This photo of birch trees reflected in my cup of coffee was a casual snap I took a few days ago while writing in Starbucks. Like many of my shots, it was a quick capture of the small things I enjoy. Imagine my surprise when this simple shot went nova on Flickr. The comments and faves started rolling in and for most of one day this shot held at #2 in Explore — Flickr’s featured photos section. It eventually dropped down to around #250, but being featured at all still surprises me
In another way, though, perhaps I understand it. One of the more difficult things to achieve these days is time for reflection. For simplicity. For quiet. I can see how this image appealed to a lot of people.
The photo works symbolically for me too. It’s a time of reflection for me as I explore the things in life I most connect with during my retirement. Photography and writing still hold strong, but neither quite satisfies completely. I’ve thought about this for a long time. As much as I love photography and writing, they’ve always been activities I’ve pursued as sidelines. Like playing music. Creative things to do, but not mainline.
My career was in IT and I miss it. Not the 24/7 on-call pager stuff — I’m happy to pass that on to the next generation. What I miss is development and design. There’s something about logic and data structures that makes my synapses sizzle. I’m a predominantly left-brain individual, with some right-brain tendencies. I appreciate the elegance of programming code that is beautifully written and works well, and I like trying to write it.
The problem is, I don’t have any development projects to work on, and it’s been some years since I last did any serious C programming. I didn’t want to go back into corporate IT work on either a part-time or contract basis. Business systems don’t excite me.
It was my wife, Marion, who came up with a breakthrough in my thinking. She was visiting ex-colleagues from Sheridan College’s IT program who are starting to teach programming and design for mobile devices, like the Blackberry. One of them suggested this would be a good area for me.
Bing. A light went on. Here I am, loving my iPod Touch and it hadn’t occurred to me that I could learn how to program for it. I’d been wanting a Macbook anyway, but couldn’t justify one solely on the basis of my writing projects. I did a little research and looked at some Objective-C samples and realized I not only understood them, I got excited by them. I also discovered that you can register with Apple as an iPhone / Touch developer for free and that Apple provides all the essential development tools.
That sealed it. So on Black Friday, I took advantage of the $100 off sale and ordered a 15″ Macbook Pro with 4GB RAM and 500GB drive. With antiglare screen. The two programs I intend to purchase as soon as it arrives are Scrivener, for writing projects, and VMware Fusion to allow me to run Windows programs virtually until I have time and budget to replace all my software with Mac versions.
Now the wait. It’ll take about a week or so to arrive. I’m keeping my little Dell Mini 10v because of its compact size and light weight. I run Linux on it, but once I’m set with the Mac, I might Hackintosh the Mini.
Excited? You bet.