I’m going to do this a bit different than in previous years – I would do these huge multi-posts covering all sorts of things from work to life to social media etc. As I’ve not been particularly motivated to write much over the last couple of months I’m going to boil this down into one longer post.
In general, this year Social Media was one giant dumpster fire. I started removing people off Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook. I actually unfollowed probably half of my facebook crowd just because. I’m still fairly active on twitter – but the posts aren’t that serious or relate to work. I put less out there on social media – which if you follow me you’re probably going “no you’re quite active”. While yes – it’s silly stuff or music. I decided my personal life and social media need some separation. I probably tossed 300 people on twitter. Maybe 100 off Linkedin. I need to toss more. Everyday I see less need to be on Facebook except I have people from far and wide on there and enjoy the stories. The increasing security blunders and data mining though makes it harder every month to stay.
After some internal arguing over the Newsletter – I restarted it and am doing one about every 2 months. It’s tough – I may stop doing it in 2019. I really feel like it’s outlived it’s purpose for me as people are finding me through the QGIS community or the open source community. It does serve as a “I’m not dead yet” reminder to people though.
I didn’t get a ton of interviews done this year – but the ones I did were a blast. I think I ended up with 3 – and they were a good 3 (or 4). Howard Butler, Tina Cormier, and Maggie Cawley all made the pages. I did a quick search and pulled those out – if I missed one Sorry! I’ve got a few more lined up – and I’ll get to you just bear with me.
So 3 or so years ago I figured out I was working too much. Which – as a one person shop it’s easy to do. So I started Canoeing again. Biking. This year I probably biked and hiked more than I’ve done in a long time. I need to do more of it because I like junk food. My habits are slowly changing and I’m shedding some weight.
On the personal personal front – A good friend died back in 2017 and this year we made large steps into wrapping up his personal affairs. No will and no plan will cost you about a year and a half of blood, sweat, and tears for those that are left. It’s tough. Many a day I would work here and leave to go to his place and work…then leave and come back and work more on my stuff. It’s hard – I do wished he was back – but if he was I’d probably kill him.
Double Bonus this year – the jeep made it’s appearance back on the roads of Chattanooga. Too much neglect had left it in disrepair – and the cure for that is money. So tires, thermostat, hoses, 2 U joints, a top, some fuses, some paint….and it’s back and sucking gas like it’s the year 1999. I should get rid of it but it makes me happy.
I made way too many conferences this year: TNGIC, FOSS4GNA (in STL), 2 FOSS4G SE Meetings, and the Alabama 811 Conference. With all of those I did some sort of training on QGIS or I spoke about Open Source Software.
I had the first ever flat on the way to the 811 conference which made me late rolling into Montgomery Alabama. I left with plenty of time – IF NOTHING HAPPENED – and something did. I did break a land speed record making up lost time – but I was still late. Planning is not for dullards. I have to allow myself some wiggle room where people are relying on me to be “there”. In general I don’t – and I have to break that bad habit.
Finally – WORK
Work was up. I moved two clients into a mixed environment this year of ArcGIS/QGIS/PostGIS/Fulcrum. In doing so I learned a lot. What did I ultimately learn though from these two exercises:
- Both were were concerned with data and making sure that data remained accessible, usable by everyone, and was maintainable. 110% doable with all the software I’m using.
- In both cases the movement from ArcGIS to QGIS/PostGIS was mostly painless. What was painful was process. Customers don’t want to change their process. You have to change the way you work. So almost every wall I hit fell back to process. That made me tired. When I point and go “You can’t do it this way anymore” I’d no more get out the door before the phone rang “Hey we tried it the old way and it doens’t work this ain’t good”. Which – as a reminder ArcMap has been out now 20 years(?) – so I understand the change isn’t easy and it’s something I’ve got to work on more and more.
I desperately need to spend more time with postgresql/postgis. One of my clients called with a problem: the database was slow. Things were not working and I spent an inordinate amount of time trouble shooting database size, table size, triggers, the VM it was running on, and anything else I could figure out. I don’t want to be a half-ass database admin – BUT – I need to be knowledgeable if something doesn’t work right. So – I’ll be a better than a half-ass database admin.
I talked to more people this year. There is a general “want” to know about Open Source Software – be it out of general “I want to know” or “I’m tired of doing what I’m doing”. I’m also forgetting ArcGIS Skills and that bugs me a bit. I haven’t cracked open ArcGISPro and really have no desire to do it. On the one hand I need to as a consultant. On the other hand I’m busy enough with plenty to learn and enjoy on this side of things.
Overall I felt fulfilled with work this year – and that’s a rarity. I’m not burying jars of money in the yard but things are working better, I’m busy, and I’m funding my existence. I want to do more – and in doing so I assume I’ll have to get pickier in what I pick up as far as work. No was once again my favorite word as I did turn some clients away as it was work I couldn’t do or didn’t want to do. It’s hard saying no when you’re pushing possible income away I always have to stop and weigh “Is this the right thing to do for me”. In general – I think it is if I remember to stop and ask that question. Which – A happier me is better for everyone these days.
It was a good year. That’s weird to say. I’ve had enough bad years to make any normal person insane. I always second guess myself – but this year there was less insanity and less second guessing. It’s a good thing. More work. More technical. More enjoyment.
So – for those of you who helped – thank you. If you lent an ear – thank you. If you hired me to do something – I thank you most of all. If you stopped to hassle me at a conference thanks for the conversation. I don’t do what I’m doing without a little bit of a push from all of you.
So what do I do in 2019? Fight until I can’t. There’s a ton of bad data out there that needs fixed and explored. Bills gotta get paid. I need to learn more.