What are you learning today?

That question has been rattling around my head the last few days. It came up when I was talking with my office mate and worship pastor, Jon. He was getting ready to apply to grad school. He said he felt the need to keep growing. Good need, I say. Last night, I thought about it again.

I have been having trouble getting my firewall’s firmware updated. I finally filled out a trouble ticket and learned the only way to do it was to access the device from an ssh connection, logged in as root. If you don’t know what any of that means, fear not. I only vaguely understood it myself. However, a few hours (and some Googling later), I was logged into my firewall via ssh as root and executing a firmware update. Oh, and I did it from home via a VPN connection. I felt like Robert Redford in Sneakers.

Like it or not, we live in a time when stuff changes pretty fast. In our little corner of the universe, things change often and fast. Wanting to sit back, take a break and rest in what we know is a natural desire. It’s also one we can’t afford to have.

I’ve tried to live by the motto, “Learn something new every day.” I really believe that if we’re not moving forward, we’re being left behind. It sounds corny, but it’s true. Interestingly enough, the older we get, the more important it becomes. My 12-year old daughter is my best ProPresenter/Keynote operator. She’s the best not because she’s my daughter, but because she already, at the ripe old age of 12, has more hands-on experience running presentation software, and computers. She gets it, and it comes totally naturally to her. But that’s because she’s been actively using computers since she was 2.

Those of us in technology fields are constantly faced with new things. Personally, I find that thrilling. Think about all the cool stuff we get to learn and know. The corollary to this principle is that I’ve decided it’s not bad to forget stuff. For example, I’m OK with not remembering exactly how to time 3 analog video decks, a switcher and a DVE. I was once very good at it, but I haven’t had to do it in 10 years, and probably won’t ever again. And that’s all good. “Deleting” those files leaves room for new stuff (OK, I know that’s not how the brain works, but I’m a geek, go with the metaphor, alright?).

So I come back to my original question; what did you learn today? Here’s what I learned this week: Sunday I finally solved a puzzling word clock issue that was messing up my Avioms (it was the Presonous Digimax 95 at fault). Monday, I learned that older Nortel phone systems have very peculiar punch down patterns for CO lines (2 lines, skip 2, 2 lines, skip 2--I mean, seriously?). Yesterday was the aforementioned ssh login deal. Today, I learned quite a bit about manipulating 3-D layers and cameras in After Effects. It’s been a good week!

How about you? What are you learning? Leave a comment and share your newfound knowledge with the rest of us so we can keep learning too!