Monday, January 25, 2010


It was bound to happen: I was finally asked to be a model. I kid you not. The truth is stranger than fiction. It happened at Upper Canada Mall. Leaving a store that sells leather jackets, I was interrupted by a plaintiff "Excuse me sir, would you mind helping us out for a second." It turned out I was just the right build to act as a model for the lady's husband; she and two other ladies were picking a jacket for him. Being incredibly helpful and generally unable to say no, of course I obliged, volunteering my own opinion on which jacket fit best. All the while, visions of an easy life on the Paris runway just standing and modeling flashed before my eyes. But then I started to feel just like a piece of meat and I decided to keep my regular day job where looking pretty isn't all that important.

Life continues to be far too busy. It's pretty much impossible to balance my personal life with all the other demands on my time. I'm writing this post today from Berlin which is in the grip of a frigid winter not unlike the kind one normally expects in Toronto, so I feel right at home. Last weekend I was in Vancouver getting married. Tomorrow I head over to Munich where Peter and I present at OOP 2010; no, I will not be presenting in German though my German is definitely improving, something one might expect when you marry a German. The more German I learn---I can almost follow a conversation now---the more frustrated I am with not knowing more. This coming Thursday Ralph has arranged another Eclipse Stammtisch so I plan to attend that; I'm sure much German will be spoken. Maybe I'll see you there. I just hope it's not so cold.

I don't head back home to Toronto until February 2nd, but I expect to be back in Berlin yet again for the Modeling Code Camp at the beginning of March. Itemis does trainings like this as well. It's unfortunate that more people don't take advantage of the opportunity to get a jump start on exploiting open source technology. It might seem cheaper to muddle through on your own but suboptimal design decisions are likely a much bigger hidden cost down the road. EclipseCon will be yet another cost effective opportunity to learn new things, and yet another reason to travel. There will certainly be a great deal of modeling content. Too bad we couldn't accept more submissions. After EclipseCon I expect a short break in the travel schedule before I head over to Germany yet again for the JAX conference in Mainz. Maybe I should just move to Germany to save all the travel time.

Friday, January 1, 2010

On the Balance

The new year is a time to reflect on how life is unfolding, to chart an effective course forward. Those who are wise consider carefully all the things for which to be grateful so that all the ways in which life inevitably short changes them loom less large. They temper their drive to satisfy their own personal needs and desires with consideration for their impact on the world around them. Life is a balancing act without a simple, obvious, optional strategy. Of course it's better to give than to receive, but only a fool gives to the greedy; something particularly germane in an open source community.

The wise avoid spending in inordinate amount of time focused on all the things around them that might be changed for the better because most of those things are beyond their control, not to mention the fact that "Better for whom?" is not always entirely clear. Instead they focus primarily on the very small number of things upon which they can personally have the most significant impact, always keeping in mind that the easiest things to change, and the biggest source of problems, are themselves.

For me personally, 2009 has been in part an extremely bad year; I've had to learn some painful lessons. Life is short, don't waste precious minute of it. Unfortunately everyone has to learn this lesson their own hard way, based on direct personal experience. I generally did my job poorly, or more positively stated, there's much room for improvement. I'm most grateful to itemis and Cloudsmith for their generous funding of my work and to my family, friends, and the Eclipse community for their support. All things considered, 2009 has also been an extremely good year; I've learned some my lessons exceedingly well and most importantly I've found the one thing I want most of all. On the balance, life is only as bad as you choose to perceive it and only as good as you take action to make it. Let's make 2010 an excellent year!