Sometimes it is Just a Matter of Finding the Right Project

I have probably been busier the last four months than any other time in my life. I have not had more billable hours than usual, but I have been doing a lot of learning, debugging, learning to better debug problems, and organizing. For years I had been talking about improving my PHP and Javascript skills but as much reading/training as I did – nothing really sunk in until I found the right project to help me along and to motivate me like I wish I was years ago.

I just wanted to take some time out and thank three people in particular – Demitrious, Ken, and Brett (you know who you are!) for believing in me and being patient with me as I learned.

Demitrious showed me the way, never gave me the quick and easy answer (well maybe once or twice after driving him crazy), and always made me think about the big picture and made me get comfortable with everything uncomfortable.

Ken always knew how to do exactly what I needed – and then I learned by example, read more documentation, and made things cooler then ever before.

Brett actually never questioned if I knew how to do something – he just knew I would get it done, and done right.

Without you guys – I would probably still be relying on others instead of doing it myself. So thanks…I appreciate it!

Generation Social

As a history major – I tend to look at everything and find trends, think about what historians will write about our time, and all kinds of fun things that drive Amy crazy. The other day while I was thinking about playing Super Mario 3 on my Wii, I thought about the definition of being social (“interactions between people”) and then thought that my son Evan’s generation will most likely view our generation as very unsocial. We wrote letters that took days to deliver, interacted with people very limitedly, played games by ourselves, and worked independently.

Our definition of communication has completely changed. When I thought about it, I went to college before cell phones were really popular. If you wanted to get in touch with someone it was by phone, email, or by the chance of meeting someone. No one had digital cameras so most of our college pictures are tucked away in a shoebox somewhere in one of our friend’s closets. We had the beginning of networked games, but our interaction there was limited to typing in “hi” or “Don’t go in the dungeon without me Ken!”.

Now – we have instant access to other people’s statuses and whereabouts by the second. SMS, email, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, cell phones, etc – people share what they are doing that moment, while other people can comment, look at your whereabouts, get notified the second any change has been made (RSS, etc), read about what you are doing/what you have done all in a community setting. People take photos and videos now and within seconds share the photos and video with family and friends…and even “strangers”. If you want to get ahold of someone – you can do so electronically and it is a good chance I will be talking to whomever I want within a matter of moments, not minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months.

The definition of face to face communication has also changed. The majority of us have high speed connections which allow us to chat via video so we can see our friends and family at any time, any place within seconds. No more waiting to see cousin x until our yearly trip to Germany. Same goes with business. Why have your office fly to somewhere to sit in a room with others while you could save money and time by doing business via video? Of course it is still nice to meet in person on occasion, but it is not always needed or the best solution.

Even gaming – all of my favorite games are highly interactive with my friends online. I cannot even tell you how many times I had to explain that I was a girl and not a 10 year old kid playing So Com II because we planned our attacks and defense using voice. I have friends online that I know I can play games with at almost any time…from scrabble to planning a sniper attack on the enemy.

On trips, I take photos with my iPhone and send them instantly to family members so they can see their grandson in his latest cute pose. Sharing no longer waits.

I look forward to talking to Evan about how he perceives me and my generation compared to what he knows and understands about the world. I am sure he will one day comment on how crazy it was to not have instant or almost instant access to everyone and everything.

Something For Ben, Ken, and Doug

We all need them. We all use them. We all realize the power – but with the exception of Ben – we all run into road blocks and frustration when we try and put something together. What are they? Regular Expressions. Take a look at the cool RegEx testing tool where you can easily test your regular expressions.

It is Apple Keynote Time Again…

I love the day of big Apple keynotes given by Steve Jobs. While rummaging around for a disk utility last week – I found my copy of the Macworld 1999 keynote where the Blue and White G3s and multi-flavored iMacs were announced. I had a smile – I eventually owned both and thought they were the best thing ever! Anyway – my friend Ken asked me if I still got as excited as I used to – and the answer is definitely yes. I love everything about the keynotes…but I especially enjoy the post keynote reactions from the people I know. People get so excited – there is even a Keynote bingo!

My predictions:

  • I will keep my fingers crossed that the new announcement(s) will increase the value of the stock
  • Ken will be underwhelmed regardless of the announcements and let me know what the x should have had ;). (This would be true even if Apple released the coolest thing ever – he would find some “fault”.
  • Ben will be the most likely to compulsively buy the most expensive x. He will justify it somehow and I will be excited to hear about his experience with it…and then I will buy rev 2.
  • Mike will buy the newest gadget, regardless of need, and own it with much pride
  • Doug and I will sit back, not make and purchases right away, but he will end up talking me into getting something and then after he sees what I get, will get one too.
  • My friend Tim that I knew from college and met up with at WWDC in 2005 will talk to me about how we got screwed when we were there because our keynote was about the Intel transition
  • Amy will find out a few days later what is announced and tell me about it, even though she should know I knew about it moments after Steve Jobs spoke about it at the keynote
  • My parents will also talk to me a few days/weeks later about the new announcement and send me newspaper articles about it
  • Amy’s dad will finally be wowed by “x” that he will consider getting one and eventually be a switcher!

Enjoy!

Battlefield 1942

Well, after hearing my brother-in-law was a hardcore Battlefield 1942 player still, I decided to pick it up so he could experience my wrath. I also pulled in a few friends (Ken and Doug). I finally got it installed and even played a quick round this afternoon to get used to the controls. So – if you still play this old, but good game, I will be playing under the screen name of [beckett]. (Thomas Beckett)

web hosts, the journey continues.

Ken often asks me: “what is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?”. The last time he asked I told him I would take a cab to a Land Rover dealer and buy myself a Range Rover. I would like to continue my response to add that I would then drive home and go to apple.com and buy three Xserves. Two for web servers (one main, one failover) and the other Xserve as a development server or backup server (or game server). I would drive my new Range Rover with the Xserves in the back to a data center and then strip off Mac OS X Server, put Mac OS X client on them, call all my friends and tell them I will host whatever they want for free, and then of course talk to my financial advisor. So my point to all of this? I hate 99% of web hosts out there. I have been through several. I am tired, so I will not go into detail, but ServInt sucks. Unreliable, unreliable, unreliable. They claim they “manage” VPS systems, but it is far from managed. Both Ken and I had major problems, and the support was very unhelpful as well. Bullshit responses, slow repsonses, or no responses at all. Stay away from ServInt! Where am I now? Back with the most reliable host I have had to date…Host Gator.
[tags]web hosts, jappler.com, Host Gator, Xserve, Ken, Range Rover[/tags]