Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions 2011

I'm embarking on a project with a friend from Indiana in which we decide on a maximum of 4 New Years resolutions and attempt to follow through with them by updating blogs every day and posting progress. One of the shared resolutions, besides attempting to blog more in an effort to become better writers, is to complete 54 books this year, essentially attempting to read a book a week. For myself, I'm going to attempt to complete at least one Project Euler problem a week, and I may even try to start playing some instruments again. It will be a challenge, but we're both hoping the blog and each other will hold ourselves accountable.

Happy 2011!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All-Consuming Web

I've taken on some new challenges, including rebuilding my personal web page, and, in the process, learning to become a better designer. At this point, unfortunately, this consists of learning how CSS works rather than graduating to a more philosophical discussion of what a "good" web design is. I know what kinds of web pages I like, but I have none of the required skills to make my own look the way I want yet.

In the meantime, I'm going to have to do SOME project in C++...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Political Programmer

"You know, most programmers are libertarian", my workmate stated.

"I know", I replied, attempting to imply in my tone of voice that I had met many of these abstract libertarian programmers my workmate spoke of.

"It's because they think, 'Hey, I can solve this problem myself, I don't need any help!'".

"Yeah, they're also massive assholes".

I'm not a libertarian. I believe in giving as much help as possible, with the hopes that I'll receive some help in return. Maybe this makes me a bad programmer.

I finally began to come to terms with the idea that, not only am I a *bad* programmer, it was very likely I would never become a decent, or even remotely competent programmer. I'll certainly never be the hackers I romanticize. But, really, this no longer bothers me. Now that I've thrown off the shackles of insecurity, I'm free to learn at my own pace, and I'm starting to REALLY enjoy it. I read whatever strikes my fancy, work on whatever personal projects excite me in my off time, and this has been an amazing turn-around. I'm not trying to get through that C++ book to become a C++ super-guru anymore, I'm just reading it because I'm enjoying it. I'm no longer allowing myself to be embarrassed by a lack of knowledge in any topic anymore, and as a result I'm free to learn more.

If you find yourself becoming a slave to an ideal image of yourself, it may be time to re-asses that image and figure out if you really want to be that abstract that ideal, or if the ideal is what is really holding you back.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Redesigns to Blow Your Mind

Since I last posted, I have become gainfully employed by a web development company and have been so for the past 8 months or so. Both the Master's degree and the move down here seems to have paid off even more so than I had any right to hope or expect. Always a good story.

In the meantime, I've become motivated to start working on a few personal projects again, primarily so I can keep the rust off my not-spectacular Java skills. Syntax is trivial, but it surprises me how easy it is to lose code design skills. In particular, I started a project with (apparently) the intention of using some sort of mediator pattern and, after not working on it for a few months, looking over the code again has made me cringe. The objects are working as both data containers AND UI controllers, which, due to the recent emphasis of MVC, and my own personal preference, seems like a Really Bad Idea(tm). So already, with not much code, I'm doing an overhaul.

None of this is particularly enthralling, but it again illustrates how important a design phase before code writing can be, even if you're the only person working on the project. I'm ditching 7 source files due to a complete lack of planning when I started...if there was any planning, I certainly can't find it now.

So, back to coding, and I hope to have a few functioning projects to write about soon.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Time to Start Over...Sort of!

So it's Monday morning and I'm starting my 3rd full day in Austin, Texas, after a harrowing 3-day truck-based move. So far I'm loving it here, oh so so much, and I've started my job hunt anew. I wasn't having any luck applying from Indiana, so I'm hoping that my Austin address will help a little. So far I've applied for 3 different IBM positions, and a few others. I'm excited and scared, but the risk should turn out to be worth it :)

An exciting fact about Austin is that it has a lot of LUGs, which will be great for meeting new people and being able to keep up on all things Linux. Hoorey!

Off to the future.