July 10, 2002
rushing up to surround me

So this week seems to be my week for rediscovery of bits of my past. In new and interesting ways... This discovery type is what Michael Babcock and I used to refer as the Lattice...

First, I've become reminded of knowing Andy Lester. At the YAPC mentioned previously, Andy gave a lightening talk on, in essence, the necessary politeness or tolerance for the furtherance of geek culture in general, but in my mind it applies as cleanly, or more so, to the necessary interplay in the workplace.

Now, granted, most tech workplaces can be somewhat heated places. Decisions tend to be required on less input and time than one wants. But Andy makes salient points about how a necessary set of behaviors can at the very least ease that trouble - and moreover, how improper behavior can hinder goals of groups.

What did surprise me was that Andy didn't cite another Eric S Raymond piece, on "How to ask Questions the Smart Way." Though somewhat polemic, it does provide good tools that can, if implemented pragmatically, help resolve a certain number of conflicts.

Andy figures importantly in my and Anne's past in Chicago. We got to know Andy via the Indie-List Digest and his non-affiliated Chicago Shows List, which we would received weekly while we lived in Indiana. Well, when we decided to move to Chicago, we got in touch with Andy for tips, etc.

As I recall, at the time Andy, living in Palatine, had to come into the city each week to pick up a copy of the Chicago Reader. So on his next Thursday run in, he gave us a call, and we all went out to eat at one of the diners in the Grilled Cheese Corridor. It was fun, and a great way to feel a bit welcomed to the city.

Since then, he's gone on to better things - a family (including the wedding service that spawns the occasional "Well, we have chicken fingers" story), improved jobs, and working on The Perl Review (the current issue has a nice piece by brian d. foy on the Facade Pattern). Good stuff - and who would have thought that contributing to an ISBN oriented perl module would be considered cool by your peers...

A second past-as-surrounding event occured when I was reading through Andy Clark's Being There, a nice little cogsci work. In a discussion of how we approach perception as infants, he starts talking about babies and perceptual cliffs and inclines. It all seemed eerily familiar. And checking the citations, I discover it was based on the research of a former acquaintance from Indiana U., who we'd hang out with periodically.

The Clark book, btw, is very good. Once I'm done working through the ideas (which neatly intersect and inform (perhaps, "afford" is the right term) some of my thinking on parallel and distributed systems), it should come back up for further discussion.

Posted by esinclai at July 10, 2002 09:39 PM |