Just realized a theme key for me in how I browse the internet, with my ten Chrome tabs open.  Twitter is like Pinterest is like Facebook, in that in each case I’m getting a stream of ideas or images or information that are related to my interests or people I’m interested in.  No one theme or person fills that pipeline overwhelmingly, which is how I enjoy it.

Instagram is like LinkedIn is like reading a particular RSS feed: they have their uses, but are not among my preferred areas to spend a lot of time.  Too much is coming from the same authors or points of view.  I don’t get that ah hah! moment of the choice of many rabbit trails.

In both worlds (creative chaos vs. stuck on point), they’re merely an entry point to see if I’d like to figure out more, either through the links on that site or through my own hunts off to the side.

 

I’ve been on a Douglas Adams kick lately.  His birthday celebration recently caused me to look up a bit of his quotable stuff…  a few below.

 

A learning experience is one of those things that says, ‘You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.

 

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.

 

You’re paid a lot and you’re not happy, so the first thing you do is buy stuff that you don’t want or need—for which you need more money.

 

These are all from a book called ‘The Salmon of Doubt‘, which was published posthumously.  To discover a new Douglas Adams book with such quotable items in it – pure delight.

Digging around, I further found that Douglas Adams was once a writer for Dr. Who, and that apparently the 3rd book (‘Life, the Universe and Everything’) of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ was originally intended to be a Dr. Who story.  MORE delight.

I now quote the prologue to ‘The Salmon of Doubt’, from the words of Douglas Adams describing himself: “I wanted to be a writer-performer like the Pythons.  In fact I wanted to be John Cleese and it took me some time to realise that the job was in fact taken.”   I wish I had known this gentleman.

 

Query: does anyone else ever think about whether they’re making the person next to them look bad by putting more weight on the bar than they’re lifting?  And why does that thought usually only come to mind when it’s a guy next to me, rather than a woman?  Bleah.  I don’t want that moving around in my brain while I’m trying to hit a new max or otherwise just trying to move that weight.  For a woman, I’m impressed if they can do more than me.  For a guy, I’m happy to be in the same realm, excited when I’m pushing more.  (The guy next to me was able to squat lower / more perpendicular to the floor – I worry too much about the strain on my knees, given their history, to squat that low with much weight.)

Letting my competitive nature consume too much of my brain…  need to compete just with me for this stuff, rather than risk doing something dumb.

 

 

 

The life of a technologist is rarely boring. If you’re a senior developer or architect, you’re expected to drop into a project situation and make sense of nebulous requirements, new and/or undetermined technology stacks, and unreasonable timelines (they’re always unreasonable – it’s a truism – partly because the requirements are nebulous, partly because you’re getting up to speed on the tech stack..) Your job is then to convince folks you know enough to get the job done, while knowing you don’t yet, and then paddle like crazy to figure out the right stuff to actually get the job done. If there’s a new technology out, you’re supposed to have an understanding and an opinion of where it fits in the ecosystem. To be effective, you have to know how to do all of the above, while keeping your conversations at the business impact level. Oh, and you have to find a way to lead folks who think they can all do things better than you. If you’re honest with yourself, for at least some areas, they can. Your job i to stitch it all together. Good luck.

[Note: began this post a few weeks ago…  to take “tonight” to mean, some evening in time..]

A few weeks ago, I suggested I’d be taking a look at how we/I use social media, and what it implies in terms of the digitization of information.  Other than this blog, tonight I’ve looked up deviled egg recipes via Google, pulled up a particularly yummy-looking Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs one from AllRecipes, posted a comment about my enjoyment of my first pumpkin beer this year on Facebook, watched videos and submitted homework for a statistics course on Coursera, and added a goofy comment on Twitter.

That leaves behind a trail of both specific thoughts (my answers for the statistics homework and impressions of pumpkin beer) and sign posts to what things interest me (bacon cheddar deviled eggs, apparently).  The rub for anyone digesting all of that is to determine which of those are core or repeatable insights into me, and which were insights into a particular moment.  Even those momentary insights are pointers – the question is becomes how to interpret what they’re pointing to.  I think of Netflix movie recommendations or Amazon movie recommendations – they’re always heavily tainted by what I’ve last seen, whether or not they were core items or momentary insights.  Yes, I did watch a kids cartoon with my kids after they begged me.  No, I don’t want my feed to be perpetually filled with My Little Ponies.  But I also don’t care to point out which things are core versus which things are momentary.  I’d rather the systems be wrong most of the time than spot-on right.  Would rather not be quite that knowable.  Particularly not by computer systems…

 

Today was 1 day short of my duodecimal birthday – new word I hadn’t heard before my hubby announced it as upcoming yesterday.  In short, it was one month after my (ahem)th birthday, and he wanted a chance to mark it.  The actual day of my (ahem)th birthday was pretty low-key, and  he decided he wanted a birthday “do-over”.

I woke up to a happy birthday message on the bathroom mirror in dry eraser.  Came back from my gym workout to find breakfast on the table, all 3 kids up, and 2 presents next to my plate.  Open the first wrapping paper to find a Galaxy S5 box.  Open the box, very excited (I’d been contemplating the phone upgrade for a while!) to find no phone, but instead my engagement ring all nicely fixed up and shiny.  Somehow about a year ago I’d bent the ring badly enough that it no longer fit on my finger.  It had sat in my jewelry box forlornly – we hadn’t known who we could trust to fix it well.  He’d tracked down a jeweler, got the original ring reshaped, and the gem setting fixed…   And then he pulled my new phone out, separately wrapped up.

So this evening my ring finger is shiny again and I’m having fun getting my apps and settings over to my new phone.   Samsung’s done a great job making it simple – I gave it my Samsung credentials and all (OK, make that many) of my apps started porting over to the new phone.  I’ve deleted a few that were only useful for a one-time event kind of thing (conference agendas, anyone?), but otherwise am looking forward to a pretty smooth transition!  Cameron will be able to bug me for Temple Run.  One of the apps I haven’t seen make it over yet is the Furby fart and burp control app – I’ll have to work on building it on my new Android Kitkat 4.4.2 operating system.

Today’s my birthday. As in, there are technically two hours left on the day that celebrates my birth. It was a big birthday – the 40 one, the actuarial midpoint in life, whether or not it’s my particular life’s midpoint. Genetically speaking, maybe. Who know what God has in mind, though.

Good point to take stock and see what I’d like to keep and what I’d like to change in whatever time is left. Sort of been on this earth long enough to get a sense of how it works and how I work.

What I want to keep: my kids, my husband, the friendships we have which seem to grow a bit stronger as we get older… a desire to experience and adventure, some of which I hope I’ve been able to share with my kids of late.

What I want to lose a bit of:
* my work goal focus – I want to do good work, but I think I’m past the point where I’m willing to put in over and above for long periods of time. I still have the habit ingrained in me, but every time I do it, I’m less proud and more frustrated with myself. I’m proud of myself for saying ‘no’ to a recent opportunity: to do it well, I’d have had to be prepared to go ‘all-in’, and I just don’t want to trade away all of the other things I could do or be to be ‘all-in’ on a work project. There are so many other things I’d find more worthy, in the end, I think.
* my impatience. If something doesn’t happen now, or exactly the way I have in my mind, it may happen in the future, or it may happen in a better or worse way than I thought. But being frustrated with it loses any enjoyment in what is available now.

So, things worthy of attention:
* taking care of my health… it’ll only get harder, I hear. I don’t need to do the big ‘prove it’ kinds of marathons or fitness events (though I wouldn’t mind notching another half). I want to set a good baseline of fitness and strength, as well as just a general good habit. Oh, and do those pull-ups!
* Spending time with my kids really focusing on hearing their interests and thoughts, and sharing my own. The girls and I just took a trip to New Orleans which expanded all of our horizons, and let us spend time sharing new adventures and memories. Cora can now say she’s eaten a bug (and so can I!).
* Finding opportunities to use my talents or at least energies in ways that benefit the world, particularly “the least of these”. Our church does a few things, I’ve seen other opportunities to use my technical skills, and I’m ready to be surprised by some new angle. Now’s the time, while I have energy and health and my kids have growing independence, to find the things God’s already prepared for me to do.

I remember when I turned twenty, and thus when my mom turned forty. I have a better relationship now with my kids at my forty mark, and I intend to keep that and grow it. Maybe my relationship with my folks will improve or maybe it won’t (see that losing the impatience goal). In the meantime, I focus on what I can directly impact and tend… my relationships with kids, my husband, others we know now and those we may yet come to know.

No mid-life crisis… I think my motorcycle may always remain more of an image rather than a reality. No desire to retire early and go do something crazy… maybe cut back hours at some point to get to dedicate more time to something I find meaningful, but since I don’t yet have that effort identified, it’s still the time to keep looking and doing with what comes in front of me.

So, perhaps that’s my midpoint resolution: keep looking and on the watch and be ready to dedicate effort to those things that come in front of me. Ready for 40 and onward.

I’ll be in Tampa next week for a conference. The conference has arranged free streetcar rides and discounts at local vendors – much appreciated. A tattoo parlor is on the list. I’m traveling with my CTO and CEO. Hmmm… Is it less unprofessional to sneak off to get a tattoo if you convince your bosses to get them, too?

Avoiding tax preparation, figured I could spare 3 minutes for the next TED talk in the TED in 3 minutes playlist. The ‘How to tie your shoes’ talk is apparently the first 3 minute session TED had done – noted. I admire the bravery of a guy who opted to show an audience of luminaries and thought leaders.. how to tie their shoes. In fact, showed them how they’d been doing it wrong, and then showed them how to do it right. Gives me hope that I, too, can give a decent speech on an inane topic. But otherwise, skip it.