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2021 Review

Self Reflections and Goal Settings · December 31st, 2021

Holy cow, it's the end of the year already, that's absolutely ridiculous on a lot of different levels. So much has happened this year, so many new things learned, so much change. It's exciting to even stop and consider it all! Even if it is a bit overwhelming. But I'll just let the river of time keep on sweeping me along, it's not like I can stop it from happening by clinging to what is and has been, right?

So what the heck did we even do this year? Good, bad, indifferent there must be highlights to this crazy mess.

  • Samantha and I got married, and we couldn't be happier!
  • My family is still settling into Maine, acclimating well though.
  • My son started school, has made tons of friends, and loves the whole thing!
  • I kept up with the lambdacreate blog for a whole year!
  • I earned my LFCS certification in January!
  • I failed my LFCE in December.. (maybe Jan 22 I'll get it?)
  • I learned Golang! And started using it a TON for work.
  • I've adopted a ton of packages this year, and started helping out on bigger softs, like Salt.
  • I helped a couple of friends become Alpine maintainers!
  • I still write a ton of Lua and Fennel, not as much Common Lisp or Scheme though.
  • My wife and I built a network cabinet together to house all of my noisey computers.
  • I rebuilt my NAS, an Alpine ZFS setup, which deserves its own post.
  • I built an alpine LXD cluster and migrated most of my self hosted services into LXC containers. (This also needs a post..)
  • I rather religiously use my Plan9 server as a distraction-less workstation, and enjoy it a ton.
  • My wife has been using Manjaro Linux for a whole year, and I haven't had to do tech support even ONCE.
  • I've broken my own systems WAY more often and have played personal tech support too much.
  • But my Alpine Droid4 was been rock solid! I even gave my talk for Fennelconf 2021 on it!
  • Oh yeah, I wrote my own ticketing system, and gave a talk about it at Fennelconf!

Geez that list feels long already, there's probably a whole lot more to it. I went on plenty of hikes this year and have been generally loving the Maine weather and scenery. The AT up here is phenomenal, and even just hiking along the coast is something I day dream about often. There's honestly very little more soothing than watching boats zip across Casco Bay, and I find myself wistfully staring out at Fort Gorges when we're out and about in Portland.

I rekindled my love for reading this year, and fed the fire voraciously. I didn't even attempt to keep track of what I tried to finish, but between audio-books, paperbacks, and ebooks I've read a ton. Here's a list of highlights, all of which I recommend highly. Honestly I could probably fill a massive page of the things I've read, these are honestly just what I finished towards the end of the year.

  • The Sprawl Trilogy by William Gibson
    • Neuromancer
    • Count Zero
    • Mona Lisa Overdrive
  • The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
    • The Eye of the World
    • The Great Hunt
    • The Dragon Reborn
  • Random things by Philip K Dick
    • Radio Free Albemuth
    • Total Recall
    • A ton more..
  • Technical books
    • The Little Schemer
    • The Reasoned Schemer
    • K&R ANSI C Language
    • RHCSA/RHCE Prep materials, and lots of them.

There's way too much to list here reasonably, so I'm just gonna stop it there lest this devolve into a list of things I've read instead of self reflection.. But if you haven't yet, go read all 14 books in the Wheel of Time series right now, it's SO good.

Career wise there's been a lot of change. In 2018 I started a business with a few friends of mine after the company we were working for went out of business. We were supporting the old equipment, and developing our own replacement for it. That went on for a few years, but was never enough to support all three of us, and we weren't able to drum up enough revenue to keep it together. That company, KlockWork Systems, LLC is official defunct as of 2021. It took us a while to close our books and wind down our hopes and dreams of bringing a product to market, so it's bitter sweet to see that end. But I feel like a lot of the experience I have with Linux especially DevOps and development started with KlockWork. To this day the KlockWork Kronos is the biggest software project I've developed, and while the source is still closed I look at it occasionally and wonder if the idea still has legs. I've talked a little bit about KlockWork with close friends, but I should probably write about it some day. Building a small business from the ground up is hard work, and it consumes a lot of your time regardless of what kind of revenue/work you're dealing with. It was however extremely rewarding, and I absolutely love the experience I got from it.

That leads nicely into my current job with Chenmark. We deal entirely with small businesses, and it's not just one sector like most holding companies. I get to deal with landscapers, paint sellers, boat tourism, and dough manufacturing companies, and we just keep growing. There's no telling what type of business we'll be dealing with next, and because of that I'm constantly on my toes. And I keep getting to stretch my technical chops. I deal constantly with infrastructure design, deployment, and scale. And get to write lots of niche integration software and tuck it into strange places to provide seamless internal tooling for our OpCos. I honestly couldn't ask for a more interesting job. You don't get anything like this working for a big company where you're some number.

Here are a couple of highlights I'm proud of in that regard.

  • Designed and deployed LTE network infrastructure for our boat tourism companies.
  • Designed and deployed an endpoint management solution from the ground up.
  • Designed and deployed an extensible AWS VPC design with modular system deployment which can be bridged directly into out OpCo networks
  • Ripped apart a couple of ancient CRM softwares and migrated them off of old vulnerable Windows 2003 servers and onto nice new secure Linux servers.

I honestly do love what I do, and I love the field that I work in. It's not always sunshine and rainbows, but I can genuinely say that I enjoy what I do and I look forward to continuing to do it. Hopefully as vaccinations continue to roll out we'll see less and less fuss about Covid until it becomes a distant memory. I keep hoping despite the glaringly painful anti-vax movement that people will be sensible and protect each other by getting the vaccination. Time will tell. And until then, all I can do is hope vaguely that I stay the course and have as much positive news to report next year as this year!

Goals

As a bit of a forcing mechanism, here's what I'm hoping I'll do with 2022.

  • Purchase a home, and make the last move ever.
  • Learn to sail a boat, and maybe purchase a little 20-30ft monosail.
  • Write an esolang, or a real programming language. Maybe a Scheme in C.
  • Learn another programming language and write something useful in it. C seems right, but maybe clojure?
  • Get my blasted LFCE and start working on some AWS certs.
  • Go on many dates with the wife, lots of hikes, and keep the depression of the world at bay with simple happiness.
  • Get back in the swing of maintaining my Alpine packages regularly, and add more packages to the list!
  • Blog, a lot more. I have so many idea to share, I just don't write them down!
  • Consider writing a book of some sort, something more substantial than a few thousand word blog post.

Alright that's enough out of me, I'd say 2021 was a pretty good year and I'm looking forward to what 2022 will bring. Hopefully you'll hear a lot more from me in smaller more consumable bites!