Pragmatic Investment Plan - Quarter 4/2016 - Motion, not progress.

2015 is long over and it’s time for a little belated reflection over its last three months.

Firstly we’ll cover reading. In general I try and read one tech book each month. In Q4 I totalled 5 -

  • Violent Python
  • TMUX (PragProg)
  • Exceptional Ruby (PragProg)
  • Rails, Angular, Postgres, and Bootstrap (PragProg)
  • The REST API Design Handbook

Of those I enjoyed (the beta version of) Rails, Angular, Postgres, and Bootstrap the most. I was also lucky enough to get a sneak peak at The Art of Monitoring and it’s coming together wonderfully. It feels like a very important book and I think it’ll be much loved when finished.

I continued to track the number of books I read and keep a rough page count. Through 2015, counting only books that I actually finished, I read 54 books totalling about 14,633 pages. This is a lot less than the last few years and probably reflected the smaller amount of time I spent commuting.

I also set myself some small goals in regards to my main two websites, UnixDaemon and The Puppet Cookbook. Both had been left to languish while I was busy at work and had barely enough time spent on them to migrate over to a new VPS (but still on Bytemark). UnixDaemon is now built using the Hugo Static Engine but to be honest it’s not been much fun to use. Although Blosxom managed to last me over a decade I’d be surprised if hugo lasts a year.

Due to a long story of woe I lost the code to build the Puppet cookbook site a few years ago so it’d been left to rot. I had some spare time just before Christmas so I threw some quick ruby and HTML together and after redoing all the recipes in markdown I got it deploying again. Since then I’ve added basic syntax highlighting and made the solutions more compatible with modern puppet. The work’s not finished but at least I can update it and the presented code won’t scream in pain under puppet-lint. It looks like I’ll be doing more puppet focused work this year so I’m hoping for a few more strikes of inspiration in terms of what else to cover.

In terms of technical events I limited myself to a single conference in Q4 and attended DockerCon Europe 2015 in Barcelona. The city was lovely, the weather was great, and the conference was very well organised. It’d been a while since I last looked at Docker and it was great to see how production ready it now is.

I did a little better in terms of user groups. I attended the CloudCamp, Devops London and Microservices user groups once each. It was nice to catch up with a community people I’d not seen in quite a while and to get a view to what people thought was worth talking about.

2015 was also the year of cutting away obligations. I stopping being involved in a number of technical events in an attempt to regain my evenings and helped migrate away a number of websites I hosted for other user groups/projects in an attempt to simplify my own infrastructure. Once I got over the feeling of guilt about doing it the handing over was a lot easier than I’d expected. If anything I wish I’d done it a few years ago.

The year ended with a large change for me. I left an amazing role at Mozilla and took a job back in London. I enjoyed my time, and the people, at Moz but after nearly 3 years of pure remote working I was starting to become a little insular and hermitesque. I’m hoping that working in an office with other technical people physically present will be a good thing. Even if commuting again feels like a massive step back. If you’re considering applying for a role at Mozilla I can heartily recommend it. It has some amazing people and offers a lot of freedom to do good, solid, technical work.

With hindsight 2015 was a decent if not groundbreaking year. In a way it’s reassuring to know this one could easily be much better. So here’s to that.

Thanks for visiting