Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Jonathan Camaya

One day long ago, when I was in high-school, I went over my friend Jonathan Camaya's house. He was almost done refinishing the kitchen cabinets. He was amazingly handy, and he had that craftsman's touch. One year, he built a gazebo in his back yard. I told him once "I'd like to get started with wood working someday." He said "Start with something simple. Make a box."

Jon's advice has been lodged in my head ever since.

How do you start anything new? You have to start small. I can imagine Jon making those small boxes, using wood lying around his basement. I can see him trying out different nails, trying different tools, making small boxes, then small benches, then small lattice work, until eventually he made a small gazebo that for all I know is probably still in parents' back yard.

For the past few months, I've been making lots of small boxes, in my attempt to learn Java, a computer technology that's missing from my resume. Java is very current. There's yards and yards of books about Java in the technical book stores. Where do you start? How do you start? "Start with something simple. Make a box."

With the help of some good books and some freely available tools, I've begun to explore Swing, XML, JDBC (using MySQL), Tomcat, Servlets, JSP, and SOAP. Can I make a gazebo yet? Probably not. But the boxes I'm making are getting bigger, and more intricate. I'm writing a lot of small to medium-sized programs, and learning how they work. I'm becoming more comfortable with the tools and the jargon. It's a good start.

"Start small. Make a box." Thanks, Jon.

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