Saturday, December 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
It's not just me, either. When you were a child, your mama probably read you many stories in which events that looked bad, turned out to be good, and sometimes vice-versa. But unlike in this book, or this blog post, sometimes it takes an active effort to make it so. That's where the daring, subject of this blog, comes into it.
How so, you may ask? Well, I have a lot more experience in some other programming languages -- literally decades in C. So, it would probably be a lot easier for me to find work there, right? Yes, for now... but let's look a few years down the road. Suppose Ruby takes off like Java took off (and I think it will). Then I'd be locked out of another language, going obsoleter and obsoleter. A little more daring now, by pushing harder to land Ruby work now than I did for landing Java work while Java was getting hot, rather than falling back on C, can set me up for a much better career later.
As usual, it's now your turn! What disasters have you turned into blessings? What disasters do you think you could have turned into blessings, had you dared?
Friday, March 18, 2011
- The "corned beef and cabbage" reference was because the contest happened to be on St. Patrick's Day.
- The "Your *own* money!" bit was a total ad-lib, because I saw some people's hands were up. Tip: if you're ever tempted to ad-lib, make SURE it's something you can say VERY quickly, and not branch off on time-consuming tangents!
- This was the first time I tried estimating the word count to fit in the time allowed. (That's five to seven minutes. I aimed for six, and ended while the five-minute green light had been on for what felt like almost a minute. The six-minute yellow light had not yet come on.) It turns out that my rough guesstimate of two words per second is just about spot-on, after including the pauses for laughs, pauses for effect, pauses for people to put their hands up, and the eternal-seeming pause while I tried to remember the fourth paragraph!
- But at least when I got back to my seat and checked over my script, it turned out I hadn't forgotten anything. :-)
Sunday, January 23, 2011
As some of you may know, I live in Fairfax, and recently switched jobs from Reston to Rosslyn. My former commute of half an hour by car, is now about an hour by CUE bus and Metro train, each way. This means an extra hour out of my life each weekday. Why, that's just got to mean a lot of lost time, doesn't it?
Well, yes it does -- but not as much as you might think.
For several years now, I've already been doing (and recommending) what Zig Ziglar calls "attending Automobile University". When he first coined the phrase, it meant listening to educational tapes while driving -- later also CDs, MP3s, and nowadays podcasts.
This can recoup some otherwise lost time... but you can't do anything (well, much anyway) with your hands or eyes while driving. Now that I'm taking public transit, I have a bit more freedom in that regard.
I recently bought a netbook. (Digression: it's a used ASUS Eee PC 1005HA that a friend gave me a good deal on. Sorry, my Mac/Linux-fan friends; it's running Windows, and I don't intend to change that -- but I may use it to replace my vintage Windows desktop box. Now back to the main story....)
On the bus, and on the train if I can manage to get a seat, and sometimes even while waiting, I can do pretty much anything that you can do on a computer, at least without an Internet connection. (Yes, even goofing off. Rather than reading all my web comics at home, or at the office, I load them up at home, and read them on the bus.) Not all the stuff I need to do for work, but still, enough to make decent use of the time.
But what if I can't get a seat on the train? Or I'm waiting in the rain at the unsheltered bus stop? Or it's just inconvenient to use a computer on the train platform?
Then it's back to Automobile University. I still have my iPod with me. Or I could go old-school and read a book, something I used to have very little time for. That could be enjoyable leisure reading... or to help me excel (remember what blog this is!), it could be something work-related. Another lo-tek solution, if you need to write something, is good old pencil and paper, like the Hipster PDA. I've gotten into the habit of carrying a small pen, and a spiral-bound notebook about the size of index cards.
Most of these techniques could also be applied to other situations where you're waiting or otherwise trapped. Granted, a netbook or a book might be a bit bulky... but the latest iPod Nano is about the size of a book of matches!
Now it's your turn! What ways have you found, to recoup time that would otherwise be wasted? What limitations do they have? What equipment do they require?