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1/1/2017

Merry Christmas & New Year

For me, 2016 wasn't the death march of the modern era that most people made it out to be. Trump will not destroy the world, global warming is still manageable, and geopolitical stability is different, but as stable as ever in the last 100 years. The terror attacks, celebrity deaths, and social gaffs that littered the year was the same background noise it has always been, just slightly more relevant to a younger and more vocal generation than in years past. To me, 2016 was an impeccable year for progress, the global economy, and a glimmer of where technology will take us in 2017 (self-driving cars, on-demand services, and media immerssion.) For me, each year since 2010 has been a steadfast progression in quality of life for the populace, not just myself (many times despite my own circumstances.) So here's to another year of amazement and wonder.

I'd like to thank everyone for the gifts, kind words, and understanding for the parts of celebration that I wasn't able to be a part of. Despite my world view, I did test the limits of my physical strength with a bout of either the cold or flu, and a merciless dosage of steroids that earned a first place trophy for drugs I will never consume or inject again. When my doctor prescribed them as a "kick starter" for my immune system I thought yeah, finally something to knock out whatever I had. Instead the drugs knocked me out with every negative side effect ever experienced with the drug. Ultimately I skipped the last two doses of the ramp-down regimen because I didn't think I could physically handle it, nor did I want to ruin Christmas day. The stress that put on the household was immense, but in the end we have all recovered - minus the massive record-breaking influx of cedar allergies that hit Austin last week. And while Methylprednisolone doesn't qualify as a medical allergy, I'll be sure to refuse it in the future.

The kids are doing well, especially Keegan who's recent 3rd birthday marked a seemingly causal increase in cognitive skills. Their gaming abilities are really impressive. Evenly is really enjoying the Just Dance with XBox Kinnect. And Keegan is almost stubbornly pursuing harder levels in a side-scrolling skateboarding monkey game. And when he doesn't cheat, he's still pretty good at Rock Paper Scissors and Tic Tac Toe.

In digital news, I'm hosting family videos on Google's Drive service. If you would like to have access to these videos, just send me an email and I'll send you a link that acts as a password to access the content. I would normally host them from my personal web server, but the bandwidth constraints we're getting with U-Verse in our locale of Austin pretty much prevent that. Being an internet-only household doesn't leave much room in the 4mb upstream channel. And I'm only a few weeks out from having an updated deployment system for my website, so content updates will be a little more regularly... emphasis on little ;)

This year I also accomplished a major feat of pruning several thousand dvd and cd media from my office. All music was digitized and stored on my thumb drive, movies were tossed wholesale along with software from the 90's and 2000's, and the remaining single spindle of backups, recovery disks, and otherwise bloated content will sit next to the 6 floppy disks I still have for posterity sake. In addition to archaic media, I'm also moving away from closed-source / closed-ecosystem software. Most of the software I use these days is written by me and hosted on my server, simple stuff like note taking, schedules, todos, photo management, etc. But I just moved away from iOS contacts, which means if I lost my phone today I'd be without my text messages (and even that is a mere subscription to a text message gateway service away from being free of the Apple ecosystem.)

Colorado is still on schedule for moving mid-year. I have cleared out our garage, pruned a mountain of brush/overgrowth from the back yard and will soon be renovating our master bathroom before considering the house ready for moving. We still haven't determined if we'll sell or rent but that will ultimately depend on how the market behaves in Q1. I'm curious to see how Trump and interest rate hikes will affect the economy, and we'll be evaluating homes and neighborhoods through the spring anyway.

1/26/2016

Testing the Colorado waters...

Elli is turning 34 soon and we are hoping to take a weekend getaway sometime in February so that we can get a taste of what a "coldest winter in years" in Colorado actually feels like. I'm not too worried, but 6 degrees does sound painful (keep in mind that I'm a skinny Puerto Rican acclimated to tropical climates.) Now we just need to sucker I mean provide a wonderful opportunity for one our parents to spend some quality time with the kids for a barely extended period of mere hours. :D

1/1/2016

Happy New Year's!!!

I've never been a fan of resolutions for the new year. In preparation for choosing what you want to accomplish, you end up deciding earlier and earlier in the year to make sure you pick the things you really want to accomplish - or risk wasting a year on a fleeting interest. That cuts into time you might be spending frantically finishing last year's goals or just dealing with the holiday workload. And if you end up picking the right ideas early, you're supposed to just sit on the very motivationally inspiring plans? It's a broken system that is better suited to Lent. If it were Lent, we wouldn't have to hear people talk about how their New Year's resolutions didn't stick for all of Q1.

Although I haven't made an explicit New Year's Resolution in decades (other than in jest), I do use the time to reflect on goals I finished last year and how my current goals, from whenever I may have picked them, are progressing into this year. Continuous Resolutions for the developer-minded.

So last year was a bit different than usual. As a full time Dad, I didn't spend as much time on myself as I did for my children. Hence the one and only status update last year. Despite effectively being a recluse (or being an effective recluse depending on who you ask), I still managed to complete the following personal goals:

  • Beat Guitar Hero III on expert (in co-op mode with Elli.)
  • Built a large-scale site on top of ScrewPressCMS (pending in stealth mode for now.)
  • Took a nigh impossible two week digital vacation from my computer, email, non-emergency text messages / calls, and phone apps.
  • Went a full year without getting sick by not pushing my physical limits (and probably full time exposure to kids.)
  • Converted our house from "Did you just move in?" to "Wow, the house looks great!"
  • Devised a software project management workflow for my personal development projects called PWNN.
  • Finished a stable, production-ready version of VerbotenJS.

I'm currently working on a few different projects to varying degrees of active involvement. Agilelaw will continue with limited involvement for this year, but the real duration of that project is currently undefined. Things that should come to fruition/completion this year are:

  • Finish v1 of a TODO app I've been mentally tinkering with for months.
  • Dispose/Archive all CD's and DVD's - useless media.
  • FTDC - Full time day care for the kids.
  • FTRE - Full time remote employment. Gotta pay for the above, right?
  • Renovated garage & master closet - the last two embarrassing rooms in our house.
  • Plan the move to CO - we'll know this year when in 2017 we'll be moving.
  • JavaScript-able email client - because 50 effing spam emails a week is enough.
  • Purge all the cruft in my real and digital lives - in lieu of hauling it thousands of miles.

Oh, and I might just try selling cookies via the Texas Cottage Laws, because I think I found a loophole distribution channel. Plus Elli has perfected a recipe over the years that frankly I expect would sell itself. Our friends and family will individually go through an entire Ziploc bag in a single sitting. I'm still evaluating my options, but it has a high potential to generate enough income to pay for day-care and ease the chicken-and-egg problem of getting full time income first to pay for daycare, so that I can spend time finding full time income :D

Happy Holidays to all our friends and family,

-Marcus Pope



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