Sabbatical

As of Tuesday, August 28th I am officially on sabbatical. I have been granted an opportunity by my employer to take leave from my regular teaching duties and pursue my academic interests. It currently feels a bit strange to have this level of freedom but I definitely need this chance to recharge both my technical skills and my spirit.

Jason Fried's recent opinion piece in the New York Times "Be More Productive. Take Time Off." couldn't have been better timed. It has helped give me the motivation to make the most out of every hour I have over the next few months.

What will I be doing?

Over the next several months my plan is to write a lot of code, meet a lot of new people, and do a lot of cool stuff. Some projects include:

  • Write open source iOS and Android apps for the College's student run radio station. This project is less about coding and more about working through internal institutional process to get a faculty developed mobile app approved and published. This project also gives me an opportunity to learn to build Android apps. I'm going to release the source on Github so other streaming radio station can use it and expand on it.
  • Learn modern web development with a focus on Javascript, Node.js, and popular .js front-end libraries. I have an idea for an ed-tech company and building a prototype of the core service will help to focus my web development studies. I also want to dive into topics such as OAuth and NoSQL.
  • Finish building out some video game prototypes I have half-finished. I would like to get at least one of them finished and released by the end of my sabbatical but I think Summer 2013 is more practical.
  • Attend a number of meet-ups in Philadelphia. It's been a long time since I attended a Philly IGDA meeting and I really want to spend more time with the Philly CocoaHeads. I also have plans to work out of Indy Hall when I can so I can tap into the energy of the local tech community.
  • Post all of my courses to Github so they are open and available to anybody that wants to take them or build on them. My college currently uses Blackboard for course management and I would like to explore using Github as a CMS in at least one of my higher-level programming courses.
  • Blog regularly. My plan is to post several commented links per day and produce at least one longer written piece per week.
  • Podcast irregularly. I have done a number of video lectures that are posted to iTunes University and I have received some pretty good feedback on them. I would like to create a regular podcast that covers certain topics of interest to me each week. I really don't know if the topics will be educational, programming related, or just plain entertainment. I need to figure this out.
  • Get comfortable using semicolons in my writing; they scare me.
  • Go to the gym and take bike rides. I'm seriously out of shape.
  • Write songs, play guitar, maybe record a short album.
  • Figure out ways for me to give back to the community and start helping out the best that I can.

That's A Lot of Stuff

I always want to do more than I have time to do, that's a major character flaw of mine. In this case I'm purposely setting the bar very high. It's time to make some changes in my life and I've been given an opportunity that most people don't get to enact those changes. I have a lot of stuff I want to do and now is the time to JFDI.