Valuing your own time

This is not a post about performance, or things that are fast in machine time. Without doubt, I dislike¬†inefficient¬†systems and software. Yet, I don’t always focus on that.

A couple week ago, somebody asked, “What’s with all the infosec people using Macs?” There’s a longer answer of mine there, but if I’m going to reduce my thoughts to a few sentences, there they are:

  • My maintenance and setup vs. use ratio is low
  • It fits into my command-line world
  • If it breaks, I can probably get it fixed by somebody else in 24 hours.

Sure, I built Linux From Scratch those years ago like I talked about in an earlier post. I watched KDE take 24 hours to compile and I did it a few times over. It’s a great thing to do, and I suggest everybody who really wants to know Linux knows that

"make menuconfig"

is all about. But, if I interview you, you better not plan on deploying that on my network. Your primary machine should be running something else. Sure, it’s a great hobby and the knowledge is fantastic, but keeping on top of every package’s software update and security issues isn’t the right way to spend your time.

Cars and motorcycles… I like to work on each of them, but I didn’t buy any of them with the focus of working on them. In fact, I want my ratio of time spent maintaining the vehicle versus using it to be as low as possible. I don’t do an oil change just because I like to change oil. I take pride in the fact that I do my own work, but I don’t do my own for the pride of it. So, in the world of motorcycles where I have to open the top of the engine and adjust my valve clearances to thousands of an inch… I look at how often I have to do that as a purchasing consideration.

My computer is the same way. I didn’t buy my primary computer to spend my time tinkering on it. Sure, I tinker with it and I launch VMs inside and build virtual networks… but I do that when I want to accomplish something, even if that’s learning.

The point is: value your time. In fact, up until now, every post I’ve made has related to this concept: value your time. Find a way to keep yourself focused on the things you can’t automate. Move closer to the office. Remember that it costs more than $3 to get something that’s across town and the shipping price might be worth it.

  • I once wrote my own blogging software in 2003 using PHP. Now I use WordPress.
  • When I ordered my latest desktop (I haven’t had one hooked to a monitor in over five years), it was cheaper for the same parts through Dell than was a beige box that I was going to assemble. Hello Dell.
  • I feel like a total badass when I write something in C. Usually I’m in Perl, though because it takes about 15 lines of C to do one line of Perl and I don’t have to think about buffers.

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