Bits of Stuff

As I just signed an online petition and attached this domain to my signature, it occurred to me that I haven’t written anything since last October.

First things first:  The petition/manifesto/whatever you want to call it is here:  http://firstthingsfirst2014.org/.  (See what I did there?)  Unfortunately, the summit that is mentioned on the page has already passed, but that shouldn’t stop you from reading the manifesto, signing it, and joining the effort to promote, support, build, etc. indie tech.

Now, onto the rest of the blog post.

I haven’t really been good about posting here, largely because I tend to over-think my ideas when I’m not really writing about a given subject or to a specific audience.  It’s not that there aren’t subjects I consider worth writing about, it’s just that a lot of the things that tend to come to mind either have already been written about ad-nauseam by people who seem much more knowledgeable than myself on said subject, or I realize that the subject doesn’t interest me as much once I start to research it as it did when I first got the idea to write about it.

Anyway, as a friend of mine pointed out, fretting about what you’re going to write is a guarantee that you won’t write anything.

OK, so this won’t be anything too structured or particularly insightful.

I wasn’t very productive this weekend as I was engaged in 4th of July related activities.  This means that the weekend also wasn’t particularly healthy, but it was enjoyable to be sure, and I’m back to being healthy this week, so it’s all a win.

I’m getting back into reading the Pragmatic Programmer.  I’ve started this book a couple of times and allowed myself to get distracted away from it.  Hence, I’ve made a firm commitment to finish it completely this time, rather than what I’ve been doing which is jumping from one section to the other and reading things that are of interest to me at the time.  Granted, I think the book does lend itself to doing that, and I’ve gained a lot of very good insight from what I have read, but being an ENTJ, I require completion.  I need to read this book start to finish or I won’t feel right about having opened it.

I’ve also read a Wired article about the D programming language.  It does interest me, so I’m probably going to download the development package for me to play with sometime this week.  Actually playing with it may have to wait for a bit as I have some dabbling in XCode tutorials that I promised myself I would go through before I would move on to anything else.  Either way, whatever I doodle around with I’ll probably post up here in some way, shape or form sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I turned on my PC laptop recently after a couple of months of neglect, as I’ve been spending a lot of time with the new “girlfriend”, my Macbook Pro which continues to impress me with its speed and versatility.  Still, the PC is a good machine and served me faithfully for a number of years, and there are developer tools on it that I cannot use on the Mac so it’s not like I’m kicking it off to the side.  What I really need to do is go through the hard drive and archive important information on an external hard drive.  At some point, I may look into swapping out the hard drive in the Lenovo for an SSD to see if that improves the performance of the machine.  What passes for conventional wisdom in my head says it should, but I don’t tinker with laptops that often so I want to proceed with some caution here, as the last laptop fried itself after I installed Windows 7 on it.  Not sure if the installation had anything to do with the frying, but the one did follow the other pretty closely.

I’m starting to seriously think about how I want to renovate my home office.  It won’t be something that happens right away, as I am currently saving money for the upcoming trip to New Zealand in October.  However, the office currently is not a very good workspace for me at the moment, and I am certain that a lot of what will be required to change that is simply decluttering the area and re-arranging some things.  Among the things that need to go in that room are the daybed which only is of use to the dogs, an end table that goes with the day beds, a pile of old clothes set aside for goodwill, a pile of old tech that is of no further use to either of us, and possibly the chest of drawers over in the alcove toward the front of the house.  There’s an appalling amount of wasted space in that room that currently is just more or less used to store a pile of stuff in.  There’s no real character to the room and no flow.  I guess I should also finally retire the old IMac I have currently (it originally belonged to my mother and was bought in 2006 so it’s incredibly obsolete to say the least.

There will probably be a fair amount of this sort of stream of consciousness blogging for a while until I get a little more used to writing more regularly.  Bear with me faithful reader, and keep coming back.

 

The New (Old) Blog

So I’ve had this blog here for over a year, but I’ve only just started actually doing anything with it.  I’ve maintained a blog before at livejournal, but that blog is now pretty much defunct.  In fact, I think I locked all the posts just because it just isn’t really relevant anymore.  I used it more or less for the same purposes people now use Facebook, and as such, it no longer really works for me in that regard.

Some of the things I’ve been engaging myself with in recent weeks:

1.  Make time daily for Pluralsight.  I’ve had the subscription for a while, but have not been good about making time to use it.  My current approach is to do about an hour of a course every day minimum, and make sure that whatever concept is covered is something I have no questions about by the end of that hour.  Currently I’m sort of doing a little review of C# with Scott Allen’s C# Fundamentals.  It’s pretty basic stuff, but my rationale is that it never hurts to reinforce the basics.  That and I’m also examining how the basics are taught and approached so that I can potentially do the same thing in the future.

2.  Reading blogs.  The latest one I’ve come across is Iris Classon’s which appeals to me largely because she’s apparently gone from taking her first intro courses in programming to being a Microsoft MVP in about a year.  Obviously she did this by working her rear off, but there’s hard work and then there’s hard smart work.  She seems to have done both with a healthy splash of creative thinking.

3.  Walking:  Not really programming related, but I promised myself I’d walk at least 2 miles after work to try and get myself moving again.  I haven’t been running as much as I’d like and I figure the best way to get my momentum back is to do what I did 3 years ago:  Walk long distances until walking got to be not enough.  I’m thinking that it won’t take as long as it did last time since last time I was in much worse shape.  I mention it here because I’m a firm believer that how you feel physically directly influences how your brain works, and walking along the trail near my house is a great time for clearing cobwebs and sharpening the mind.

4.  Local groups.  I’ve been looking primarily on Linkedin and Meetup for local developer groups so I can be more connected to my local network.  I’d been to a few meetings a few years ago, but my schedule got so ridiculously full that it became impossible to plan anything less than 6 months in advance.  Having cleaned up my schedule, that will hopefully change.  I’d hoped to make it to a CMAP meeting at the beginning of the month, but the government shutdown happened the same day, and I just wound up going home and yelling at the TV instead.  Next month hopefully.  In the meantime, I’m hoping to attend at least one group by the end of the month and make that more of a regular thing.