Being Where I Want To Be

I hope it is not a midlife crisis, because I hope to live longer than 56 years, but lately I’ve been feeling a lot like I need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, and I’ve been a bit all over the place about it.

Sometimes I feel like I want to do something completely different, sometimes I feel like I need to attempt to excel in the field I’m in. Lately it has been more the latter, which is good, because that is slightly less scary than starting all over. I’m good at what I do, but I’d like to be better.

So then the question arises of how exactly would I like to excel in the field of Software Engineering? Do I leave the company I’m at and try to invent some super software that I sell for a lot of money? Do I try to write some awesome open source software and sell books about it and get warm fuzzies that people all over the world are using my software to make their lives easier? Do I go back to school and get a PhD and do research and stuff like that?

I don’t know :)

I have, however, been reading a book that is very good that has been helping me figure out some short term things I can do to do a better job at honing my skills and staying relevant in the field. It is a poorly titled book, because it isn’t really about the issue of outsourcing jobs to 3rd world countries, but more about how to keep your skills sharp and market yourself so that you should be able to keep your job or at least get one that you want.

The book is called My Job Went To India and it is a very easy read and I highly recommend that anyone in a software industry job pick it up and give it a read.

10 Tips For New Eclipse Users

I found this list out on the interwebnetsphere during my normal daily roamings. It looks like some good helpful info. I haven’t kept up with the RCP stuff as my job and other software ADD projects took over my brain, but I hope to get back to it soon. I’m trying to keep up with the Maven users mailing list to get back into being a Maven expert, and hopefully get a good build system for us set up to do Eclipse development with Maven build support.

10 Tips For New Eclipse Users

Being Sick Sucks

Welp, I got the flu this year. I’ve spent the past 5 days being pretty darn sick. Three of those days I had a temp of about 103 (That’s right, I was hot blooded! Check it and see!). It sucked, it came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks.

Yesterday, while on my “make sure I still don’t have a fever” day, I did get to work on the website a little, although I don’t know how much you’ll like what I’ve added though. I added ads. I figure if I every say anything on here that is important enough to actually get slashdotted or anything, I will want the ads in place before that happens and not after so I can somehow pay for the increased bandwith that will require :)

Eclipse Rich Client Platform

I have been doing some investigation into using Eclipse RCP to replace some of our install/config stuff at work. RCP seems like it could be very cool and useful, the problem is that it is essentially a hack of the Eclipse platform, and while they are making some strides to make it seem less of an afterthought, they don’t seem to be there yet. It is *very* difficult and confusing and hacktacular to create an application and then attempt to build that application in a “headless” build or an automated build environment. It seems that all the Eclipse developers forget that there are times when you really don’t want a graphical tool to build your product. They have fancy wizards that make it pretty easy to export an application from the GUI, but if you wanted to set up an automated build that would extract your code and build it for the test team to use when they get in at 8am, then you have a lot of reading to do and hoops to jump though.

Lame.

If I can figure out how to do it reliably though I may be able to write a makeshift Maven2 plugin to do most of the legwork for me. Either that or it has been a long week and I’m delirious.

New Backend

Well, I must admit at I was none too impressed with Mambo or Joomla or whatever it wants to be called now. So in an effort to find something I did like better I have now switched to WordPress. I actually kinda liked the PostNuke software I used before, but it was a pain to update and I was a little upset when my site got hacked and taken down.

WordPress seems to be what I want it to be, a simple blogging software, so we’ll see if I can get the hang of it.

I’m hoping to do more stuff on my website, I’ve gotten a few ideas for some projects I’d like to tinker with. Hopefully I’ll find the time and you’ll get to see some of them.

General Tso’s Chicken

I keep trying to find a good recipie to mimic a good Chinese restaurant’s version of General Tso’s. I still haven’t quite found it, but this one is the closest I have come.
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large chicken legs with thighs, each 3/4 pound, boned and skinned, fat and membranes removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes

For the sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce or mushroom soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons Chinese white rice vinegar or distilled vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Shao-Hsing wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch, for dusting
8 small dried hot chili peppers
1/4 cup finely sliced scallion

3 1/2 cups peanut or cooking oil for deep-frying and stir-frying

Directions:
1. In a bowl, mix together the egg, salt, and pepper, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Add the chicken cubes, mix to coat, and marinate for at least 15 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and reserve.
2. Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil and heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. With tongs, remove the chicken cubes individually, dust with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and place in the oil. Deep-fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the chicken is browned and crisp. Turn off the heat. Remove the chicken with a Chinese strainer and drain over a bowl. Pour off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok.
3. Heat the wok over high heat for 20 seconds. When a wisp of white smoke appears, add the chilies and stir for 15 seconds. Add the scallion and stir for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir the sauce mixture, pour into the wok, stir well, and cook until the chicken cubes are completely coated with sauce, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn off the heat, transfer to a heated dish, and serve.

Best Deviled Eggs

I stole this recipie off another website and I must say they are pretty good.

6 Hard-cooked eggs
1/4 c Mayonnaise
1 1/2 tb Sweet pickle relish
1 ts Prepared mustard
1/8 ts Salt
1 ds Pepper or Paprika

Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks. Mash yolks with mayonnaise. Add relish, mustard, salt, and pepper; stir well. Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika.

Grandma’s Baked Beans

This recipie isn’t very exact because it is a “Grandma” recipie and she just kinda knows how much of what to put in…but here goes…
Origional Bush’s Baked Beans
“Take some of the juice off (and save it in case you need it later”
6TBS Brown Sugar
1 tsp Mustard
1/4 cup Ketchup
dash Liquid Smoke
Bacon on Top (pieces)
300 degrees all day
Keep checking for moisture