Scott Hanselman

My Last Few Weeks Summary Post

May 6, '04 Comments [1] Posted in XML | Africa
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A couple of kind people have commented on my recent silence in the blogosphere and said they missed me. Certainly I had trouble keeping up with posting while on vacation…not a lot of connectivity where I was. Additionally, with the recent situation, not to mention getting back into the swing of things at work as well as the worst jet lag I’ve had in a while (and lemme tell you, mefloquine gives one some FREAKLY dreams), I’ve been slow to blog.

However, as my mind awakens I’ve been thinking of a few things I wanted to mention.  I’ve actually been too lazy to blog them, but I’ve not been to lazy to put them into notepad.

Here are a few thoughts/comments/interesting things, in no particular order.  Some have conclusions, others do not.

  • Remember the “Does your code think in ink” contest?   They were giving away $15,000 in prizes to folks to write Tablet PC Power Toys.  Well, turns out I was a runner up and came away with $2500 cash and a copy of Visual Studio.NET 2003.  Very cool, considering that my applet (which is apparently to be published as a Power Toy) was not hard to write.  Apparently winners will be announced soon.  There’s a second chance to write a winner with the new Application version of the same contest.  Looks like $100,000 this time.  Cool.
    • Side Note: I now have a copy of Visual Studio.NET 2003 for sale. ;) $1000 OBO.
  • Nerds with glasses.   I went to the eye doctor for my 2 month checkup since my LASIK surgery.  I’m officially 20/10 in both eyes.  This is ridiculous since I was 20/1600 and legally blind.  I can see so well I can see your thoughts.  Seriously.  Having a little dry eye occasionally, but otherwise a fantastic outcome.
    I was talking to the doctor and wondering why so many computer people (read: nerds) wear glasses.  You can call it a stereotype all you want, it’s still true. ;)  He said there’s actually a whole segment of optometric psychology that looks how personality types have different vision.  I proposed that Type-A, borderline ADD, uptight, detail-oriented people like myself should be more likely to have sharp vision if only through shear willpower and want.  He said it’s actually the exact opposite.  People “like me” are so focused and driven and prone to perfectionism, they stress their eye muscles at an early age and can actually CAUSE myopia.  Interesting stuff. 
    Anyone else agree or disagree?  I know I was reading early and taking small electronics apart at a young age when perhaps I should have been using my eyes to avoid dodge balls.  Maybe all that fly-tying when I was 5 caused my problems?
  • Vacation.  Anyone who comes back from vacation saying, “I’m so refreshed and ready to get back to work” is full of crap.  The longer I am away from work, the more I want to retire and hang out.  This is a reflection on how nice NOT working is, not in anyway a reflection on my current employer.  It just would be nice to NOT have to wake up one day, eh?
  • Coders who are born.  A friend is taking a SmallTalk class, and commented on a fellow student who just wasn’t cutting it.  I commented that maybe he wasn’t born a coder.  This turned into a discussion that culminated in the conclusion that while developers can be created, they (the personality type) are fundamentally in-born.  If we weren’t developers, we’d be designing the Jumble, or working in the fields of Math or Physics.
  • Books.  I’ve just finished two amazing books that I recommend highly:
    • The Time Traveler’s Wife: This is a slow-moving, but perfect little book.  It is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future.  Truly one of the best books I’ve read in the last decade.
    • Ilium: This is the new Space Opera from Dan Simmons, author of Hyperion.  It is virtually a retelling of Homer’s Iliad, through the lens of SF.  Bizarre and amazing.
      “On Earth, a post-technological group of humans, pampered by servant machines and easy travel via “faxing,” begins to question its beginnings. Meanwhile, a team of sentient and Shakespeare-quoting robots from Jupiter’s lunar system embark on a mission to Mars to investigate an increase in dangerous quantum fluctuations. On the Red Planet, they’ll find a race of metahumans living out existence as the pantheon of classic Greek gods. These gods have recreated the Trojan War with reconstituted Greeks and Trojans and staffed it with scholars from throughout Earth’s history who observe the events and report on the accuracy of Homer’s Iliad.”
  • Video Editing: We filmed over 8 hours of digital video while in Africa.   I use a higher-end Digital 8mm Sony camcorder with an external microphone and polarized lens filter.  I did a bunch of Adobe Premiere work back in the day, so I figured when it came time to make DVD with my DVD Burner, I assumed I be using something like Premiere.  I’ve used prosumer things like Pinnacle, but I say again – Nero Burning ROM is flat out the greatest single value in consumer software today.  In one day I ripped all 8 hours (via Firewire) about 90 gigs of DVD AVIs, edited, added a soundtrack, created interactive DVD menus with animation and background music and burned back to a DVD-R a very nice 2 hour tribute to my father in law.  All this with a US$70 piece of software.  Oh, and it also plays DVDs, has a full featured backup app, makes photo CDs, rips MP3s, and squishes DVD9 to DVD4 or CD.  Glorious.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004 3:50:39 PM UTC
On the subject of "It's not my fault I program, God made me this way.", most programmers are INTJs. Most programmer/bloggers are ENTJs. Go figure.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.