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Finishing Projects

Finishing Projects

As a naturally curious person, I find I’m often researching new subjects, learning new skills, and trying new things. (I’m sure you can relate, but Wikipedia is like a big giant black hole of time.) This typically means I have a lot of half-developed talents and unfinished projects. I actually did finish a (small) project lately, and it got me thinking about what the difference in motivation is between projects I start and finish and those I abandon. In this instance, the small project happened to be an engagement website (for myself and my new fiance! I guess this is what happens when engineers get married…) Now I wrote an article a while ago about the difference between academic vs. “real” programming, and I’d been meaning to learn some web development lately. Learning to program “real code”  was sort of a vague, ephemeral goal, but the engagement website and server was a tangible, defined thing, […]

Open Source and Why People Don't Steal Ideas

Open Source and Why People Don’t Steal Ideas

Lately, I’ve been hanging around some hacker spaces in the Boston area, meeting people, and seeing what they’re making. One thing that really astounds me is the amount of technical knowledge people share for free. I mean, the work I see is the fruit of highly skilled, highly technical labor… people doing circuit board designs and layouts, writing control loops, developing ethernet boards to connect little hobby gadgets to the internet… in short, really cool stuff. My initial reaction was to say “This is worth money! Why are you just giving it away?” but of course, at a certain point, money just isn’t a motivating factor. For so called “knowledge workers,” developing news skills and mastering them was the intrinsic reason for putting so much time and effort in to these projects. Here it was first hand: for the scientists and engineers in the area, making something cool was more valuable than the […]