XML Crash Course
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A non-nerdy friend of mine (yes, they exist, moving on) changed jobs at her company last week and had a question:

So, it appears that i will have to learn how to use XML for my job. What would you suggest? And by “suggest”, i mean, “talk to me like i’m four.”
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Craftsmanship Tour: 8th Light
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The second stop on my craftsmanship tour was last Friday at 8th Light. They’re a local Chicago consultancy that’s active in the software craftsmanship community, especially in building the new Chicago SC group.

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Craftsmanship Tour: Obtiva
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Last month when I started planning my travels of indefinite duration, I ran into the blog On Being a Journeyman Software Developer by Corey Haines. He spent the end of 2008 and most of 2009 traveling around the United States pair programming in exchange for room and board, trading knowledge and having interesting discussions. I saw it and thought, “Hey, I could do that.”

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Social Pastimes
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In a previous post I wrote:

I look at the most popular Facebook games and only see pastimes, idle toys requiring action with little thought, minimal direct competition, and even rarer losses. Oh, and tens of millions of players.
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The Dog That Didn’t Bark
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Silver Blaze is one of the most popular Sherlock Holmes stories, in part because (spoiler alert for a 118-year old story you can read by clicking that first link) the mystery is in part solved by Holmes recognizing that something didn’t happen:

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Book Licenses
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One downside to the web being interactive is that it can turn everyday activities into legal agreements. If you bought or were given a manual for an ARM processor you could do what you like with it. But if you read one online, you’re entering into a license to give up your right to fair use quoting or to use it for all purposes (specifically, looking for patent infringement).

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Spreadsheet Errors
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Last week the magazine The Nation hurried to correct a story that they had suffered the worst drop in advertising of any weekly magazine. Their loss was actually in the middle of the pack, but the story was written from a spreadsheet that overstated their advertising for last year, giving them the appearance of a step decline.

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Twitter
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I’ve starting using Twitter as @pushcx. I’ve been reading a few people for a while, but not really contributing.

Any longtime readers will know I’ve been thinking about usernames. A little while ago I realized that, while it doesn’t include my name, ‘pushcx’ is a decent enough handle that can be dereferenced uniquely.

Twitter users, please leave your username in a comment with a tip for getting the most out of Twitter. I’d like to avoid as many newbie mistakes as I can. :)

Investing in Cloud Computing
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A friend forwarded me an sales email he received from The Motley Fool about why “cloud computing” was poised to disrupt to the market. I ranted a bit, but I think there are some things worth considering.

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Travels of Indefinite Duration
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Starting January 1st, 2011, I’m going to do some traveling. I have definite plans out through March and will choose and plan new destinations as I go. I don’t have an end date in mind, I’m going to travel until I run out of interest in seeing the world.

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