Yesterday morning I woke up and checked my email. One of the services I subscribe to is a content delivery service called Medium that customizes the stories to delivers to each individual’s taste. Yesterday’s email had a review of an IBM training and certification on data science and machine learning. It’s only $39 a month, and you go through the course at your own pace, paying for as many months as you need to complete it.
I’ve been interested in data science for a while. Recently, I learned how one particular application of data science has led to discoveries that otherwise would have gone unnoticed – can’t go into detail but if you’ve lived here the past 10 years you’ve heard of the project I’m talking about. It’s a sub-field of IT that doesn’t bore me, as building websites does. Plus, the final project for the course/certification requires dreaming up and designing your own data science application using the Foursquare API. Foursquare is a service that helps you discover places near you (the check-in side of which is known as Swarm). Given my love of Downtown, I’m sure I could come up with a really cool project, maybe even one I could transition into a smartphone app. The data science course uses Python, a language I recently started working with that is a lot of fun and is different from the C++/Java/PHP family of languages.
So, I went to Bardog yesterday, visions of data science dancing in my head. There were a couple of reasons I didn’t go ahead and pull the trigger and sign up for the course. For one, it’s Christmas break – I’m off all next week and want to get out and enjoy the free time. More importantly, though, I wasn’t sure the computer I’ve been using could run the software I need. It’s a MacBook I borrowed from a friend that is several years old. Great computer but it’s not a programmer’s computer. Taking a page out of my “DAWG” John D’s book, I started drunk-surfing Amazon (through no fault of my own, there were two shots of Jameson in the first 40 minutes which lubricated the process).
I found a great deal on a laptop with a 15.6″ screen, 16 GB of memory, and a 512 GB solid-state drive. Having a solid-state drive rather than a traditional hard drive means the computer will boot up in seconds rather than minutes. 16 gigs of memory will be more than enough to handle any programming project that comes to mind. The battery life is listed at up to 10 hours, allowing me to be a road warrior if I so choose on any particular day. After an hour of contemplation I hit the “Buy Now” button.
As for how I’m going to pay for this: I’ve been going out to bars 7 days a week. I know that’s not ideal, as I documented in my “Rock Bottom” post back in August; but it’s the life I know and I don’t know what else to do with myself. Having the new computer and the data science course will give me that something else. I predict the money I save from going out less will pay for the cost of the computer and the data science course within three months.
The computer is scheduled to arrive December 30-31, which is perfect because it will allow me to enjoy my Christmas break to the fullest. I’m aiming for some 3 AM nights this coming week. Made it til 1 last night. Could’ve even stayed out longer but today is going to be a big day so I wanted to get plenty of beauty rest.
Now the question is – do I leave Windows 10 on the computer when I get it, or do I wipe it and install Linux? I guess the hard drive is big enough that I could install Linux on a virtual machine on the new laptop.
I’m excited. I want this. After I got the job at the law firm, I wanted to plan my next step in life, but I didn’t know what that was until yesterday. It had to happen organically rather than me taking a step I felt I “should” take but to which I wasn’t really committed.
By the way, I want to express my gratitude to the people for whom I work for closing the office all this coming week. The time off is so very much appreciated – not that I don’t enjoy my job (I do very much) but the opportunity to stay out late is nice. I have a buddy who works in a business-to-business environment. His customers are all closed this week, so he has nothing to do – and yet, he has to be in the office every day except Wednesday, because some bullshit corporate handbook tells him he has to. Geez. Even Donald Trump gave federal employees Christmas Eve off.
I’ve had an email that I composed saved in Drafts since June 30. Today will be the day I decide to either delete it or send it.
Leading off at Bardog this morning. Back with more news soon, but can’t guarantee it will be tomorrow.