Tagged with Personal
I've been mulling this topic for a long time now. I had aimed to make this into one of my video rants, but I want to make sure the words I mean are the words I say. This is purely my view of the idea of privilege in my own life.
I consider myself a fairly successful person in software. This isn't how it was supposed to be. I was born into a family on welfare in the projects in New York City. My father's schizophrenia kept him from working most of the time. My mother, a teenage mother, waitressed to help make ends meet. Contrary to expectations were not the only white family in our apartment block. Our next door neighbor, a black woman, often watched me and my brother and sister when my mom had to work and my dad was having one of his bad days, which was often. We loved her like a second mother.
I wasn't destined for anything. Growing up poor in the United States is tough. Hard to see beyond the next paycheck and food stamps. I was just a kid so I didn't realize how difficult this was for my mother.
I was talking with David Berry when we both heard the news about MSDN Magazine shutting down after the November issue. I'm really saddened by it.
The reality is that MSDN Magazine had a dramatic impact on my career, both as a reader and an author. I'd like to share my memories of it.
Years back (I think 1998) I went to one of my first development conferences in Boston. There I saw Chris Sells, Don Box, and Jeffrey Richter for the first time. I left there wanting to figure out how to speak at conferences. I loved the idea of sharing my experience with others. Code camps and user groups were in their infantcy so I didn't know of another way to scratch that itch.
A lot has changed both personally and in our industry in that amount of time. I’m going to look back in wonder at the last fifteen years if I can.
I didn’t start tracking users until I added Google Analytics in 2008, but in that time I’ve reached over 1.5m users (who knows how accurate ‘unique users’ are…I’m suspect of this number). But I did just pass 3 million page views. I’m hoping most of those views helped people just a little.
It’s been a tough couple of months here at Wildermuth central. I’m finally feeling good enough to get back on my proverbial feet. The hair is longer, the beard grayer, and hopefully a little more wise.
You should hear a lot more of me now that I’m back home in Atlanta. I have a lot of web development experience to share with the blog. I hope you will enjoy what is coming.
In the last two months a lot of chaos has taken hold including:
I love what I do. The consulting, the software development, the courses…I really love it all. It keeps me in a constant state of learning and I am overjoyed and extremely lucky for this to be my life’s passion.
This year a lot has changed in my life and I am finally married for the first time. I met the amazing woman 2 1/2 years ago and I am lucky she agreed to be my life. Sappy…I know, but the experience has been transformative.
In mid-May with my wedding fast approaching I started to pull away from work to focus on the incredibly difficult (and a tad stupid) task of planning a wedding, eliminating everything we owned (with small exceptions) and leaving the country for a year. All these three things happened in the span of five days. We left our apartment on a Friday, got married on Saturday, and on Tuesday we were on a plane to Paris to start our adventure.
I’m happy to announce that I will be working with the Humanitarian Toolbox to both help publicize this important project as well as work on some of the projects. This is an important open source project that is trying to do some real good for the world out there.
If you’re anything like me, you like to make a difference. The Humanitarian Toolbox is a place to make a difference. They are helping people during disaster response by using technology.
Their mission statement is really simple:
I recently released my new writing project: “The Opinionated Software Developer”. This short book (about 35 pages according to Kindle) is a quick look at my experience in software development. It includes a history of my experience in the field as well as a look at the software developer psyche. The hope was to share my opinions about being a developer in the industry including how to deal with co-workers, how to avoid being a brat developer and how to motivate developers in larger organizations.
The eBook is free of specific technology choices and focuses on experience, skills, and opinions about being a coder in this fast-moving field.
I just got back from SDP13 in Israel and spent 10 days in that lovely country. With this trip planned, I thought it a perfect time to ask my girlfriend to marry me. I'm 44 and I've never been married so it's about time, right? Unfortunately we had a minor argument and in my haste I texted "Maybe I'm not getting married…" This text was meant for a friend of mine who I'd been confiding in about the whole diamond buying experience. But this text went to my lovely girlfriend instead. Foiled by technology again. So the cat was out of the bag and I didn't think I could surprise her with the ring in Israel.
I was perplexed as I wanted it to be a surprise even though she now knew it was coming. If I were to take her out to a nice dinner or maybe to watch the sunset, she'd know what I was up to. At the same time I considered how to be romantic and unique. I really wanted her to say "yes" (though she knew I was going to ask, she didn't let on with what her answer would be) so making it memorable was important to me. But what could I do that others haven't done before. I thought of writing her a song (I am a musician) but it felt trite and over-done. Then I remembered I am a software developer (ok, I didn't forget, but I am trying to build some tension). I'd write her an App for her tablet.
On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I am reflective of a difficult time for my country, the world and my own life. I had recently been laid off for the first time in my career...so when the attacks happened, I had all the time in the world to watch all the coverage I could. I was in Portland (Oregon) so I was not close, but it felt close. Watching this news happen in real-time was profound event for me. If I was closer, I hope that I would have jumped in to help. My heart sank for the victims and their families. I tried to make sense of this violent act...and it was simply senseless. At that Twin Towers; at the Pentagon and in that tragic field in Pennsylvania - the bravery and heroism that I have to believe I am not capable of.
I kept thinking of this quote that had touched me as a teenager:
Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow. - Dan Rather
As many of you have known for a while, I've been running my AgiliTrain training company focusing on technologies like Silverlight, WPF and the Web. My interest in training isn't going away, but I've yearned to work with a small group of thought leaders to help companies in more innovative ways. With this goal in mind, I am launching Wilder Minds.
The vision for Wilder Minds is to be a complete solution for companies who are trying to move to new technologies (like Windows 8, HTML5/JS, Mobile Development, node.js, etc.) Instead of just doing training, we're expanding to help in three primary ways:
Wilder Minds is still focused on training. We are still building and teaching our courseware as we did as AgiliTrain. This hasn't changed. We have adapted to the changing way people are taking training and suspending our publically-held courses. We won't be doing our "Tours" any longer, but we will continue to teach our courses (and custom courseware) as clients request them. In addition, we're continuing to build courses for PluralSight and do some remote classes. Training is still a major focus of this new venture.
I buy a lot of music. I am not a hoarder like some, but I have 100GB’ish of MP3s. I don’t go around and ‘borrow’ friends collections just to up my count. What I do is buy music…just not at brick and mortar stores.
While I could go on about how iTunes on Windows is a bad piece of software, that’s not what I care about. It’s the DRM. I pave my machines constantly and I have my music on a lot of devices at once. Music Match sounds like a good idea, but Apple has burned that bridge with me a long time ago so I won’t harp on it. But as a consumer of music (and someone who wants to support the artists), what do I do?
My cousin, Paul Wildermuth, unexpectedly passed away last Saturday night at the young age of 46. His passing was a complete surprise and has affected me and my family greatly.
I don't blog about my personal passions outside of software development very often, but today's announcement of my absolutely favorite baseball player requires a moment.
When Greg Maddux got signed by the Atlanta Braves in '92, he was immediately my hero for two reasons: he spurned a bigger offer by the Yankees to come play for the Bravos; and he was a thinking man's pitcher.
I am humbled by a recent post from Arcane Code's only Robert Cain. In explaining how to make your self more useful (especially in this market), he used me an example of someone who moves with the technology. I am not sure how right he is, but I am certainly humbed by the gesture. On his blog is a list of "Arcane Lessons" that is not to be missed. He hits on a wide variety of subjects from WPF to SQL Server Compact Edition to Visual Studio Addins. Well worth a click-through!
I was approached to answer nine questions for the ninequestions.net site. I was happy to get asked. Hopefully there is some info that you haven't heard already.
Pete Brown called me out to answer the next round of "what about you" questionnaires floating around the blog-o-sphere. So here's my take:
How old were you when you first started programming?
Arthur C. Clarke had an astounding impact on my life as a young boy. His magical mix of hard science and science fiction kept me rapt with wonder of the world. Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood's End profoundly impacted my vision of what is possible.
Mr. Clarke was a real renaissance man as his contributions to science, literature and popular culture are hard to overestimate. His early science accomplishments helped usher in the age of satellites, especially in the science of geostationary orbits that work as telecommunication relays. In fact, geostationary orbits are referred to as "Clarke" orbits.
I have gotten involved in the Messenger campaign that makes every IM I send (once you sign up) that starts with "i'm" turn into money for charities. Several charties are supported. I am support the Boys and Girls Club. Get involved!
I was reading Clemens Vasters' blog this morning when I read about something called Blog Tag started by Jeff Pulver. The idea is to tell five things no one knows about you and tag five other people to do the same. No one has tagged me, but I'll start it up here with some of my favorite bloggers:
I headed out from Atlanta to Redmond yesterday. I've made this trip enough times that I thought I knew what to expect. I didn't expect a snowstorm.
I arrived at SEA-TAC at 10:30pm expecting to grab a car and do the quick drive to Redmond. The snow kept the airport luggage handlers from getting the luggage from the plane for 45 minutes. Then the nasty job of getting to the rental agency. Their shuttle was hampered by the ice on the roads. But at midnight I had a car, my luggage and some hope to get to my hotel before too long...
I have a problem. When I (or my customers) are being taken advantage of it makes me so very angry...probably angrier that it should. I am in Hartford, CT this week to teach a course for a corporate client. One of the recommended hotels is a Crown Plaza Hotel at $199/night. It was the cheapest of the three hotels they selected. While I find expensive hotel rooms ostentacious, usually I can figure out why they are so expensive: excelent service, nice rooms, etc. The room I am in right now is actually about 1/2 the size of the $75/night hotel I stayed in a couple of weeks ago. Not just the size, but its a bit shabby actually.
When I checked in I was shocked that they charged extra for Internet access in the rooms. Ok, $9.95 a night. Big whoop. I find it offensive to be nickle and dimed, but its their hotel. Fine. But then when it didn't work, they wanted me to call a 800 number to get it working. Final straw was when the guy on the phone (a 3rd party company I am sure) said he didn't have time to fix it and got me working but told me that tomorrow I'd have to call again to get it actually fixed.
For those of you who do not know by much better half, Tricia is a sculptor that has just started doing shows and exhibitions. To go with that new step, we have created a new site to show off some of her pieces. Right now there are only a couple of her pieces there and a way to send her comments, but it should grow in the coming months. If you are interested in art, please visit her new site at http://www.sculpturesbytricia.com.
I've been having trouble with my laptop shutting down unexpectedly. After some searching online, I found out that this is a common problem with my laptop (HP ZD8000) that the fins that cool down my desktop CPU get dirty. So I got a can of air and screwdriver and went to work. OMFG!
Here's what was lurking in my laptop: