2018 year review

Sun, 1 January, 2019 (1500 Words)

Here is my review of 2018, the first of its kind, hopefully not the last ๐Ÿ‘ผ. I saw some1 20182 reviews3 articles4 in my Feedly feed and I thought it would be a good idea to write my own too.

I’ll try in the next year โ€” maybe month if I ever want to do monthly reviews โ€” to automate some of it ; using the beloved org-mode.

Work

The big change this year is : I changed job ๐Ÿ‘ผ. I went from Docker Inc. to Red Hat. I needed a change and 5 month in, I think it was the best choice I made in my life so far ๐Ÿ’ƒ. I’m doing open-source for a living and best part, I am working remotely (more on that later).

Before that, at Docker Inc., I continued the work I started years before, a.k.a. maintaining the Moby project and the docker engine, among other Docker project (both open-source and closed-source). I also helped the work on the compose side, from the root of docker/compose-on-kubernetes (before it got open-sourced), to the docker/app experiments.

At Red Hat, I started to work upstream in the Kubernetes community, mainly on the Knative projects. I also work on the Openshift Cloud Function project (and thus team), and those fellows are awesome ! Digging more into Openshift, and other part of the Red Hat portfolio is a really good learning experience, and it’s just the start !

As stated above, I am now working home, full-time. I could work from home from time to time when I was at Docker inc, but working home full-time is another kind of beast. So far it is really good, some adjustments were needed but it’s for the best. Here is a small take on “working from home”:

  • It’s easy to have no distraction, thus having really productive piece of time
  • It’s also really easy to work long day or really long period of time. It’s especially true if, like me, you work on a distributed team (across multiple timezones).
    • I ended up using the Pomodoro technique to make sure I move at least few times a day
    • I try to make sure I don’t make an habits of checking out work code, email and other material after a certain hour in the evening. It’s ok to do it sometimes, but for your sanity, you need some rest time.
  • It’s easy to adapt your day to circumstance. If you got to run errands in the middle of the day, it’s no big deal. You can take the time back later on.
  • It’s so good to have no commmute time. That said I end up walking or taking the bike early morning to clear my head before work ๐Ÿ˜.

Personal

Health wise, it’s a mix of good and bad year. The first half was really good, the second way less. End of august, I felt something weird in the right knee, and well, turns out my internal meniscus is in a real bad shape. Just as before joining Docker, I’m gonna need a surgery, on the right knee that time. It’s gonna affect 2019 (the first half, I’m not gonna be able to move around much but.. meh, it’s life).

Now that I work from home, I’m really glad I got a standing desk at the end of 2017. I tend to work standing most of the time – except when my knee hurts (and most likely for few months after the surgery ๐Ÿ˜…). I invested on a ultrawide screen, to get the same experience I had at Docker. And oh boy those screens are good !

I also try to clean my desk and it’s “neighboorhood”. As I get older, I want less messy stuuf (desk, flat, …). I’m leaning towards having less stuff, being commputer related or not. It’s not minimalism, but it feel good to have less stuff, but stuff that you actually use. I still have trouble throwing old computer away, mainly because I fell they can be useful in some way.

This year I migrate all of my “infrastructure” computer to NixOS. I learned a lot of Nix, reworked my configuration multiple time to end up with a system configuration repository that uses modules, and a home configuration repository (for user configuration). The home repository uses home-manager and thus doesn’t make any assumption of running on top of NixOS. This allows me to have an easy to get setup on any system that nixpkgs supports (any Linux distribution, Mac OSX, Windows Subsystem Linux). The current configuration is not yet optimal but I’m pretty happy about what I got :

  • Custom DNS server @home to make it easier to target local hosts.
  • Local proxies and mirrors for docker images, nixpkgs binary package and go modules to eat less bandwidth.
  • Easy to setup VPN using WireGuard.
  • File replication using syncthing and automatic backup on my local NAS.
  • Automatic system upgrade, thanks to NixOS. I’ll probably write an article about that later on this year.

I started to use todoist in 2017, and boy, oh boy, it helped me quite a lot ! I’m using it daily to organize my work and quickly get idea, and todos out of my head. The main problem with it is it’s not integrated with another tool I’m using daily : Emacs and org-mode. org-mode is a fantastic piece of software and is, on its own, the main reason for me to invest time in Emacs. I’m taking note in org-mode, I write my daily standup notes in there too. I end up going back and forth between org-mode and todoist for those daily standup. I am lazy, I want to automate that. And the best way to do it, is to also use org-mode for task management. I’m in a transition mode right now, but my goal for 2019 is to use todoist to take quick note/todo(s) on the move (aka on the phone) and use org-mode for the rest.

Reading & Writing

I used to like reading, but the past years, I didn’t really read that much, except some technical books. 2018 in, that respect, is not an exception, I didn’t read too much. Worse than that, I started some book and stopped at some point, for no apparent reason ; and now, I need to start back from the beginning, which, well, is not helping me want to read them again.

I’m trying two thing to counter that and consume more books for the years to come.

  1. I now have a reading list on my org-mode files, where I track which one I read and when I read them ; and maybe notes too. I have a lot of book on my kindle, that only wait for one thing, being read..
  2. I subscribed to Audible ๐Ÿ‘ผ. Working from home, I tend to take a long break after lunch, where I’m going for a walk, for around an hour. I can’t read while walking but I definitely can listen - that make audio books perfect for these moments. I also alternate between audio books and non-musical podcasts.

On the writing side, 2017 was a slow year in terms of writing (only 2 posts), 2018 was a bit better, 6 posts – it’s a bit cheating, as it was mainly between changing jobs, and on a series I still need to finish. I’m hoping to write more this year, hence the goals I’ve set to myself below.

2019 Goals

  • Get back on my feet after knee surgery (exercices, โ€ฆ) ๐Ÿƒ
  • Read at least one book per month (be audible, ebook or paper) ๐Ÿ“–
  • Giving at least a talk (on Knative, containers, nixos, ..) ๐Ÿ™Š

    I didn’t give too much talk in 2018 (at least less than 2017). I’m gonna try to get back at it this year. The surgery won’t help but it’s just few months.

  • At least 1 video per month ๐Ÿ“น

    I want to start recording some video, as I feel it’s an easier medium than writing and, well, I wanna try !

  • At least 1 post per month โœ๏ธ

  • Enhance my emacs skills (aka don’t be afraid of the lisp) โŒจ๏ธ

    I’m using Emacs for almost anything that doesn’t happen in a web browser. But I still feel like a newbie. I want to learn more, to write more lisp that help me being even more lazier (aka achieve more doing less ๐Ÿ˜)

  • Enhance my Nix(OS) skills ๐Ÿง

  • Learn / master a new language ๐ŸŽฝ

    I’m working with Go 90% of my time. I want to master and learn more language. On my list are Emacs Lisp, Rust, Typescript and Haskell.