Image Tinkering

I planned to do some writing this weekend.  However that fell through.  Instead I looked my blog and my profiles on various sites.  I noticed that I projected a different image then I wanted to.  I wanted to look like a young working professional who enjoys his work, loves to work on his various hobbies and still be rather fun.  And I wanted to look like someone of my age.  I mean I like the fact that I look younger than I really am.  But some of my profiles don’t carry the same look and feel I wanted.  So I started tinkering my image, both online and offline.

One of the first things that will change is the blog’s appearance.  I thought of a title that would capture the sense of what I want to project.  In the past I called my blog on Blogger: Mlaren Dreams (a mlaren being a fictional hovercraft racing vehicle, inspired by FZero) and The Open Source Gamer.  Once I moved to a self-hosted WordPress installation, the name changed to Transmissions from High-Earth Orbit (a nod to my philosophy of looking at life from the perspective of someone in orbit above the Earth).  Then about the time I met Caroline and S., I renamed it to The Art of Being Dorian.  That last name made the blog more personal but it still felt too self-centred for my liking. Yesterday I kicked around a number of different ideas for names.  Today I changed the name of my blog.

So I present to you the new title: A Hacker’s Journal in the Cloud: Dorian Journals His Attempts at Hacking, Writing, Gaming and Living.  The name aludes to my hacking of computers and reality.  Hacking as in exploring and playfully using knowledge to my benefit.  The cloud beind the Internet cloud where this blog resides.  The rest of the title is self-explanatory.  And yes the title nods to the 19th century style of short titles and long elaborate subtitles.

My next goal is foist a new theme for the blog.  I wouldn’t mind creating a theme myself.  But if someone already made something I like I’ll use that instead.

Why Open Source Projects Make Sense Career Wise

Greetings Earthlings! (OK enough silliness for one day, back into the pocket you go Martian.) Once again I have to bring up the sort of lame excuse of being too busy to blog earlier. Well yes, it was lame too much work. Actually I killed my “1337” Gentoo box doing an update. So I basically installed the new Ubuntu 6.06, and I am in the process of setting things up. More on the new Ubuntu tomorrow.

Today’s rant is why open source projects make sense. At least from a university student’s point of view. Undergrad in CS to be exact. All other information from me will have to be extracted via torture, slyness or greasing of palm. 😉

Back to the topic, I am in the process of finding an internship position for the next 12-16 months. So far my own personal experience has mostly unsuccessful. The interesting part is that for the two interviews I have received, my interviewers were most interested in my open source projects. They glossed over my “work” experience, if you can call it that in my case. University courses were not even mentioned. Nope, the thing that stood out were the two projects I am currently actively involved in. For those in the unawares, I actually have 3 open source projects in the works. While initially I thought that working on these projects would be fun and simply educational, it turns out that they mean more than that.

There are three main reasons why I believe employers are interested. These being experience, portfolio and marketing. When you work on a project you have to not only have a grasp on the technology but also on the subtilties of team relationships, and organization. Any open source project will showcase your performance as a developer and/or project leader. The final product is interesting in itself. A look into your source code will reveal your work ethic, organization, knowledge, talent and creativity. Finally comes marketing, which applies mostly to the employer and sometimes to yourself. The words “open source” currently flow with the hype and buzzwords of the business world. By hiring an open source developer, the company gains a zen and almost messanic reputation of by part of what the business world sees as the future. Personally I think open source means plain old fashioned politeness and embraces the ethics of old (the “new” standard of “Western” ethics is quite dissettling). In some rare cases if the project is successful enough, the product becomes a brand onto itself. Any developer of said project also gains a certain amount of worth and can use this to his or her advantage when looking for work.

Well that is all great and everything but how can one gain these advantages. Simply put start a project for something that you need or want. Treat if it were a real life product to sell not just a “pet” project. This is how many open source companies themselves started out. Show your professionalism throughout the process. Try new things, and over time maybe that project will pay off in hard, cold cash.

Till tomorrow,