Sunday, April 30, 2017

Destroying Jobs Is A Good Thing

I just read an article, in the Seattle Times, about harvesting apples with robots.  In short, Washington is experiencing a shortage of farm-workers to harvest its fruit orchards.  Consequently, companies are racing to get contracts and sell machines.

Okay... so what?  Just another example of how technology is destroying jobs, and making it impossible to survive in this economy.  That's the narrative we consistently hear.  I mean, it's even directly in the article:
"The eventual loss of jobs for humans will be huge, said Erik Nicholson of Seattle, an official with the United Farm Workers union."
That's not good for innovation and progress.

This is where I think we, as IT professionals, have to frame the story.  We're not taking jobs.  We're changing the work people do.  I look at examples like this as one step closer to feeding everyone.  The purpose of technology is to improve lives, efficiency, and productivity.  If we can solve a problem, like world hunger, using robots, then shouldn't we do it?  The point of work isn't to be busy; it's to achieve something meaningful for humanity - to solve a problem.  If our food supply isn't an issue, which I think is a pretty good reality, then let us feed everyone, and focus on another problem - like scarce drinking water.  There aren't many things we need to survive, by the way - food, water, shelter, clothing, and protection.

The two gaping holes in my position seem to be: 1 - people "have to have jobs;" 2 - the argument that "my grandfather grew apples, my dad grew apples, and damnit, I should be able to make a living growing apples."  I'm not quite sure what to do about those types of concerns.  I think jobs should solve a problem, and as we solve those problems, we address new ones.  Don't support that neighborhood video store, when Netflix is better.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

React or Aurelia?

After finally feeling pretty comfortable with Backbone, I've decided to move away from it. I recently attended a developer's meetup where we looked at Aurelia.IO. I like what I saw.  Further, technology is all about embracing the new.  Moving on to the popular new tool is just pretty much part of the IT spirit.  I was being resistant and holding on to what I knew most - terrible mindset for a dev.

So I was really impressed with Aurelia, but I know React is the popular kid, so I'm at a crossroads - which to choose.  At this point, the learning curve really doesn't matter; I've accepted it as part of the profession.  I'm more concerned about market value.  Aurelia could turn out to be the new cool kid, but maybe not.  That's a big concern for me.  I'd prefer to learn and build experience with an in-demand technology.  Right now I use Slim (long story) as a backend PHP framework, and it drives me crazy because everyone wants a Laravel developer - meaning my market value would be higher if I had built the same experience, just with a different framework.

If you're wondering why Angular isn't on this list, it's because I feel like it's the new Backbone/jQuery.  It's been around for a while, a lot of people/organizations use it, but I think devs will start moving on soon.  That's just my opinion.  I could be wrong, but you've got to make your own decisions in life.  Still, if you disagree, I would love to hear your thoughts.  I'm not stubborn.

So which should I choose?  Let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Why Write?

Unless you're a writer at heart, blogging is a pain.  It's not likely you're going to get rich, it can be hard to come up with content, and no one wants another "job" - at least I don't.  Yet, I'm back at this for the third time.  Why?

I do this to share and network.  I find it invaluable as a developer.  We have so much going on - tools and processes constantly change (Javascript... need I say more?), this is a really competitive industry, and most projects tend to be pretty demanding.  It's just really hard keeping up with everything.

"Social networking" (blogging, tweeting, Facebook posts, etc.), can help curate some of the information coming at us.  For example, a gentleman just reached out to me, this morning, about a CMS  platform his team is building.  I'm not in the market for a CMS, and I'm not even really a big fan of them, but he read one of my previous articles, and thought I might find it interesting.

It's not for me at the moment, but "my readers" are likely devs, with similar interests.  Some of you may be in the market for a CMS, and so I shall share this gentleman's product with you - Composr CMS.  Keep in mind that I've never used it, and only intend to try it the next time I need a CMS.  I'm not confirming that it's great, or terrible; it's just a platform that I've been recently discovered.  Let me know what you think, if you decide to give it a try.  Maybe it's a good alternative for all of you disgruntled Drupal users.  What a mess, right now...