I grew up in the country about 200 yards from the family farm where my mother and grandfather grew up. Consequently, we put Half and Half on our cereal. I always hated eating cereal at a friend’s house after a sleepover because they used milk on their Cocoa Puffs. I would say, “You’re supposed to drink milk, not put it on your cereal!” It was not until much later in life when I realized milk actually was the preferred choice for a majority of breakfast cereal eaters. Presently, (after a few years of martial conditioning) I could never go back to Half and Half on my cereal.
When all you know is what you’ve done, that is what seems right to you. I’ve worked in local government since May of 2001. My entire GIS/Geospatial career. It seems right to me. The rules, red-tape and expectations are cumbersome and sometimes goofy but I’ve come to expect them and know how to be productive in spite of them. It’s all I know. It’s what I’ve done.
As of August 1st I will only be a half-time employee here at the County.
Here’s the story: For a while now a local geospatial/engineering consulting firm has been courting me to work for them. Unbeknownst to anyone at the county, I had tentatively agreed to a September 3rd start date. Recently, a rather large assignment was given to me in my capacity as GIS Manager, one I had been trying to get for years. Knowing that I am the only GIS person at the county and understanding the financial strain the county is in right now, I promptly expressed to the owner of this firm serious hesitation in such a hard and fast break from the county in the light of this new project. Not to sound too idealistic, but I don’t want to leave that way. I’ve spent the last 5+ years trying to get to the point where I could take this assignment. The last thing I want to do is leave a bad taste in the mouth of my administration and all the affected players. Peoria is too small of a town and my professional career has meant too much to me to just burn the bridges as I leave.
So, I’ve negotiated this Half and Half agreement. I will spend half my time at Peoria County as I have for the last 5 years, sitting in the same cubicle, working feverishly on exit documentation and this new large assignment. Then, I will spend the other half at Cloudpoint Geographics working on their large projects and assignments (not affiliated in any way with county work). I don’t know how long it will last; 1 month, 2, 5? The county has asked me to stay as long as I can. I know that it is not sustainable long-term, as I am a mere mortal, loyalties will become divided. I do not intend to get to that point.
I mean, I knew that people put milk on cereal, I just thought they were poor kids.
Why the obsession with death? When did the tech industry turn into Goth?
There are so many blogs and websites declaring the death of this, or that. (PCs, Macs, Silverlight, GIS, Privacy, Google+, MySpace, SEO, Poerty, Facebook, As400 …) It’s like they want to be the first who called it. Arrogance and pride drives the need to be right or first. (That’s soooo 12 seconds ago) I understand, No one wants to be holding the HD DVD or Betamax player, but can we all just relax and take a deep breath? Who started this trend anyway? In 1790 Edmund Burke declared “The age of chivalry is gone.” Ever since then we have been scrambling all over each other to be the first to notice the decline of something.
Now, I’m all for change. I like change. Change is a part technology as much as aging is a part of life. As a society of technologists and geographers we have to accept and advance with change. But how pretentious is it to outright delcare the end of an idea, product or movement ahead of it’s time and without ever being a part of it? Granted, everything and everyone is replaceable. Also, because of entropy eventually everything will be replaced. However, change is no more death than the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly is. Did the caterpillar die? No. Did he change? Completely.
How do you know if something is slowly dying or simply changing? I think there’s two ways; Authoritative Decisions and/or Time. Authoritative example: HP deciding to discontinue their touchpad tablet. It’s dead because the company who makes them says so. (even then they doubled in price on eBay) Also in this category is Google Buzz and Wave, if the company pulls the plug, it’s done. End of story. Time example: School Filmstrips and Ditto Machines. They’re dead because there is a cheap, viable replacement and no one (other than your hipster-etsy-sister-in-law) uses them anymore. Current school aged children will never know that ding of the filmstrip audio or the smell of that purple ink on a ditto paper.
On the other hand, overhead projectors have changed. My kids kept talking about their teachers using overhead projectors. I said, “WOW really?! like they write on the clear transparency film and crank the roll to a new clean place for notes?” <rolls eyes> “No Dad, it’s a document camera, You are so old!” Seems the company that made those hot and dangerous overhead projectors now makes a cheap portable document camera. Change, not death.
Silverlight is not dead, Flash is not dead. Sometime in the future we will stop using these technologies (both parent companies have stated their sunset plans), but it’s a few years away. HTML5 may be the future but it isn’t for now. GIS is not dead, nor are PCs. These things are changing. We really need to get over this pretentious obsession with being the first to declare something dead, it’s morbid.
Edit: in searching links for this entry I found this other great post from a few short weeks ago. Seems like I’m not the only one annoyed with this trend.
by Micah Williamson