usable in any place a human can be used



[caption id="attachment_472" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Get ready for the feats of strength"]festivus card[/caption]

The holidays are upon us and no matter what holiday your particular sky god has you celebrate (Festivus for the Rest of Us!) there is one thread of humanity that binds us together at this time, days off from work. When you have some time off of work you can spend it doing any number of worthwhile things

  • Drinking egg nog until you black out

  • Eating your weight in sugar cookies

  • Having that same argument with your family that you've been having for the last 10 years

  • Watching 24 hours of A Christmas Story

  • Spending quality time with friends and loved ones

  • Living through the same day over and over and over, á la Groundhog's Day (Best saved for the actual Groundhog's Day)

If you are reading this blog there is a good chance that you are some sort of programming nerd, its ok, I don't care what the New York Times says. As a proud nerd you have probably heard of some sort of technology that interests you, maybe clojure has piqued your curiosity, or you finally want to learn that "rails" thing all those young whippersnappers keep talking about. I would argue that this can be a great way to decompress, if you do it right.

First off, find something different than what you are used to, if your 9-5 is .Net don't spend your precious free time learning more .Net, that's stupid. Go find something radically different, maybe look at a functional programming language, go find that weird kid in the corner and talk to him, he probably has interesting stories about fire. This might seem like a waste of time at first, but it's not. It's all too easy to get locked into an ecosystem, doing the same thing day in and day out, to get comfortable there and to start thinking that your way is the only way or the best way. Reading about other technology outside of your realm might not have a direct benefit to your 9-5, but you may gain a perspective or understanding that would be incredibly difficult to get from your standard frame of mind.

Second off, this isn't work, this is fun. You are allowed to make mistakes and change your mind. If you work through a tutorial or get done with the first chapter of something and find that you really don't care, then go find something else, the software world is full of interesting things. The thing is, only stop if you grok the subject and dislike it, don't necessarily stop just because you don't get it at first.

[caption id="attachment_475" align="alignright" width="300" caption="What? Caroling? No fuck that, I got some erlanging to do!"]erlang source in gedit[/caption]

Third off, this is just to whet your whistle. Don't ignore your loved ones, squirreled away with your Beginner's Guide to Erlang because you've fallen in love with the idea of massively parallel systems. Take this time to investigate several things, learning the basics and setting up your love affair for the next few months. Then make sure you tell the people you care about that you love them and eat too much food and do people things.

For me this break will be about Rails. I've followed rails for a while, I've always been impressed with it, and I've had a few false starts. I've gone through the Getting Started tutorial more than once. I'm a php guy at my core, but learning how other people do the web is worthwhile. I've started the adventure already and think that this time it might stick. I have a 2 hour car ride up to Cleveland and back that I plan to fill with listening to Rails podcasts.

That's all for now, go relax and decompress, that's what I plan on doing for the next 4 days. As a side note I will probably not update during the holiday break so if you obsessively check or your rss feed gets lonely don't worry I will be back on the 28th.

1 comment:

  1. Have you looked at They have a few Ruby On Rails classes and the membership is ridiculously cheap.

    I am not affiliated with them in any way.

    Happy Festivus.