Miles to Go

This blog started as my lifeline. Fifteen years ago, I was working on a project that wasn’t particularly compelling in an environment that wasn’t conducive to collaboration. I wasn’t doing geospatial work and I was worried that it would slip away. This blog was the mechanism that motivated side projects that kept me in touch with geography.

It started out as a technical outlet, with the intent of being the kind of blog that I often found myself searching for. From there, it evolved over time, though I fought that evolution for a while. Motivated by the same fear of losing my technical edge that caused me to start it, I kept a technical focus here even as my daily work became less technical. Eventually, I let that struggle go.

Perhaps because I know what my own thoughts were as I blogged, I can see that evolution unfold. Inadvertently, I ended up documenting the arc of a career in the geospatial technology industry.

And then it just stops.

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The Consulting Mindset and the War on Cubicle Body

I’ve been debating for a while whether I wanted to write this post, as the subject matter deviates greatly from the technical and professional writing I normally offer here. I decided to do so because my recent dive into fitness is intertwined with my professional life and affects how I approach my day, so I think it has bearing on my life as a 21st-century tech worker firmly planted in middle age.

I need to thank everyone who follows me on social media for putting up with my various “war on cubicle body” posts. You have been part of my publicly crowd-sourcing accountability for my fitness-related goals. I’ll dig into that more deeply later on.

I have been somewhat surprised, on social media and in person, to the reception “the war” has received. I expected the reception to be positive, which it has been, due to the supportive nature of the people in my extended circle. I was more surprised by the number of people who have told me it has motivated them to kick-start their own journey. I am truly humbled by that. Finally, I’ve also gotten a good dose of the expected “I don’t know how you do it” and “Where do you find the time?” comments. Because this begins to get at the conundrum faced by many tech and information workers in today’s society, I decided this post may be relevant. Settle in, there’s no TL;DR nor will I split it into parts.

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A Perhaps-Premature Recap of My Year

The calendar is inching up on the nine-year anniversary of this blog and it’s starting to feel like it’s been that long since I’ve actually written anything. It’s been an interesting year and the last couple of months have been no exception. It’s probably a bit early for a year-end recap but I feel the need to clear my mind so I can focus on what comes next.

I started the year splitting my time between two projects: one was implementing a geospatial data publication workflow for a US federal civilian agency. I was part of a large team and my role was to work out the ingest, registration, publication of all data types. That project got me elbow-deep in Node, PostGIS, GeoServer, and also gave me some exposure to the Voyager search API. I found the whole experience pretty exciting as we had a really strong implementation team. As a result, I learned a lot and , hopefully, was able to teach a few things along the way. It was the kind of experience you hope every project can be. My involvement wound down toward the middle of the year.

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Where Ya Been?

It’s been rather quiet on the blog for a while. Sometimes the posts have to take a back seat to work and other things. This time of year tends to be busy anyway due to the end of the school year and its related activities, but this year has also included one move, construction of a house, and preparations for a second (final) move. In December we sold our house, which I had lived in for nearly 40 years, and moved into temporary quarters while the next house was being built. The sale of the old place was a pretty smooth experience as all of us, especially me, were ready for a change.

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Focus

While the majority of the geospatial world was at the Esri International User Conference in San Diego last week, I was at a different conference in Orlando, Florida. This was my third time attending the Children with Diabetes (CWD) Friends for Life (FFL) conference and I’ll be there as often as I can for the foreseeable future. It’s beneficial in many obvious ways; enabling us to keep up with the latest developments in diabetes research and technologies as well as keeping us refreshed in terms of diabetes management best practices.

The unexpected thing for me over the years has been how the lessons I’ve learned at FFL have begun to translate into other aspects of life outside of diabetes. (I do not have diabetes myself but I am a parent of a person who does.) This year, perhaps because the ongoing Esri UC was somewhere in the back of my mind, it provided a different lens through which to view my approach to my professional activities.

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Sharpening the Saw*

I have been laying low on my blog and in social media for a few weeks. I typically go into a little bit of a “hibernation” during December as the days get continually shorter heading for the solstice. Around the holidays, I am most interested in spending time with my family.

Around this time last year, I posted my goals for 2011. Goals don’t mean much unless you go back and assess how well you did in accomplishing them. From last year, with notes: Continue reading “Sharpening the Saw*”