Echo: Quantity Not Quality

I’ll attempt at stealing Marika’s traffic again.  And because my response is long enough to become a blog post:

Yes, Marika that is true.  Writing is an art.

Unfortunately, in a difficult economy you need to be a generalist.  I can write well too.  I can code really well.  But instead of concentrating on coding, I get to do a weird mix of planning, sending off communications, coding, writing documentation, system administration, et cetera.  It is not fun.  And while I am capable of doing all these tasks… I’d rather concentrate on what I really excel at.  But…

There are programmers that can outcode, outthink and outclass me in experience. The older experienced ones especially.  So I can’t compete on their level.  Also I rather have “a” job than “no” job.  And for most tasks in business, “good enough” bets “genuis”.  For coding a website you don’t need a Linus Torvald.  Nor do you need an Ernest Hemmingway for writing dry business articles about mergers and acquistions.  You don’t need a van Gogh, Monet or Da Vinci to paint walls.

Why is this?  Because “genius” is very, very expensive.  “Good enough” means a business can keep afloat, which is what business usually do.  And those profit margins for those fat cat capitalists?  They are razor thin in most cases.

Reality is if you are truly great, you get that awesome great dream fulfilling job.  Everyone else is on the scale of mediocre in terms of jobs.  The best way for that dream job is to be so great in a particular valuable niche, that it is either you or nobody else (for that price of course).  That is how the market goes.  So why quantity over quality?  I dunno.  Maybe because markets tend toward producing commodities for the unwashed masses.  The idea is to come up with a way to use resources to produce goods and services at nominal cost approaching zero.  That is a good thing for everyone.

Just Another Bug Hunt

Today feels like one of those days that I’ll really have to struggle.  Struggle to not fall flat on my face.  I guess not sleeping much has something to do with it.   But part of me just doesn’t feel right.  One of those days when I’m probably going to have to work really hard, to feel comfortable in my own skin.

And to do just that, I’m going to do some bookkeeping and oodles of writing today.  I hope I’ll feel better after I start transcribing some of my handwritten notes into digital form.  I’ve got about two chapters to write up.

A Hacking Day

I look outside at the gloomy rain clouds.  Strains of ambient forlorn music echoes in my ears.  On one side of the laptop rests my mouse and smartphone.  On the other, an empty coffee mug.  And such the scene is set.  I type these words.  Today tingles with anticipation.  The anticipation of work done, task accomplished.  Each job, task, chore feels less like work and more like a puzzle, game, entertainment.  I feel like I’m hacking, cracking, smashing the universe’s stack.  Time for some fun.  Today is a hacking day.  Enjoy.

Linux… the Future of Computing

I’m a Linux user.  So I always like to strain my ear to hear news about Linux.  But this I didn’t expect.

Caroline and I did a bit of computer shopping before going to watch a film together on Saturday.  While we wandered the aisles in the nearby Futureshop, she turned and asked me what I knew about Linux.  I was surprised.  Caroline is a very smart and talented girl.  She finished statistics at the University of Toronto after all. But she is not a person who follows computer tech.  She further told me that her mother told her that Linux was the future of computing.  And then she asked whether Linux was for her.  To top it off, we bugged the local salesperson… and I had an intelligent conversation about what computer she should get.  (No offence to the smart Futureshop employees out there, but a good chunk of your coworkers are not all that knowledgeable about computing as they should.)  And the salesperson, said he that his life would be easier if PC came pre-loaded with Linux.  I took this all in… amazed.  After some thought on what she would be using the computer I told her to stick with Windows for now.  Why?

Linux and Linux-related technology looks like very much the future of computing.  Thanks to the free software licensing, active communities and flexibility of open source development methodologies, many vendors are looking toward using Linux.  For a vendor Linux provides a way out of the per unit licensing problem.  Also it lets the vendor to control the build out of  a product from top to bottom.  Linux appears creeping into non-desktop computing platforms.  We hear about Linux competing with Windows in the netbook market.  We hear of Linux taking on cellphones with projects such as LiMo, OpenMoko and Google’s Andriod.  The hyper-fast development pace makes Linux progress in leaps and bounds past its competitors.  Nokia heavily invested in Linux with their Maemo-powered Internet Tablets.  Intel invests in Linux with drivers and Moblin.  nVidia and ATI both crank out graphics drivers like no tomorrow.  Dell and HP are each trying to outdo each other selling Linux servers and laptops.  News articles compare Ubuntu Linux on the same level as Windows XP & Vista and Mac OS X.  So forth and so on.  Five years this was unimaginable.  When I installed Linux on my laptop and desktop machines in 2002 and 2001… I could not imagine Linux being more than a cool minor alternative.  Something to play with, and use for fun computing.

So with all these cool developments, why did I not sell Linux to Caroline?  I could of.  Linux could work for her.  But I didn’t because Linux is the future of computing.  Linux exists in the present of computing, but the technology is still in a transitionary stage.  The next few years is where we leap the chasim from novel innovator toys to mainstream consumers.  However along the way there are growing pains.  Graphics and sound need to get up to par.  Support companies need to spring up around the technology.  We are getting there.  But right now, I feel uncomfortable offering Linux to a mainstream consumer and leaving them to their own devices.  If I were to support the system, I could easily setup a Linux system that Caroline could use and enjoy.  A Linux system could be setup to let her do her surfing, watching TV, connecting her digital camera and media organization.  But she could only turn to me for help if something goes wrong.  This is not something I want to inflict on either her or myself.  In a few years time, yes, Linux will work for her.  But it will most likely be everywhere and work for everyone.

Weekends in Toronto, Weekdays on the Run

The sun is way up in the sky, already changed its colour four times (red, orange, yellow and now whitish yellow thanks to atmospheric effects on the light of a Class G star).  I on the other hand, woke up, scrambled to get ready, drank a coffee and am trying to catch up.  My life has become busy again.  But in a good way for once.  I’m too busy to occupy my mind with wandering thoughts or sad navel gazing.  Instead I get to occupy myself with the sole goal of squeezing as much out of the time I have each day.  And also making my life richer.

So where does the busyiness come from?  From doing things and meeting people of course!

This Saturday after a round of volleyball and cutting the grass, I met up with Caroline in downtown Toronto.  I didn’t realize that Toronto had its own Times Square-like square.  I’m talking about the Younge and Dundas Square.  While it has a less than original name, it is just as busy as its New York counterpart.  People milling about, large screens flashing ads, street musicians playing, et cetera.  I rushed into the square when I got there, expecting to be the one to be late.  However as usual, Caroline arrived fashionably late so I didn’t need to apologize. 😀

After a round of mango bubble tea and some computer shopping, we went to watch Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.  Now I’m not a huge fan of chick flicks.  But this one movie was pretty good.  In essence a Christmas Carole-style plot about a “player” who has to get in touch with his feelings, the realization of how many ladies he hurt in his long line of escapades and maybe come to grips with the person who really loves him.  Anyways I won’t say more to not ruin the plot for those who haven’t seen it.  I enjoyed it.

After the movie, I lost and found my cellphone. Duh!  And we went out for dinner at the Richtree.  Good food, interesting concept, and of course wonderful company.  And we ended the day with almost-midnight tea.  Thanks Caroline.

Yesterday was a busy day of yard and kitchen work oddly enough.  And so while I needed to reply to a bunch of e-mails, and get some other work done… I simply fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.  So today I must deal with my inbox, finish some unfinished business and get around to dealing with my more long term projects.  Ok, so I’m off now… later this week I have a few events planned, and I need to plan some more.  So while I’m busy, I’m happy to be rid of those quiet, relatively uneventful days.

Running Along the Mirror’s Edge

I apologize for not posting anything yesterday.  For once I could not write anything useful, incitiful or positive.  So I decided not to write.  Or rather my inaction made it so I didn’t.

Today is different.  Emotions now ran their course.  Tranquility.

This morning I decided to try something different.  I bought a copy of Mirror’s Edge a while ago.  However life and other things took precedence, while gaming took an aside.  Also when I originally first started the game, I turned up the graphics.  This reduced the performance and made the game less response and harder to play.  An interesting level difficulty mechanic you say.  Still I put off playing for a while.

Today I turned down the visual effects and graphics.  And I started playing.  Now I know why I fell in love at first sight with this game.  Atmosphere.  Ambience.  While at first the screen effects seemed odd, once the action really started, it all made sense.  I stopped being Dorian sitting in front of a laptop.  I was Faith.  A Runner in city just running, trying to survive as the odds stacked against.  Running from the assaults of men chasing a girl whose only crime was her being there.

It is a beautiful story.  And one that strikes accord with me.  Everyday the city, the world I live in slowly slips ambilavence to an easy life.  While men with evil intensions destroy civilization and society for their own selfish gain.  And yet for all that I know, I can do very little.  So I too run.  And yet this reality is not a dream.  It is real.

Your Shipment of Fail Has Arrived

Today I am producing and delivery shipments of fail.  Late, missing meetings, missing the point, having to reschedule due to my perception of time (or the lack of more accurately) et cetera.  I have exceeded my expectations of how absent minded one can be.  So apologies to everyone.  Today is not going according to any well thought out plan.  I am just hoping I can clean up my act and start thinking straight today.

Today I am thankful that my coworkers are patient and understanding.  And I am really glad that the project at work is going forward.  Even when one of the team member clearly suffering from two left clown feet syndrome.

The rest of the universe is in working better than I am.  Cisco gave up trying to irritate the FSF.  My favourite free software projects are still there and churning out wonderous code.  The Tamil Tigers and their civil war may start to fade into the annals of history.  The markets refuse to stop irritating the interventionsit governments.  Today more than yesterday looks toward a brighter, saner future.  Either that or I finally lost it and am a hopeless optimist even when I myself is not up to par.

The Challenging Trek Ahead

For lack of a better use of time before work starts, I am blogging.  Or rather I am trying to wake up and be alert for the day ahead.  Coffee helped revive some of dead nerves.  Writing hopefully will get me thinking in a coherent fashion.  I have to do this because I have a full day ahead of me.

I’ve reading a lot lately.  A good amount of my reading now comes from self-help books.  I’ve done a lot of digging into my own life and character.  Trying to enhance the parts I and others like.  Also trying to change the parts cause discord, trouble and pain.  Now that I know that S. will most likely move on, I have to work on myself.  So that the next time I meet someone special like S., I’ll be ready for them.  This not to say that I can get just move on and feel nothing.  Rather I’m getting the impression that I’m being gently nudged in that direction.  Reading said books and applying them to my life is not quite all that fun.  While I don’t mind challenging myself, I do mind digging around for problems, prancing them out into the light and slaying them.  It feels a lot like setting your own bones without anaesthetic.  But has to be done.  I have a long way to go before I can be truly satisfied with myself.

Looking forward at today, I feel like I’m starting up on a long climb.  Today I feel like I will climb a Mount Kilimanjaro of tasks.  I feel tired already, but I feel ready to make the long trek.  I could iterate my work today to you.  In the end I will just be pushing forward on all fronts.

Looking Forward, Looking Back

I’ve blogging for a while now.  This particular site and setup doesn’t suggest that I’ve been blogging since 2005.  Of course nowadays, I blog more often than I did then.  But the fact remains.  I noticed this because when I imported my old Blogger blog to WordPress, I did a messy job of importing my posts.  Most of the tags and categories were messed up.  So every so often I go into my mass of uncategorized posts, tagging, spellchecking and updating as I go along.

Looking back, I blogged about my life in the context of a university student.  My struggles and triumphs as I dealt with university, computing, stress, writing, love and growing up.  Some things changed since those times, some remained the same.  I still enjoy blogging for all the same reasons as before.  Back then I would post when inspired.  Today I have to inspire and compell myself to keep posting daily entries, that are interesting, compelling, clear and worth reading.  Still it has been a worthwhile journey, one that I plan to continue well into the foreseeable future.

Looking forward, I am trying to bring my blogging into the next level.  Aestetically, I have set up the theme for the site in a manner that I like.  To top of the site, I created and added a favicon yesterday.  Also I continue with my re-organization of old posts.  I have some 110 post to clean up.  So about 65% of the posts are done.  Just a few more to go.

Hitting the Ground Running

Before I left for my leave, I left a bunch of thing half-done.  I also had planned tasks too.  But I never got around to doing them earlier.  Life’s twists and turns surprise you and throw all your carefully laid plans to the wayside. Now I’m back, I can get back to them.  Time to get back into the game of life so to say.

One of things I managed to get done while on leave, was writing.  Right now I have two-thirds of chapter two written by hand.  In the next couple of days I plan on typing up my notes.  Then I’ll continue the push to get most of the novel written by the end of this month.  Also I plan on rewriting my notes on another project (which I hope I can show off something tangeable in the near future).  Wish me luck.