Torn

Last Tuesday I went to http://openhack.github.io/louisville/.

I might have been the only guy who would profess to knowing .Net there.  I felt out of place.

A guy from the other group, http://www.meetup.com/Lean-Startup-Circle-Louisville/ came over and asked if anybody knew C#.  I raised my hand.  I’m glad I helped him.  But it also felt like I revealed myself.. a .Net developer amongst a community of Ruby, Rails, Java, etc..

Its probably all in my head, but it felt like nobody would give eye contact when I came back from helping Joe.  (Btw, He has a nice business model.  But that’s his, not mine to talk about).

What was my intention anyway?   To be famous?  That’s a bad intention.  I went there, that night, to find time to work on a problem that I had, about getting time-per-task out of Harvest when the task was encoded in the comments for each time entry (each task is a user story, effectively).  To compare story points vs actuals.  That’s another topic.

Anyway, its got me thinking.  Here’s this resource of not-.Net people.  A world I know little about. Maybe my next little project, just to shake up my .Net mold a bit, should be in.. something else.

What else? Where the fudge do I start?   Gah!  Ubuntu is probably a good spot.  I have that on a laptop.    Java? Ruby? Python?  Node.js?   What am I trying to solve?

But why?  I already don’t have very much time available.  Do I want to solve a problem, or do I want to “investigate cool new stuff and build new skills”?

Is it even a problem?  Really, keeping track of car metrics is a VERY 1st world problem.  And I have enough other (boring) projects that I have (externally) committed myself to doing, that I really need to finish, that have nothing to do with Coding.

I want to be the kind of guy who can easily grab another language and go do something else.  I know I used to be that guy.  Am I still?  Its been 13, 14 years since I’ve stepped out of the ecosystem that I work in (C#/.Net).  Why should I ? Is it worth it?  To whom?

Possible Answers

The answer is to table it all, for now.  First, I need to finish the last two running video’s, so I can cancel my subscription to Adobe ($30/mo), and I have another household project in the works that is going to take some time and energy.    Let it sit, till next month first Tuesday.

Define my goal.   I want to compare my different routes to work:

  • by Time taken
  • by Fuel consumed

I could get to my end goal in about 3 hours using Powershell and Processing, slightly modifying stuff I’ve already written and hand-editing a few files.    What I guess I’m choosing here is to investigate a different world.. and see what tools there are.

Possible:  I could learn Java & Eclipse the next time I go to @OpenHackLVL.   Java has what I need –  libraries for reading CSV, a local database, and 3D support.   My goal could be made incremental like this:

  • Read in a single file, draw a simple chart (lat+long)
  • Read in multiple files, draw a simple chart (lat+long)
  • Draw a 3D chart.  (lat + long + fuel consumption)
  • Read multiple files into a database (the local kind, that could be embedded within the app)
    • Must be able to grow to the concept of a trip with start/end locations
    • Must be able to grow to the concept of a meta trip which is several shorter trips back to back. (to cover turning engine off at stoplights)
    • Must be able to trim off idle time (engine running, not moving) at the start and end of a trip.
  • Draw the chart from the database.
  • Draw a chart from the database of only those trips which start/end at certain locations
    • Compare different routes from Home to Work.  
  • Up till now, everything has been a console app (I think).   Investigate a Gui App with:
    • import trip(s) that have not yet been imported
    • filter by start/end
    • rendering different types of charts.
    • This would be a “product” that I would consider “releasable”.

I don’t think I’ll get all the way to the end, but this could be a roadmap of something to play with.  

Are there other ecosystems I should consider instead?   I need the ability to process text files, write/read from a (local) database, and render charts.    What could I do?

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