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New website and The Future

First off, I bought http://opensourceplayground.org last night.  Not really anything there yet.  Not really sure what I am going to do with it.  I have unlimited bandwidth and storage, so hosting Linux distros seems like a reasonable idea.  At some point, I’ll post my other ideas.  I’ve never managed a domain before.  My websites have always been university hosted and after I left school I lost access.  I actually could renew my ONYEN (Only Name You’ll Ever Need) but that’s low on my miles long to-do list.

The website ties into ‘the future’, because I need to keep my web development skills up.  Anyway, the future…

Things tanking with women in The Triangle and in Boston has lessened my desire to get out of Madison in the short term.  Two years at work comes up in July, after which I’ll have three weeks of vacation.  That sounds pretty good.  Christmas has been very short the last couple of years and World Cup trip is sadly short (and ridiculously expensive!).  Sweden was shortened by my travel partner, but had it been longer, Christmas would have been even shorter.  After five years, I’d get a sabbatical, which I’d like to take to World Cup 2014.

I’ve discussed going back to school here and potentially some other things.  I’m beginning to think there are only three reasons to move.

  1. Job in open source.  My days as a Windows support tech have really made me hate Windows.  Linux isn’t perfect, but at least I know I could bend it to my will if need be and if resources were available to make it happen.
  2. Moving back to NC (maybe KY). I’d really like to go back to UNC, but I need to reestablish residency to do that.  Spending a couple years in Lexington could be nice, but I’d need to become a Cincinnati fan…which is already the case in baseball.  With at least partial allegiances to 6 NCAA universities, two NBA teams, two MLB teams (Reds, obviously), two NFL teams (although, I’m not sure I cheer for the Packers. They are kinda annoying. Bucks and Brewers are solid though), Landon Donovan’s team, Ibrahimović’s team, Malmö FF, the Svenska Ishockeyförbundet and Fotbollförbundet, US national teams, The Hurricanes (mildly the Blackhawks), two MLS teams and Manchester United, there’s really no love to go around.  Alone, that’s not a good reason not to go to Lexington, but the broader point is that most everything I know is in NC at this point.  Time in AL, WI and KY, of course, but once moving to WI, it became apparent NC is home, even if my basketball loyalty resides in Lexington and my American football loyalty resides in Tuscaloosa.  The rail from Raleigh to Charlotte is really appealing after being stuck in the island that is Madison.  Also, there is a lot more going on in NC in open source than there is in Wisconsin, despite Ubuntu Wisconsin‘s attempts to change that.
  3. Move to Sverige or England. Getting an EU work permit is going to be the challenge here with the current economy. My limited Svenska language skills will also probably hold me back.

So, in long term planning, the question is, how badly do I want to go across the pond.  Is it worth the time to focus my energy on learning Svenska rather than developing my open source skills?  I’m really struggling with that question and lack focus.  Either way, I think I need to put in some time.  I need to learn Python or just do more for the community that run MadLUG.  I felt like COSI got somewhere in physical space, but I just feel like the culture isn’t right in Madison.  Madison is very conservative when it comes to changing things, whereas The Triangle seems rooted in constant change.  When you have an agenda, the place that *wants* to change, seems the place to be.  Maybe it’s just moving into the ‘real world’ rather than the university, where I’ve been rooted my entire life through my father being a professor.  I think I just need to get out more into the real world and see.  Maybe I’ll come back thinking Madison is a fantastic place.

I’ve been all over the place for a long time – a Biology and Communications undergrad degree, paid for coaching football, a master’s in Information Science and have lead a couple different music organizations.  The experimentation needs to come to an end.  I’m not happy, but I don’t think it’s really Madison or my employee.  I think it’s definitely the snow of Madison in part, but I think it’s really that I don’t see my particular job as moving the world further.  I feel like if I was in a position to promote FOSS more, I’d be happier, but clearly I have other goals and interest.  One note about Madison vs. Sverige.  I’ve been following the weather in Malmö and in Madison and it’s *almost always* warmed in Malmö.  It’s on the coast, so it’s temp is better regulated. It’s also not as hot in the summer.  Malmö is not the only place in which I’d be interested in Sverige, but it is the place I am most interested.

Please let me know your thoughts.  I’d really like your perspective on this based on what you know about living in other countries and also based on the economy.

What’s up next? — one week later

Recently I read “You should go to law school where you intend to practice law“.  This has got me thinking differently about where I might go to school.  Duke, UNC and Bama are all still on the list, but maybe Louisville and UK should get more consideration.  Rankings of those schools are 12, 38, 32, 100 and 59, respectively.  Wake (42) isn’t totally out of consideration either.  UW (36), Marquette (95) and Northwestern (9) have also gotten more thought from me because of my current proximity.  Other than Duke, I don’t know how these schools stack up in intellectual property and environmental law, the two things in which I’m most interested.  Of course, The University of Hawaii (82) could be fun.

Still no idea when this might take place.

I’m still thinking UNC all the way for Business or PhD.

A lot of people have seemed confused by how someone that works in technology could have such different goals, so maybe I should spend some time discussing what I want to do.  I’d like to be a voice of reason in information, like Lessig or Doctorow, one of which is a lawyer and the other which is an author and activist.  I’d also like to see more FOSS in business, both using and developing for.  At some level, I don’t care if people want to buy proprietary Photoshop, but what I don’t like is that Adobe won’t produce a version for Linux.  If a version works on Mac, it shouldn’t be hard to make it work on Linux.  If people won’t use proprietary technologies like .NET then it would be easier to make things work in Linux…or Linux users could live with a version in WINE.  The more hooks into Windows the harder for WINE to work though.

There are plenty of places I could work where I could reach these goals; MindTouch, academia, Dell, Red Hat, Sun, IBM or any number of companies that support FOSS.  I’m doing some of this at my current job, but we are deeply engrained in the Windows world.  We are looking at MindTouch and Drupal as alternatives to Sharepoint and we’ve started a Linux laptop program.  However, after several months at the job, I realize it’s going to be a long, long time before I’m not frustrated by Windows at that job.  It’s a good job, but at some point I feel there will need to be change.  I’m also spending a lot of time with Open Madison Group (OMG!) outside of work time but I’d like to not feel like I’m leading a double life.

Basically, I want to change the world.  I think there are a lot of ways to go about doing that.  I just need to pick one.  I hope that helps clarify some things.