Friday, March 15, 2013

Because Said I Should!

Oh no!  Where have I been?

Yes, it’s been something like two weeks since my last post.  I apologize.  Sometimes life gets in the way of your best intentions.  I wish I could say something monumental happened to me that has kept me from posting, but alas I cannot.  Instead, I’ve taken up yet another hobby—improving upon myself in a way that I haven’t done for a while.

I’m learning a new language!  Actually, I’m learning several.  One is Vietnamese, which is what my wife’s family speaks.  I’ve tried learning it a handful of times before, but now I actually have some mp3s to listen to while I drive.  My wife understands it well but doesn’t really speak it, so that hinders my learning, as it’s always best to be surrounded by a language to really learn it.  Still, I often like to know what my in-laws are talking about, and instead of recognizing a handful of words like I have for years, maybe in a few months I’ll be able to recognize several dozen.  So that’s one thing I’ve been up to.

The other languages I’m learning are programming languages.  Not since my days in college have I spent actual time learning something like this.  In high school and college I learned Turbo Pascal and C++, and somewhere along the line I learned how to design a webpage in HTML and CSS, but it’s been so long that my skills were beyond rusty.  And Javascript didn’t exist back then, or at least if it did, it wasn’t in my curriculum.  But beyond just brushing up on HTML and CSS and learning Javascript, I plan on learning PHP, jQuery, and perhaps even Python, Ruby, and a bunch of others.

How am I doing this?  Through for now.  And the best part is that is free.  You just sign up and start learning.  Piece of cake.

Why am I doing this?  Because Bill Gates and said I should.  No seriously, as an IT Manager, I’ve always felt programming was one of my weaker skills, and yet I come across instances on a daily basis where I wish I could tweak something without contacting a vendor or create my own content.  And technology is so prevalent in our world that it’s really silly not to at least understand how computers do what they do.  Ultimately I might mesh my writing and programming skills together in some fashion for a new website or business—we’ll see.  But I have to start somewhere.  And it’s always a smart idea to pad your resume with skills pertinent to your field.

But even beyond that, I see it as something refreshing and fun to do.  I always read or hear about people being bored.  I’m never bored.  In fact, I never seem to have enough time to accomplish everything I want.  And even when I’m doing nothing, I find myself playing dumb games on my phone like Words with Friends or Candy Crush Saga (literally 3 HOURS one night this week).

Technology is a pretty handy tool, but it’s such a huge field that it’s impossible to know everything.  And it’s constantly changing.  So I suggest if you are ever bored, delve into the world of technology.  Learn a programming language like me, or get yourself a smart phone or a tablet.  Surf the web—you can spend hours upon hours on sites like or  Make yourself some new friends on Twitter and chat away.  Shop (enough said).  Or research stuff like zombie ants or nanotechnology or bog bodies.

I’m not advocating keeping your nose glued to a mobile device or PC monitor all day, because getting outside and playing or going for a walk or jog is much more vital to your health.  But the next time you are sitting around your house bored, depressed, or lonely, just sit down at your computer or download some apps on your phone and do something with yourself—even if it is just playing Candy Crush Saga for 3 hours.

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