Just to prepare for the 2021 edition I went back and re-read the 2020 edition. Yikes. So I started writing and I’ve changed this post up several times. I’ve decided much like I did last year “this is the final shot with a few edits”.
2020 was messy for everyone especially on my end of things. So in January of this year I started making some changes. It’s becoming overhaul of North River Geographic Systems, Inc and Randy, Inc. Through the last few years I have been making small changes business wise like “No I don’t want this project” and “PAY ME” but nothing like “What do I want to accomplish?”. I had found myself saying negative things about the business. I haven’t said anything really great about NRGS for a bit actually. Business can be frustrating especially for me. The bad parts were way outweighing the good parts and there are a lot of good parts that I never acknowledge.
So I started with “A Plan to get me back on my feet”. I don’t think I’ve had a coherent plan in the last few years so this was step 1. New attitude. A better direction. The “Shiny Bigger Plan” is being written now.
If I were to sum up this year it was “Challenging but Better than I Hoped”. Which is weird to say. If this hadn’t been good I think I’d most likely be doing something else at this point. Yeah – my January 2021 decision was an A. Fix This or B. Do Something Else. I was that frustrated with everything.
I ended up picking up more clients in 2021. The clients I picked up centered around two pieces of software: QGIS and PostGIS. I did have multiple calls about Geoserver WHICH is still something I’m getting better at and I still don’t feel like an expert by any stretch. The best paying jobs were PostGIS centric. The fun weird ones were all QGIS. I solidified my docker game somewhat. I started diving back into Python.
Strangest call: One day I received a call out of nowhere from someone who noticed I did QGIS support. Their job was laying irrigation pipe in farm land in Northern Ohio and they were stringing together a process to patch up some old Trimble Software that ran in a tractor/ditch digging thing. One zoom call later and I figured out something of a process with QGIS (not my greatest work by any stretch). It’s enough to get him working for the twice a year he needs data to run the tractor to do irrigation. He occasionally calls and I enjoy hearing about his work. So far I’ve seen his pics of the Ditch Digging Tractor Thing, farm as he shoved the laptop out his kitchen window, and we’ve traded jokes over the phone.
Training: Training went virtual with two classes with a third class in the works. I think 2021 was affirmation I can do virtual training. So much so I’m unconvinced I will ever train “for me” in a classroom setting again. In the next few months I’m going to have three classes: “Intro”, “Intermediate”, and “Final” (which could be advanced or something – I’m still drafting it out). When I get the third class completed I think I’m done with classes. I’ll be happy to do those three.
Life in General: Good and Challenging. I had some personal goals I didn’t meet. I had some I did. Parents got older. I got older. I didn’t get COVID. So far I’ve had no one close to me die from it. I count myself exceptionally lucky. One friend passed from a brain tumor which was a bit surreal. Get through almost 2 years of a pandemic and then die from something that had nothing to do with COVID. It was a very hard reminder that life is short.
I decided part of the way through this year to start learning about software I don’t normally touch just for kicks plus I needed the mental stimulation. I miss learning new software just for fun. So I did things randomly when time permitted- What did I do?
- Mapserver – I feel like I owe it to myself to learn about a piece of software that is one of the foundations of Free and Open Source Software. I installed it. Created a mapfile. I was able to look at the data I created.
- Leaflet – Believe it or not – I hate “web maps” mainly because I never have time to learn anything about them. So I sat down and made a map in leaflet. Easy? Mostly. I’ll probably make some more but nothing too fancy. There are people better at this than I ever will be. All 100% hand crafted in VIM with some “Copy and Paste” for taste.
- OpenStreetMap – I know plenty about OSM but what about downloading the data and doing something like displaying it in Leaflet.
- PyQGIS – I sat down and made a few small scripts to run in QGIS. Why? Because I love QGIS but the whole programming part is still a bit cloudy for me. So I started doing small things and eventually the smaller things got bigger and MAYBE I can make a plugin. Maybe.
- AWS – I had a complete implosion with my first dance into Amazon Web Services. I signed up for the free tier and 1 months and $400 dollars later I was attempting to explain HOW I racked up that large of a charge to Amazon Support. Thankfully Amazon refunded my money. I cancelled my account. We all lived happily ever after.
In 2022 I’m also focusing on “personal things I want to do”. That’s going to leave less time for technical but that’s OK. I need self improvement as well as “tech skillz”.
I made several conferences as “The weird guy that talks about QGIS”. I made my second FOSS4G International Meeting. WHICH I KNOW THIS WILL BE UNPOPULAR……BUT….. : I miss in person conferences as much as anyone but the amount of knowledge getting out into the world through these virtual conferences is astounding. It’s a low bar of entry for everyone and it’s become something of great value for me. SO – for you who are planning conferences – Consider some virtual offerings even if you’re doing in person.
Anyway – that’s about it. Social Media became less a part of my existence in some ways. It became a better outlet in others. Twitter did get fine tuned to be 99% Geo. Linkedin was Linkedin. I am debating a “virtual” get-together” for this year. I’ve missed 2020 and 2021 with the local QGIS Meetups. I don’t think Covid is going any where for a while still SO – maybe we do something virtual. Don’t know. I’m still figuring that one out.
So with that – Enjoy some noise from the southern part of the United States.