Developing Without A Net
One of the amazing things about what I'm doing now is that for the most part, I'm surprised that when I need a book or some documentation, I already have it. I was thinking yesterday "I need something more detailed about XSL" and when I went home I checked out my book section and sure enough, there's Wrox's XSLT Programmer's Reference sitting there waiting for me. I bought it god knows when - sometime in the past 2 years - and then it just sat there waiting for me to come around to it again. I also searched on the internet for some documentation, then went to save it into my usual documentation spot and low-and-behold, it was already there and somehow I missed it during the day. Doh! I wonder if I have a split personality or just a really bad memory? Maybe a little of both? (Wait. Who typed that?) Anyways, I guess the idea is that I've been preparing for doing this sort of development for a while now, bit by bit and it feels great to finally have the chance to sit down and do it.
Here's a thought: because I have no net during the day and thus doing my development offline, I actually feel more productive because there's no distractions. No email, no aggregators, no browsing when bored, no IMing, etc. It really allows total concentration. These things of course also have their downside - no email makes me feel out of touch. No aggregator ditto. No browsing means that I can't quickly look something up on Google when I run into a problem and no IMing means I can't tap someone's expertise when I need it either. Not having Google is especially rough... Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd say that in a modern developer's virtual toolkit, Google is #2 right after a decent IDE in terms of necessity. I've just recently started using IM for development as well - last month I cried out for help and included my IM names and 30(!!) people responded and now if I have a question about a variety of topics from User Interface Design to Cocoon I've got an expert online to tap when I need it. (And I've tried to return the favor as well) It's an interesting addition to the development world... though maybe I'm a bit behind on this.
Yesterday I didn't blog at all. That's bad... the day after I talk about being a "daily poster" I skip a day. Very ironic. (Or if you're a stickler on the use of the word irony, it's at least very contradictory) ;-). What happened is that I was working all day and not having a connection means that I'm a bit out of touch. I was thinking to myself when the urge to blog struck, "Ooh! That'll be good to post later! Remember that!" And then I either forgot what was so great about the thought I was going to blog or just didn't have similar urges later. I was just going through my outlines trying to organize them a bit and I found a "blog ideas" outline where I had outlined a bunch of different posts I could write. Nice... but in the weird nether-world of blogging, just the very act of putting those thoughts into my outliner meant they'd never see the light of day in a blog. I can't "post later" like Moof can (he's prepared posts for later on in the week already...)
My outliner doesn't like long lines, so I can't "blog" into my outliner like I'd like to so isntead I'm doing it from Ultraedit. Did you know that F7 inserts a date and time? Very cool, I love UE.
Okay final thought. Working for myself means that I'm a bit unfocused. I like to have a few things going so that when I run into a problem on one project, I can let it sit for a bit and go on to another. But then I have a tendency to continue that pattern to new projects. Doh! I've got what, five different code bases started now? That's bad... I need to stop being Ritalin boy and get one thing done then move on to the next.
First thing today though (after this post) is to spiff up my resume a bit. I got a tip for a 6-9 month contract in Italy at some SMS/mobile phone startup. Ooooh. That would be fun. California can wait 9 months for a side trip to Italy no?
Just called in via my cellphone to check my email... ;-) Figured I'd post this while I'm at it.