Personal tech dogma

In Uncategorized on 2009-01-08 by Kyle Maxwell

Some tweets last month [1][2] got me to thinking about “personal dogma” for tech projects. David Allen, in his Natural Project Planning process, describes “principles” as the completion to the statement, “I’d let someone else do this as long as they…” Really, that reflects the idea here.

I find that, if it doesn’t run on Linux and it’s not Free Software, it often doesn’t interest me. I want to be able to hack on it, and I want to keep my Windows tether as loose as possible. Sometimes a proprietary, locked-up package might do the job even better, but I’ll entirely stay away from it because of this. I don’t want to be stuck with something I can’t handle if the vendor goes away, and I want to be able to hack things together. This also means that, from time to time, I have to stay away from non-GPL packages even when they qualify as Free Software (this really irks me to be honest). In fact, I only have Windows at home in order to play games, and if CCP ever officially releases a Premium client on Linux for EVE Online, I might well drop it entirely.

Also, whenever possible and applicable, it has to live in the cloud. I access my data from so many devices that tying myself just to one system really cramps me. I think of this like phone numbers: I call a person not a place, so I usually will only call the wireless number. Similarly, I want my data and applications, not a particular computer. So if (say) a RSS reader only works locally, it does me no good, because I’ll end up needing to check things from work, home, my phone, and maybe my iPod Touch. Same for Twitter: I love apps like Twhirl and Tweetdeck, but they use Twitter’s API and so whether I use them from any of those places, my data really still lives in the cloud. Then again, I have to have the ability to pull my data out anytime I want to back it up locally.

To grab me, a social networking site must integrate with the sites I already use (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and preferably include OpenID authentication. My friends don’t want to recreate the graph and I don’t, either. The open social graph has moved from a good idea to a necessity. More passwords? No, thank you. Can’t work with my lifestream? Forget it.

What about you? What personal dogma / principles do you have? How can you apply this to non-tech projects?


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