- Contract programming
Translating VBA to VB.NET for use in a web-distributed Excel product; Access 2007 programming for managing the workflow of telemarketers in a company that re-sold telecomm services until they closed the telemarketing business.
The first is actually cool, if you do any Windows work. For a start, the state of Excel and .NET integration is locked in 2005. You can't write VB.NET/C# UDFs that are called directly from an Excel cell. You have to expose the functions in a COM server, and the runtime burdens that imposes are annoying. For a start, calling Excel from the COM server is an order of magnitude slower than VBA within Excel, so I ended up re-implementing a lot of Excel functions in VB.NET: statistical functions, portfolio analytics, financial functions, etc.
- Meetups and conferences
Meetup.com provides a lot of opportunities to network. I go to NYC-Python, django-nyc, NYC .NET, and Alt.NET regularly.
- Interviews, job searches
I had a good interview this week and the company is making very encouraging noises. They've given me a programming assignment to complete this weekend.
- Pro bono work
Django programming for a micro-finance company that uses the Django admin to manage their volunteers.
I was at DjangoCon in Portland in September followed by ten days in Spain. I have some family time coming up over Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Recent discovery: Tripit.com is great for keeping track of your travel. In particular, it is great for having a single point to track all your airmiles.
- Show-and-tell dates
I've recently concluded that having projects to show is way more important than a resume. No one gets my resume. Taking my laptop to meet friends and Meetup.com-types for coffee is a fairly productive networking technique.