Starting today*, you’re going to be hearing me talk about SpaceUp a lot. You can go over to the SpaceUp site to see what it’s all about, but here, among friends, I wanted to talk about me. Erm, I mean, what it means to me.
It started as one of those “why isn’t anyone doing this?” questions, which should be a red flag right there. As soon as I asked it, the answer was twisted into, “Yeah, Chris, why don’t you do that?” So I did what I usually do in that situtation: “Why don’t we do it, you and you and you and… don’t run away now! You.” I roped in people from both the BarCamp side and the SD Space side, so we have more than enough experience to actually make SpaceUp happen.
Oh, but it means calling people! And putting myself out there! And asking people for money! And other scary things! So adrenaline is stomping on my nervous system and SpaceUp thoughts are constantly running through my brain just in case I’m Doing It Wrong.
And it might fail.
…but I’m not going to think about that right now. There’s plenty to do, and action is the best way I have to keep stray thoughts at bay. Oh, and you can pledge a few bucks to support an event with the potential to be awesome, and get a patch or a t-shirt to remember it by.
* Okay, I started blathering about SpaceUp to some of you a while ago. Today I stop holding back!
Looking at my to-do list today, I noticed for the millionth time how two key attributes of a task seem to be either redundant or in conflict: its due date and its priority.
It always seemed to me that you should only need to assign one or the other. If you have a deadline, then what does the priority affect? If the item is high enough priority, isn’t the due date ASAP?
Today, though, I had a flash of insight. The due date defines how much I have to work on the item in order to get it done in time, almost like the velocity of the task. The priority, however, defines how resistant the job is to being derailed by other tasks, more like the inertia or mass of the task.
Put that way, the two values aren’t redundant at all. In fact, you can put them together to determine the overall momentum of a project, based on the combination of the deadline-driven velocity and the priority-based mass. It might even be possible to come up with a formula for determining the outcome of a collision between two tasks, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the project manager.
A few years ago, I started a project to build something I’d wanted for a long time: a simple device that could read Wikipedia articles and Project Gutenberg texts. I called it a WikiBub. The point was to create something dirt simple on the cheap, instead of the usual “convergence device” that does everything (and is priced to match).
Five years later, I can check it off my to-do list. I never got the hardware working, and I didn’t even get past the rough-sketch stage of the design, but other people met my goals for me. The WikiReader (pictured) matches the original WikiBub idea perfectly: it’s simple, cheap ($99), open to hacking, and designed to do one thing (reading Wikipedia) well.
Of course, the idea of a simple-to-use ebook reader without eyestrain or battery issues is no longer new; the Kindle took care of popularizing that one. I also moved on to another hand-held reading device you may have heard of, which (mostly) took away my need for a dedicated reader. Still, it’s nice to see something so true to the WikiBub spirit. I hope it flourishes.
I’m having entirely too much fun uploading my meeting doodles to Flickr. Sometimes it’s refreshing to do something of absolutely no consequence.
Next up: color drawings, thanks to some colored pencils Jesse gave me. (OK, he actually gave them to Ben, but I’ve appropriated them in the name of meeting sanity.)