Impostor Syndrome

At Pycon 2014 I saw Julie Pagano’s talk “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone: Battling the Invisible Monsters in Tech” which struck a nerve with me. It showed me that there’s a name for some of the feelings that I’ve felt both in my career and in my technical life.

At dinner tonight I watched “Nickolas Means: You Are Not an Impostor” and I decided to publicly come out and formally say it.

Hello, my name is Craig Maloney, and I’m an impostor.

Here are some examples of how deep this has run:

  • When I was hired at Sourceforge I was convinced it was an elaborate hoax, and at any moment someone would say “just kidding” and I’d be disgraced and have to plead for my old job back.
  • I tend not to start things because I’m convinced they’re going to fail anyway so what’s the point of even trying.
  • I look at other folks game designs / code and feel like I should just pack my books, computers, and what not and find something else to do with my time.
  • When I’ve been laid off it came as a relief because it meant I didn’t have to worry about it happening anymore.
  • Whenever someone compliments me rather than dither on about how whatever I did sucked I’ll try to just say “thank you”.

I’ve gotten better about opening myself to talks and contributions. I’ve been fortunate to have several groups in the area that I feel comfortable giving talks at. I’ve been fortunate enough not to endure criticism for the podcasts I’ve been on which keeps me wanting to do them (and I’d probably do them despite criticism, but it would be more difficult). I’ve been fortunate enough to have a loving and supportive wife who has encouraged me to put myself out there, and I have family who are also supportive with whatever crazy stuff I do.

It’s not easy overcoming your own self doubt and constant fear of failure. I’ve certainly not licked it myself, but each day presents opportunities to overcome and ways to turn off the negative self-talk.

I’ve been looking into mindfulness and procrastination avoidance as of late. Maybe at some point I’ll share what I’ve learned on those fronts.

Ever onward.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

Counting your blessings

JoDee posted a bit about our drive down to her work last Monday. Needless to say it was quite eventful, and we spent most of the evening trying to figure out how the heck we were going to get home. Fortunately we were able to take another road that was mostly unaffected and with a few detours away from bridges with under-passes that were flooded we had a scary but otherwise uneventful drive home.When we got home our basement had a little flooding but comparatively minor compared with the other stories I’d heard from friends and family.

We were truly blessed during this whole ordeal.

  • We didn’t have our basement completely flood.
  • We didn’t have water rush out of the windows of our basement
  • We didn’t have to be rescued from the roof of our house
  • My car didn’t stall out while driving through tires-deep water.
  • We didn’t have to deal with insurance
  • We didn’t have to pull our car from an impromptu sink-hole

I know a lot of our friends and co-workers went through some serious stuff during this past storm and I want them to know that we’ll help in any way we can. We were fortunate this time around, and I’m grateful it wasn’t that much worse.

Color me cranky

Last night I working on the computer trying to get caught up with a few projects. Around 7pm the UPS started chirping, and then suddenly the power went out. This was a little annoying but I managed to turn off the computer and move on to other projects. I checked the DTE map to see who was affected and about how long the power would continue being out. It appeared the power was only out for a handful of folks in our area and should be on around midnight. “No worries” I thought and proceeded to work on other stuff. (Side note: I was going to try unpacking things but decided against it when I noticed that I couldn’t see shit in the room where our stuff was. :) )

Time passes and the “Under Investigation: Should be up around midnight” turns into “Under Investigation: No ETA”. I quickly learn that “Under Investigation” is DTE code for “we haven’t even looked it this yet because it only affects a handful of people”.

So this morning I’m still without power.

Worse, I can see that my neighbors down the street have power. At this point a compassionate human being would think “I’m grateful they have power and aren’t having to suffer along with us”. Apparently when you are without power for a while your compassion switch turns off and instead of celebrating this fact you instead wish they were in the same post-apocalyptic “can’t see shit without a flashlight” that you’re enduring. Fortunately we haven’t descended into “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” levels of paranoia, but I can hear someone asking in the distance “and this pattern is always the same?”.

Add a lack of morning coffee, a rearranging my normal schedule, and a lack of access to my normal music library that lives on my desktop machine, and you have one crabby Craig.

Here’s hoping things get resolved soon. I’d really hate for the aliens to win after all.


It’s hard not to come away from watching a movie like Hawking and not feel in some way changed by the experience. Sure Stephen Hawking is a brilliant scientist (the movie’s subtitle mentions as much) but Stephen Hawking is also an exceptionally grounded individual. The movie portrays a man who lives each day as though it were his last (because little could be further from the truth). He spends his days relying on human kindness and unfailing machine to keep his brilliant mind percolating out astounding ideas. Much like Tim’s Vermeer this is a movie about obsession, but where Tim’s Vermeer is an obsession with recreating a painting using techniques theorized to be the same as Vermeer, this movie documents an individual obsessed with the origins of the universe and about staying alive. It’s trite to think of disability as somehow inspirational but Stephen Hawking can’t help be inspirational, with his finely-honed wit and lust for life firmly in grasp. But what is more fascinating is the relationships he has with both caregivers and his former wife Jane. I can’t imagine the sort of stress his illness had on their relationship, and I wonder myself if faced with the prospects of ALS if I would be nearly as strong. I’m certain every day was a struggle, but seeing someone not only break through and prosper through adversity gives me a sense of perspective on my own life and challenges.

Definitely check this documentary out. It’s available online if you look in the right spots. Hawking is not only a remarkable scientist but also a good storyteller and narrator of his own life, successes, and challenges.

, 2014/07/13. Category: Reviews.

Smarter then than I am now

We just moved so I’ve had a heck of a time trying to find things like charging cables and what-not. Most of the devices in the house use some form of USB charging so that hasn’t been an issue. I have a Pebble watch that uses a special charging cable though, so I took extra special care to pack it separately.

Move happens.

Later on my watch starts complaining about the battery being at 20% so I looked for the charging cable. Unfortunately it’s nowhere to be found. I tore through the cable drawer and all of the “clever” spots that I thought it might be, but nothing turned up.

Finally I broke down and ordered another one. Worst case I’ll have two charging cables, right?

While prepping for the Michigan!/usr/group meeting tonight I went through my backpack to get my laptop in order. And then it hit me where the Pebble charger was.

Lo and behold, the charger was in the backpack the entire time.

Apparently I need to write myself a note when I’m being extra clever and smart so dumber me will remember these moments of brilliance.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

And… back on Twitter

Put myself back on Twitter after about a month’s worth of absence. Why the change of heart? Blame Douglas Whitfield of the Music Manumit Podcast who apparently thinks that a private account that doesn’t follow anyone, with a location set to “Deactivated” is a perfect avenue to engage in conversation.

Plus I missed some of my friends over there.

So consider the Twitter account activated for the time being. Until I get fed up with it again.

Dear Publishers: How you fail to make a sale

DRM: Doing it wrong

DRM: Doing it wrong

Dear Publishers:

When it’s easier for me to find a PDF version of your book than it is to find a storefront that sells your book electronically, you have failed to make a sale.

When it’s easier for me to find a PDF version of your book than it is to figure out if your book is DRM-encumbered, you have failed to make a sale.

When you have a step-by-step instruction sheet for how to download your eBooks using Adobe Digital Essentials and Dropbox you have not only failed but have exploded in a blaze of “what the fuck were you thinking?”

When legally purchasing and downloading your books is demonstrably worse than finding the PDF online you are not failing to make a sale but your authors should file a class-action lawsuit against you for gross negligence and outright stupidity in your online marketing.

Seriously, if it’s not “point, click, download” then you seriously need to rethink your strategy.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

Finally off of Twitter.

Finally set my Twitter stream to private and unfollowed everyone on Twitter today. The whole blow-up over the tragedy at UCSB and the echo-chamber overload therein pretty much gave me the impetus to do what I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time.

You can find me on this blog, Google+ or Check for where I’m currently hanging out.

How to lose a customer, the eBay way

Finally closed my eBay account after all these years. Finding out about a breach via the media was bad enough, but realizing their password scheme was interpreting my password before saving it was the final straw.

Now to wait out the 180 day waiting period before the permanently delete my account.

Clowns, the lot of them.

Penguicon: Getting Things Done Under Linux presentation

Here are the slides for the Getting Things Done Under Linux that I presented at Penguicon 2014:

Getting Things Done Under Linux slides

(And if you’re interested I’ve posted the source for the slides up on github: