Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My New Laptop

Celebrating both my new bussiness and my birthday, my wife and I purchased a new laptop. I'm in hyper-joy over my new geek toy and I'm still settling into it. I've decided, for various reasons, to leave XP installed on this one. I haven't used Windows, for anything besides checking my e-mail, in nearly four years now. I remember most of what I need to know to keep things running, but it will be an expirience to get back into things. I've had some trouble getting my NFS shared visible to the laptop, and decided to just migrate to Samba instead. I was disappointed to find out about DVD decoding being a little off with Windows, I suspect for anti-trust purposes, so I might have to pay ten bucks for a decoder. Overall, I am very happy with my new laptop. DVD burner, S-Video input, large screen, faster than my desktop. I was walking around the house carrying the laptop to test the WiFi strength, and its pretty good.

I've finally got Samba running, and learned how to get those shares accessable by all the users on the laptop by setting up a batch script to configure the drive mappings triggered by all user logins, even though I'm the only user. I've exposed my subversion repositories so I can collaborate with myself, and I've installed all the usual tools I'll need for Python work. I might still be missing some dependancies, but I'll work those out as I find them. I'm surprised that I'm actually missing linux packaging, because as much as I complain about it, at least it usually has automatic dependancy installation handled pretty well. I've had to search for some missing python packages already with no errors indicating them at all (pythonw hides all errors onto the console, so be careful for that).

Yay.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

SelfUnEmployed - Now with links!

SelfUnEmployed was started yesterday, but I forgot to link to it in my post about it! Thanks goes to Steve for letting me know. Look, I still technically started it yesterday, right?

Friday, March 10, 2006

SelfUnEmployed

Coinciding with my entry into self employment, I have decided to start a small webcomic, by suggestion of a good friend. I rushed the first strip, doing it in about an hour, but I wanted to start it on the same day as my first day working for myself. It is entitled "SelfUnEmployment" and I hope you will enjoy it. I was hoping to start up something more creative, as I have ignored my writing and painting for far too long. This is a good way to exercise those lost talents, again.

Why can't my websites get along?

Today, I did something pretty normal for this day and age, but I had to do it in contortions to get around limitations driven solely by greed, not technology. All I wanted to do was read a page of reviews from Google Reader, find the books on Amazon, and send the wish list to someone on my GMail contact list.

Now, under nicer conditions, this would have been really easy. The books would have been automatically highlighted and assoicated with the entries on Amazon, and actions tied to them for adding to my wish list, and the form at Amazon would let me pick an address from my GMail contact list. Why doesn't this work already? I'm not saying I expect it to right now, I'm actually seriously asking: What needs to happen for this to work?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Journey Begins

Today I made the plunge, and I ended my last day under normal employment, to pursue my career as an independant contractor and eventually to form a startup. My journey from here will hopefully be a good one, though I am sure it will not be without its hiccups. I'll post how things are going, and write about what I learn for anyone else who is thinking of going this route. I need to look into things like taxes and incorporation and all of that, and I'm sure there are other people out there, reading this, who will one day need to know the same things. I'll let you know. Give you a little walkthrough on how things go. Maybe you'll find my journey to be a nice map for yours.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A short comment on the future of programming languages

I've caught some recent articles and commentary asking a basic question of "What's next for programming langauges?" and I though I'd make a quick and short stab at a guess.

Considering a few elements to the soup that I think are key: the rise of dynamic languages and rapid development, the prevelence of the internet spreading word and use of multiple APIs and frameworks, and an increasing need for portability over a range of targets. I think this will lead to one inevitable move in software, but who makes it is anyone's guess.

We're going to see first one, and then many, dynamic, binary-compiled languages. We'll see things that allow two games to be written, one using Direct3D and one using OpenGL, and to compile them for the same target, using either. We'll see the ability for compilers to restructure the original code in such a way that library APIs will be more than calls to link to, but templates that will portray the intentions of the progarmmers and be able to adapt them to the target in question.

I call this "Hard Linked Libraries", but I'm sure a dozen names will surface. Python could make moves toward something like this, I'm sure. But my guess is that eventually something will surface in .Net to do things along these lines, probably using or extending generics.

I'll post more, and maybe some mockups. What do you think? Is this likely or feasable or stupid?

Big Changes A-Brewin'

I've been working up to this for quite some time now, but things have begun in motion that will cause some big changes coming my way, which will probably be reflected in the quanitity and quality of posts here. In short, there will be more of them and they'll be better, because I'll have more time and more to draw from.

I closed my first large contract, which will allow me to quit the dayjob and work full-time from home. This is fantastic timing, and freightening timing: I have a child on the way due right around the end of this project. So I'm taking something of a risk here, but things a already lined up to make sure we're secure for enough time to handle any misfortunes that come our way, and it will be fantastic to work from home instead of going away to work each day, when the baby arrives and I won't want to leave. Ever.

These changes will give me more time to focus on things going on in the communities, and comment and theorize and contribute more to everything going on. I'll probably be taking my hand at some kind of personal project, which I'm narrowing in on and will likely talk about in the near future, when I decide on some things and maybe get some funding (might need to make a call to that Rich Uncle everyone always talks about).

Wish me luck, everyone.
I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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