Ash Furrow

iOS, Design, Photography

Now, and Forever?

I get regular email from recruiters looking to make a commission from finding me a new job. Unfortunately for them, I’m really happy at Artsy. Whomp whomp.

Every now and then, I get reached out to with a request to hop on a quick phone call and “connect” that’s so silly, I’ll share it with a few friends.

Yesterday, I got this.


More Drawing

A few weeks ago, I blogged about drawing and how it had never been something I thought I could do, but in fact it is. Since then, I’ve been making time nearly every day to draw or sketch something. I’ve been following a few tutorials from the internet, and have now got a book. My technique seems to be improving, but more importantly, I’m having a tonne of fun.


Canadian Survival Guide for Manhattan

I am a Canadian, living undercover in New York for the past six months. Having successfully avoided detection by the New Yorkers, I have some advice for other Canadians hoping to survive Manhattan.


The Technical/Business Dichotomy

It’s a common trope in the software development world that non-technical people often dictate technical decisions which they are unqualified to make, with hilariously awful results. Programmers recount stories of their own experiences in this situation, and these stories become “I told you so” adages.

And even though reasonable programmers admit that the business needs to have input on technical decisions, we still feel like we are the best gatekeepers of business' influence. After all, we are the programmers.



I’ve never been able to draw. When I was a kid, I would try but my drawings look terrible – nothing at all what I was trying to create. In middle school, I remember periodically checking a book out from the library titled “How to Draw Superheroes”, but I gave up overtime. I just. Couldn’t. Draw.

So I never tried again.


Company Values

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the ultimate reason I decided to leave 500px was the lack of company values. Decisions were being made based only on what was convenient at the time – never consistently and never using the same thought-process. As an employee, it was chaotic and fostered a hostile work environment.

When I was interviewing at Teehan+Lax, Jon Lax handed me a booklet he had designed which defined the company’s values. It was important enough to him as a leader, and to his company, that they have a canonical source of the company’s values. These values defined a framework through which decisions can be made. Consistently.



The programming language Ruby was created by a developer named Matz. He is arguably the leader of the Ruby community, and he is so nice that that the community has adopted the following expression: “Matz is nice so we are nice.” It’s used so much that it has its own Wikipedia article, and has been abbreviated as MINSWAN.

I’ve been thinking lately about ways the iOS community could improve. One of those ways is the how we treat other members of the community. I’m not saying that the Ruby community is perfect, but they’re far more civil to each other than we are.

The problem seems that the iOS community doesn’t really have a leader like Matz. I mean, I guess we have Apple, but they’re not a person. And they’re certainly not nice in a way that engenders a drive for us to act nicely.


Gratuitous Positivity

Working in the open source community can be a fulfilling experience. Helping others is fulfilling, after all. There are also material benefits to open source participation, but I’d wager most open source contributors volunteer because they enjoy it.

So if people do open source because it makes them happy, then the joy that they experience is important. Happiness drives open source, and by extension, the entire tech industry. We need to protect it, and help it grow.


Cloudy Conway

I’ve recently found a really awesome twitter account named @CloudyConway.

The account is a bot that uses Conway’s Game of Life to generate beautiful, algorithmic art. If you’ve not heard of the Game of Life before, you’re in for a treat.


Starfleet Propaganda

My wife and I have been enjoying re-watching our favourite episodes of Star Trek Voyager (we’re calling it “Voyager: Greatest Hits”). We really enjoy the story, characters, and of course the impressive leadership of Janeway (the best captain in the Star Trek cannon).

But as I was watching, something kind of hit me. Star Trek is totally propaganda for socialism. Allow me to explain.