Sunday, March 27, 2005

Dumbing Down of Dominique

It's past midnight, and I really should be in bed. But for the first time in so many weeks, I have a steady -- albeit slow -- Internet connection at home and I just can't pry myself from the keyboard.

Besides, there's a pressing thought that's weighing in on me right now.

The thought is: How did I get so dumb?

The feeling crept up on me today as I was reading up on LTSP. I still understood most of the concepts, I started wondering why I didn't pay closer attention to this. And at the back of my mind I was thinking of the hundred-and-one things that could go wrong if I did set this up in a production environment. My confidence is really just so shot.

I think the last year-and-a-half working with the Technical Sales Support for IBM Systems and Technology Group really did me in. Firefighting and sales really took out the spark of creativity and curiosity in me so much so that I really haven't had the inclination to explore new developments in Linux.

LTSP ain't even half of it. I missed out on so many new things like the new virtualization technologies, XUL, live distros, etc. I am old, and my knowledge is old.

Am I passing blame where the blame should be mine? Perhaps. Perhaps I shouldn't have let customers, business partners, and other IBMers weigh down on me too much. Perhaps I shouldn't have paid too much attention to the CritSits (IBM Services never gave me any credit anyway). Perhaps I shouldn't have focused on fixing Red Hat-Oracle-TotalStorage compatibility problems. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps....

What the heck? If I did any work on open source virtualization, or live distros, or XUL, what would it have gotten me anyway? "Oh, no, we can't implement those; they're UNSUPPORTED."

And now: a glimpse of the road not taken. Should I have taken a Master's Degree outside the country? Maybe I might have ended up in a research lab where I wanted to be in the first place.

Time slips away. So do the opportunities.

I really need to get my confidence level back up.

Ladies and gentlemen: three months onward, and my verdict still hasn't changed. I'm so glad I left.

Thank you for listening to my rant.


  1. You're one of the most brilliant people I know--and I know a lot of people. I'm glad you left IBM and rediscovered the fun of being challenged.

    When I was younger, I used to always be worried about doing enough. Wunderkinds are exposed to a great deal more age-related pressure than most people would think. Sure, you're doing cool things by 5 or 11 or 18, but out there, in your rapidly expanding world, is someone who's done even cooler things by 4 or 10 or 17. When did I stop considering other people as competition? When did I stop worrying about wasted time? I'm not really sure. Life was much better when I stopped, though. I realized that even though I knew a lot of people smarter and more accomplished than me, I also knew a lot of people I could help along the way. Sure, I still get pangs of envy, but I think I'm living quite a good life! =)

    For what it's worth, I don't know all the details of LTSP or live distros either. <laugh> I think what's important is that I know people who can do it and I believe I can learn it if I need to.

    You're cool, Dominique. =)

  2. Don't feel bad. You are a brilliant guy. Who knows about LTSP? I have barely started reading the introductory stuff for crying out loud. And live distros! I just use them and that is it *laughs* Knoppix saved me from insanity last week.

    Anyhow, I think that what matters to us right now is our attitude towards new things, new challenges. We have talked about my 'quarter-life crisis' over Y!IM last week (or something like that) and I realized this week that I cannot and shouldn't really be so down when I find that I don't know certain things. But I should be down when I lack the zest for living and aiming for improvement.

    I see in you a yearning for improvement. :) That is good. So smile and cheer up. Let's see how things will go.

    I guess I kinda see now why you could somehow relate with me when we were talking. Thanks for listening to me then. And know that I would also listen to you even through blogging.