The Random Ramblings

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The, as always, yearly review 2014

So here we go, a look at the aims for the past year and what I think I should be aiming for over the next twelve months

  1. Coding, keep learning keep pushing the python. Try and get a better understanding of Java script. Use all I have to try to get some of my projects done
  2. Craft anything and everything, see what I can do to help the projects
  3. Get the new house and keep working on that, this will certainly project managed by the SO and it will be her pace we follow.
  4. Just do some exercise this year. Finally, and a failure before I have even started
  5. Apart from the house, try to focus on no more than three projects at a time

Well things have been done and things haven't been done but I still think this year has been one of my greatest successes. Why you ask? Because I have done bits of everything, added in another thing to that list and that one ended up being a great success.

So lets start from the beginning, number 1, Coding, keep learning Python and try and get to grips with java script.

Tied in with point 5, only focusing on three projects, I dropped some of my Javascript learning to focus on Python and what your reading this on is the biggest outcome of that. I have always struggled to just learn code by reading the books and following the exercises, I don't find that method the best way of retaining the information that I am going through. I carried on with some of the courses I signed up for on O'Reilly and they added a bit of additional knowledge but it wasn't going fast enough. I was also hankering to get some python Websites but didn't really fancy the whole Django framework when I still felt as though I was only at the basics of python but I did stumble across something called Flask, a python based web frame work similar to Rubys Sinatra. Right at that point I was having really problems with getting my self hosted wordpress to work with a proxy and ssl. It was perfect timing and a match made in heaven, python web frame work + shit wordpress + me = real word project!!!

I was off and this is the outcome. Don't get me wrong, its not been easy, its no where near finished and I suspect if a real python dev took a look at the code they would most probably have a heart attack but it there and I wrote it and its freely available on Github for all to see. I think it was useful in fixing the challenge of learning in a way I need to remember (well as much as a quick scan of the code and I know where I was and what I need to write) btu in also showing me what I actually need to learn. It has made me understand things that have been mentioned lots of times in course before but didn't really have that big a significance on what I was actually doing, this time is has been the difference between working or failing code. It means that I have been lucky in knowing what I want so I have found another course that I'm hoping will further cement the learning. Not bad for point 1

Point 2 crafts, well yes and no. Not in the way I was being vague in the original post. I have a couple of ideas for sites, one of which (possible two) is jewelry and associated supplies. As you might be able to guess with the lack of me pushing it through this site, that hasn't happened. Thats not to say I abandoned my crafting, far from it. This year has had multiple crochet things kicked off, two broaches all made in silver by myself and a snowflake all in silver wire and I have taken steps to start brewing again (there is so much dust in the house at this moment I have kind postponed it until the next tranche of work is done). So things have been done, just not in a way that is going to make me my millions. I also think, certainly for the past year, all the work on the house that I have done should be pulled into this category. I'm not just talking a bit of painting and wallpapering. In the last twelve months I have completely gutted a kitchen, laid the floor with self-leveling compound, plasters numerous walls (kitchen and bedroom so far), fitted the new kitchen until, sink, hob, cooker and worktops, tiled all that was required for that. While more manly that most things people would consider as crafts, "craftsmen" are the top people you would want to do that work. No, I'm not a craftsman in any of the things I've done but I'm certainly not upset with the quality of any of the work I have done and more importantly neither I the misses and thats the most important one

Number 3, Yeah!!! We got the house, took a lot longer than expected and certainly far longer than it should have considering there were no issues with any part of it, the guy that owned it was just being a dick, I don't think he really wanted to leave but it was a good job he did as the lazy shit had done nothing to it for years so it was about to cost him a fortune, sadly his money saved was money directly out of our pockets and something we hadn't quite bargained on. But its ours. Yes it was going to be project managed by the better half but she thought it would only be a few thousand pounds and only take about 3 months, something that was obviously not the case when we had only viewed it to purchase, let alone did the digging around that we did once we owned the place. So its following a fairly sensible pace, after nearly killing myself with the kitchen, basically down to timings of things, electrics and having a new boiler fitted. Biggest issue is the order in which we do things, mainly because of the crazy electrics and the way that they have been put in. If I have a floor up I might as well do upstairs and down stairs at the same time!

Number 4. Bang hit this one perfectly. Its amazing how little walking you do once you leave London and I really didn't do a great deal of it there. Once you now have the need to drive, as public transport is a joke outside of London, you only end up walking about 1000 steps a day. I remedied this by walking to the office and back from the station and going for a walk around London village at lunch. If it wasn't for that I would be doing nothing. So, as something to do together and something to get us fit, we are doing joint sessions with a personal trainer. Originally twice a week but cost and time have dropped that to once but we are still doing the exercise and its lots of fun. It also showed me that all the good I had in me from my rugby days has long passed but its getting better. The other great side affect of doing this is its making the work on the house easier. I can actually plaster a wall without thinking I'm going to die before the end!

And finally 5. Reality and the need for rest or distraction has really forced this on me. The house really has consumed a lot of time and there have been moments where I have been forced to rest so coding has then been my distraction. Other than the jewelry that I made as Christmas presents that is all I have done. Since I threw my toys out of the pram at Wordpress then all my coding time has been focused on this. I would say more by luck than judgement this has been achieved but looking back I think it was really a pointless thing to try and do, setting a goal of finishing a number of tasks would be more sensible.

One other major thing got added after this list was originally created and boy was it a good thing. All those years of setting the goal of posting every week or every month and then I set this task and I'm firing out posts all the time with well over a post a week average. At one point I was pushing posts out every other day to catch up to where I needed to be. What was this task you ask?

<h3>Film a week</h3>

What a win that was in both forcing me to get some rest when working on the house and populating the blog. Its also a great thing to do and so achievable for anyone as there are so many ways you can get films on demand. Being the geek I am I obviously have subscriptions to a huge range of services, Sky Movies, Netflix, Amazon Instant video, etc. that there is so much on offer.

I will also say there is so much crap out there its amazing and a lot of it is the most over hyped stuff, there is also a lot of small budget stuff that is really amazing. I think this is a great challenge for anyway, so long as its used as an opportunity to take a break for other physical or stressful things its a great way to expand your horizons and many of the films were great at making me think about certain topics or issues. I am very please I set myself this little challenge or if you are looking to do something for yourself this year I can heartily recommend trying this.

SO where are we this year and what am I going to do?

Once again I am changing jobs, and I don't start until next week, so things are a little bit up in the air about that at the moment

Me and the better half got engaged in September and we are getting married in November this year, I am told that will take a lot of my time up as there is so much that needs to be done. What that is I have no idea as all I can see I need to do is buy suit, do some stag do's, pay for food and then turn up. Not a lot there but we shall see

The house is still on going, although things are already so much better than they were when we moved in. I think I am finally getting a plan of attack clear in my head so it will mostly be just plodding along with that as and when money becomes available

I still want to do a million other things but I realise that priorities are really important. Who would have thought that I would need to buy a house to force that on me in my real life. As i balance those priorities I am finding that I am forcing myself to complete projects before I move onto the next thing

I really like the challenge idea rather than focusing on goals, certainly for this context, so that the thing that will drive the blog next year and give you all the content that you want. I also believe that the challenge allows me to have something to write about which in turn makes writing about other things easier as you can build up a routine

Where does that leave me?


  • Read twelve fiction books over the year and post reviews here
  • Twelve different technology reviews around the cloud computing/containerisation tech posted to the blog

I think both of these will help drive content and both will have positive affects and both in different aspects of my life. I realised the importance of down time last year. I also realised that I can live without being attached to my computer. Its the reason this post is so late, I didn't really touch my laptop between the 18th December and the 4th Jan. Nothing broke, the world didn't end and I felt much better. I also purchased a real life dead tree book (or three) just before Christmas and I suddenly realised what I had been missing, listening to podcasts and hacing away on the computer while I travel is great but a good book is amazing. I also want it to be fiction as that can then be my escape, much like the films were. I'm not sure about the twelve as the three I currently have are huge but I will use the one I'm currently read as the first, a little bit of a cheat but it also give this a real opportunity of succeding. In my new role I am a technical architect and its all cloud computing. Recent years and very recent months has seen such an explosion in ll uses of this. Virtualisation being the first big step but now we have containers, not a new technology exactly, but new methods and implementations and a huge change in the way resources can be managed. It also something that is changing every day, quarter 3 last year everything was go9ing to be Docker, a couple of changes in the way in which they were going to move forward upset quite a few people, we now have three very valid competitors to their crown. The management of all of this is still something that is being worked out so I am expecting some great tools to come out of that. The one sad loss of moving to me new role is moving away from open stack. This is now reaching a great level of maturity with some great tooling. Maybe that will be the first post, I also have a few other things already in the back log that I want to get out...


Just things I have in my mind that I would like to do, that are not quite as specific as the challenges. Mostly little aims I have for my life

  • Reduce my dept. This year with the house has been a killer so the aim is to not have to increase what debt we created this year. My goal stretch is to try and over pay to reduce that above what would normally be expected
  • Keep the fitness going, PT, chopping wood, running or going for walks all count but lets see if I can do something every week. Maybe set a challenge to hit an 8000 step average each month......

I think thats pretty much it. It was a great year last year, in both hitting my goals and in my life as general, maybe thats what hitting 40 does for you. I'm pretty sure that this year is going to be even better. Owning our own home is amazing, getting married will be amazing (if only for the party ;)).

Onwards and upwards is what I say and I hope you are had a great 2014 and an amazing 2015

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