The Ladakh trip has given me a lot to think about. My notebook has over sixty pages of scrawls, as a poor substitute for blogging. But whatever goes up must come down and so has my morale. The weather hasn't been good for walking and personal problems, far from disappearing, have only gotten worse. But the ultimate refuge for me has been denied - I have hit another coder's block. I can't hack - not even the exiftools scripts which I need.
The Linux.conf.au 2007 call for papers are out. I have been trying to figure out what I've done in the period from the last which I could probably talk about. I have literally done nothing for dotgnu, most of my work on APC dates from last year and there is nothing else I have done that's even remotely worth talking about. I have wasted seven months of this year drinking coffee and playing pool.
Of course, I have sat and debugged over six hundred core-dumps in the period. But debugging isn't a really creative talent, it has more to do with analysis than synthesis. I know the entire codebase of APC line-by-line, but what use is that to the world. I've reported bugs to thunderbird, firefox extensions, amarok and a huge bunch of other things. I have hounded developers till they fixed a bunch of them. It is not like I haven't done anything useful, it's just I feel I have failed to fulfil my potential.
I have travelled to various places to talk about dotgnu. The GNUnify organizers might remember a weirdo carrying a rose - that was me. For all those talks, I have hardly made even an ounce of difference for the project or the students involved. For all those BoFs, I don't think I have influenced even the 2% that was targeted. To be more accurate, for all my skills I am still a guy who's broke. The real world measures talents according to what you can get in return for them - all my mad h4x0r skillz are worthless compared to the guy who's gone onsite and made a few lakhs. As much as I can pretend that it isn't true, it does hurt when the comparisons are made.
Knowledge grows when shared, and hoarding it is the crime elitism commits, this I believe. To share the things I learnt the hard way, I've tried writing articles. I have at least three half-done technical articles sitting on my disk - a gdb macros tutorial, function interposing hacks and ssh tips & tricks. I've always hit a wall trying to explain the new things my work lets me do. I've tried to teach things I had to learn, but the lesson is bitter-sweet.
I can't code, evaneglize or teach. Now what ???--
If you didn't have to work so hard, you'd have more time to be depressed.