Monday, August 04, 2008

work, friends and personality...

Again, a non-IT post. Well ... kind of. I had some discussion with a friend of mine the past days and we thought a bit about what sharing work on an open source project means to each other. I'd like to reproduce my part of the discussion which, I think, covers a lot of those things that I value. If you find it an interesting read and would like to comment - go ahead ;) In any case, you can quickly go to some other place ;)

To me, work (including rsyslog) is much more than just "doing something for a living". Of course, that aspect is involved, I can't deny that. But to be good at something, one must love what one does. So any work we conduct should ideally match our interests and be something we can be proud of (which also includes failing to deliver good work should make us ashamed and thus trying to fix the situation). Not everything, even well done, is "good work". Good work is work that benefits society at large. That doesn't mean I need to be Einstein - every garbageman also provides a useful service to society (and should be proud in what he does, provided he does it well). As a side-note, in that sense I do not see that any one work is more respectable than any other: people who try similarly hard to provide good service to society, each one with all the capabilities they have, deserve the same respect, no matter how large their contribution to society is being considered by other people. In fact, a highly educated scholar working on something light-hearted is in my opinion much less respectable than a garbageman who tries his very best in fulfilling his duties. As a side-note to the side-note, do not mistake respectability with material earnings: I see that some folks generate very large benefit for society at large. No matter if their motivations makes them respectable, they obviously deserve to earn more than others. Just keep in mind that respect and material things are two totally different aspects...

Back to the importance of work: I do not consider work to be something "external" to me. Instead, it is a very important part of my personality. Not the only one, and I don't try to assign priorities to different parts of my personality so I can't say if it is the most important one or not - but that doesn't really matter, I think. In that sense, if you help me succeeding in my work, you also help me succeeding in growing my personality. You help me being more proud of what I am doing because you help making it better, more well-known and, importantly, more valuable to society at large. And I hope that my contribution to your work (e.g. by providing some basis) will have a similar effect for you. What's more important is that the borders between "my work" and "your work" go away. So it becomes "our work", something we jointly work on, and something we are actually being tied together. And, in a sense, part of my personality becomes yours and vice versa. Doesn't that justify to also care a bit about the person who is behind that shared work? To me, I think so, even though we "know" each other only via electrons traveling a global network...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Solar Eclipse seen from Germany...


This is one of my few non-IT posts ;) Today is solar eclipse day. At my location (roughly 50N, 8E), we had a rough 10% occultation. But, as usual, the day started with a 100% occultation due to clouds. Nevertheless, I set up my PST solar scope, and a pair of eclipse "glasses". Finally, the skies cleared up around the time the eclipse began. Not great, still lots of clouds, but, hey, this time I wasn't after chasing fine detail. The moon could clearly be visible in front of the sun and this was what counted.

The h-alpha view in the PST was quite different, in my personal observation, from what I saw through the eclipse glasses. Most interestingly, when I initially looked I actually did not see a part of the sun being dark, but I rather "saw" the moon in front of it. I actually envisioned the moon's globe. I thought I could even see its structured extended into the dark of the sky (especially in the PST), as an extension from its image "inside" the sun. That was rather strange. In fact, it took me some effort to forget about the moon and "just" see a piece of the sun "bitten off". I guess this is again a good proof on how much our senses (or better our brain's interpretation of what the senses deliver) depend on our knowledge and expectation.

As a side-note, I gathered my family around the scope and we all had a great time viewing (though me was obviously the one who had most endurance). And I should probably also mention that I screwed a biz meeting by running out loudly telling "the clouds are gone" ;). And at another time a fellow astronomer called in remembering my that I should watch. Great when people care :). And, finally, after around 75 minutes (around three quarter of the eclipses duration), it just appeared to me that I had special solar-observing save plastic film, which I than quickly moved in front of my camera. So I even have a few shots of the eclipse (one of which you can see right here at the top).

While I could not see the initial phase of the eclipse, I could see the moon move away from the sun. Very interesting.


All in all, this was a very motivating day, a real highlight. And now on to the usual stuff...

Busy at the moment...

Some might have noticed that I am not as active as usual on the rsyslog project . As this seems to turn out to keep at least for the upcomi...