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Book Review: Free Agent Nation

Free Agent Nation
by Daniel Pink

So I have worked with a number of people we called contractors. I used to think this is just a different kind of job. They do it because it pays more or just because they are not able to land a full time job. But for author Daniel Pink, being free agent is really a lot more than a different kind of job.

In this book, he has portrayed the free agent movement as a profound social transformation. Fueled by corporate downsizing and the availability of affordable means of production due to new technologies, more and more choose to work for themselves rather than working for big organizations. It is a return to the social structure before the Industrial Revolutions.

The book has covered many practicalities of being free agents. It discusses the more flexible working schedule, different ways of networking, all the infrastructure one can use to compensate for the support of offices and then going down to the mundane issues like health insurance and tax code.

Knowing the practicalities help you gain confidence to tackle the new challenges. But the best of this book is to discover what it 'means' to be self-employed. To work for yourself is to be accountable and to be authentic. Often money is not the primary subject. Freedom to define one's goal, such as how to balance between work and family, can be more important consideration. Ultimately taking on these new responsibilities would empower individuals and to drive toward self-actualization.

2006.02.19 [, ] - comments

 

Grokking SVG

I was researching on generating charts for web pages. Given the great experience in building HTML application, I would like something similarly light weight and text based without the overhead of a binary library like libpng.

Once I started looking, the answer is obvious. It is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)! Paul Prescod gave his optimistic view and in his article SVG: A Sure Bet on why SVG would sweep the hodgepodge of proprietary graphics formats in existence. The wikipedia's entry on SVG has a good background and a rundown on many things SVG. My Opera browser supports SVG natively and so is Firefox 1.5. There is free open source editor like InkScape available. Hard to believe it is not used by everyone already! (Insert your favorite IE bash here).

Anyway this really opens a new front for me. I'm excited for the possibility to enhance data presentation with graphics.

2006.02.19 [, ] - comments

 

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