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Dragonfly

#sohjsolwin

Many people have a type of animal they find themselves drawn to, one that always grabs their attention. Whether they see it on the handle of an antique spoon, or on a billboard along the highway, it always makes them look and think "huh, cool". For some it's cats, others foxes, eagles, horses, ants; for me, it's dragonflies.

Whenever I see an artists photo or painting of dragonflies I always stop to admire it. Whenever I see them floating in midair exactly where they want to be, I'm always amazed at how graceful and determined their movements are. They never seem to be blown around by the wind or interfered with in any way. They travel precisely where they mean to. My imagination always seems to fly off with them as well.

This past weekend was a lazy one. I stayed home, browsed online some, played a few games, and watched The Office on Netflix. I accomplished nothing. On sunday afternoon I remembered receiving the invitation to set up a meeting with one of the Introductory Specialists to get familiar with and set up for providing Helpouts when they go live. I scheduled my meeting and sat down to record my introduction video for my helpout listing I'd been procrastinating on for the last week or two. It was much more difficult than I had imagined.

I'm not very comfortable on camera in a "news reporter" type scenario where I'm the only one talking and it's only to a camera. If it's a conversation online or if I'm speaking directly with people I don't have as much of a problem. While trying to think of what to say to "sell" myself and my listing to potential users needing assistance I referred to myself as an IT Professional. While the term may be technically correct, it didn't feel right. I've been doing work in various IT fields professionally for over 10 years and have worked on and with PCs and such for upwards of 15, but I still didn't feel like the term professional applied to me.

There's a stark contrast between what I know I can do and what I feel I can do. I know I have the skills and capabilities to qualify as an IT professional, a software developer, a PC repair technician, and a microwave time setter, but after having met people with so much more passion, drive, and direction, such as +Noble Ackerson, +Peter Teoh, +Daniel Ward  and many others when I (some how) managed to get a ticket to Google I/O last year, I feel like I'm not doing enough. Everyone I've met at I/O and the meetups I've been attending recently have been amazing and make me feel that if this is the caliber by which a professional is graded, then i come up short.

Back to sunday, so after getting the video recorded and uploaded, I looked surfed some more information about Go, considered working on some Glassware a little more, and overall just wasted time. Later that night, I began thinking: There's so much that I want to do, but I just have no direction or lose motivation too easily. If I don't work through my problems right away they'll become a powerful deterrent preventing me from ever continuing on that project again. So many times I've installed the Android SDK and started with Android development. So many times I've played around with the Mirror API and moved on to playing with something else whenever I get stuck for an hour. Too often I leave projects unfinished. This blog is a prime example. My last post was that I would be posting more frequently. That was nearly a year and a half ago. Laying there sunday night my mind drifted to the dragonflies.

I thought of how they have complete control over their flight, being able to fly in every direction, how they can see in a full 360 degrees, and how they do it all while only beating their wings at 1/10th the speed a bee (around 30 beats per second vs 300 beats per second). That made me think that perhaps it's time for me to start taking control of my projects instead of letting my projects take control of me, that I should be looking in all directions for inspiration, and that I should be accomplishing these things more efficiently instead of beating myself up over all the things I've left unfinished. (Yes, I know that analogy is a huge stretch, but it got me typing this post, didn't it?)

Along those lines, I've decided to be easier on myself and to set more realistic goal and surprise myself when they're exceeded instead of being upset that I can't learn a new language in a week or that I don't sit down and immediately punch out finished software in a paradigm I have no experience with.

To begin, I am going to set aside time every week for a blog post. They may not all be long or detailed, but they will be written, and that is the important part. I am going to set aside time every sunday evening to sit down and put together a post. Second, I am going to extend my programming prowess by becoming a proper polyglot programmer. Currently I only know C# well enough to get paid to code in it. This will change. I am primarily interested in Go and Java (for Android development). I will begin with Go first, as I think that is more fun and interesting at the moment. My goal is that by this time next year I will be as proficient at Go development as I am at C#. Learning and exercising Go will allow me to do more with the Mirror API as well, which is another goal of mine. I paid a non-trivial sum of money to be part of the Explorer Program and I thought that would be motivation enough to do something with that gift, but I underestimated my ability to procrastinate. My goal with the Mirror API is to have something production ready that people would want to use by this time next year, preferably by the public release of Google Glass (I'm still betting on a mid to late summer release). Another goal of mine is to learn a new spoken/written language. I only know english right now, and a small amount of spanish from school, but I would like to travel and hence would need to know the language of my destination in order to fully enjoy my trip. My first language of choice to learn to read and write is japanese. I have multiple learning material on the subject, I just seem to lose focus and determination around week 4. I think if I could find someone to converse with and practice with it would help me through those slumps.

To make a clearly defined list of my goals so as to better keep to them:

  • Learn a new programming language (Go)
  • Do something with that language (Mirror API Project?)
  • Create something for Google Glass utilizing the GDK or Mirror API
  • Learn a new language at least to a rudimentary conversational level/be able to enjoy a meal while speaking the language (Japanese)
  • Make a new blog post every week
This will not  be easy, as I am quite proficient and finding other things to do, but I believe with proper motivation I will accomplish all I have laid out. Utilizing the new Google Helpouts to keep me on the computer on the weekends and continuing to attend meetups with other like-minded techy individuals in the area I believe will help keep my motivation levels high.

I will be posting these to Google+ as well and will be utilizing the hashtag #sohjsolwin to identify these posts from my regular G+ posting. Thank you everyone for everything you make me want to accomplish. Oh, and +Noble Ackerson, all your Spartan race posts make me want to compete as well. That will become a goal soon too, though I have to become more accustomed to how cold the winters get up here if I want to be able to start training anytime within the next 6 months. 



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