Showing posts with label Continuous improvement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Continuous improvement. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Start With a Soldering Iron

Close followers of TheHackerCIO will know that he's in major retooling mode. Fresh back from Karate in Japan, he's retooling not only his Kata, but his technology. He's donned the white belt for a fresh look at tech from hardware up.

From the basics. The fundamentals.

It was increasingly clear from last year that I needed to get hardware back in my life.  Sitting in our CIO and CTO offices, listening to our classical music leaves us far too detached. We need to get physical, physical. We need to get to the hardware. At the AT&T Hackathon several months ago, the hardware hackers impressed and inspired me with the "wearables" they concocted.  And now, it's easier than ever to get involved with Rasberry Pi -- whatever your age -- and do some interesting hardware/software projects that interact with the environment in interesting ways.

I wish I still had the URL to an essay I read years ago about how to become a "guru" at programming language X. [I no longer remember the exact question, or language, and Google hasn't helped source it]

The advice given, I'll never forget:

1. Start with a soldering iron ...
2. move on to mastering operating systems ...
3. now learn networking ...
4. and assembler ...
5. Start working up the High Level Language Stack. A lot of optionality here. Perhaps:
    Java [forget C++]

Which short-list gives us a good basis in procedural, and then functional languages. Maybe throw in Prolog for a declarative language.

There are other considerations, of course, but this makes a good overall syllabus. And it's more or less the program I'm embarking on for the next good while.

Bought an Asus laptop as working fodder for the review: I'll start by picking up the new-to-me windows 8 touch-screen nomenclature and interface, then re-partition it to become a dual-boot ArchLinux and Windows box.

I already learned that, unsurprisingly, as CDs and DVDs are increasingly scare on laptops, recovery disks in Windows are now just USB sticks. And, they only take 512M, which easily fit on the 7G stick someone was nice enough to give me at the SCALE 12 conference last month. All of this is good to know, and once again, helps keep everything real.

Keeping It Real,


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Continuous Improvement for the Self

Yesterday, in discussing the "Close the Loop" principle, TheHackerCIO touched on how one is worse off for not addressing deficiencies. It's simple, really. Not only do you now have a known deficiency, but you also know that  you are the kind of person who doesn't fix problems. (At least with respect to this problem.) And that is setting you down a course of habitual non-fixing problems, which is nothing but a downward spiral.

Don't go there.

There are many applications. For instance, how many times, O fellow Hackers, are you compelled by deadline-pressure and/or management to employ what we might humorously call a "sub-obtimal" solution or approach. In other words, we put in a hack, or a "work-around," or take on "technical debt."

Now, the reality of life is that this is always going to be there. But it should be tracked and a solution found for the future. This is they way to move yourself toward the elimination of such issues.

I keep a page in my client-journal where I track everything I've done that I'm unsatisfied with. I just label it my "Technical Debt" page, and make sure I log it. And, naturally, from time to time, when time permits, I come up with remediation approaches and solutions. Even if I can't get them into production, I've at least "closed the loop" on the issue. And so, on a personal level, I have improved myself. Which, by the way, is a very selfish thing -- in the best possible sense.

I hope you too choose to improve yourself. You'll find yourself a much better technologist for it.

I Remain,