Monthly Archives: January 2012

Change, sometimes it just happens.

Well, it’s been almost two weeks since my previous employer decided it was time for me to make a career change. Of course there’s more to it than that but that’s all I’m going to say about that. “It is what it is,” and I’m actually pretty excited to see where my career takes me next.

While I’m an independent developer (which sounds much better than unemployed, no?), I have a few things I want to work on. Writing again in this blog is definitely one of them. It’s been way too long and I’ve gotten used to spewing things in Twitter which is very handy but doesn’t stay around long enough and isn’t long enough to capture my thoughts in time. I have lots of opinions on things and it’s good therapy for me to write them down.

The main technical area I continue to be very interested is, of course, Eclipse and the CDT. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months learning and thinking about usability and the importance of design and user experience. Pretending to be a newbie CDT user and walking through normal day-to-day activities shows me a few areas that need to be addressed. And since I’m still a CDT committer, I have the power to fix them.

I continue to be fixated with mobile and the new world that mobile UI and application architectures brings us. There’s a reason these devices are flying off the shelves at your local phone and electronic store. They’re so easy for the regular consumers to learn and use, and so powerful. It’s that kind of user experience I’d like to see brought over to the desktop as well. I continue to follow the progress of Qt 5, which I believe can be a great framework not just for new desktop paradigms, but for mobile as well. It still seems to have a ways to go before it’s stable, but I’m going to start experimenting with it as soon as I can get a build that works on my laptop.

The third area is a new one for me that I started chewing on in my spare time over the last few months, and that’s web app development. Node.js has caught my eye as it has with numerous other developers. It’s asynchronous programming model is very similar to the way we often program in embedded to produce scalable systems that react to events in the real world. While JavaScript is the cool thing in the web world these days, I have wondered whether we could provide similar APIs in a type-safe world, say using Java. People use Java on servers, no? And the convergence of server-side apps and mobile clients and embedded devices is a natural. It’s the “Internet of Things”.

So stay tuned for more over the upcoming days. As I mentioned, writing is good therapy, whether it be text in a blog or code in the exciting new world of mobile/web.

Happy New Year, Out with the Old One.

Surprise! I haven’t blogged in a long time (except for the blurbs about the EclipseCon 2012 program, which has turned out great, BTW). There’s probably a few good reasons why I haven’t spent much time here. The main one, I guess, to quote poor Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, I’ve been a bit “lost in the woods” myself. But like him, that’s more a state of mind than fact. And for 2012, I see a few paths that will lead me out of this cloud (or into one which would be one of the paths :).

We lost a lot of great people last year. I’m not sure if it’s just my perception because of what happened in my life, but it seems more than usual. For me, it was the loss of my Dad to cancer after a year long battle. He inspired me to live my life with honour and respect for everyone, something which I try to do a lot in my work as the CDT project lead. Communities built based on respect and openness to all comers is the key to success.

Of course, there was Steve Jobs. My wife got me his biography for Christmas and I finished it a couple of days ago. The parallels in his physical condition with my Dad’s was amazing. While Steve waited too long to get treatment, my Dad waited too long to get diagnosed and both ended up with their cancer metastasized to their livers which brought about their end. Dad was pretty weak at the end, couldn’t eat due to the morphine, but he made one last trip to my dear cousin’s wedding where everyone got to see him one last time. Steve was the same and had his last trip to resign as Apple’s CEO and had a nice chance to say goodbye. All in all, it’s a lesson to take care of yourselves. Treatments are getting pretty good but you got to catch it and act early.

As for Jobs’ life and times, I’ll dedicate a whole blog article on that. Reading the book was pretty eye opening. I learned a lot about how he really operated and the true reason for his success. And I also got a look into the history and life in Silicon Valley which you don’t learn much out here in the wilderness other than the occasional visit. One thing is for sure, I’m pretty sure that life has passed me by and I only regret it a little :).

There were other famous people that passed. Dennis Ritchie being the foremost for me. He doesn’t get enough credit for the changes he brought to our industry. Yes, he invented C and helped create Unix, but more importantly, those technologies let average programmers in on the action. Unix machines have always been everywhere and accessible and with their built-in C compiler, you just needed an account to join in on the fun. It’s where most of my generation started and why I’m so passionate about the CDT and enabling new generations to learn how to play with fire.

Well, let’s stop there for now. I have a lot more to write about and have a new found energy to write about it. I’m hoping this year will be a much better year for me and a great year for you all. Expect to see more in this spot than you have in a long time.