Career Calculus

Eric Sink has some really good analysis of looking at acquired knowledge over a career span.

I agree that learning over time is vitally important, there needs to be someone there to realize the value of your cluefulness.

There are also free ways to increase cluefulness.

  1. I look to user groups and their SIGs. Java user group, Microsoft regional site. If you are interested in more San Francisco Bay area resources let me know.
  2. I check out conferences in the area I may be able to browse during a lunch break or an evening. Exhibition passes and keynotes are usually free and some sessions are easy enough to sneak into without the expensive passes.
  3. Read through the source code of a respected open source software project. Look for both style and content. Sourceforge is a good starting point.
  4. Loiter at Borders. Most big bookstores now have a cafe where you can sit down and drink some coffee while you read about a new concept that interests you. I wanted to learn about Acrobat SDKs but did not want to buy a book, so I spent an afternoon at Borders instead. Yeah, it’s pretty nerdy, but I at least fill semi-social because there are other people bustling about.
  5. Network to find fans of your cluefulness. It is nice to have people to bounce ideas off of and hopefully they may know a way for you to capitalize on your skills.
  6. Be the boss of something. It’s easy to be bitter at managers always holding you down. I started my own sporting goods business because I wanted to have absolute control over something. I learned a lot about what it takes to run a business and I now have management experience without waiting for someone to promote me.

Motion Hardtop Keyboard

Motion Computing has a new keyboard available that allows for a docked slate. Looks more flimsy than my Compaq dock, but much better than the standalone keyboard. Last month on a flight from Chicago I sat next to someone with an M1300. We compared Tablets, what we look for in a notebook, and our frustrations with the first generation technology. He was playing a balancing act with his keyboard propping up his slate as it moved around. I envied his 12.1″ screen and he envied my battery life and dock. I just lost my dock edge.

Higher level programming

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about the current state of programming. Languages seem to be more and more designed for high level interaction with the heavy lifting done at the compiler level. This allows for bad programmers to not do things that will be too harmful. At the same time it allows for sloppy and imprecise code. Most people do not consider clock cycles, memory usage, or disc usage writing code or designing a database. Embedded systems like a cell phone may be different. The use of an int to store a Gregorian year value. String versus StringBuffer. Tagging your garbage for collection. Efficient code is lost and instead there are now a small number of advanced programmers trying to optimize within their distributed compiler. There is now code generating code and WYSIWYG GUI editors. Just as HTML coding has splintered into those who code by hand and work out the smallest footprint, the same might hopefully happen. Fight for your byte!

Heather Mitts

Heather Mitts has a pictorial in this month’s FHM magazine. For those of you not keeping track, last year the WUSA put together modelling packages for a select few women and shopped them around to men’s magazines. Although none of the women were featured in Playboy, Heather won the Playboy Online poll for sexiest WUSA player. The FHM shots look mostly the same, just with different outfits. I think Heather looks more sexy in her soccer gear, but that must just be my weird fetish.

Spidering Hacks

I have been busy over the past week writing for a new O’Reilly book. Look for me in chapter 4 a to be released book named Spidering Hacks, part of the O’Reilly Hack Series.

Interestingly enough I was the only person to author to use Java. I have a feeling this is going to be a book full of a lot of Perl. There is only one Python example.

I wrote a hack that gathers data about Alexa toolbar users traffic to your Web property on a daily basis. Alexa collects subdomain information as well as property rankings, and I grabbed it all. The information is then saved to an RSS feed.

After speaking with Tim O’Reilly at Gnomedex I had a pretty good understanding of some of his frustrations with usage data. So I am hoping O’Reilly & Associates can use my code internally and also sell more books.

I wrote a total of 5 classes, which is too large to stick in the book. So the entire source code will be on the O’Reilly Web site for everyone to play with.