Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programmers

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nearly the end-of-year review

My first post (Farkers, feel free to replace that with “boobies”) of the year 2009 was a review of 2008’s blog and look forward to 2009. It’s time to do the same for the 2009/2010 blogyear bifecta.

Let’s start with the recap.

2009 was a comparatively quiet year for iamleeg, with a total of 45 posts (including this one). Although I gave up on LiveJournal, leading to an amount of “mission creep” in the content of this blog, I think that the vast increase my use of Twitter led to the decline in post frequency here. I’ve come to use Twitter as a replacement for Usenet, it’s much easier to share opinions and discuss things on Twitter where there’s more of a balanced conversation and less of iamleeg telling the rest of the world how things should work. The other main contributory factor was that I spend my days writing for a living currently, split between authorship, consultation and the MDN security column. I’m often all written out when it comes to the end of the day.

So, the mission creep. 2009 saw this blog become more of a home for ideas long enough to warrant a whole page on the internet, losing its tech focus—directly as a result of dropping LJ, which is where non-tech ideas used to end up. However, statistics show that the tech theme is still prevalent, with only four of the posts being about music or dancing. Security has become both the major topic as well as the popular choice; the most-read article was Beer Improves Perception of Security.

During August and September the focus started to shift towards independent business and contract work, as indeed I made that shift. Self-employment is working well for me, the ability to choose where I focus my effort has let me get a number of things done while still retaining a sense of sanity and a balance with my social life.

So what about next year?

Well, the fact that I have a number of different things to focus on leads to an important choice: I need to either regroup around some specific area or choose to remain a polymath, but either way I need to be more rigorous about defining the boundaries for different tasks. My major project comes to an end early in 2010, and after that it’s time to calm down and take a deep look at what happens next. I have a couple of interesting potential clients lined up, and have put onto the back burner my own application which will definitely see more work. I also have some ideas for personal development which I need to prioritise and get cracking on. The only thing preventing me from moving on a number of different projects is convincing myself I have time for them.

So the blog will fit in with that time-management strategy; I won’t necessarily decide that 9:00-10:14 on a Monday is always blogging time, but will resolve to put aside some time to writing interesting things. One thing I have found is that working on one thing for a whole day means I don’t get much of it done, so factoring that into my plans will let me take advantage of it. Half an hour working on a new article at lunchtime could be the stimulus required to get more out of the afternoon. My weapon of choice for organising my work has always been OmniFocus, it’s time to be more rigorous about using it. It doesn’t actually work well for time allocation, but it does let me see what needs to be done next on the various things I have outstanding.

Obviously what becomes the content of this blog depends on what happens after I’ve shaken down all of those considerations and sorted out what it means to be leeg. Happy new year, and stay tuned to find out what happens.

posted by Graham Lee at 17:47  

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What’s new in 2009

Of course, it’s a bit early for a retrospective of 2008, besides which I’ve already written 73 entries this year, my most prolific year to date on iamleeg. And that doesn’t count numerous tweets, stack overflow contributions and of course the occasional piece of source code here or there for some security company. As the noise of fireworks and exploding media players sounds across the world, it’s time to pre-emptively ditch 2008 and see what we can expect from 2009. Specifically, what you can expect from me.

It looks to me like the most popular pieces on this blog are the opinions and how-tos regarding Cocoa development, particularly my thoughts on properties and Cocoa memory management round-up. Don’t worry, there’s definitely more of this coming. As well as preparing for this Mac Developer Network conference talk I’ve been discussing recently, I’ve got another exciting – and unfortunately secret – project on the go now which should see plenty of collateral blog posting in the first half of the next year, all about Cocoa development. There’ll also be a bit more of an iPhone mix-in; obviously for much of last year the SDK either didn’t exist or was under non-disclosure, but now I’ve got more reasons to be using Cocoa Touch it will also be mentioned on here. I shall also be delving a bit deeper into Darwin and xnu than I have in previous times.

One example of Cocoa-related information is meetup announcements; I’m still involved in the local CocoaHeads chapter and I’ll endeavour to post an advance warning for each meeting here. I know many of my readers are in the States but a few of you are local so please do come along! In fact, if you’re not local (or “bissen’t from rond theez partz”, as we say here) then consider going to your nearest CocoaHeads or starting a new one. It’s a great way to find out who’s working on Mac or iPhone development in your area, share tips and stories and build up that professional contacts network.

Previously I’ve been concerned that readers here at iamleeg don’t seem interesting in commenting on my posts, but these days I’m no longer worried. I can tell how many people are reading, and of those how many are regulars, and I have to say that the blog is doing pretty damn well. Of course, if you do feel inclined to join in the discussion (particularly if I’ve got something wrong, or missed an important point from a post) then you should feel perfectly at liberty to leave a comment.

Finally, have a happy new year!

posted by Graham Lee at 03:47  

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Microblogging

For a long time, I deliberately avoided microblogs like twitter. I thought that they were simply an acknowledgement that people want to be published more than they want to have something to say. However, it would be rude of me to completely disavow the medium without actually giving it a go.

To that end, I may indeed be iamleeg on twitter, as soon as twitter actually finishes processing the signup form.

I’d like to point out that one problem I’m going to have is brevity – I have spent 650 characters telling you what my username is. Constraining myself to SMS-sized wibblings will indeed be tricksy.

posted by Graham Lee at 22:33  

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The new netiquette

It used to be that netiquette was all about TURNING OFF THE CAPS LOCK, making sure that the subject matched the content, that you didn’t go off the wall if someone didn’t reply to your e-mail in a few minutes, that sort of thing. In fact, this (RFC1855) sort of thing. But now there are different netiquette requirements, and no obvious guidelines, nor seemingly any common practices. Now I’m just the kind of person who thinks that some de facto ruleset would be useful, so that everyone knows what to expect from everyone else.

For instance, take social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. How well do you know someone before you ‘add’ them as a friend? Once met at a conference, once read their blog, cohabited for two years? Do you talk to them first, to let them know who you are and that you’re not a crazy stalker? If someone adds you, and you don’t know who they are, do you accept or reject by default? Do you ask them who they are? If they claim to have met you at $conference or in $pub, do you accept that, ask for a photo, or what?

posted by Graham Lee at 19:26  

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