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COVID-19 increased my time for learning

A pandemic is certainly not a blessing, but with the extra isolation, and poor weather, I've had much more time to spend learning the things I want.

While I do go to work during the week (I work for a hospital), the requirement for social distancing gives me much more weekend time to sit down with my laptop and get to work. Believe it or not, this kind of work is me at least.

My job gives me plenty of time to work on technology, but it's very narrow. I'm a stationary engineer for my hospital and I handle the bulk of the automation/controls/programming duties. Yet, none of these are in the Open Source kind of technologies in which I would like to become fluent.

Just a few years ago, I took a good look at my future life (I turn 60 in May), and decided I didn't want to sit around and wait until I "had time" for things I wanted to learn and do. So, I made myself some goals to diligently begin working towards fluently learning C, C++, perl, and python. Recently, I've added nim to that list as well.

The past couple of weekends staying at home, but not being a couch potato, has given me time to really crank out some practice. In the process, I've spent a good deal of time on my chosen goals as well as getting Microsoft SQL for Linux back onto my laptop. Doing this helps because I'm the world's worst at trying to learn something in isolation. I need a goal to work towards. Having MSSQL to work on makes me look up the things beyond tutorials that I need to interact with databases in SQL. In addition, this helps my work as our data archiving engine uses MSSQL for storing trends of our data points (Currently, just over 1,000 discrete values being recorded). I REALLY need to know how SQL works and how to interact with it using scripting tools like perl and/or python.

A secondary goal of mine is to work on my writing. I do write fiction, but I would rather write all day long about things that really interest me, especially if that helps another person learn something.

This weekend's work has given me several ideas for posts on DEV that I intend to begin working upon, such as:

  1. How to get Microsoft SQL for Linux installed and set up for use with perl and python (still working on how to do it with nim).

  2. How to reduce what one needs to use git and github to maintain personal repositories of code from your command line (no need to visit once everything works). I've usually found the plethora of git commands overwhelming. I finally reduced it down to just those I need.

  3. Modules in perl and python both seem to have problems with running and retrieving output from MSSQL stored procedures (which are quite handy, I might add). I've got a work-around using the ability to give a system command and have the output go into an array or string.

  4. Posts on using Bash to script SQLCMD tasks for things such as database backups, restores, creating those nice stored procedures, and other things.

While I would certainly enjoy seeing this bit of isolation come to an end soon, I'll just take what I'm given and adapt. The slowdown has given me much more time to spend learning some of my favorite things and also helps me to not spend time worrying about things I can't fix anyway. Take care. Be back laters.

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