Today I find myself sitting in a Starbucks, trying to get some last-minute work done. When I first got here my phone told me the last time I was at this Starbucks was Almost 2 and a half years ago, on that day I was conducting an experiment, trying to get work done with just my tablet and my phone (POD: Coding on a Tablet) I’m amused when I look back on that day. I remember feeling that I had been productive even with the limitations that I faced. I wrote more about the limitations later that year (Tech Tuesday: Coding on the Go) of course by that time I’d given up on the experiment and moved to a laptop. The other point from that day is that nothing I worked on that day was ever finished. The personal projects I was trying to work on I still have half completed waiting for me to find the time to get back to them. Any paying work would have been minor tweaks to a client’s website software, that they use but could really use an overhaul.
For months I’ve tried to write-up my experience trying to turn my Note 10.1 tablet into a coding machine. I’ve had this post sitting in my draft folder since February every so often I pull it out and try to finish writing it. every time so far I have saved incomplete. Of course my circumstances have changed a bit since I started writing this, but I still think there is useful information for others in this post. So this last weekend I finally sat down and finished it. So I’ll be writing up a post to discuss what’s changed and why I’m less interested in finding development solutions for Android.
One of the reasons for replacing my Nexus 7 with the larger Note 10.1 was that I wanted to use my tablet for more than entertainment. From blogging to note tacking it has severed me well over the last 6 months, What I have yet to find a way to do productively and consistently is write code. To be fair up until the beginning of the year I haven’t made that a priority, I was content with using CodeAnywhere to make minor tweaks to projects, that was until it failed me completely when I was trying to write a procedure to review my picture of the day posts from 2014, ever since then I’ve tried to find alternatives. I’ve even been in contact with CodeAnywhere support, who’ve been reasonably responsive when dealing with a non paying customer, but ultimately it’s not reliable enough to be my primary mobile solution or even move up from the free service. So where does that leave me?
I am a programmer, ever since I wrote my first basic program on the Commodore 64 when I was 6 years old, I have loved to program. I do it at work, I do it at home, j have even spent the last 4 months trying to find a way to do it productively on the go(More on that soon). Over the years the type of programming I’ve done has changed, most recently I’ve been focused primarily on web-based projects. Last week I started a new project for a client, a simple desktop application for searching an online database we have developed for a client. It’s not a complicated app, just a simple search with a basic list of results, but I couldn’t stop working on it. It was great, over the course of a weekend I went from nothing to an application ready for testing and final tweaks.
The month is over, my mad dash to 50,000 words came up short. Very short. I didn’t even manage to write 15,000 words this year, and that’s including my background and world building work in my word count. Still as I sit here and look back at the month I feel like it’s been a success. I found a new world I want to explore with stories. My son wrote over 1000 words of his own novel and seemed to really enjoy the process. So I thought that I would take some time on this the first of December and write about my experiences during NaNoWriMo
It’s November for some a time to grow a moustache, or others it’s time to write a novel. I’ve always wanted to grow a mustache for Movember but that would mean shaving off my goatee, so that’s out of the question. So instead I’ve taken on the daunting task of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. A task I’ve tried to accomplish several times over the last 10 years. I’ve only succeeded once. Sure a few years I chose to blog every day instead of write a novel and that I have done successfully several times, but the novel has eluded me. So this year I’m back to noveling.
Yesterday was Jacob’s special day, it included a trip to out for lunch, as we were settling up the bill Melissa asked Jacob what tipping was. He said “It’s when you give extra money.” I thought it wasn’t a bad explanation, but of course misses the point. Of course Melissa explained that tipping is a way to reward good service and that 15% is customary. This got me thinking about the system of tipping. It’s been on my mind a lot since my vacation, as you were supposed to tip the waiters at the resort but how much do you tip when you aren’t paying for anything? There was also the expectation of tip. Our excursions guide and our airport shuttle bus attendant both explicitly asked for tips. As I write this I realize I have no answers just questions, but I feel like sharing and we’ll that’s why I have a blog. So here are the thoughts and questions that have been bouncing around my head..
We tip are taught to tip our waiters as a percentage of the total bill, so does that mean waiters who work in expensive restaurants are more deserving of a larger tip? Say you go to a nice little dinner where the average dinner prices is $15 on a date night you sit for an hour having an appetizer, two entrées and share a dessert. With drinks your meal would be around $75 so you would tip say $11.50. Compare that to a dinner at a fancier place where entrée cost an average of $50 . The same dinner for 2 might cost you $150 or more. Does the waiter in the more expensive restaurant really deserve double the tip? It seems wrong, that they should do the same work but because I have to pay more for my food at one restaurant then the other they get more tip.
Why do we tip waiters? I’ve always heard that wait staff get paid less and they make up for it with tips. That seems just sounds wrong to me. We’ve created a system where the restaurant puts the burden on the customers to pay there staff. It’s not to say I’m against tipping, I like to reward good service, but when the tip is expected it’s feels like when I don’t tip I’m not making a statement about the service, I’m just being cheap and that’s just not right. I’ve never worked in an industry with tips, so I really don’t know what it’s like from the prospective of someone getting tips, these are just things I’ve been thinking about and thought I’d share.
I’m not a morning person, never have been. Probably never will be, but having kids has made it necessary for me to be up and useful first thing in the morning. Most days it’s Melissa and I working together to get it all done. We have to them dressed, pack their lunches, and make sure they eat a good breakfast. It can make for a busy morning, specially if we wake up late. One of the hardest things for me is breakfast. I don’t like to eat when I first wake up, but I know that I should but I don’t always mange it. For the kids eating breakfast isn’t optional. We make sure they have something every morning, often something different for each of them.
In the morning the two of them are so different, on most days Jacob will take or leave breakfast. It’s a challenge to get him to sit at the table and eat. Violet wakes up hungry and is asking for something almost immediately. She’s our little alarm clock (Unless we really need to get up then she sleeps in). The last couple of days has been more relaxed, Violet’s been coming into our room at 7am saying she’s hungry so we’ve been up with the kids early and have had plenty of time to pack their lunches, get them dressed and make sure they both have a good breakfast. One plus of this is the last 2 days, I’ve enjoyed a nice cheese and veggie omelet that Melissa has made for me. I have to say, when I have enough time I really like having a hot breakfast in the morning. Especially on these could January Days. I guess maybe it’s the to look at what it would take to be a morning person.
Today my musings started after I looked back at something I started to write before Christmas. As I read it over I was amused by the different things that I was thinking about just 3 weeks ago:
This morning I find myself thinking about laptops, thinking about what I would want in one, when it hit me what I really want isn’t a computer or tablet, though both would be nice. What I want is to code. When ever I think about them I think about programming, and it comes to me that I don’t cod like I used too. I find I miss it. But the thing is I’ve lost the drive. I used to code anywhere, notebooks, loose paper, even scraps. At the end of the work day I would print code to work I during my compute home. Now I don’t. Sometimes i sketch out ideas or interfaces, but I used to side. I have a file folder at home with a bunch of hand written code. What happened. Why can’t I write like I used to.
I want to write, I used to love to sit with a pen in my hand and spin tails of far away world’s and great adventures. Over the years the tails have dried up, but I still love to write. I’ve turned the pen in for a keyboard but I still love writing. This blog I exists because of that. I started it because I wanted to write about becoming a father. Of course if you look at it now it doesn’t look that way. Looking at it now Geek with Kids is a photo blog. A place to see the Picture of the Day. I find it a little strange how much this bothers me, it used to bother me when I’d go months between posts. Now there is a post each day, but I want more written content. Not just photos.
I thought about ending the picture of the day. As the new year dawned I took a long hard look at it, but in the end I love being able to go back to any day over the last 4 years and see a picture. It’s a great way to remember events. So it will continue. Though I’m still working out how I want to organize it. Last year I used a Picasa Web Album to keep them all together, but with Google moving more and more to Google Plus for Photos and the inability to embed Google Plus images outside of Google Plus, I’m looking for a new way to group them.
But what about my writing. I remember telling people I wanted to be a Programmer and a Writer. I’m sure I’ve written that here before too. So what am I doing to bring the writing back to Geek with kids. I could go into lots of plans as I do every so often when I get this writing bug. Or I can stop talking about it and just write. I remember reading an article by an author about being a writer (Don’t remember who the author was) he said if you want to be a writer you had to write. I don’t write everyday. I don’t think of the few lines I include with my Picture of the Day as writing. Sure sometimes I write some substance but most days, I just do a basic description and leave it at that. I want to write every day. I don’t know if I want to share everything I write on my blog. But I think it’s time that I stop thinking about being a writer and just do it. So now every morning I’m going to try to take 20 to 30 minutes to just write on what every comes into my mind. If I like it I’ll share it, if I don’t I’ll either delete it, or file it away for some future time. So stay tuned.