There are some great people with Silverlight and many of them are sharing a ton with the community through blogs, twitter, forums, videos, articles, books, training, and speaking engagements. Different folk tend like different mediums, so it is great that we have so many options to share information on Silverlight. Years ago I used to read books to find my information. Then as the web grew, I started reading a ton of articles. That grew into blog reading for me, and in the past few years watching videos and talking over Twitter. Having options is a good thing and it helps keep the monotony out of my life.
People often ask me how I keep up with what is going on outside of “my world”, so here are some thoughts on how I do it. Disclaimer: these work for me and frankly, I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy … meaning I have no formal plan :)
NOTE: Today Marco and some others on Twitter encouraged me to list who I recommend following for Silverlight discussions on Twitter and in blogs. I do have a few lists I watch and I’ll post them tomorrow in case anyone is interested.
Keeping up with Blogs
I check in on blogs of various technologies from popular web sites and various bloggers to see what is leading the way. I use a RSS reader and categorize the feeds. Each day I go through the titles and quickly remove the ones I don’t have an interest in or if its something I knew about already.This usually leaves a handful each day to scan. I rarely read a post until I have first scanned them all. It is the only way I can stay sane with so many flying in. I read probably 10 posts a day beyond the first paragraph. Some I mark for later or bookmark if I know its a good reference. Total time per on average day: 30 minutes
All a Twitter
Twitter is a controversial newer medium. People either love it or hate it. I use Twitter for work to keep an eye on what is going on with tech. There are a lot of people who tweet who do not blog much, though most people who blog do tweet. I have a rule with Twitter: I never go back more than a page scroll or 2. If I missed something in the timeline that was not addressed to me, it is gone forever unless someone retweets it. I keep a Twitter client (Seesmic Desktop 2) up all day long and scan it here and there for something interesting. Not only do I find some great information that I do not see on blogs, but I also catch some great conversations. Twitter is interactive … which is why I like it. People can ask for help, engage in discussions (or passionate positions on technology), or just shoot the … um … breeze. I spend only about 30 minutes a day on average since I rarely ever focus on Twitter … it’s always a background task that does not derail me. In short, my 30 minutes a day on Twitter helps me stay in tune with a different and engaging audience.
I like videos. I tend to like to put a video up on one screen while coding or writing in the other. Sometimes the 2 are related, sometimes totally unrelated. Videos are great because you can put them in the background and listen to them, then when key moments arrive you can pause the video, rewind it, and move your attention back to the video. I prefer 2 types of videos: tutorials and multi person discussions. Surprising huh, that Silverlight TV is in that model :). Total time per week: varies … some 0 some 8 hours.
Well … I hope this enlightens some … but again, frankly, its what works for me and I fully realize I am a bit different than most people I meet. I don’t follow a plan, I change my mind on what works for me every so often … but the one thing that has remained constant for me is that I enjoy doing more than 1 thing at once. If I was not OK with having videos or twitter up while doing work and ACTUALLY GETTING SOMETHING DONE then this would be a BAD BAD BAD idea. So as long as I can have background threads like this, its my plan … for today :)