September 5, 2008

If you can, teach; If you can’t teach, do

September 5, 2008 - Categories: career

I’ve never agreed with the adage “If you can, do; if you can’t, teach.” If you’ve ever caught yourself saying that, watch Taylor Mali talk about what teachers make. I know that you need to know something really well in order to teach it, and that teaching is an incredibly difficult thing to do properly. What I hadn’t realized until today is that if you take that adage and you flip it around, you get some pretty good career advice:

If you can, teach. If you can’t teach, do.

On the subway ride to work, I was thinking about Drupal and what I’d like to do for my next assignment. My current project will be wrapping up on October 24, and I get the feeling there would be plenty more Drupal work to do. As an application developer, I could build on all that experience I’m gaining in my current assignment: an understanding of how Drupal fits together, some practices for configuration management, testing and documentation, code snippets I can reuse, and so on.

But what I’d really like to do is teach all of this to other people so that I can focus on things I can’t teach. There are many things I do that I don’t know well enough to teach, and there are many things I do that seem intractable. I can teach tips for networking, but I don’t know how to teach people how to connect the dots. I can teach techniques for creativity, but I can’t teach creativity. I can teach ways to discover and develop passion, but I can’t teach passion.

I’d like to make this unique part more of my paying work. Ideally, I’d be able to do so while keeping my manager happy. It’ll help if I can figure out what kind of a difference I’m making and I want to make, and if I can find people who think I’m creating plenty of value.

If you can, teach. If you can’t teach, do.

Something worth thinking about….

Emacs: Jump to anything

September 5, 2008 - Categories: emacs

I just came across the Anything extension for Emacs. After you load anything.el, you can type M-x anything RET and a substring of, well, anything. Looks like a handy shortcut. It’s like Quicksilver, but for Emacs. Grab anything-config.el for a bunch of useful functions.

Here’s my current configuration:

(require 'anything)
(require 'anything-config)
(setq anything-sources
      (list anything-c-source-buffers
            anything-c-source-file-name-history
            anything-c-source-info-pages
            anything-c-source-man-pages
	    anything-c-source-file-cache
            anything-c-source-emacs-commands))
(global-set-key (kbd "M-X") 'anything)

Internet Explorer – hovering on non-link items

September 5, 2008 - Categories: geek

Internet Explorer 5.5 and 6 don’t support the :hover pseudoclass on anything aside from A link elements, but the site that I’m working on calls for hover behavior on form submit buttons too. (And you know how I hate working on cross-browser issues…) I followed the instructions in whatever:hover, but things still weren’t getting picked up. The missing step was to add the following line to my /etc/mime.types:

text/x-component	htc

and restart Apache. That did the trick.

Darn you, IE!

New presentation: “New media, New generation”

September 5, 2008 - Categories: enterprise2.0, presentation, sketches, web2.0

I’ll be in Washington, DC from Monday to Wednesday next week to participate in a panel on new media. It’ll also be my first presentation using the nifty new Cintiq! I thought I’d put it up on Slideshare and share it with all you folks… =) The current version’s designed for in-person delivery, so some of the slides might look a little obscure. (If all else fails, you can do Powerpoint Karaoke.) I hope I can put up an audiocast after the event.

new media, new generation
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: web2.0 enterprise2.0)

This was fun. It took me a while to figure it out, though. The presentation hinges on two pairs of pairs: the first set is new media = social media and new generation = net generation, and the second set is the 2×2 matrix. I only came across that while ironing handkerchiefs and playing with my speech topic out loud. Once that pattern floated up, everything else fell into place.

Part of the fun of making presentations is figuring out a natural pattern for the topic… =)