believe it or not ... i get the occasional mail asking for advice. really. i dont even believe it. hell, i just had to look up occasional to make sure it has two c's. then they find out that i suck at email and dont write back. not that i dont think its flattering that somebody would want my advice, because it is ... its just that i'm not good at replying. so i got a couple new emails asking for advice (spawned by /wpfAugReal), but i'm not (directly) replying to either of those [suck at email] instead, i'm replying to a 4 month old one i never replied to.
"what contributed most to what you are today?" what i learned from college was how to learn on my own. then i took the advanced degree programs to upskill as quickly as possible and get a more complete view of software engineering. the good thing about classes was paying for the classes forced me to go. now that i'm old and boring, i would never sit in a class again. give me a book or an SDK and some time. so the degrees were just a jumpstart and dont do anything for me now. after the degrees, i joined a consulting company and then went fully independent. that is because 1) i love to learn / solve problems / find out how something works 2) i hate to maintain code. that explains why i'm a consultant, swap MVP groups, and write articles in my spare time. other people like to make one really kick ass product that keeps evolving and they keep polishing it. i respect those people, i'm just not one of them. if i was an employee and kept working on the same product all the time ... it would suck the life right out of me. which brings up ...
"what do you suggest to start getting involved?" i stay motivated to learn the same way i stay motivated to lift ... by leeching off other peoples energy. my friends all like the latest and greatest technologies, that is what we talk about. and we subscribe to blogs of people that do the same. alot of my articles are motivated by something else i've seen on a blog, or talked about with my friends, or read about in a book. when something starts to get boring, i just look around for the next shiny tech / API / problem and start to kick it around. when i first started out, alot of the projects i kicked around failed, because i wasnt good at seeing hidden risks. but every once in a while something would come together, and that was enough to keep me going. now i've got enough experience to see alot of the potential pitfalls beforehand; which takes some of the fun out of it. so all of my articles are designed to introduce some manageable level of risk, and reduce the menial tasks. i.e. i've been wanting to do augmented reality for over a year. when i first looked at it, i knew a little DirectShow and was a beginner at Managed Direct3D. i could have pulled it off, but it would have taken a considerable amount of time. but over the last year i positioned myself to become competent with DirectShow and WPD 3D ... so the augmented reality piece was the only risk left (just over 2 weeks). when i lose motivation, i just wander. today i went to the bookstore and looked at the back covers for the acronyms i didnt know. also been brainstorming and just surfing the net aimlessly. if that doesnt work, then i'll take some time off until the itch comes back. eventually something will catch my eye, and i'll have to work on it.