September, 2011

Boys and Girls

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

As someone who has to stand up for doing girl things when I am clearly and blatantly a boy, (alright, given my age, “woman” things and “man”), this, from the BBC is a remarkable and advanced form of parenthood in my opinion, and I blog it here so that it is not forgotten, by me anyhow.

If I could send them a message of support I would.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14901895

9/11

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Today, ten years ago I was working in Bangor University as a Research Associate.

We saw the second impact on the web from the computer lab, as one of the teacher trainees was watching the news in a lull.

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Keep Calm, and Carry on.

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Never forget.

Coding for other people

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

I’m a coder, amongst other things.

I’m not a business type person, despite the fact that I have an MSc in E-Business, I’m too  much of a hippy to actually DO business, I hate taking money from people and I hate chasing them for it.  In the past I’ve learned that that I don’t have enough clout to sue people when they rip me off, and I don’t charge enough.

Recently I’ve learned that I can never charge enough if I’m coding for other people.

The problem here is that code is complex, very complex, and much of it is given away, (see Dan Pink, the Surprising Truth about what Motivates us, wait for the programming part).

And that’s a problem, because as an individual I can’t explain what takes time, and I’m often paid for my time, not my output, except…

…I’m paid for my output not my time, when the truth of it comes, because no-one seems to understand what takes time.

Because I code web things, I have to have to hand knowledge of at minimum, four programming or query languages, three different systems setups, two different operating systems, possibly across continents, etc. etc., all the paraphernalia that comes with coding, and people say “wow that’s intense”.  This is often followed by, “Can you just…”

No, I can’t.

I’ve been involved in coding projects recently, I took over from someone else who had left the code in the middle.  I didn’t know how much was involved, because one cannot.  I wasn’t given a proper spec, I wasn’t insistent enough about that, and I should have been.  I didn’t draw lines around what I was expected to do.  Given the amount of time that I’ve put in, now to the detriment of other projects, I cannot probably catch up with those projects properly.

Alright that’s bad.  But eventually, fixable.

But what isn’t fixable is that I do NOTHING else but code right now.  I don’t write, I don’t cycle, I don’t motorcycle with my friend, I don’t see my kids, I don’t work on my teaching material for next year, and I’ve turned into a HORRIBLE person.

I want silence in the house, (the kids are on summer break), I argue with my girlfriend, I argue with my ex-wife, I’m impatient with my boys, I’m impatient with my girlfriend’s kids.  I haven’t been to my roleplay club.  Basically I’m a moody fuck.

Studying for my MSc was easier on my life than coding.

I know this is a bit rambly and a moan, but you know, put up with it.

I have clients from years ago now that I still host, none of them paying, and I don’t even know what status their sites are at because I’m now realising that my American host  changed DNS on me a while back, and though they say there was an email I don’t see it.

So I have to go around changing this stuff, except that I’m going tom write and say I can’t do this any more, not “I can’t do this for free any more”, just I can’t do this, I can’t host, I can’t do code for people any more.

It does not pay enough, because no-one understands what code involves, it makes me tense.

To hell with the money argument, stuff the money.

Coding makes me tense.  Ten cups of coffee a day, (I had gone down a lot, except that Uni gives me a bad coffee habit), makes me tense.

I have realised, finally, that I don’t LIKE coding for other people, and it does’t like me.

I love coding, for me.

I don’t love myself very much when I’m coding, but when it’s for me, I can put it down and become a human being again.

Here’s the thing, no more coding for other people, no more hosting, no more horrible person.

I’m going to dedicate myself to teaching in Uni, and getting my PhD.  I’ll probably write come code for that, but at the end of it, I’ll have a PhD.  I’ll probably teach people to code a bit, but I won’t be doing it.

…and I’ll be a better, nicer person at the end of it.