however, I pledged to build a better LMS! As you can see from this project, I worked on the backend of the project for about a month before abandoning it.

This project was one of my better graveyard projects due to the sheer number of things I learned in the process. First, it was my first major foray into Node.js with Express as an API. Second, I used Docker with Docker Compose to spin up containers with the API linked to my local code with live reload and a MySQL database. I loved how I didn't have to install that whole environment locally, but could simply spin up and destroy containers as I wanted.

This was an incredibly fun project. I loved using web technologies for creating mobile apps, and got super excited at the prospect of doing that for desktop apps too. Enter Electron. This has become one of my favorite technologies, something that I use to this day. I wanted to build a desktop application, so I decided to build a Firebase chat app. (something that most web devs have done at some point in their career) 59ce067264


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