Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hardware Configuration Specialist

I'm defining a new market for my services, in serious hopes that someone will pick me up and pay for what I do. I've got a room full of computers that are all doing something or other, mostly different from each other in ways that I can substantiate to ordinary people who are not substantially technical in nature. This market is called hardware configuration.

Some companies expect an investment from you, to start working with them. Some companies invest themselves substantially in free and open software distribution models, like Red Hat and The Fedora Project, and Sun Corporation; these companies make their software available for no charge, in hopes that their market will grow faster if they place fewer obstacles between their customers and their software.

I'm giving Solaris 10 a shot on my desktop workstation, and it looks like a good system! There is a distinction that programmers make, between Free and Open Source Software, as compared to simply "free as in beer" software, and some would say that Solaris is not as free as Linux. This is not a distinction that is meaningful to non-programmers, as hard as we programmers may try to explain sometimes.

For Solaris 10, it took a small amount of googling around to make the NVidia video drivers operate properly. Aside from that, the updates have not all applied properly, and I can't find an easy way to add a new user for regular system login from the main login screen. But if you ignore these niggling details, there's nothing wrong! Log in as root, and use the system to produce documents and surf the web just like you use any computer.

I've also heard of a new piece of software called WUBI that should allow me to use the free space on my Windows installation to support an Ubuntu client OS. Slick! I think that both of these operating systems are on the same level of difficulty. More to come, it's late and I need rest so I can make it to my real job tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Still Seeking Employment

In my search for employment I've found that there are some things that an interviewer for a computer science job generally wants, and today they are things that I don't have, to my satisfaction. First, they want to see an unofficial transcript; that is taken care of. I've got an official transcript and I can make as many unofficial copies as I want, so this is not a problem.

The next thing they will ask to see is a code sample; what can you do, and what have you done? I'm pretty good at explaining the projects I've done, but I don't own the copyright to any of the more valuable ones! In fact the only projects of mine that have a concrete value in US Dollars were explicitly work for hire. I don't feel comfortable publishing a work for hire into the public domain, unless I have full ownership of the copyrights.

Consider my dilemma: if I do a good job and really capture the market, then that's one more free project to distract my potential customers and clients from their other needs. That means less time spent griping about things that don't work, and at least one less paying job for people with my particular skill set! What an awful predicament.

In response, the Metris project is born. Follow this code base and you can observe the changes in my coding style while I work with other developers. My goal is to generate a 3D-Accelerated Tetris clone that is both cross-platform and full of useful features.

The project repository is a Subversion hosted using Apache and ModDAV, enabled with WebSVN for your RSS viewing pleasure. I hope you'll consider joining the project, so feel free to e-mail me if you'd like write access to the repository and I will certainly grant your wish!