Tom Andrews

Tom Andrews

2013 In Review

So, 2013. How has it gone and what can/will I do to resolve the issues for the targets I’ve missed.

  1. Blogging – 52 posts in a year
    On this blog it was meant to be 52 posts of insightful commentary on the world and my impact on it. The 52 posts was a little optimistic especially with Emily just a month or so old at the start of 2013 but definitely achievable. The 52 posts was really an attempt at documenting some of my life for my future self and to no longer be a dark matter developer.

    Blogging as a goal is still important to me and after learning about the quantified self movement has made blogging a great first step to a more recorded life.

  2. Open source – Make at least 6 contributions in a year

    I love open source, it enables so much of the work I do. I write code in an open source language; the result will be served by an open source web server; and parsed and executed by an open source browser. That is incredible and I am actively encouraged to help but for years I’ve done basically nothing.. unacceptable!

    6 contributions, or one every two months was a reasonable target but has not come to fruition. StatsD accepted a change to the go client (it didn’t even build!) which was amazing but one in a year is still pretty rubbish.

    My poor open source contributions is partly because at work – for the first of the half of the year – I was in a bit of a rut and working on a closed source platform doing things that the business had done before so rarely ran into issues. Although, that is a poor excuse; being a “9 to 5”-er has never been my goal although for most of this year that is all I have been.

  3. Exercise – gain 5 KG

    I am underweight; 26, 5’8″ and less than 60 KG. I have two amazing people depending on me and I’m not looking after my self. This is ridiculous.

    Since leaving my last job I stopped playing football weekly. It got a little better, I started cycling to work towards the end of the summer but it didn’t last. 16 miles a day was tough but getting easier even after only 3 trips. Since then the weather hasn’t helped and I’m unwilling to cycle along busy roads in rush hour in the dark even if I have lights. I’m aware a lot of people do but I think you are too exposed in those more risky situations, one tired driver in the rain and you are toast.

    For about a month I attended a circuit training class but it seemed to only be frequented by the super fit and I learned quickly that I couldn’t keep up. About 30 minutes into my first hour-long class where we had done more exercise than I had done in the past 5 years combined. I started to feel faint and water wasn’t helping. So, I quickly left the class and proceeded to lose the majority of my lunch into the toilet. Pacing myself was something I was never particularly good at. Even after that first lesson, it didn’t get any easier and after a month I realised I needed to start slower and with something that wasn’t charging me weekly £6 for 30 minutes of exercise and another then 30 in the toilet.

To fix all these problems I just need to self-control and not just switching on some inane TV programme or browsing the web when I get home and have put Emily to sleep. So with a timetable and a little black book I should be able to crack this.

Every time I get an idea for a blog post, a way to make my life at work easier or a side project then it goes in the little black book. 5 times I week (everybody needs a couple of evenings off) then I will go into the book with the aim of striking one of them off the list that evening. If the task is too big to complete in a single evening then I will split it down. Then each subtask gets added to the list and will be completed in the normal fashion. Task priority will be evaluated each evening, when I come to take a new task. I will always take the most important task.

At work I now build on top of an open source platform so fixing some of my work issues will have to be solved by working in open source! Side projects and blog ideas always are on the edge of technology, strange languages and databases and being on the edge tends to lead to finding bugs. As long as I can make time blogs and open source contributions will come.

Exercise, this is a little trickier. 3-4 times a week I need to perform exercise and other than the park run suggestion I got from colleague I’m a little stumped. Morning exercises are a possibility and would fit quite well with my current routine as Emily is up at 7 and I don’t need to be in work until 10. A gym is also possible but I wouldn’t want to do anything without teaching so would need to hire a personal trainer or bug a gym-savvy friend.

So here are the quantified goals.

  1. Write 26 blog posts in 2014
  2. Open 6 pull requests that at least get a comment to open source projects in 2014
  3. Gain 5KG of muscle in 2014
  4. Run a 10KM in 50 minutes or less in 2014