03 January 2009

Eat the Dogfood

I try to practice what I preach, eat my own dogfood so to speak. In my rambling "Help Yourself", I wrote that you should regularly do stuff to sharpen your geek-foo. It's already 3 days into a new year and I haven't yet chanted a resolution (why mess with perfection?) or set new personal goals. I'm over due.

Comic #498AnotherRandomDay.com

Ok, so here we go. This year, my goals are:
  • Learn a new language. This is do-able. I added Groovy last year. This year will be either Erlang or Python. Probably Python or more likely Jython. When learning a new language, it doesn't count unless you do something with it. So this goal includes learning and then coming up with a project to implement.
  • Fly my r/c airplane. I bought a Firebird Phantom plane and was ready to fly. My wife accidentally broke it before I got the chance. I will fix and fly it this year. Then I'll return to Chris Anderson's DIY UAV website and start dreaming again.
  • Attend seminars. This is tough because my town is lacking in the free stuff. I'm going to keep an eye out for anything interesting in Indianapolis or even Chicago or Detroit. Here a local one that I will attend in April "Managing Like a Prince: What Machiavelli Teaches Us".
  • Re-read Charles Petzold's Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software. I'm kinda cheating on this goal because I've already started this (but not until yesterday so I'm still counting it for this year). This is a great book that I read a few summers ago and ended up just skimming thru the later chapters. This time, I'm reading it all.
  • Do a 7 in Seven and blog each one. 7 in Seven is an audacious scheme by the ITP Resident Researchers to do seven creative projects in seven days. My projects will be code and hardware related involving a bot or something similar. Yeah, I'm already doing that stuff but this time I'll have a deadline for each one.
  • Volunteer. I will participate in a city trash cleanup or house painting or leaf raking or ... I'll keep my eye out for opportunities posted on bulletin boards and will help where I can. My time is limited with a non-stop job and a busy family but I can't use those as excuses. I'm also very fortunate with a decent income and my health. I need to help others more.
  • Lose 10 pounds. This is the 3rd year in a row with this goal. 3 years ago, I actually gained a few, 2 years ago I stayed the same, last year I lost 5 pounds. This year, I'm doing it. I run a lot. I just eat more than I should. Check out the great recipes I have bookmarked on Delicious. yum. None are low-fat or diet. This will be my toughest goal.
I have other things in mind but these are the ones I'm committing to. I regularly read a few books (mostly fiction) each week so adding "read more" isn't a goal, it's a fact. I'd really like to take a few college course this year but that's not practical because of my insane work schedule. I just can't commit to a semester long obligation.

I'd love to hear your geek goals. What will you be doing to Help Yourself?

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