Latest Personal Blog Entries
Let's get started, using a pencil.
Trace it using a fineliner.
Getting rid of those pencil strokes.
Yep, we own a family car, a people mover for 8.
Backside of our house in 82 Sunshine Ave, Karori, Wellington, New Zealand.
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
- 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
- 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
- I participated in the Rails Rumble, together with
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
- 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
- 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
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.
All I've got is a red guitar,
“All along the watchtower”
by Bob Dylan
three chords, and the truth.
All I've got is a red guitar,
the rest is up to you.
Roughly a year ago a very good friend of mine,
was organising an event for
from all over the world. He invited them to come over to our shared
office space and have a couple of drinks. I can't remember who came up
with the idea, but we finally bought a bunch of paint tubes and asked
the painters to try and somehow return to real painting, with real paint
and a real canvas. And since all of them should do it together, the canvas
simply had to be one of our office walls.
Over the next couple of hours, these guys really went into something, and
so the painting on our wall grew and grew.
And it grew even further.
We really had good fun watching the work in progress. Everybody, even guests without prior
painting experience, was giving it a try. Everybody was invited to fill the wall up and
paint what they were feeling like.
Everybody was in a flow. Even when waiting outside, it was a nice and warm night, the
people couldn't stop painting, this time using crayons, and they went on painting little
pictures on the street.
After having painted for almost 5 hours, everybody was happy with the result and
proud of being part of this happening. The final picture is about 5 meters wide and
almost 3 meters high, and it does not fit in full size on the following image.
But feel invited to come over and take a look yourself! The painting is still there
and will be around until we leave the office to the next residents. When coming
back to the office the next morning, we were glad it haven't rained yet and the chalk
paintings outside were still visible.
When taking a closer look at the big painting inside, I noticed a number of
It was just a wonderful evening. Thanks to everyone who was taking part in this, and even
more thanks to the guy who created this living and one-of-a-kind experience, Benjamin Rabe!
This picture represents the Wellington style pretty much. Old and new in once place, with lots
of very steep hills and roads.
Last weekend we stayed in Castlepoint on east coast of the north island of New Zealand. Words
cannot describe how beautiful this spot is. If you haven't been there yet, do so as soon as
possible! No excuses accepted!
This is the Karori tunnel which connects the suburb Karori with the Wellington city centre.
Most people take their car to drive through it. But that day we decided to do the walk of
about 4 kilometers.
Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all
fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and
shows of flags and well-oiled guns.
from “Cat's Cradle”, published in 1963
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