Ten years of blogging!

November 9, 2012

Although I had marked the date in my calendar, a great ApacheCon kept me busy and I missed Tuesday’s date for announcing that it’s been ten years now since I started blogging.

Not that you’d care…though it’s fun to see that my interests and professional activities haven’t changed that much in ten years. Less blogging of course, as over time this blog has morphed into an outlet for more permanent/longer content, which is less frequent of course.

The first few posts at http://grep.codeconsult.ch/2002/11/ are not earth-shattering – that was a start though.

See you on Twitter for now, as that’s where my noise has mostly moved, and we’ll see if this blog is still around in ten years!


Turning 42, and why I love my job

August 24, 2011

I’ll be turning 42 in a few months (counting in base 12 of course) and it feels like a good time to reflect on what it is that makes my job enjoyable. My father was a carpenter, and both my brothers started with that as their first job, so I’m kind of the disruptive element of the family (I didn’t say black sheep, ok?).

So, why did I choose to work with cold electronics (my first degree) and computers instead of working with a noble and beautiful living thing like wood?

After some thinking I came up with four key elements.

The first key element is creating cool things. Note that I don’t say creating cool software: I realized that for me the creative process is more important than what exactly is being created. Coolness is obviously a subjective measurement, so it’s hard to define precisely. Lean and maintainable software that people find useful definitely falls into that category for me.

Next is working with bright and fun people. Being active in the Apache Software Foundation, and joining Day in 2007 made me realize how stimulating it is to work with people that impress you every day with their technical and other skills. People who are fun to work with help keep some distance with the Big Problems At Work. Technical and other problems are bound to happen in any job, and that’s when your colleagues’ attitudes make all the difference. Software and work are not always the most important things in life.

Using efficient and fun tools comes next – in my previous life as an independent software developer and architect I sometimes had to put up with lame environments and tools at customer sites, and that can be depressing when you’re aiming for quality and efficiency. My first grade math teacher kept saying that good craftsmen use good tools, and she was right!

The fourth element is keeping a good work-life balance. I tend to engage myself 100% in my work, but for that to happen I need to be able to engage myself 100% in other things at regular intervals. This often means disconnected holidays “away from the grid”. I also decided long ago to never work on Sundays, unless there’s really no other way, which is rare. This has helped me keep my sanity during those phases when the rest of the week is totally crazy.

The fun thing is that those four elements would totally apply to being a carpenter…and I actually did enjoy helping at my father’s shop during school holidays when I was a kid. I’m not planning on going back though – now that my son learned carpentry as well, he’s making fun of me every time I try!


Thanks and congrats!

November 5, 2008

obama_3DLogo.jpgBeing in the US to watch the Obama speech yesterday evening on the big screen in the hotel lobby was really cool – people cheering, standing ovations and I could feel the hope in the air.

Some people’s expectations are obviously optimistic, but hearing a president (elect) that feels genuine and honest is very reassuring.

American friends note that technology will be back in the White House – of course, with a president who selected one of the Facebook founders to run his Internet campaign, things should get better in this respect.

/me happy.


Day wins CH Open Source business Award 2008

September 26, 2008

The Golden KeyboardDay has won the CH Open Source Award 2008 in the business category. We got a Golden Keyboard!

I’m very happy that the jury recognized our important contributions to open source, even though some people would give us bad marks due to us selling our products.

See the ossaward.ch site for the other awards – the choices in the Advocacy and Youth categories are particularly good in my opinon, rewarding people who use open source for humanitarian purposes, and youngsters who deserve to be encouraged.

On the picture: Michael Marth, Day’s Technology Evangelist, Christian Stocker from the awards jury, and yours truly.

Too bad iPhone pictures do not have a shot with my iPhone watermark, that looks so good in emails ;-)


Google Chrome cartoon rocks!

September 2, 2008

google-chrome-chris.jpgI haven’t seen the browser yet but Google Chrome’s cartoon is the best description of o piece of software that I’ve seen in a long time. Kudos to Scott McCloud – someone should convince our local cartoon star or my friend MiBé to do similar things!

Using graphics to explain stuff is obviously the best way, but the dynamics of the cartoon format (varying image sizes to emphasize importance, repetition of similar patterns and shapes to create a familiar universe in small steps) go much further than just combining images and descriptions. Not to mention the fun factor in reading it – everybody knows that people learn better when fun is involved.

I’m convinced – we need more of this to explain our often complex software systems.


On the board

June 5, 2008

The members meeting of the Apache Software Foundation is over, and I’ve had the pleasant surprise of being elected as a member of the board.

Thanks very much to Henning for nominating me, and to everybody who put an f in their votes.

I’m replacing Henri Yandell who decided not to run again this year, for very good family reasons as I understand. Thanks Henri for your work!

Apart from him the board is unchanged. That will probably make the transition easier than last year, when several directors were replaced at once. It feels good to be the newbie when you’re 46 years old ;-)

Am I looking forward to it? Am I crazy? I guess yes and yes…


Apache Sling wins prize at JAX innovation award

April 28, 2008

carsten-felix-sling-award-jax.jpgLast week, Apache Sling won the fifth prize at the JAX Innovation Award.

Carsten, seen here playing happy Sling committers with Felix, writes about how Sling Sling brings the fun back in web development.

I haven’t done much development myself with Sling yet, as I’ve been mostly working on the framework itself, but just writing the simple webloader stuff makes me very much echo what Carsten says: Sling is indeed fun and efficient to work with.


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