Archive for November, 2009

Goodbye Text Files, Hello Zen!

When I’m working on writing up some new blog posts, I usually have a “TODO” text file that I keep on my desktop (hi-tech, I know). This process has been working quite well for long enough, but since we started using AgileZen at work I’ve begun putting my own tasks and stories into my own project. This helps me keep them all in one place like the text file did, but now I have a way to track how close I am to completing a blog post, a series or readings or whatever it may be. I’m really digging the slick interface and ease of use that is built into the UI. I recommend signing up for a free account like I did if you’re looking to organize your “stuff” better.

People Shouldn’t Multi-task

I would consider the title of this post a true statement. Yes, people can multi-task, but they probably lower the quality of those tasks being performed (think driving while texting).

The other day, however, I was a multi-tasking maniac! Normally I like to work on something relatively undisturbed, but this day I was hopping between tasks and conversations like a mad man. It was very rare, but I actually got a lot of stuff accomplished. Since these days are rare, I’m going to chalk that day up to the one time in the next 100 days that it will happen. I’ll go back to my single threaded work habits from now on.

One Reason I’ve Improved as a Developer

I’m pretty sure that there is a direct correlation between the time I started really growing as a developer and the time I stopped subscribing to television. Since then I’ve been able to spend a lot more time on projects, coding and reading. I remember when working on projects before that time. I always seemed to not have enough hours in the day to work on them. I still feel that way, but I’m actually putting in way more time than I was before I was TV-less.

There are times when I wish I had cable television, but they’re far and few between. Most shows I watch, I can catch online with a day or two of their airing. Sports on TV are the only times I miss my idiot box.

I think it takes a lot of discipline to really try to improve as a software developer. By freeing yourself from “time-sucks”, you’ll be able to spend more time improving your craft. What are some other time wasters that people could consider removing from their life?

Easy Blogging Again

For the last several months, I’ve been blogging without Windows Live Writer. This hasn’t been terrible, but now that I have it again I’m realizing just how much I like it. I can type something up for this site and continue the thought on another blog to which I contribute.

I think this will ramp up my post count across the several blogs I post to. I still don’t think I’m going to be able to hit my mark of 72 technical posts I was aiming for in 2009. I guess if I add up all posts on all sites I probably have it. I guess I can take something away from that. :)

Speaking at CVineta

Tonight (Nov 10th, 2009) I’ll be speaking at the Cedar Falls .Net User Group on jQuery. This is an introduction to jQuery and how to get started using it. The aim is to get web developers the visibility of what it is and how to start using it.

If you’re in the Cedar Falls and Waterloo area, and you’re interested in creating rich, dynamic web sites, stop on by for some free education! I’ll do my best, I promise.

Improvement is Recursive

The more and more I improve myself, whether it’s in development or management or other, the more I realize I need to improve myself and my craft.

I have done some speaking gigs around the state this year and I’ve had to answer some questions to which I didn’t know the answer. Now I feel obligated to learn more. Improvement begets the need for improvement, which begets more need for imp… you get the picture.

By no means am I complaining, but I wish the continuous need for improvement also increased the number of hours in the day!

Iowa Code Camp IV – A Love Story

The 4th Iowa Code Camp is now over and my heart is broken. I wish we could do these every weekend, I had an amazing time! Also, like most code camps and conferences, it was another good opportunity to put some faces on Twitter handles and meet new people.

I had a really good turnout for my jQuery presentation (I say that because we ran out of chairs in the room), but I have a lot of improvements to make. If anybody that attended my session has any feedback they couldn’t fit on the evaluation form, please feel free to leave them in the comments.