mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Happy 6th Birthday to

Happy birthday to my good friend, Josh Wu, and happy birthday to the venerable!

The past year has been a busy one. I got married! After eight years of Android and iOS development, I recently completed my first year as a Mobile Engineering Manager. I also got back into reading, focusing on leadership books in my Manager Reads series but also devoured the amazing Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy.

2020 here we come!

Combating macOS Planned Obsolescence

My 2012 MacBook Pro is still chugging along and can install the latest macOS Mojave but my primary computer at home, a 2008 Mac Pro, is stuck on the 2015 iteration of macOS: El Capitan.

The largest driver of obsolescence on Apple computers right now is the yearly macOS update cycle.

I felt the burn most recently trying to get 1Password 7 only to find it requires macOS Sierra or higher. Have no fear, Internet to the rescue! A true hero, dosdude1, built a tool that allows installing macOS High Sierra on unsupported Macs. This is similar to the Pikify App I used to install El Capitan on my cousin’s first generation Mac Pro.

A few hours later… Success!

With High Sierra now installed I’m confident this 2008 Mac Pro can carry me well into the 2020s. Take that Apple!

Manager Reads - The Meaning Revolution

This Manager Reads episode is still cooking. Check back soon!

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Valkyrie Anatomia: The Origin

Valkyrie Anatomia: The Origin is a mobile JRPG for Android and iOS devices. Serving as a prequel to the magnificent Valkyrie Profile on the PlayStation, it came out in 2016 in Japan and now finally made its way outside Japan.

While it’s a prequel to a fantastic game, sadly it’s a gacha game. Regardless of how great the game may be, it has been designed to squeeze money from players. In Valkyrie Anatomia players are expected to dole out the in-game currency or cold hard cash to get better weapons (like Final Fantasy Record Keeper) and new characters (like Fire Emblem: Heroes). You can obtain a bunch of characters by just playing the main quests and timed quests, but cool characters like Arngrim, Freya, and Alicia are behind paywalls. Lame.

The main quest features a series of vignettes that trace the story of each Einherjar as they meet their death and join your party. Once they’re in your party, additional quests open up that show interactions between members of your party. I have enjoyed this aspect of the game most so far. In the original Valkyrie Profile recruiting Einherjar was one of your main goals but that game added the extra dimension of requiring you to send Einherjar to Valhalla throughout the game to fight alongside the Aesir in preparation for Ragnarok.

Battling looks a lot like the original Valkyrie Profile but dungeon exploration is a shell of the 2d platforming glory of the original. In Valkyrie Anatomia you simply tap between different platforms and your character traverses to that point. With an auto-battle feature, you don’t even have to coordinate your characters’ attacks. The silver lining in battles is they use the amazing battle music from Valkyrie Profile and the main character uses the Nibelung Valesti limit break attack.

All in all, Valkyrie Anatomia does not do the series justice. While I’ve enjoyed recruiting and learning about the Einherjar and will likely do most of the main quests in this game, Valkyrie Anatomia is shell of a game that has only served to resurrect my yearnings for Valkyrie Profile 3.

Manager Reads - Dare to Lead

Next up on the Manager Reads is Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown.

Who recommended the book? This book was recommended by Twitch’s VP of Platforms and Services, Michael Comperda, as a nice complement to one of this other recommendations: The Culture Code. I really enjoyed The Culture Code so this was an easy pickup.

Judge the book by its cover, font, page quality? The cover is colorful but not overly so. It leverages a simple color palette of earth tones and a blue-green aqua color gradient. I’m unsure what the torn paper aesthetic around the title is going for though other than providing some texture. The page quality, font selection, leading choice, and point size are all great - no complaints.

Thoughts on the book and the big take-aways? Dare to Lead posits that leadership is not something you innately have or lack. It’s built upon a set of skills that can be practiced and mastered. The book covers the process of learning leadership in four parts:

  1. Rumbling with Vulnerability - Leaders face much uncertainty and risk. Being vulnerable means having the courage to show up and do your best when you may not be in complete control of the situation. Be curious about things that scare you. This part has an excellent section, The Armory, that covers 16 armored (bad) leadership behaviors and the better daring analogues.

  2. Living Into Our Values - Living your values first requires knowing your values. Define your values, the behaviors that support those values, and then practice those behaviors. This part has an excellent exercise on how to identify your two core values and define the behaviors that exhibit that value.

  3. Braving Trust - Trust is built upon things like having boundaries, accountability, integrity, and generosity and is the defining characteristic of the best workplaces. Trust is a living process, keep working at it and tending to it.

  4. Learning to Rise - Being brave means we’ll get into situations in which we’ll fail badly. These falls are learning opportunities and we must not be afraid of them. Failures should be seen as opportunities to become better and more wholehearted.

In short, be courageous and be curious. When we can increase the collective courage within an organization we develop a powerful culture that can grow leaders and accomplish goals.

Favorite quote from the book? “Choose courage over comfort.”

Elevator pitch for suggesting (or not suggesting) the book? There’s a lot covered in this book - and some parts didn’t resonate much with me - but there are two sections that struck me so much that I can recommend picking up this book even if you only read those two sections. The Armory has a fantastic overview of Armored Leadership vs. Daring Leadership behaviors and Living Into Our Values provides an excellent dive on identifying your two core values.

Notes in Evernote? Not courageous enough to pick up this book yet but want to get a feel for what’s inside? Feel free to review my notes on 🐘.

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