Soft landing after vacation

Back in New Jersey after spending a week in Utah. Catching up on things. Back to work tomorrow. The leaves are calling me – much leaf clean-up to do today.

I always try to do a “soft landing” when I return from a week-long vacation but it doesn’t usually go quite as smoothly as I’d like. There’s always a little anxiety as I try to reconnect to life back home. It’s something I hope one day I’ll be able to bypass.

What does it mean when you don’t care about your own TODO list?

On the one hand, it’s a great day when you can wake-up, look at your list of TODO items in Remember the Milk, and defer all of them to tomorrow.

On the other hand, that seems to show a lack of focus and clarity about what’s important to me. Why were those items important to me in the first place, when I put them on the list? And if they really aren’t so important, then what is? Where’s the things I do care about for today and why didn’t they make it onto my list?

Disconnecting from the City life

I’m about to start on a new path soon as I, after more than 15 years of New York City life, begin to disconnect from the Manhattan / City hustle-bustle. Four years ago, I took a first step on that path when my wife and I moved to a suburb in New Jersey. In a few weeks, I’ll take a next step as I switch to a new job where I won’t have any job responsibilities tied to New York or any other city.

It’s a big transistion for me, and one I’m looking forward to.

I build software…

I guess I should say, “I build systems” – because that’s what I do in a more general way.

But ultimately, what I do is to either build software, directly, or to do things that are in support of building, administering, or deploying software.

I like what I do.

And starting soon, I believe I’ll be able to start spending a much larger percentage of my working hours doing what I like.

Building software. :-)


New tools for Android – AIDE and Terminal IDE

Very exciting – have been looking for ways to do some coding on my Android phone during my lengthy train commute. I found QPython a few months ago but the idea of writing little Python scripts just wasn’t grabbing me. I was hoping (wishfully thinking?) for something that could actually let me tinker with real Android applications and the Python environment seemed like too much of a leap.

So, I just found something called AIDE, which claims to have the following features:

  • It’s a full IDE for Java on the phone
  • It synchronizes with Eclipse projects from your desktop PC using Dropbox


Finally I might have a reason to learn how to use Eclipse, which is something I have been avoiding since it has just seemed like overkill for anything I want to do.

And along with finding AIDE, I found this terminal program for Android called Terminal IDE which appears to give me the ability to terminal into my phone from a desktop computer and run a full-on Linux command shell environment.

Cool! :-)

Is it time for me to learn Scala?

I think it’s been too long since I’ve added some significant new skills to my technology work toolbox. Most of what I do is directly related to business problems that come up at the office – not often enough taking the much needed step back to see the overall direction of my skills and technology in general.

Primarily, I work in C# / .NET in a Windows-centric environment, and it becomes easy in that sort of environment to always look at every problem through the lens of a Microsoft-centric solution. Yes, I’ve picked up some strong PowerShell skills (highly recommended if you do anything on Windows nowadays) and I’ve gotten over the hurdle of Emacs, giving me a strong multi-purpose text editor solution for many problems – but I haven’t really learned many new paradigms.

Strike that – I have learned some new paradigms but haven’t really made much use of them yet. And I’ve gotten so I tend to grab for the mouse at times when I should be grabbing for the command line.

I think that’s gotta be my emphasis over the next year, no matter what technology problems I find myself working on – keeping new ways of looking at problems and solutions at the forefront of my mind – using more of the stuff in my work, getting my hands dirty in as many new ways as I can while balancing that against staying productive enough in my daily life. Yeah, I could keep looking at most problems as a C# guy, but in a few years that kind of attitude will leave me completely unqualified for most work, despite the efforts that Microsoft continues to make to embrace new technology ideas within the C# world.

Coursera has a course starting this week in Scala – maybe that’s just the thing to give me work skills a kick-in-the-butt!