So how many of us have spent most of our careers in a cubicle?

A lot I’d wager, but are things changing – or is the pendulum swinging back the other way? We hear about Yahoo and HP bringing the hammer down on people working from home, but working from home doesn’t necessarily mean an employee is a free agent, and a contract employee doesn’t always work from home or on their own schedule. Often we work on site and adhere to the same hours as regular employees.

But are HP and Yahoo typical of the entire job market or just certain sectors? Once a company reaches a certain size, they tend to acquire a lot of office space and real estate and other geo-related assets and it’s easy to see why they don’t want to see it sitting unused because their employees prefer to work from home, but there are still plenty of smaller companies that don’t want to scale up their operations, particularly if demand for workers fluctuates depending on a production schedule.

Most game companies don’t need every kind of worker involved in producing a game all the way through the development cycle. They need different types of people at different stages of production and unless they are ‘big enough’ to work on three or four titles at the same time, they just can’t keep all of those types of people busy all the time.

But many smaller game houses need to focus on one main title because they don’t have the resources to hire permanent staff for all of the roles needed to produce a game, so in the game business hiring people on a contract basis makes a lot more sense.

So from the perspective of someone looking for work, what does that mean?

Well it means you can take the McDonalds approach, and package your skills into a “Big Mac Meal” or a “Happy Meal” since a lot more companies are looking for employees at the drive through if you will.

Or you can package yourself in a non traditional way and wait for the right clients to find you – kind of like an artisan approach. That’s the approach I have decided to take.

But just because I’m a free range programmer, it doesn’t mean I will work for chicken feed…

So we all want to write one set of high level code and have it run everywhere, and there are tons of frameworks and such that aim to help in that regard, and they all work in their own ways and to different extents, but the more whizbang you want, the less portable the means of achieving the whizbang stuff generally is, so you tend to have to accept something a little plainer to get it to work across most platforms, especially mobile.

So that’s where Unity comes in for me. It gives me WHOAA ability, or “Write Heroically Once Amaze Anywhere”.

The write once part everyone understands, but the ‘Heroically’ part is a bit obscure and is related to the Amaze Anywhere part. By “heroically” I mean that Unity lets you dive in and aim for the sky right off the bat and not be timid about just getting something boring working at first. There is so much leverage built into the basic system it’s easy to add nice touches to everything as you go along, even if it is experimental code.

There are also so many crazy cheap extensions and assets available for it, it’s easy to find something that you can usually just drop in to a project to add large chunks of functionality that have already been tried and tested by a lot of other people. There are a lot of people working on Unity, not just for the company, but as third parties serving other Unity developers, so you always have an invisible team working with you.

An example of that is the iTween plugin, which is actually free. It has a ton of built-in methods for performing automatic tweening with advanced control over ease in and out curves. It’s so easy to use and add to any project to do nice little touches like making buttons jiggle or shake a little when you mouse over or touch them. And dozens of other third-party products have incorporated it into their products and extended it’s functionality far beyond what the original author intended, so it has been thoroughly vetted by many pros.

Unity is a valuable tool for anyone making games, even if you plan to release a game built using native iOS code for one example. I have used Unity and some inexpensive sprite sheet tools to compose sprite sheets for a native iOS game we are working on at Brashworks Studios, and it is also very useful to do quick prototyping of things you intend to do later using native GL calls.

And don’t get me started on the fact that you can extend the editor quite easily with custom tools.

I think I’ve found my home…

 

Many people today like me have multiple online personalities. Sometimes it is because they have different roles to play at various times during the day, and a lot of it has to do with there being many different kinds of social media, so even if we play the same role or project the same identity in each of them, we still find ourselves managing them more and more.

And let’s face it. We all have accounts for playing games or posting things in forums about body piercings or some of us just want to like Justin Bieber openly without being judged and create a Facebook fan page for him.

Whatever. It’s not really anyone’s business, but on the one hand we’re told to be careful what we do online because we may be judged for it, and on the other hand we’re tempted by all kinds of freedoms that we might want to indulge in without being judged.

When I first got into Virtual Reality, a lot of people considered it un-serious stuff. Not only that, but people were free to invent their avatars as anything they wanted. And that was back in a time when the only real protection against identity theft was security through obscurity. To a large extent, it’s still true today that many people don’t want to use their real names online.

Even when Second Life came along five years later, you weren’t even allowed to use your real last name. The last name of my Twitter handle – CodeWarrior Carling comes from a big long list of choices I had to decide from when I joined Second Life. Carling Avenue is a famous street and was a famous person where I live in Ottawa, so I combined it with the ‘nickname’ I had been using for flight simming and CodeWarrior Carling was born.

Ideajuice Fullstop avatar image
My Female Side

And of course anyone who has ever worked with game engines or VR building things, and in particular things about avatars, knows that you need more than one account to test anything worth testing and you also need a female avatar to test things like female clothing and hair, so Ideajuice Fullstop was created (again – I had to choose her last name from a limited list).

So including the earlier identities I had accumulated from the different Active World Universes I had been in (Active Worlds, Active Worlds Europe, Outer Worlds, Dreamland Park and several others) I was up to half a dozen online identities by 2010.

And I’m not really trying to hide anything I’m ashamed of.

So when I  stopped socializing online in Second Life and switched to Twitter, I came into Twitter as CodeWarrior Carling from Second Life and nearly all my first 1,000 or so followers knew me as that. It was a way of keeping in touch with that community even though I wasn’t really ‘going there’ anymore in a virtual sense.

After a while, I realized I was mixing in a lot of local people who had no idea who or what CodeWarrior Carling or Ideajuice or Second Life was, but who I shared interests with by virtue of geography or technology interests, so I started another account called @OttawaPete to try to keep things a little saner for both them and me.

I have other identities online as well. @BrashWorksPete, @VennData, @VARWA. There’s nothing malicious about any of them and it’s kind of fun to wear many hats and sometimes it’s even necessary.

My point is that many of us online have many accounts, but it’s only multi personality disorder if the personalities are not aware of each other.

In my case we all know about each other, and we’re all OK with it.

At least I think we all know about each other….

So after five decades on this planet I have finally figured out what it is I do.

I am a technology whisperer.

In recent weeks I have been working at redefining myself for the Nth time career wise. Adjusting course to aim for the kind of work I want to do and updating my resume and other materials to repackage and sell myself to people looking for those kinds of skillsets but I am faced with a dilemma. I don’t have a lot of experience (yet) in the kind of work I want to do more of, but I don’t want to highlight the obvious skills I have acquired over the years at the expense of attracting the sort of work I want to do.

So the question arises what kind of work am I looking for? What is my training and experience? Am I a “Senior Software Developer with DBMS”? Am I a “Intermediate Web Developer with PHP and MySQL”? Am I a “Senior Embedded Developer With ARM/EGL/OpenGL ES 2.0″?

The thing is, I am all of those things and none of those things. I have no problem saying that I could easily fill any of those positions, but I have never worked “officially” in any of those capacities. Do I rewrite my resume for every job trying to tweak it to emphasize the type of work they are looking for? That’s the conventional wisdom, and it probably works to get a job, but in the long term I think it’s basically lying about what you really want to be doing just to get a job.

The right job for a person is a job they will love doing and the right person for a job is the person who will love doing that job.

I know what I love doing and that is working with Unity 3D and I am being pretty vocal about wanting to work with people who are working with Unity 3D, but what should I put as my job title or desired job title?

“Technology Whisperer”

I’ll never have to rewrite my resume again.

Let’s try this again. I posted this before changing some WordPress settings and apparently the old links don’t work. Hopefully this time it sticks. Thanks to @4deck for letting me know there was a problem

Well I’ve been pretty quiet lately, and it’s for a good reason. I have been completely overhauling a website I’ve had sitting around for over a year with Lorem Ipsum text in it. Tsk tsk.. bad me.

In any case, I am pretty happy with my progress. Part of the reason for never getting around to doing anything was that my HTML skills were old – forged when it was tables all the way down. Not only was I facing the blank page syndrome, but I was faced with either putting something out there that really sucked from a clean, modern design point of view, or taking the time to learn how things are done nowadays and who has time for that?

Well thanks to my Twitter friend @snipeyhead, all is now well with my world wide web skills. She pointed me to Twitter bootstrap, and from there it was smooth sailing. If you’ve wanted to get your rusty old web skills up to snuff, I highly recommend starting with Twitter bootstrap. You can get it from http://getbootstrap.com and it’s an official Twitter product – the same fine code they use for their own website.

How’s this for a cleverly disguised “Hello World” to test my WordPress installation and linkage?