Dream of the kind of world
you wanna live in.
Dream it out loud,
at high volume

Bono, U2

20 Apr 20152014 – a year in review

I think it’s good practice to list up all the things you achieved in a year. It’s not really about telling others and brag about it. No, it’s more about telling yourself and calm down (impostor syndrome anyone?).

So let’s talk about 2014. We (my wife, our five boys and me) were living in Hamburg, Germany they whole year and I was working as a freelancing software developer most of the time. Besides that…

  • While working for XING AG I helped building the new Communities product, a replacement for the old Groups. It finally took us one and a half years to get there. What sounds like a simple forum or blackboard application is actually much more, especially implementing access control and integration into the rest of the XING universe.
  • I took a look into programming with Elixir and Go, and both are very promising alternatives to my current favorite Ruby
  • I tried using the Atom editor. It’s a very good text editor, with lots of nifty feature for programmers and already with a big community. Nonetheless, I finally stayed with Sublime Text
  • We decided to return to New Zealand. It’s where currently our heart is. We didn’t finish this chapter of our life last time (in 2012/13), so we had to go back (I’m currently writing this post in Wellington, New Zealand)
  • I played around with Docker. It’s more than just a new kid on the block, it’s the near future. It’s already mature, ready to use even in production and comes with a very big community (I somehow got the feeling this is important).
  • I went to two conferences this year. The first one is Scottish Ruby Conf in Edinburgh and Crieff, Scotland, a typical Ruby conference with lots of enthusiastic and caring people and topics about, well, Ruby. The second one is Beyond Tellerrand, a conference about working with and living in the Internet, not only about development or design. It’s an amazing event, highly recommended!
  • I released version 4 of AASM, one of the open source projects I’m maintaining. It actually took more than a year to finish this up, so I’m glad it’s out of the door.
  • I gave a talk about AASM at the Hamburg Ruby User Group meetup. General topic was Open Source made in Hamburg.
  • I had to learn that communication is hard. It all started with me creating an issue for paranoia, asking for a new release, and ended with a dispute on twitter. I finally met this guy on the RubyConf Australia in Melbourne, Australia, and talked to him about that issue. Still, communication is hard.
  • I participated in the Rails Rumble, together with Jan Krutisch, Florian Munz and Denise Tham. We built Awesome Recipes, which you can use to visually create kitchen recipes and share them with others. We finally made it to the 9th place, and we are overall very happy with the result.
  • We travelled to Sweden for the fourth time, and I can only say that we enjoyed it pretty much, again, and we will definitely come back for a fifth time (once we return to Europe).
  • I migrated our previous Rails Rumble project, the Awesome Fontstacks, from Rails version 3 to 4.
  • I implemented JSON views, which are simple Ruby files evaluated as Rails views and delivering JSON strings.
  • We visited Stralsund and Rügen. If you find the time, go there and have a look yourself. Both are really beautiful.
  • I read a couple of fictional books, one of which of which I can highly recommend (sorry, German only): Blackout written by Marc Elsberg.
  • I finally read Candid written by Voltaire (again, sorry, German only).
  • Together with my eldest son I visited the Thalia theatre in Hamburg, Germany, where they played Moby Dick without any (!) stage setting. Very, very good acting!
  • I set up my wife as the beneficiary for all of my insurances.
  • I started to use #pants, a light-weight blogging engine coming with a fully decentralized social network built-in (I couldn’t have said that any better than Hendrik himself.
  • I switched from Quicksilver to Alfred, and I haven’t regretted it until today.
  • I was part of the Hacktable team organising a couple of Superkids events, allowing kids to take a look into programming and working with computers.
  • I merged two Instapaper accounts into one. Yes, I manually copied over links from one account to the other. If there’s a better way to do this, I don’t want to know.
  • Benny and I abandoned blanksand, our shared office space in the centre of Hamburg, Germany. It was finally too much effort to keep things up and we didn’t use it enough. Sad, but true.
  • We bought a SUP for Standup paddleboarding. Not cheap, but hell lot of fun. You should try it!
  • I reviewed a book about Redis Applied Design Patterns. Check it out if you are interested in working with Redis.
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