Sunday, February 24, 2013

A little time to breathe...

    First time in a while i've felt like i had a Sunday morning, not sure why that is, but it's nice to have a little room to do some random. Thought I'd just take a moment and touch on some of the things I've been working on, mainly to gloat about all the cool shit I'm doing.  No, no that's not true, honestly professional life has taken a tiny bit of a turn in that I'm pretty much heading fully down the management track now and am relegating myself to weekend code warrior.  This is all totally by choice, mind you, because if I've come to realize anything in the last year it's that i REALLY love software arting, like, in a bad, unnatural way.  No, that's also not true, at least the last part.  After 10+ years, I think i'm just burned out on industrial strength development for money in general, just because there are specific things I like doing with code, and I'm probably not going to get to do those things unless I start my own company (prospective employers and recruiters, take not).  I think I've also gotten to the point in my career where I feel like I've amassed enough knowledge and experience to be a pretty good teacher, which in a weird way has brought me back around to management.

Hear me out, seriously...

    To me, management done properly is very much about facilitating, mentoring, and sheltering the team, which, if you think about it, parallels teaching a bit (actually, when I think about it, it also parallels parenting a bit, maybe I'm just getting to that age where I'm wanting to have, no, that's a terrifying thought).  No, I've always liked the idea of teaching, for which I blame my family.  There are quite a few good teachers/educators, in fact, now that I think about it, EVERYONE on my mom's side of the family are teachers.  It's not so much the power and ego trip of having the authority or getting attention and letting the world know how smart i am, i just like it when knowledge is shared.  In my old age, i'm getting less and less ok with the idea of making money off of ideas.  Sure, you have to start with an idea, but nowadays especially, too many people get so far with the idea and don't take it through.  I put code on github on a fairly regular basis, code that some people consider potential ip, but man, it's just not.  It's just knowledge waiting to be re-applied.  Something we all need to keep in mind, methinks.

Coding For Creative Non-Coders
    So i've gotten a few questions about Coding For Creative Non-Coders (which is weird that people were actually even paying attention to that) and the short is, it's not dead (just dreaming).  I've had the opportunity to present the curriculum in a few different live venues, which means I'm focusing on cleaning it up and getting it presentable to a live audience.  Means it'll be a while before it's actually published here, but it also means that by the time it gets here there'll be a ton more content and it'll all flow together a bit more.  One of the issues that bothered me about the curriculum initially was that it didn't really go anywhere, it sorta stopped at putting random things on screen with processing.  The new, refocused curriculum deals with visualizing social networking data, so we'll go from not knowing much about coding at all to being able to scrape web services for data and displaying said data.  Cool eh?  So if you were watching, waiting, wondering, i apologize for taking it dark like that, but rest assured, it'll be worth it, methinks.  If you're in the bay area, keep watching the GAFFTA website for more details on the class, and feel free to pop in!


Cindering and Other Creative Coding
    Dunno if anyone found my Cinder rantings at all useful (probably not), but if you did, fear not, more of those are on the way as well.  I'm pretty much deep into development at this point, churning on content for GDC, workshops, and a new SDK release, which means when i'm not managering, i'm coding pretty fiercely, and haven't taken the time to stop and do proper writeups like i should.  Hopefully the code will be self-documenting enough, though I do plan on releasing some sort of documentation for certain projects (Cinder block, ofx addon, Unity samples, etc).  Basically, useful code is on the way, so fear not.  If all goes according to plan, everything should line up with the SDKs Gold Release, which is...well, soon.

Thinking, Thinking
    About pretty much everything.  As i type this, i have a window open with a linkedin message to a google recruiter in a somewhat unfinished state.  I don't really want to work for google, in fact, after Intel i really don't want to work for anyone but me anymore on smaller, project based contracts.  It was actually my initial contact with google that got me thinking about that because they didn't really have a job for me, it was more that they think they like my skillset, or at least what they can tell of it from paper.  So it's probably the case of they just want to bring on engineering resources, then assign them to projects, or even more, the oft-romanticized work on whatever project interests you, made popular by such groups as Valve (wonder how that worked for the crew they just laid off...).  I notice alot of people think that sort of environment is fairly attractive, but if i've learned anything about my work habits, it's that i REALLY like projects.

...always looking towards some horizon, i suppose...

    Ultimately, I'd rather be hired because someone saw my body of work and thougth that was attractive, rather than a few lines under the "Skills" heading on a website.  I'm actually considering removing specific languages from my LinkedIn profile and just adding frameworks, SDKs, APIs, environments, etc.  I imagine that would blow some recruiter's mind pretty hard, but the flipside is i would probably get approached by people who really wanted to work with me on things I was really interested in working on.  Might be an interesting experiment.

    Experiment...that's another incredibly relevant descriptor.  I think my whole time at Intel is going to be a series of experiments, from proving some ideas I have about project management to going from tech artist to UX Developer/Project Manager.  It's daunting but exciting at the same time, I think my limited experience managing Tech Artists is probably going to be a big help when it comes to managing the crew i'm working with right now.  I say i'd never go back to game development, but who knows?  If my ideas turn out to be correct, might be fun to do some indie development.  Dunno tho, i think any game i made wouldn't do too well because after Intel, i don't think i could adhere to the established input modalities that games seem to be comfortable with.  Ah well, UX Development Manager it is, I suppose.  For now.