How Developers Stop Learning: Rise of the Expert Beginner | DaedTech


In a really great series of blog posts, Erik Dietrich describes how a person can unknowingly believe they are an expert in their field, while only having beginner level skills. He writes about programmers, but this situation could apply in a lot of other fields, too.

The Expert Beginner has nowhere to go because progression requires an understanding that he has a lot of work to do, and that is not a readily available conclusion.

And for a fun chaser, here's a hilarious example of an expert beginner.

Good Guy Pixar


From The Verge:

You may have seen Toy Story a dozen times — it's an eminently re-watchable movie — but you've never seen it like this before. Jonason Pauley and Jesse Perrotta spent the last two years shooting a live-action, shot-for-shot remake of the entire Pixar classic, using live actors, real toys, the original movie's soundtrack, stop-action effects, and plenty of awesome puppetry.

The other outstanding part of this story is how Pixar reacted. Rather than punish these fans by issuing take-down notices of their work like so many companies would, Pixar gave them a tour of their headquarters, and let them give away DVD copies in front of the offices.

Why I don't use Facebook


Twitter feels like continually moving to NYC without knowing anyone whereas Facebook feels like you're living in your hometown and hanging with everyone you went to high school with.

This article by Jason Kottke, and the essay Why I love Twitter and barely tolerate Facebook it refers to describe exactly how I feel about these sites. I made the mistake once of cross-posting my Twitter stream (which is typically retweets of the new, fresh things I find interesting) to Facebook, but I quit when it became clear that I was only confusing the people who I grew up with. I prefer to spend my time on Tumblr and Twitter, which really are "fun, fantastic, and all about the here and now" to me.



I grew up spoiled. Not in the typical way we use that term - let me clarify. I grew up knowing that I could do anything I wanted, and it didn't matter that I'm a girl, or from a small town, or not from a rich family. I've only realized how spoiled I was in the past few years of reading other girl's accounts of how social pressures can make the STEM industries seem like a "boy's club". I've rarely had to deal with those pressures and for the early part of my life, didn't realize they were there.

My parents and extended family are much to blame for my spoiled behavior. I was brought along on camping trips, allowed to program for fun, play computer games, taught the basics of flying a Cessna, and given a trip to Space Camp.

Throughout all of my childhood, my Mom was a big part of this. So, on this Ada Lovelace Day , I couldn't write an article about women who inspire me without talking about my Mom.

She and her sisters were spoiled in much the same way, by parents and grandparents who greatly valued knowledge of science and literature, and being male or female wasn't relevant. When I was talking with my grandmother about this recently, I still got a strong sense of optimism - of course we taught the girls science and that they could be anything, why wouldn't we?

My Mom passed this attitude on to me in a subtle, positive, everyday way. When she taught me to read, it wasn't because everyone has to learn to read, it was to open my life to all of the beautiful stories I could read. When she taught me math, it was with joy and amazement at the way we could understand the world around us. She taught me to understand and love the math underlying music, and the physics of sunlight beams by playing with leaves. To us, it wasn't being geeky, it was appreciating the facets of life. She took me to museums, libraries, and colleges, and was by my side explaining each exhibit, or encouraging me to find books on a wide range of subjects.

To this day she is continues to inspire me by constantly digging into deep subjects simply for the love of it. Last year, she graduated with a bachelors degree in Physics which she worked on for many hard years (carrying a full time job at the same time). I'm extremely proud of her for this! And on the inside, I'm really jealous of her classmates who must have felt the joy of learning she brought to each subject along the way.

It isn't just science that she's passionate about, though. One of her latest projects has been to turn an empty house into a beautifully decorated home where her family can feel welcome, complete with trees and shrubs planted in sets of Fibonacci numbers. She jumped into this "women's job" with the same passion as every other subject.

My Mom's love of learning is a large part of who she is, but she's also a beautiful loving mother. She's not a two dimensional "Girl Scientist in a Man's Field", but a woman with hopes, dreams, and loves, and math and science are part of that. Thanks to her, I have always known that I could do what I love and still be myself, still be feminine. And so, I am totally spoiled. My hope is that someday soon all little girls will grow up with this attitude; the world will be richer for it.

Amazing posters from the WPA


This weekend I was wandering the web in search of some design ideas for an upcoming project, and came across the most beautiful posters! Back in the 30's and 40's, the Works Progress Administration commissioned all sorts of posters as a way to support artists. One project was to showcase our national parks, and the results are amazing. I'd love to collect these and hang them in a cabin. Here are a few of my favorites.

You can find the posters for sale at a few different sites, but Ranger Doug's site seems to have the most options, including a few adaptations.

Update, 4/26/2014: In case you can't tell, the latest redesign of my site is greatly inspired by this art.