Fragments of Memory. Signals of Change.

Today I was looking through some of my old, unpublished blog posts and remembering a lot of the details that surrounded the initial creation of the record in Evernote. I will occasionally embark upon these trips down memory lane in order to conjure up ideas of new blog posts as well as see when certain types of thoughts were taking place. One common theme that comes up during these temporal excursions is the contrast between how life was just a few short years ago and how it is today.

In one note dated November of 2011, I lamented the fact that I was struggling with the idea of truly mobile computing. At that time, I was carrying around a severely underpowered Acer netbook that would overheat after five minutes of use. Along with that netbook I’d have an external 2.5” hard drive that was required if I wanted to listen to any music, a power cord that was required if I wanted to do more than 10 minutes of work, and a network cable that was required if I wanted to get anything done online. Of course, I also carried the myriad of other USB connector cables that were required at the time for an iPod Touch and other random USB devices. There was nothing mobile about what I was doing, as I was essentially carrying a tiny office around with me wherever I went.

In the unpublished post I started going into the pros and cons of making the switch from Windows to OS X and picking up a MacBook Air. Would such a device give me the portability that I seek? Could I truly switch away from Windows and remain productive? Present day me looks back and can answer all of those questions with an incredible amount of detail that came about as a result of analysis and reanalysis of the effects of switching both the hardware and software I once relied on to something I had previously publicly derided. The number of times I have done a thing that I’ve brazenly declared I’d never do is really nothing short of astounding and makes me wonder just how much control I have over my irrational biases and complex decision-making processes.

More than anything, I find the amount of growth I’ve undergone as a software developer to be amazing. Four years ago I would think mainly about the code and how to make a system that solved my problems in a way that I approved of. Even if the tool was created to benefit another party, the entire codebase would revolve around my boolean understanding of a person’s needs and wants. It was around four years ago that I started working with clients who were far less technical than I had previously worked with and, as a result, learned to communicate with and understand. Since this time not too long ago, I can point out clear changes in the user interfaces I design as well as how software might be developed. The entire process is much more interactive and requires a greater degree of back and forth with the people who will actually use the tools. I may write the software, but it’s the client who will have to live with what I create. This is never far from my mind whenever building a tool that aims to solve a very real problem in a person’s professional or private life.

As the current incarnation of this blog reaches 10 years in age, it’s becoming increasingly clear just how different I am today to the person I was when this site started as a WordPress-powered travel-blog running on an underpowered Synology DS-101j NAS that sat on top of my refrigerator at home in Vancouver.

We all change as time goes by. A decade worth of my writing, published and otherwise, is showing me the direction that change has been in.

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