Mental Shards: Ninjas, Stacks and Menus

I’m a huge fan of checking out RSS planets, especially with the technologies I love to use.  Now I use Google Reader to aggregate and handle these hundreds of stories.  Every so often, a story grabs my attention and gets me thinking.  I’ve starred hundreds, only to never look for them again.  I found that even thought I can e-mail myself these stories, they get lost in the giant abyss known as my e-mail.  So for fun, I’ll post the blogs that caught my attention in a new section on my blog: Mental Shards.  (Yes, you guessed it… it is a play on the name of my upcoming novel.)

Lydia Pintscher writes about dealing with people who communicate in various forms and degrees.  I’d probably fall into the communication ninjas group.  In fact at one point thanks to my Internet tablet, anyone could reach out and touch me over instant messenger.  This became terribly distracting, and even thought I could the same with my cellphone… I’d rather not.  Well actually in theory if I acclimatized people to the concept of on MSN, but may not respond in an instant we’d be good.  Still it is a good reminder, that not everyone feels compelled to feel embedded into the Internet cloud at all times.

Oops… I forget which KDE developer mentioned the Stack Overflow site.  This looks like an excellent resource for developers, especially when dealing with open source technology.

Richard Dale, another KDE contributer writes about the GCDS talk about Moblin.  Here’s a thought: menus are useless.  I’m a bit reluctant to agree.  Most menus are huge and a pain to navigate around.  I’d prefer a flexible tool/toolbar system.  Maybe not quite a ribbons design though.  I am a strong believer in keeping UIs simple, clear and pleasant to use.  However menus seem a necessary evil, for large complex applications.  However the argument, on why do we need large complex menu-driven applications rather than smart intelligent, flexible ones those hold much merit.

Congrats to Celeste Lyn Paul for winning the KDE Akademy Award for Best Non-technical Contribution.  Her work and writing inspires me to one day get into usability, user interface design and (human-computer interaction) HCI myself.  Once things settle down in my life, I plan on looking into doing a Masters in HCI.

And on Phoronix we have: News of a Game Going Free Culture.  Should be an interesting experiment, I wish the developers luck.

Kubuntu Dev Tips?

Decided that I want to get more involved with the Kubuntu project. Filling bug reports and answering forum questions is one thing. Being involved with the desktop you will be using is another. Besides I want to get my hands dirty in some KDE coding. Maybe gleen off a few tricks on how to create an environment where developers, and the community in general contribute.

I am a firm believer that developers should eat their own dog food. So for starters, I am making room to install the new KDE 4 version on Hardy Heron. After that I guess I will try to become a Kubuntu developer. Any tips on how I should get started?

Adjusting to Easy Schedule

I am not good at adjustments. The switch from a super-busy, near-hyper-kinetic schedule to a “normal” lighter schedule keeps on throwing me off. Hence the lack of updates since Friday.

Yesterday was the great chill day. Today was the great after-chill day. Meaning, I did not get too much done when it comes to assignments or studying. Anyone who follows the justCheckers project got lucky with the new daily updates (at least on the wiki). Everyone else… kind of lucked out. (At least you lucky denizen of the blogosphere get a neat treat today – 3 make-up posts. Why? Because I love you and enjoy having a regular audience.)

Still, I rejoice at the thought of the “evil” over-busy semester finishing. With the exception of three moderately difficult exams, a wack of writing for my writing portfolio and two assignment-papers, my goal of finishing a B. Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, just got a semester to completion. The very thought of finishing in April-May 2007, makes me euphoric. Now assuming that I pass every course this semester, only 4 more courses await me next semester.

I only worry about what I do after-university. People assure me, there is a life after university. I am not too sure. I guess I will need a job, to pay off my meagre debt. But kind of a job? Where can I work? Sure I do plan to work for myself one day, only I need money to bootstrap any sort of business. I would prefer to entire self-employment on my own terms, rather than “starving” myself into it.

So where should I work? Most jobs want some sort of work experience, something I lack in the professional sense. Take gaming firms like Valve, Apogee, id or EA: everyone wants an artist with a portfolio (but can I build one in less than 6 months?), a project developer (do you know that I never worked in let alone managed developing a commercial game?) or a programmer (does Java AWT count as graphics experience? No I don’t do OpenGL, at least not yet). How about NASA’s JPL? Would love to code rovers to race around on Mars, yet neither engineer nor US citizen I am not.

Realistically, I should contemplate working for IBM or Canonical (makers of Ubuntu). Man too little dreamy options (Valve), and too many risky (Canonical) or dirrery options (IBM, Microsoft *shivers*). So long as all effort does not land me a low paying sys admin or code monkey job.