Custom Fit Clothing: Zozo Pants

WARNING:  There is some realistic waistline shown in this post.  Do not proceed if this concerns you.   

Recently I got introduced to via SpaceX.  It sounded like a neat idea!  I like the sound of clothing that just fits, and their prices were not too crazy.   So when I got some birthday cash in, I went for it.

imageFirst, I bought a $5 Zozo Suit Its not meant to be worn out in public, but here’s a picture anyway.  I’ve tried to make it … PG-13.  The dots REALLY DO go everywhere.  There are different sized dots to point where the wrists and ankles and neck are.  

I used their little stand, propped up my phone, and went through the process of getting measured.  Standard photogrammetry – they take 12 pictures, guided by voice prompts.  They don’t save the pictures.  The app crashed twice on me, and once I didn’t wait long enough (I have an old phone), but I finally got these measurements:


Which I promptly trusted.   Not a mistake, as you will see later.

I then went on to order a pair of pants, a T-Shirt and a Long Sleeve shirt.   The Pants got delivered within a week, the shirts aren’t here yet.

Excited, I tried on the pants, and: 


What gives? 

Pull the pants up and ..


Turns out the computer had used 39” for my waist, which is technically correct, but the actual number that we should have used should have been measured a bit below, at about 37.5”.  Which is nowhere near the 34 Waist pants that fit me in normal stores.   I guess there are real inches, and designer inches.

Note, I did have an option of customizing all the numbers while ordering the pants.  I didn’t know what I was doing at that time.  THIS was my mistake, and this is where I’m learning. 

imageWell, I had taken them out of their plastic, so I figured I was stuck with the pants.  (also wrong).  I cinched them up with a belt, and they worked pretty well!  

Sealing my fate: I wore them for two days.    Now they are really “worn” and cannot be returned.

Then, later, trying to see when my shirts were going to arrive, I found this button in the app:


Doh!  I could have gotten them altered!   Clicking in gives a more complete method of “returning for a different fit”:


Okay, Zozo, I forgive you.  I really could have double-checked which measurements the computer was applying to me – I’ll do that next time I order.   I probably will order again, just to complete the cycle.

All in all, I’d give it a thumbs up.  They don’t have the most awesome clothing ever, but if you have a hard time finding the right size of stuff, this would be a relatively gentle way to get in with measurements and custom fit clothing.  You could then branch out to several of the other services, which have suddenly started showing up in my Instagram feed – go go targeted advertising. Most of them are much more expensive, for much higher quality clothing. 

Miscellany 17.6

imageBusy busy .. we’ve had a house getting interior painted, and interior carpeted, and most of my home time has been spent tearing down and putting things back.   Not much time for projects.

At work, though, several new skills.  I’ve done a lot more infrastructure stuff, which has included:

SSL stuff

  • Dealing much more with SSL certs.  I now know PFX vs CRT vs PEM vs CSR, etc.  I had to rekey a cert because the person who requested it didn’t know how to get me the private key they used, and .. AWS Elastic Beanstalk builds CPU’s on the fly, so you have to shove the PFX in after the build.  
  • Using openssl to move these things around.. running from bash under ubuntu under windows, the official one.

Building and Network stuff

  • Dealing with a Card / Fob / PIN system for building access.  They break it down to:
    • The doors (and readers)
    • The “timezones” (actually sets of T1..T2 timeslots unioned together)
    • The Access Levels, which are a combo of DOOR: (Readers) x Timezones
    • The card, which is a union of Access Levels
    • And there’s other shit like multi-panel transfers, and web admin accounts, and stuff.
  • Helping with an office move .. odds and ends.  I’m the backup to the main sysop.
  • Figuring out easy ways to do patch cable management.    And cleaning up cables in general.  My 20-y-o self would squirm, but I finally have the patience now at 45.  Or am I 46?  I forget.

AWS Stuff

  • The learning curve continues.    40% of the way through the course.  I’m delaying taking quizzes till several days after listening to the material, to verify that I’m doing things from long term storage.
  • I really want to program with the stuff, but that’s not my scope right now.

Billable Work

Nothing terribly exciting.   Except the ones in bold.  Its been a splattering of things —

  • SSL Certs in an AWS EB site
  • MVC website carousel updates
  • Tracking down why some stuff blew up (in code we didn’t write)
  • Some lost source code.  Decompilation to the rescue!  Updated some SQL that has started to fail.
  • Some .Net custom code for Peak21 ERP system – testing and rewriting and proving that an API was broken.
  • Oracle ERP system moves, changing connection strings and testing things
  • Adding Fedex shipping to a website instead of UPS, via Shippo.  Some refactoring to get things more configurable.
  • Using Feature flags a lot more, because that way the code can get out there, and then await other configuration to catch up.  FSGD!

My biggest challenge is not feeling rushed, feeling the weight of everything in my list bearing down on me, along with the craziness of learning things on the fly.

Changing Schedules

I’m trying to wake up earlier .. so that I can spend time at Starbucks .. do a little journaling, keep track of bills and fiscal transactions, write an email to my recovery sponsor.. start my day off right.  Hit rate: 60%.  Benefit: 200%.

Diet Experiments is delicious.  It does clean me out a bit, but the energy curve on it is nice and stable.  When I’m on it, I crave sugar way less.. I get full faster.  I will be reordering it.   Tastes way better than soylent, IMO.


Two 5k’s done.. several more to go.   I have heart rate, date, and pace information .. should make for an interesting plot.  

Home Office Organization

I made an inventory of stuff, and sorted it by:  Visibility, Usage, Importance, Replacement value, Sentimentality.  And used that to figure out what went on which shelves, etc, and what to release.



That’s it for now.  I expect my world might clear up a bit around July.

More random little things

I continue to be scattered; dipping my toes into a little bit here and there.   Actually, that’s a little harsh – its more like, we got some interruptions, I got behind in various things, so I’ve mostly been trying to catch up on life, leaving only a bit of time for fun, creative endeavors.

But, I must create/fun, or I get grumpy.   So, the symptoms of my creativity:


I created a full color 3D sandstone print for my nephew for his birthday.  Instead of Shapeways, I used Sculpteo.. and was very impressed with their service.   I haven’t received the print yet, but I hope its good.

In City:Skylines (no recent picture available), I finally let a city grow up to get metro stations.  I’ve found that geographical arrangement is secondary to having a good pipeline for traffic flow.  Ie, you can do almost any arragement as long as there’s a (elevated to stay out of the way) highway leading back and forth between I<->O/S/C<->R.  Next up if I get back to it is Cargo / Freight / Ships / etc.

I’m watching an awesome lecture series on Human Behavioral Biology from Stanford.  I imagestarted at the end (thanks to a reddit post that led me there), and now I’m watching the whole thing.   Most wow for me so far:  Game Theory and how that was discovered to exist in real species, and the differences between Tournament and ___ species, and how (unaware) humans have some tournamenty-ness driving their behaviors.  

At work, very recently, I get to embed Lua in a business app!   (Lua is the scripting language used by imageWorld of Warcraft, for example).  The idea is I have a very dynamic set of data – that I need to map to a very fixed structure.   Rather than write brittle code (change a field, change code), or very complicated code (to describe how things map into a multi-dimensional structure), I instead host a script and let the script do the mapping – and the user can change the script.   Set up stuff before, clean up stuff after, done.   Currently in the test console app stage.   (click on image to zoom in to see sample code). 

I’ve been watching the ISS HD feed more often lately.  I keep trying to get an overhead imageview of KY during the daytime, but I keep missing it.  My next opportunity is 6:50pm tonight as I write this. provides a map right next to the live feed, and an overlay of features – pretty awesome.   Be aware that at night, the cameras don’t pick up any city illumination so it looks very dark.

I ordered a replacement wire sheath for my Solidoodle 2.  It arrived, but I haven’t had a chaimagence to install it yet.   I don’t have anything specific that I want to print.. so its not a priority.  I do have a pattern growing in my head, having to do with collecting data from waze about driving habits and then making a 3D version of driving habits.

imageI’m halfway through a Football Kicker/Punter Coach-shopping video.   This is actually for pay.   Another hour left or so.  This is my next priority; getting finished this weekend, its bugging me.

Oh! I also got to learn Photoshop in an evening, to make an advertisement for my mom’s business.  Thanks to LFPL’s integration, I was able to watch the Photoshop Essentials course for free – and it got me enough mastery within an hour to be able to:

  • Use layers
  • Free-form crop to correct a picture of a sign
  • Color correction (my video experience helped here a lot)
  • using clip and mask layers to limit blurring to portions of the screen to make text more visible
  • using clip and mask layers to apply some selective de-brightening of overly bright elements

Very proud of how quickly I picked it up, but its also thanks to good coursework available.

I am a Jack of All Trades, master of none, but Apprentice or Journeyman at several.

Time Use May 2014

One of those sanity moments where I look at “what am I doing”, and are my priorities in line. (TL;DR: they are not)

My wife and kid went out of town for a week, so I had the opportunity to schedule myself any way I choose.  I have a comparison of “with wife and kid” and “bacheloring it”:

Wife And Kid  (Monday-Sunday)


Bacheloring (Tuesday-Saturday)


Ob ser v at io n u s

(observation + obvious; black=both; purple=1; blue=2)

  • My work hours were more scattered when the wife and kid were away
  • Work spills over to the weekend if I can’t get all my hours in during the week.   And that is what happens when sleep intrudes into work; which is what happens when entertainment intrudes into sleep.
  • I had more “white space” – time that I’m not doing anything in particular, just being – when the family was away.
  • I spend a significant amount of time in pink (hanging with wife) – I like this.
  • I spend a significant amount of time in green (entertainment, hobbies) – I like this.
  • I do stay up too late doing hobby stuff and watching netflix (entertainment) – at the expense of squeezing sleep.
  • I spent more time eating when the family was away:
    • Mostly, I was cooking up (measuring) batches of soylent and grilling

Not So Obvious

The timeline is not zoomed in enough to see some of the small stuff:

  • I walked the dogs every day while the family was gone.   But it only took 15 minutes.
  • I didn’t get to the gym while they were away.  That’s because my gym time and dog feeding and peeing time conflicted.
  • I spent a lot more time doing errands – cleaning stuff, fixing stuff – while the family was gone.
  • I did not nap at work while the family was gone.

Soylent: Not So Good News

I bought a week’s supply of PeopleChow 3.01 from Doug, with the intent of living on it while the family was away.  I did two trials, with my glucometer:

Trial #1: 1/3 the batch; 100g carb:

  • before: 89 mm/l
  • 30 minutes after:  138
  • 60 minutes after:  168
  • 120 minutes after:  158

Trial #2:  1/6 the batch, 50g carb:

  • before: 93
  • 30 minutes after:  158

The goal? My goal? is to be under 120 after 2 hours after a meal.   I couldn’t do it – too many carbs.

I tried altering the formula to use less corn flour; the result was unpalatable (puke worthy).  I gave up on it.

But what this did was, I started measuring my blood sugar again.

Me: Not So Good News

I’m a lot less able to withstand a carb load than I used to be able to.   Or so it seems.   Today was 40g of carb in some Indian Lentils:

  • Before: 110
  • 2 hours after, even with a walk:  158

And, I can feel it.  I feel puffy, flabby, out of energy, tired.

The Twin Cycle Hypothesis of Etiology of Type 2 Diabetes

imageI did some reading to see what’s new these days in diabetes stuff.  I came across this article, with this pretty cool picture (I could not find a public link, so this is a screenshot):

In a nutshell, it gives me an answer to “what the heck is going on” – and a glimmer that it gives me is, “loose enough weight, the cycle becomes less worse.”   It focuses on some T2 Diabetics who got gastric bypass surgery and radically altered their body fat content and wham! some of the diabetic cycle vanished.

In the past, I had gotten down to 165, which for me is a BMI of about 22.    I felt a lot better then, I was running, working out, having a blast.    But I did not cease to be diabetic. 

Then I saw this line here:


For me a BMI of 19 would be 130 lbs.   That’s 50 lbs less than I am right now.      30 lbs less than what I had aspired to get down to at my best.   I have to get down there, AND STAY DOWN THERE, because I’m pretty sure that the last bits of fat to get used up are going to be the ones which are the most troublesome.   Or, I could continue to be reasonably happy yet declining.

Maybe I didn’t drop enough weight that time?

How Hard should I strive?  After all, I could say I’m an old man.  I’m past my prime.   I’m beyond the life expectancy that humans had in the middle ages…

Bottom Line:  I have a Choice to make

My former sponsor’s favorite word – Choices.  Ah, the bliss of not knowing you have a choice.  

I could make a choice to get healthy again.

Which would mean, I need to put exercise back in my schedule.   And logging food.

Which would mean, something has to go.

What Goes?

  • It won’t be sleep.
  • It won’t be work – at least, not yet.  I’m not independently wealthy yet.
  • It won’t be [all of] hanging with the wife.
  • It won’t be Recovery work.
  • It would have to be entertainment and hobby.   There isn’t anything else to let go of.

I’ve been overdoing it.  My brain gets so tired, I just want to numb out with mindless TV watching.. or, my brain gets so obsessed, I have to solve this problem now! (3d printing, blender, and shapeways – I’m looking at you). 

So, sometime soon, expect that all my 3D printing stuff will come to a stop.  Or, it will be relegated to one experiment per weekend (or some other healthy amount).   A check at the posting queue for this blog – actually, the queue is empty right now.   When I post this post, there are no others in the queue after it.

I guess I’ll write one more post for “Shelving the Hobby” – making a list of the irons I have in the fire, so that I can let them go temporarily.   Or not, I can list them here:

  • I have a solution for Agisoft to Blender to Shapeways which involves decimation down to 500, subsurf, and edge creasing.  I have a color print ordered of that.
  • I have a solution for printing initials cubes without supports; I have to slice it, but basically I print it at a 45 degree angle so that all letters are facing “up” (kinda).   I have not actually done this yet.   I have ordered a small (20cm) cube from Shapeways to see how well their printers do the job.
  • I might be doing some silver jewelry via Shapeways involving people’s initials.

Done.  Shelved, will post pictures when they arrive.

I think I have a date with a gym tomorrow morning.   And if my work hours suffer, well, that’s what Sunday afternoons are for.

Time to focus on Weight again

I’ve been putting this off for a bit.



Numbers courtesy of, using their app “Calorie Counter” in the app store, as viewed on their desktop web site.

It looks like I gain weight at a pretty set rate if I don’t watch my eating habits. 

Good news: It looks like I can loose it pretty fast, too.   Lets see if that’s still real.

Watching TreeHouse Videos Quickly

imageIn November, I signed up to be a mentor for Code Louisville.    It’s a program where people use TeamTreeHouse (as made available to anybody living or working in Jefferson County by Louisville Free Public Library) to study up on stuff, and work on projects, and if they need help, they can ask the mentors during their weekly class/lab.

For the first Two Months, I stayed current on all the videos, and quizzes, at TeamTreeHouse.  You can see that from my profile on the right.

Unfortunately, I do not have the 10 hours per week necessary to do this properly.   (Well, 5 hours for watching videos, and another 5 for working on a personal project). 

I still want to keep up (so that I know what the course is teaching the students, so I can help the students when they have questions), so now my mission is to stay up on videos, while not taking the quizzes that come after each video, in the most efficient way possible.   (Note: possibly Windows specific, YMMV):

Step 1:  Subscribe to the iTunes feed.

Every video lives somewhere like this: image

Go up to the “course” level URL instead: image, and there you will find the magic button:


The actual link address is something like this:


Which, if you convert it to http, and get it in a browser, looks like this:


I.E. It’s a plain old RSS feed.  However, the itpc:// causes it to open in iTunes as a podcast, where you get this:


Note. At first, you don’t get all the episodes – I had to tell it to “show old episodes”, and I had to click the little cloud icon to download each one .. there’s probably a way to do that easier.  I clicked on each one.  I was at work, so it downloaded fairly quickly.

Step 2: Watch them with VLC

Then, instead of watching the episodes with iTunes, I find them on disk, and watch them in VLC.  I go as far as to create a VLC playlist to get them in order:


Then, while I’m watching them, I can speed them up:

[ , ] Slower/Faster in 0.10x increments
If the speed gets higher than 4x, it cuts audio out
= Resume normal speed
Shift-Left-Arrow, Shift-Right-Arrow 3 seconds left or right

I find that watching at 8x, I can tell what the subject matter is fairly easily.  If I find something interesting, “=” + a couple of Shift-Left-Arrows, and I watch that at normal speed (or sometimes only double-speed).  

I just watched 3 hours of video in an hour.    And I don’t think I missed any detail.   Nice.

In another half hour, I can catch up to where the class(es) would have me be at.  

Solidoodle 2 Pro 3D Printing: Frustrated

2014-01-19 11.09.56

I am having difficulty

  • My Lego-like pieces are not sticking to each other, let alone to regular Lego’s.
  • Many many of my prints are curling up from the bed.
  • My 4? 5? attempts at an iPhone case so far have been incorrectly sized
  • My hexagonal infill is not pretty.

Here is What I have Learned

  • When printing really large parts, be aware that ABS filament shrinks.  For example, the XY(Z) thing above was 2” while printing (measured with caliper), but as it cooled from 210C down to 27C, it shrunk to 1.98”. 
  • Enclosures are very important at keeping heat in, which helps a model not-shrink too quickly.  Quick shrinking can lead to bends in the structure.  
  • As the ABS shrinks, in larger parts, the top shrinkage can pull the bottom part off the bed.  There are ways around this.. rafts, permiters, skirts, windex cleaning, hairspray sticking, kapton tape, and the heated bed.. As of yet, i haven’t figured out which combination of things will get me a reliable bigger print.
  • The Doodle was pretty well configured when i got it.  And my tinkering has made it worse.  

Of Flow Rates and Stepper Motors, Oh My

As of right now, I’m refusing to learn how to flash/reprogram the eeprom in the doodle.    Luckily, the number of steps for the X Y and Z axes are almost dead on.    However, the filament stepper is not – its pulling definitely more than  120mm for every 100mm it ought to be pulling.

Luckily, there’s a setting in slic3r that accommodates that – Solidoodle’s config files shipped with a default 0.6 ratio.  The result, I thought, was a bit blobby while doing infill. Also, all the documentation said I should have a 0.4mm nozzle, but the configuration was set at 0.5mm;  likewise, I was using 1.75mm plastic, but the config said 1.68.   

So, i “fixed” them.    And slowly, as I scream in 40-minute-delayed frustration, I’m setting them all back.  

Luckily, that’s all I’ve had to deal with.  Here’s all the things that Solidoodle did RIGHT with the printer, that I have not had to deal with.

  • Correctly configured stepper motor sizes
  • Correct power levels for the X/Y/Z/etc motors.. potentiometers.. something something.
  • Belts are correctly tensioned
  • Bed is Level
  • Bed is appropriate distance away. 
  • Nozzle assembly, no jams.

So, GOOD JOB Solidoodle.  You did good work here.

Dealing with Spooling2014-01-19 11.35.47

The provided spool holder – bit of a nightmare.   It mounts to the back of the printer, but with the XY going all  over the place, and with a brand new spool, the slack allows the cable to “fall over” on itself, and it gets wrapped up on the spool handle.  My initial solution was to hang a bungee cord from the rafters (I’m in the basement) and run the filament through that – so that gravity is applying a tension for me.  

My wife came up with an even better idea: Suspending the Spool from the ceiling with the bungee cord.

Lost My Sense of Direction .. Finding It

I feel like I’ve lost my sense of direction.  Where am I trying to go with this printer, and how do I get there?

Part 1:  An Education

I’m definitely getting that.   Hoo boy.  And I’m glad for it.   At some time.. next week? next month? I’ll be giving a Lunch and Learn at work on some, or all, of this stuff.. and taking the printer in to work so that other folks can use it, possibly to print their own printers.    After what I’ve experienced, if I was to do this again, I’d plunk down the extra money and get an even more pre-built solution – like the Doodle ‘4.   I hate messing with stuff.   Good luck you guys.

Part 2: Specific Goals

To clear my head up .. which way do I need to / want to go?  I need to get this back to being a pleasurable experience, even if I’m failing along the way.  (As my wife would say, stop being a booger!) 

I Want To [Print] Why? To Get there, I need to: Priority
Super Serious (not) Lego Minifig Scale model of our current house, possibly with cute little furniture. Something inside me.. about representing reality.  Its why I do video as well. Figure out how to print large prints without warping. C5
An iPhone case
Because then I can print customized cases for my friends and love on them.  Q has already requested a Dragonball Z case. Get better at exact sizes, large model heat shrinkage, and printing large prints without warping. B3
Lego-compatible Blocks
Because I’d like to incorporate lego nubs on my models, so they are cool. Work on wall widths and flow rates, print some calibration pieces that “ought” to stick together, and work on bed lift B2
Super Action Figure
For my nephew Cam, and for my inner 8-y-o. Just make time to print a LOT of prints.  And precision printing as well. C4
Pendant thingies Because its something my wife can doctor up and make into cool stuff. Already there.  Just need some design work in Sketchup. Which means I need a design from my wife of what the border should look like. Q1
Have things figured out enough so that Brandon and Doug can print their printer parts. I like being of service and enabling people to investigate cool technologies Large print bed lifting and precision. B1.5

So What is Next? (Given unlimited time)

  1. Play with their 0.6 ratio default, +/- for More or Less ooze. Figure out where the parts DONT fit, and where they DON’T stay together, and go halfway.
  2. Double check bed leveling and clearance.
  3. Print in 0.3mm instead of 0.4mm for a bit.
  4. Do some Pendants so that I have a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Print some connector parts, get the connections worked out.
  6. Retry the Lego’s after connectors are connecting.
  7. Retry the iPhone Case – with skirt, with raft?, add hairspray, foam core heat shielding, no scaling – measure – apply scaling and retry
  8. Retry a 2” or 3” print, try to figure out bed lift.  (Skirt, raft?, hairspray, heat shielding)
  9. Take over the world.

Make it so, #1.   

Projects, Learning, Left Behind

I spent the evening scraping wallpaper off a wall and listening to Hanselminutes Podcast: What do Web Developers Need to Know in 2014.   It got me to thinking of my life, my life balance, and what I could do to improve.

Which Project?

My ideal situation would be to spend time building a meaningful project in a technology that I want to learn.  Unfortunately, a “meaningful” project = a “useful” one, and it would take far too long to write something useful.   (And by long, I mean more than the 3-4 hours I have available in a week).  The projects, in case anybody wants to tackle them, are:

  • A “Burndown” tracker:  Tasks break into smaller tasks, assign cost/weight/left at the leaf levels, keeps track of growth and shrinkage as requirements change, and can track current completeness level.    For use in larger corporations where the estimate is “locked”, the ability to lock something down so it always is in the same units, but the % changes, even if the underlying components grow and shrink.
  • A “Choreban” board:   Like a Kanban board, but tasks have the ability to rewind/repeat, and you can control their buoyancy – how quickly they float up to the top of the priority list.    3 days past due on Cat Litter is way worse than 3 days past due on Grass Mowing, if you know what I mean.

Which Technologies?

There’s also the list of technologies to play with.   Thanks to my wonderful workplace, my wish to work with WPF has been fulfilled; I can cross that off my list; however, I find myself lacking in / desire to get experience in:

  • Using a Grid system for a web site / styling (Bootstrap3)
  • Using some of the JS frameworks out there to write a single page app (Angular, Knockout)
  • NoSQL
  • Some kind of Cloud deployment – Azure or otherwise
  • Some kind of system with scale – OpenID to log in, lots of users, lots of data.

I crossed out NoSQL, because after listening to Martin Fowler’s talk on it, I realize, it would take a very special problem area for me to find use for one.   Neither of my two projects listed above make for good candidates, other than perhaps, “everything this user uses in the system.”     Which would be trivial. 


Ah, herein lies the rub.  Here’s my life, in a nutshell:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Morning paycheck paycheck paycheck paycheck paycheck Friends Wife
Afternoon paycheck paycheck paycheck paycheck paycheck House Wife
Night   Mentoring++ Wife Gym Recovery play Recovery

Note what is not in my life:

  • I don’t watch TV
  • I don’t play computer games (at the moment)

The table above is not high enough resolution to show that on most nights, my “productive” night finishes at 9pm, and I consider 9pm-midnight to be my “play” time.  Tonight, I’m using my play time to write this post. 

I could push myself extra hard, and … no.  Not going there.   I am currently working at about capacity – pushing myself harder is not doable in the long run.   I love that I get to spend time with my own beautiful Wifeling.  I love my Recovery meetings.  I’ve actually scaled back running a lot, to basically once a week, for the rest of winter.   I need space to rest, recharge, play, etc.

I should state that my workplace allows for 4 hours of “self directed project” time.  Yet, I find myself unable to use it reliably –  My “best” output in a day is about 6.5 hours of coding, so I end up working all 5 days of the work week, and not being able to fit in the self directed project.  I’ve tried like heck to raise that number – actually, at my previous job, my best days were about 5 hours of code (and probably 4 hours of meetings) so I’ve definitely made improvements – but no cigar.  My brain can only do code for about 6.5 hours in a day.   If its a really juicy problem, i can get to 7.5, but then i become less useful the next day.  When I hit my limit, I stop billing

(I am slightly jealous of some of my co-workers.   They have this, “sustained focus” – they can work on the same thing for many hours.  I, on the other hand, have this frippin “squirrel brain”.  I wish it were not that way, but this is what I have.)

I highlighted the Mentoring thing above, because what I could do is go downtown, do the mentoring thing from 6 to 8, and then hang out at the hacker space and use that as “project” time – to work on some of these projects.  As long as I get the garbage taken care of on Monday night (Tuesday night is normally garbage night), that should work.   I might try that.


Ah, but if I have a cool little project to work on .. my wife just came up with an idea .. that is where my creativity goes.  Not programming, unless the programming is directly related to the project (it would involve some coding on OpenScad, and maybe some work reading in a picture and getting to the pixels)

The Reality

Its not going to happen.  (It being, working on using these new technologies in a side project).    There’s not enough time to make a project useful, and there’s far too much good stuff going on in my life, that I’m not willing to set aside to spend the time on this.  

Instead, what I will do is, continue to learn by watching – being aware of what is out there (queue: we do something at work called “BrainNom” where we gather with lunch and watch instructional screen casts on a variety of topics.  This next Monday is Bootstrap 3, and Angular should be coming up soon), and rely on a work project coming up which needs those skills – at which time I’ll develop exactly those skills that are needed.

My True Skills

#1: My ability to pick up on patterns and knowledge very quickly. 

#2: Deciphering what people need, and being able to convert those into plans for what the software should do.

#3: A good eye for overall simple system architecture, component reuse, data-flow, and effective UI.   (Note I said effective, not pretty.  My UI is not pretty).

These, and not my technical-prowness-of-the-week, are what make me valuable.