Steve Grunwell

Open-source contributor, speaker, and coffee snob

Tag: Steal This Idea

Someone writing a to-do list in a notebook

Steal This Idea: Extract TODOs from a Codebase

As a software developer, it’s incredibly common to browse a codebase and find that the functionality that was advertised doesn’t really exist.

Maybe the function or class method is there, but where there should be some brilliant logic, instead there’s a comment to the effect of “TODO: actually implement this.”

It’s frustrating, especially if you know that the developer who wrote that comment is long-gone, but what can you do? The nature of the industry is that we’re hopping between projects (or jobs) almost constantly; how can anyone remember all of the “when I get time, I need to get back to that” demands on them?

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A close-up on a stack of US currency

Steal This Idea: Campaign Contribution Visualizer

In the same vein as my idea for a Social Media Analyzer tool, my interest in politics also brought up another question: why isn’t there an easy way to see who — at a local level — is supporting different candidates?

Legally, political campaigns have to disclose who their donors are. After all, money often buys influence, and an elected officials’ constituents have the right to know for whom their representative might be working.

Naturally, there are all kinds of sneaky ways to get around these rules (search “dark money” for more on that topic), but at the local-level it’s good to know who has the ear of your local representative.

In the state of Ohio, we have a rather simple system where raw campaign contribution data is available for downloading and searching, but there isn’t an easy way to see (for instance) what counties are supporting which candidates.

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An aisle overflowing with books

Steal This Idea: Social Media Analyzer

After the 2018 mid-term elections proved to be rather disappointing for the state of Ohio, I toyed with the idea of running for public office. It’s still not something I’ve ruled out, but the emotions it all stirred up got me thinking about campaign-oriented technology.

I started thinking about what tools might benefit a younger, progressive candidate and I realized that social media can be a tremendous asset or a tremendous liability.

People my age (early 30s) are the first ones to really enter adulthood in the age of social media; I joined Facebook when it was first rolling out to select Universities, and had been blogging and on MySpace throughout high school.

Unfortunately, when you put yourself into the public eye, you must expect some level of scrutiny. Old Tweets posts will be dug up, tagged photos will be scrutinized, and Facebook posts from your 21st birthday will be surfaced. If you’re not doing this research ahead of time, you can be damn sure your opposition will.

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A drawing of a lightbulb pinned to a corkboard

Please Steal These Ideas

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post with an idea for a “Be Your Own Barista” bar at coffee shops and hotels. I don’t know whether or not anyone picked it up and ran with it or not (if so, please let me know!), but thought process behind that post was essentially “hey, I have an idea but no means/interest in taking it to fruition.”

Today, I have a personal Trello board filled with ideas. A lot of them are potential software libraries or products, but I occasionally dip outside of the realm of programming.

The problem is that I don’t have time to do them all.

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A Chemex pour-over being prepared in a coffee shop

Steal this Idea: “Be Your Own Barista” Bars

Last week, I went to New York City for my very first time. The city was amazing: iconic landmarks, outstanding food, and a mix of people from all walks of life. I don’t think I could see myself living in New York, but I’d happily go for a vacation at the drop of a hat.

One thing that struck me, however, was the lack of great coffee. Perhaps it was just my neighborhood (Tribeca), but even great shops like La Colombe Coffee offered an espresso bar or drip coffee. No pour-overs, no French Press, nor Chemex; my choices were coffee-plus-something or black coffee that’s been sitting in an airpot. It wasn’t until a colleague and I wandered into Everyman Espresso that I was actually able to get a Chemex, and it blew every other coffee I had that week out of the water.

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Be excellent to each other.