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As 2011 comes to an end, and I reflect about what over the year (which was a lot) and what I learned (which was tons) there is one thing that stands out. The one signal that God gave me over and over again, in tiniest details and in big, large letters was something simple, but took me a long time to understand.
It was that failure is OK. No, in fact, failure is a good thing. You can learn from failures, but you can’t learn if you don’t at least try. And, if you try, you may actually succeed.
The first sign of this was when I attended the Omaha Young Professionals conference in March. I really went to hear Cory Booker but it was Jason Seiden’s talk that really spoke most to me. His talk was entitled “The Art of Failing Spectacularly”. And it was about just that — it’s OK to fail, as long as you learn from it. But if you did something, at least you did something, as opposed to sitting on the sidelines, fearing what might happen if you live your story.
The next signal was from Seth Godin. I had never really followed Godin before, but just after I heard Seiden’s talk, I followed a link from somewhere about a free Kindle book. I love my Kindle and I love free. The book was Poke The Box. And what was it about? Starting something, getting over the fear of failure. The same message came twice in six weeks. I’m now listening.
So I set out to, as Godin would say, poke the box. I was more careful at first at what I was going to poke. I work where the culture as a whole looks at change with a lot of suspect, but my management was open to a lot more change. So I started just doing stuff and making suggestions that were different, and feared. Most took, a few did not.
At my day job, I’m working with a team to replace an aging mainframe system. And we have been given some leeway on how to accomplish our end-goal. So I’ve been suggesting things that I would like to have done. Sometimes they are accepted, sometimes they aren’t. And (uncharacteristic of me) I’ve started to push back on management when I think they have bad ideas or are pushing us in a direction that I feel is not quite right. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose, but, more importantly — I’ve won a lot of respect. And I find that I’m listened to more now than I ever have been there..
And I also have my side business, which is doing quite well. I changed a few things there, too — I now have clients on support contracts, have sub-contracted work to others, and worked with some great people as well. From the beginning, SquarePeg Systems has been a “let’s see if this works” and, despite it’s humble beginnings, it has.
As a family, we poked the box a lot. We were finally able to adopt Tyler after living with us for almost two years. The biggest changes this year has been starting (and all but finishing) a remodeling project in our living room (OK, headed up by Gina — she has the vision for these kind of projects. I don’t.) and switching to Coram Deo Church. The church decision was hard — we loved the people at Prairie Lane, but we wanted to be challenged in a different way. And God led us to Corem and we have been blessed (and challenged) by it ever since.
There are lots more signals I got about trying, and failing, and keep trying over the year. I could go on and on. But I’d rather poke the box then keep talking about it.
I fixed this once couple years ago, with more than a little guidance from the ZSH-Users list. But it started happening to me again a few weeks ago and I couldn’t remember how I fixed it. After searching through my GMail this morning, I found it. Maybe if I put it here I will remember how to fix it next time. And maybe help someone else.
This only happens to me when I use zsh via Cygwin (I also use zsh on OSX and Linux). What happens is that when zsh hits
compinit in my
~/.zshrc, it prints a ton of the built-in functions to standard error and that’s it. No error, no complaints . . . and no completion. None at all! See this article for a decent idea on how wonderful zsh does completion.
The fix is easy — manually remove
~/.zcompdump and manually run
compinit. That instance of compinit will complete fine. Then start a new shell and you are good to go! Note that you have to manually run
compinit – just starting a new shell won’t fix it.
I’m not sure why my ~/.zcompdump keeps getting corrupted . . . maybe because my home directory is on a shared drive?
Yep, it’s been a while without anything meaningful. I’ve had a few things that I’ve though “I need to blog about that!” but never have. So here is a list of utterly random things that may or may not make any difference to you:
- We now have two foster children. The whole foster process is quite lenghthy and, really, it’s not easy. As soon as you think things are getting better boom something happens and you feel like you are starting from scratch. I could go on and on and on about this but I’ll simply say: your prayers are coveted.
- I looked at my blog a few weeks ago and noted that my Diigo feed was making it look like a spam blog. Sorry about that — I shut it off. If you still want to see my bookmarks goto Diigo and do an RSS subscription there. Or join up and be my “friend”. It’s actually a pretty cool service.
- Trying to add JMS Replication into Ehcache is a hard, difficult feat. At first you may thing that reading Ehcache’s documentation may give you the answer but, alas, it wrong. Wrong! Pure wrong! It took lots of logging and looking at the source to figure out what was happening. Look at my StackOverlow post and answer for the play-by-play configuration.
- We knew that the time was coming to get a new van. Last year the air conditioning quit working and we weren’t ready to spend the $800 to fix it just then. Our plan was to get it fixed this spring, have it last the summer, and get something this fall. And then the cruise stopped working and the horn didn’t work. This past week, Gina called me at work and said that the speedometer didn’t work and the coolant light was on. I took it in and got an estimate to fix all the things wrong were $3500. Then I drove it a little bit and noticed that it wouldn’t shift out of first gear! $5000 for a new transmission!! So $8500 to fix a nine-year old van? No way!! So Gina and I went van shopping yesterday and got a 2004 Honda Odyssey. We had a new Civic just before Leah was born and loved it! But we didn’t think we were going to be able to get another Honda for a while. Even used Odyssey’s are hard to come by, but the local Honda dealership (literly down the street) had a few. Between the market now and, well, our desparation to have a new-for-us van, we got it done. They even took our old van — and, yes, I drove it there in first gear.
- Jupiter is a really good code-review tool. It’s built into Eclipse, so you can make comments, submit the comments via source control, and the rest of the team and see them and fix them. This makes reviewin code with an offshore team much less painful.
- I promise to blog more often — maybe just little blips, but I will do it. I’m sure both of my readers will appreciate it.