A Change in Perspective

Photo by Tom Stone

I often find that it’s difficult to be content with what I have in life. It’s too easy to focus on what you don’t have - a new car, a bigger house, that shiny new MacBook Pro - and forget about how much you do have. Modern society doesn’t make this any easier, particularly in the geek culture where something you must have comes along every few seconds it seems.

The reality is, I’m fabulously wealthy. I mean, I’m no Warren Buffet, but compared to the rest of the planet, I have more than enough.

I drive a 10 year old car, but there are millions of people who have no car at all. Millions who would be happy to have a car, any car.

I have a laptop computer that’s 4 years old, and has seen better days. But there are millions who don’t have any computer at all, and would be excited at the thought of having mine.

I’d love to have a bigger house - who wouldn’t? With two young boys, you can never really have too much room. But there are millions who live in houses a fraction of our size, many that aren’t what most of use would even consider houses. There are millions more who are homeless, and would consider any kind of shelter to be a gift from God.

I struggle with this a lot - trying to be content with what I have. Perhaps it’s just human nature to always want more. Perhaps it’s a reality of modern life - we’re being conditioned to not be satisfied with what we have.

I thought of this again today, as I came across (via kottke) a collection of photos on Flickr by photographer Tom Stone. Tom is known for photographing the homeless and others “living along the edges of society”. Looking at his photos of people living on the streets of San Francisco, and reading the stories that go along with them isn’t easy. They’re pretty stark and depressing, but it reminds me once again of just how much I have, and how blessed I am.

Free Web Design Resources

It’s a poorly kept secret that I couldn’t design my way out of a box (take note of the generic template used on this site). Therefore, when I need to put together a web page I often turn to free html/css templates as a starting point (or if nothing else, a starting point). Here’s a few of the sites I’ve discovered with decent html/css templates:

I’ve also got a couple of sites I use for help picking color schemes:

I would be interested in knowing where other people who don’t have the benefit of working with a designer turn for help and inspiration. Leave your favorite sites in the comments.

Links for 10/31/06

The latest in a long series of things distracting me from other things that are likely far more important:

Sun: Learn about JRuby - I look forward to playing with this someday soon.

Yahoo: Ruby Developer Network - Yeah, I’m a little late on this one. Included just in case you have spent the recent months in a cave.

Free CSS Templates - Very nice stuff here.

The Shire of Bend, Oregon - Middle Earth-ish homes. Very unique, and very cool. Almost makes me want to leave the midwest for Oregon. Almost.

Weird Al: White and Nerdy - This song was written about me, and I starred in the video. Ok, not really. But I could have…

Jack Slocum: Real-world examples of the Yahoo UI Library - This stuff continues to impress me.

Javascript tabifier - Best HTML/Javascript tabs I’ve seen yet. Ridiculously easy to use as well. See them in action here

David Galbraith on Sustainable Business Models

In response to the previously mentioned buyback of Odeo, David Galbraith has written an insightful article on the topic of building companies with sustainable business models. His position (a smart one) is that venture capital shouldn’t be the default, it should be for the edge cases - companies with big infrastructure needs that are growing more rapidly than they can manage.

From the article:

Every venture funded tech company is predicated on the idea of ‘exit’, the point where the company is sold to a bigger one or has an IPO, so that the investors see a return and move on.

When I was an architect, you didn’t set up a practice on your own to ‘exit’, you setup to build a company that made a profit and made products that made the environment a better place along the way - a sustainable enterprise. The whole idea of ‘exit’ in the context of building an architecture firm, or a legal or medical practice is preposterous.

Amen brother.

Read the full article.

Apparently, I'm a Joiner

I typically avoid joining each new social networking thingy that comes along, but I’ve joined two lately.

The first was LinkedIn. You can view my public profile here, feel free to add me if you’re so inclined. My email address associated with me there is larrywright at gmail dot com.

The second one was Twitter, which is a new-ish site from the folks at Odeo (which, as an aside, was recently bought back from the investors - way to go Ev), that lets you keep up with what your friends are doing at any given moment. You can send and receive updates via text messages, the web site, and now by instant message. Pretty cool. View me here, and feel free to add me as a friend if you’re so inclined. Or come to to my home page and look at the left hand side of my page to see what I’m doing at the moment. As if you care.

On an unrelated note, things have been a little quiet lately, due to other commitments. Things are quieting down a little now, though. I’ll have some more technical posts up soon(ish).