Monday, July 28, 2003

Burned Out on Technology

A few days ago, Ars Technica had and article called The Accidental Guru, which discussed people who got into technology by being the most knowledgeable person in their company at the time. The discussion in their forum was filled by people who either intentionally, or accidentally got into tech support or sysadmin positions, and have since become burned out by the job. This struck a chord with me, as I have grown increasingly bored with systems support over time. It's only interesting when there is new technology to implement, but those times are few and far between.

The common trait in the forum seems to be people who got into computers in their Junior High School days, and by the time they hit 30, would rather do work with the computer than fix it. Many would rather spend their time pursuing any thing else that interests them than work on systems. For myself, it is especially frustrating, since I am in a position that exists solely to work on the systems. These days, I would much rather spend time working on the music ministry or studying to prepare messages at my church than working with technology.

What is a jaded geek to do?

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Head First and Mind Maps

Here's another one I saw on Slashdot. O'Reilly has a new book out called Head First Java. Instead of being like many other text books, they are trying to use a more visual and interactive approach for the reader to learn the material. It looks like this may be the beginning of a whole series of books. If that's true, I will be a very happy camper.

If there is anything that has happened to help me assimilate information in the past year, it is the understanding that most of us learn visually. (By that, I mean with pictoral symbols as opposed to just written language.) In March of this year, I attended a conference on doing ministry in a post-modern culture. One of the books we were encouraged to read was The Mind Map Book by Tony and Barry Buzan. (It's a good book, but I think a 30-60 minute demonstration could teach you everything you need to know about mind maps.) It helped me learn to put things down visually on paper in ways that fit my normal thinking patterns. The only problem I see, though, is that unless the images you use are readily understood by another reader, they don't transfer well to others.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Broken Saints

Slashdot had a link to an interesting manga or comic book-like flash site called Broken Saint. From the point of view of one who seeks to follow Jesus, there are some things there that one really doesn't need to see, but it fits the post-modern idea of a search for Truth without a proper understanding about what one is searching for. If you can deal with the icky stuff, there is plenty of material for jumping off into discussions of philosophy, theology, and ethics. (Philosophers, however, may disagree.)

On a side note, I understand the effect that the creators were going for by demonstrating mankind's capability to be brutal to its own, but I think they could have made the same points while keeing it tasteful. It is often said of the erotic that it is better to conceal than to reveal. A similar thought has been applied to horror films. (Think along the lines of the shower scene in Psycho.) If you want to really have an affect on someone, let them use their own imagination. It is more powerful than any word, sound, or image that an artist could render.