in reply to In praise of curiosity
Curiousity is indeed crucial to attaining the ability to wield a knowledge base effectively, but it's passion that fosters curiousity. One can't have the former without the latter. Passion is what separates the mediocre from the gurus. Middling tech people (or people in any field for that matter) are typically the ones that went into the field in search of a paycheck. Gurus, while perhaps more than happy to be paid well, are usually the ones who would have gone into the field for the love of the game, and would do it even if the pay was awful.
You just can't get a respectable breadth and depth of knowledge in a subject that bores you. If the only thing that concerns you is getting today's job done, then that's the only thing you're going to know how to do. If you're going to tackle a problem, do it properly. Learn as much about the problem domain as you possibly can, and come up with best solution that you can muster. When you encounter the same kind of problems in the future, they will become increasingly effortless to overcome, instead of being something that you must painfully relearn.
If there's just one thing that I remember my dear high school biology professor saying, time and time again, it's all about making connections. Don't get too hyper-focused on today's problem, and don't forget about the problems of yore. Bring everything you know to bear on a problem, assembling a solution from a diverse collection of knowledge, hard-won over the course of your entire life. Every problem you solve while at work (or play), and every technique you learn laying in your bed late at night reading some book, is a tool that you can strap to your belt, and bring with you into your daily life. It is the mark of a mediocre mind to let tools rust.
BTW, I thought that Perl one liner looked awfully familiar. ;-)