The End of the Third Age

I’m going to talk about the Lord of the Rings. Or maybe America, at this juncture in time. Tolkien, famously, hated allegory and rejected allegorical interpretations of his work. And yet, time and time again, people have found an allegorical reading of his Lord of the Rings inevitable and tempting. There are plenty of reads …

South Pacific

I grew up listening to a lot of Rodgers and Hammerstein; it was some of my mother’s favorite music, and so there was a lot of it in the house. More than any other musical of theirs, I listened to South Pacific. Now, there are problems, of course, with that show. It’s a product of …

Programmers aren’t special

Listen to craftspeople of all sorts. Learn from outside the bubble. We are not magical. What we do is not magical. It has some cool properties, so do other things. Learn. (Yes, this means learn about how writers write. Yes, this means learn about how carpenters carpent. How psychologists psychologize. How baristas bar. How sailors …

Teamwork and Crosswords

Allie and I have been doing a lot of crosswords lately. While half the fun is yelling at Will Shortz when a clue is weak, the other half is in working together to solve a problem. And in the process, I’ve noticed something I find interesting. Teamwork can be about unlocking each others’ potential. In …

Compassionate work

A friend of mine has said that he strives, in every job he has, to make himself obsolete on his own terms. Then, he can move on to a new role, having left his job better than he found it. Another friend of mine has been complaining about someone at his work who is actively …

Lessons for a freelancer from time in an office

A year and a season ago, I took a new job, working at a small start-up in Boulder that aims to help people reduce home energy use. Last week was my last day there (I’m moving on to work with a team doing face recognition), and so I thought I’d write up some of what I learned.

This all comes from the point of view of someone who has mostly lived in a freelance mode, beginning with controlling my own schedule while I was high school age. So I’m unaccustomed to showing up at the same place regularly on someone else’s schedule. I’m unaccustomed to a lot of components of office life. And that’s exactly why I took the job in the first place. Continue readingLessons for a freelancer from time in an office

Double-Entry Timekeeping

I can credit Ben Warren with the phrase, and the particular expression of the idea. Like double-entry bookkeeping, you don’t just track one value, you track in and out from each account separately. In particular, you track the time you’ve allocated to tasks, and you track the time you’ve spent on tasks. One thing I’ve …

In Defense of the Last 20%

There’s an idea right now, in our culture, that if you can at least get something to 80% done, you’re doing well. You see this all over, in the start-up world especially, in ideas like minimum viable product, Agile’s ethos of always being able to push a new release, and so on. I think that …

Wind and Things Unspoken

Here I am, sitting in a mostly dark room, processing thoughts on class and drama and just not talking about it inspired by watching the beginning of Downton Abbey, and the wind outside is howling. Yeah, I love fall.

My Personal Guernsey

That one goes out to all you Victor Hugo fans. I’ve found an island in the sea of job-hunting. I’m working with 3atmospheres, some nice folks out of NYC. I’m doing Django development primarily, and I’m likely to start posting some things about that here, as I work on interesting problems.