2014 — the year in review

Dec 31, 2014

Firstly…

…let’s get the big news out of the way.

This year I got married. We have a lovely daughter, made a beautiful home together, and a few years of togetherness, and really just wanted to celebrate these blessings with friends and family. Besides, my partner is gorgeous, and I just had to go ball & chain on her :-P

The tech

Docker

This year saw me Dockerize all the things. Linux containers is the best thing since diced bacon, and really unleashes servers everywhere.

Python

Loads and loads more Python, especially for APIs. Python is awesome. Especially paired with other awesome tools like PostgresQL, for example: no more “WHERE user = %s” to filter on user data. Let’s just say I devised a clever trick using flask-sqlalchemy, PostgresQL schemas, before_request and search_path to give every user their own database.

Scala

Still my tool of choice for interfacing with tried-and-trusted Java libs to build those blazing fast, functional and correct back-end processes.

JavaScript

Can’t get away from this one. But starting to wonder if ClojureScript is the way to go. Besides, I always ALWAYS use lodash (replacing underscore recently).

Clojure

I’ve been really doubling down on Clojure this year for fun, throw-away side projects. I really want it to replace Scala. And OMG how awesome is it to code a Lisp using Emacs. It reminded me of those early 2000s Scheme days…

Elixir

So, I’ve always been a Ruby fan, and always wanted to be able to mention Erlang as one of my top few skills, but yuck… Erlang! It’s like trying to do a Shakespeare recital with a mouth full of mud. That didn’t make any sense, but Elixir does. Still a bit fast moving, so I’m not doing anything big in it, but watch this space.

UPDATE 2015-03-13

After working with Erlang a bit more (and reading this), I stand thoroughly corrected, and don’t mind it at all.

Optimisation

My life, that is.

News

Let’s see… I don’t watch or read any news (be it news news, or tech news). There was one event in the last quarter which my family says changed their perspective on things, which turns out to not affect me. I’m really happy with this arrangement.

I’ll change HNWatcher on occasion to send me alerts for tech I’m following, but I mostly archive those.

Health

7 minute scientific workouts, 3-weekly runs to the local free gym where I break some more sweat, and loads of activities with my daughter.

I had a health check, and all is perfect, and will make it a yearly thing now.

8 hours sleep a day, at least.

Painting and drawing in the evening to clear the mind and splatter watercolours everywhere.

Time

Time is precious and not to be wasted. I’ve little tweaks with which to save a bit of time. E.g. when reading an article, and mind wanders / eyes start blurring, I close the tab or delete the eBook and move on with my life.

My phone now has 2 main apps: Kindle, and Pocket Casts. No more games. In fact, the only games I play are board games with my family.

If I can pay for it to be done, I do just that.

I unsubscribed from everything. E.g., I closed my LinkedIn account, and delete all new messages from them.

Setbacks

It wasn’t a perfect year, after all.

My wife got made redundant.

A client of mine confused the words “contractor” with “employee” and I wrote off a significant amount of money as bad debt in a time when the money would have helped with a problem. I get all my work from my personal network, and agree to things with the shake of the hand, and this particular fella is making me reconsider.

My dad took his own life this year, and I’m especially remembering him tonight.

15 years ago today was the most significant NYE of our generation. I spent it with my dad as my mom had just left us a few days prior. We were sitting on the balcony in total darkness, staring out, with the odd firework illuminating his face. Had my sister been a grownup then, who knows what he would have done, but he chose to be there for us.

Next?

Since catching up over eggs and coffee is the new catching up over a beer, let’s have breakfast some time and I’ll tell you my plans.

Meanwhile, live life and don’t take shizzle from see you next Tuesdays.