Uncharted Waters

March 5, 2012  9:17 PM

This could be your life – with Rosie Sherry – IV

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

It’s time to finish up our series of interviews with Rosie Sherry, founding of SoftwareTestingClub.com.  In case you missed them, you can read part one, two, and three online.  It’s okay.  I’m a web page.  I can wait.

Are you back?  Great.  Let’s get to it.

Continued »

February 27, 2012  10:43 PM

This could be your life – With Rosie Sherry – Part III

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

After the first and second part our interview with Rosie Sherry, lead organizer of SoftwareTestingClub.com, things are just starting to get interesting.

No, really, SoftwareTestingClub.com.  It is a real thing, a website for software testers (yes, the tiny niche of the IT industry) to get together to talk – mostly with a European focus.

Yes, they also have cutesy images.  What can I tell you, it seems to be working for them.

Lately, the folks from SoftwareTestingClub have moved into training and placement — they even have a physical print newspaper!

In this day and age of linux is free and a webserver plus hostings costs $60 a month, Rosie Sherry is building a business.

Again, I admire her.

Back to the interview.

Continued »

February 20, 2012  8:15 PM

This could be your life – With Rosie Sherry – Part II

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

Last week I started a new interview with Rosie Sherry – a software tester turned entrepreneur.

No, seriously, she was a tester (and a few other interesting things) that went on to start a community site for testers, which now does placement, training, has a newspaper, and might even sell an advertisement or two.

I admire her.

This week, we’ll pick up the interview, finding out where she got the idea for moving from employee to content creator — and how she got started.

Continued »

February 14, 2012  1:55 PM

This could be your life – With Rosie Sherry – Part I

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

I’ve been running a multi-part interview series along the theme of re-imaging your life.

Consider, for example, quitting your day job to sail the world — Adam Yuret did it. Or reframing your job so that you are independent, and can trade time for money; both J.B. Rainsberger and David Hoppe did this.

But maybe you don’t want to travel the world or take long sabbaticals to go lounge on a beach (or go mountain biking, or rock climbing, or whatever.)

Maybe you just want more time with your family.
Meet Rosie Sherry.

Rosie was a freelance software tester from 2001 to 2004, when she took a ‘day job’  doing the same thing for the next few years.

Then the children came, and, suddenly, dropping the kids off at day care and driving in to an office felt … less appealing.

Heavily involved in the software test community, Rosie went back to freelancing but also lead the start-up of SoftwareTestingClub.com, an online community site for testers.  The site now generates a comfortable income, and, combined with her freelance work, allows Rosie to work from home with less hours than a day job, and the flexibility to work after the kids are in bed.

We might you might like to hear from her.

Continued »

February 6, 2012  9:51 PM

The Singularity Signal – II

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

We’ll come back to our series on the Independent IT Life in the next post, but first … an interlude.

A few weeks ago I introduced the idea of a Singularity Signal – a sort of “canary in a coal mine”, indicating that Artificial Intelligence was getting too powerful — that could happen well before computers become self-aware.

In fact, I’d like to continue that premise into today’s post — the idea that computers do not need to be self-aware in order to act like they are and, in effect, to force humans to conditions that would not individually agree on.

All you have to do is to get computers to do work for human beings, programmatically, in multiple systems that are interlocked.

Like, I dunno, the world’s financial markets, maybe.

I will explain.

Continued »

February 1, 2012  8:01 AM

Taking a Journey – with Corey Haines (Part III)

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

So far we’ve had two posts interviewing Corey Haines about his life as an independent technologist (part one and part two) but we haven’t gotten to the deepest questions – his biggest obstacles, how he overcame them, and how he paid the rent.

It’s time for part three, don’t you think?

Continued »

January 22, 2012  10:18 AM

Taking a Journey – with Corey Haines (Part II)

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

Last time I interviewed Corey Haines about his journeyman lifestyle — leaving the day job behind and travelling the country on a pair programming tour in trade for a place to crash and maybe “fifty space bucks for lunch, gas and tolls.”

We’re back for part II of the interview, where we covered Corey budgeted and planned for his tour, how the tour actually took shape, what he did … and what he learned.

Continued »

January 20, 2012  5:16 AM

Taking a Journey – with Corey Haines (Part I)

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

In my previous article I interviewed J.B. Rainsberger, a sort of traditional globe-trotting-consultant turned early retiree living the life of the itinerant IT consultant.

His story is inspring, but even as I wrote it, I could hear the comments in my mind. “But Matt”, you’d say “I haven’t written a book, founded an international series of conferences, or have the cachet to command high rates for short-term consulting.  What’s a guy like me to do?”

Meet Corey Haines, that’s what.

Continued »

January 16, 2012  8:54 PM


Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

In this classic XKCD comic strip, we see a bit of everything: Humor, enlightenment, system dynamics … real life.

The term the author uses is “citogenesis”, a clever pun on “cytogenesis”, that actual real-life term for the process by which living things are created.

It seems that on the internet, and even before that, legends are born when respectable people or organizations make respectable claims that sound like they are true – or at least, sound like they should be true.

Comedian Stephen Colbert calls this “truthiness“, a term that, ironically, has made it’s way into wikipedia, where it is described as: a “truth” that a person claims to know intuitively “from the gut” or that it “feels right” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

Yes, some Wikipedia author put “truth” in quotes to indicate just how true it needed to be. (Hint: Not very much).

Citogenesis isn’t just for mythbusters; it can affect us at home, at the office, or out shopping.

Here’s how to spot it – and what we can do about it.

Continued »

January 10, 2012  3:19 PM

The Singularity Signal

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

I’ve been enjoying the series on career directions, but it’s time for a bit of a break — so let’s take a coupe of posts for something completely different.

Have you heard of the Singularity?

It’s an interesting sort of technological apocalypse — you can see it’s ideas on the big screen in The Terminator or The Matrix; that eventually machines will become self-aware and rise up to rule over their human overloads.  To introduce the subject properly would take a book; Amazon tells me that there are thousands of books on the subject, so I’ll make mine very brief.

It is also easy to dismiss Singularity as Science Fiction inspired by an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie from the 1980’s, but let’s dig in a little bit.

The most compelling observation I know of for the singularity is that Computer Clock Cycles and Processing Power keeps increasing, roughly doubling every few years in accordance with Moore’s Law, while we humans are at best, facing small gains over millions of years through natural selection.

The thinking goes like this: Eventually computers will catch up, have some sort of “divine spark” event, and go past us.

That thinking has been smacked down in the media:  Right now, today, we could create a three-dimensional grid, 100x100x100 of the strongest CPU’s in the world together, something like the Department of Energy Project ASCI Red, and get a computer that strong, but we know what it would do: Execute instructions it was fed in serial order.   The “divine spark” is a question mark, a huge one, one that can’t be ignored.  Without it, we have no singularity.

But here’s the thing: We don’t need one.

Continued »

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