Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Quality of information vs. hot news

I enjoy using reddit, digg, slashdot, my own RubyPlanet.net, news.google.com, etc. to get hot news items and the latest gossip about the technologies that I am most interested in. Yes, there is always stuff happening in the world. At the other end of the spectrum, are well polished papers and articles as are found in the Communications of the ACM, etc. With many exceptions, I don't get the feeling of satisfaction after reading the hot sites compared to reading quality technical papers. Sort of like the difference between network TV and a well crafted movie.

I have also been enjoying reading Thomas Passin's Exployer's Guide to the Semantic Web which is a very good introduction to the high level details of the Semantic Web without getting bogged down in too many implementation details - a high level view or RDF, Topic Maps, OWL and ontologies.

I have also been working very hard to produce high quality material: I have (more or less) suspended my consulting business while I am writing my new book on Ruby and Ruby on Rails for enterprise development. Spending over 40 hours a week on a writing project that I really believe in is tremendously satisfying. After "living and breathing" Java development since Java 1.0 beta I am both thankful for a change and I also find myself changing my philosophy on development: favor simpler and appropriate technologies in order to spend more effort on problem solving. Mastering the J2EE stack was a fun multi-year effort but now I view J2EE as appropriate for a smaller range of problems than I used to.

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